Before the arrival of European settlers, the Odawa people lived between the lakes they called Wahbekaness and Wahbekanetta (now named Duck Lake and Green Lake, respectively). Beginning in the late 19th century, European settlers began logging and fishing industries in the area. As the lumber industry grew, the area became more deforested, until in 1917 the State of Michigan purchased the remaining virgin pines and created Interlochen State Park, the first state park in Michigan. In 1928, the National High School Orchestra Camp was founded at Interlochen and evolved to become Interlochen Center for the Arts, which includes a summer camp as well as a fine arts boarding high school and public radio station.
As the name suggests, Interlochen is situated between the two lakes of the original Odawa settlement. It is approximately 14 miles southwest of Traverse City at Coordinates: , and sits at an elevation of 841 feet above sea level. The FIPS place code is 40800.
Interlochen lies close to the 45th parallel north, approximately halfway between the equator and the north pole. It therefore experiences typical Northern Michigan weather: very cold in the winter, and very warm in the summer. Interlochen is close enough to Lake Michigan that it experiences heavy lake-effect snow, but not close enough to be cooled by the Great Lake's breeze, furthering the extremes of the winter and summer seasons. However, other lake-effect precipitation in the summer is also present, causing lush greenery and magnificent thunderstorms, and making Interlochen picturesque in the summer as well as in the winter.
According to the census of 2000, there were 5,002 people, 1,977 households, and 1,678 families residing in the Interlochen Zip Code Tabulation Area (49643), which also includes most of Inland Township as well as portions of Almira and Colfax townships in Benzie County along with the western portion of Green Township and the northwest corner of Grant Township. The population density was 87.9 people per square mile (33.9/km²). There were 2,461 housing units at an average density of 43.2 per square mile (16.7/km²).
According to the 2000 census, the racial makeup of the Zip Code Tabulation Area was 97.9% White, 1.3% Native American, 0.2% African-American or Black, 0.2% Asian-American, 0.3% from other races, and 1.4% from two or more races. 0.9% of the population were Hispanics or Latinos, who can be of any race.
The Village of Interlochen is an unincorporated community in Green Lake Township, which is in Grand Traverse County, Michigan, United States. Interlochen does not have its own local government, but is governed locally by the Green Lake Township. The township offices are located in Interlochen. Some governmental services are also provided by the county.
- US 31 mainly parallels the Lake Michigan shore, and runs for 356 miles (573 km) in a northerly direction from the Indiana-Michigan state line southwest of Niles to its terminus at I-75 south of Mackinaw City.
- M-37 runs north and south between Battle Creek and the Old Mission Peninsula, near Traverse City.
- M-137 is a 2.89-mile (4.65 km) north-south spur between US 31 at the north end and Interlochen Center for the Arts and Interlochen State Park at the southern terminus (the road continues south as Grand Traverse County Road 137, also known as Karlin Road).
Interlochen is served by Traverse City's public transportation system, the Bay Area Transportation Authority (BATA) which serves most of the Grand Traverse region with dial-a-ride services. BATA debuted its first hybrid bus in December, 2005. BATA recently completed a bus transfer terminal on Hall St., in Traverse City, which opened July 21, 2006. The terminal is used to transfer riders to different busses on different routes. BATA also links riders to the Greyhound terminal for regional and long-distance travel.
- "History of Interlochen". Interlochen Center for the Arts. 2007. Archived from the original on 2007-10-15. Retrieved 2007-11-22.
- "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2008-01-31.
- "496 3-Digit ZCTA -- 5-digit ZIP Code Tabulation Area: GCT-PH1 Population, Housing Units, Area, and Density: 2000". U.S. Census Bureau. 2000. Retrieved 2007-11-22.
- "Fact Sheet - Zip Code Tabulation Area 49643". U.S. Census Bureau. 2000. Retrieved 2007-11-22.
- "Green Lake Township Web Site". Green Lake Township Board. 2007. Retrieved 2007-11-22.