Manistee, Michigan

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Manistee, Michigan
Bascule bridge and riverfront of downtown Manistee
Bascule bridge and riverfront of downtown Manistee
Location of Manistee, Michigan
Location of Manistee, Michigan
Manistee, Michigan is located in the United States
Manistee, Michigan
Manistee, Michigan
Location in the United States
Coordinates: 44°14′37″N 86°19′17″W / 44.24361°N 86.32139°W / 44.24361; -86.32139Coordinates: 44°14′37″N 86°19′17″W / 44.24361°N 86.32139°W / 44.24361; -86.32139
CountryUnited States
 • Total4.53 sq mi (11.73 km2)
 • Land3.28 sq mi (8.49 km2)
 • Water1.25 sq mi (3.24 km2)
663 ft (202 m)
 • Total6,226
 • Estimate 
 • Density1,864.59/sq mi (719.97/km2)
Time zoneUTC-5 (Eastern (EST))
 • Summer (DST)UTC-4 (EDT)
ZIP code
Area code(s)231
FIPS code26-50720[4]
GNIS feature ID1620680[5]

Manistee (/mænɪsti/ man-is-TEE) is a city in the U.S. state of Michigan. The population was 6,226 at the 2010 census. It is the county seat of Manistee County.[6] The name "Manistee" is from an Ojibwe word first applied to the principal river of the county.[7] The derivation is not certain,[8] but it may be from ministigweyaa, "river with islands at its mouth".[9][10] Other sources claim that it was an Ojibwe term meaning "spirit of the woods".[11]

Manistee Township is located to the northeast of the city, but is politically separate. The city is located at the mouth of the Manistee River on Lake Michigan.


In 1751, a Jesuit Mission was established in Manistee.[12] Missionaries visited Manistee in the early 19th century, and a Jesuit mission house is known to have been located on the NW shore of Manistee Lake in 1826. In 1832, a group of traders from Massachusetts built a log house up the Manistee River. However, they were soon driven off by the Odawa nation. The first white settlement and sawmill was built there in 1841.[12]

In 1830 the village of Manistee was one of about 15 Odawa (Ottawa) villages along the shore of Lake Michigan. Much of the Manistee River Valley, including Manistee itself, was designated as an Odawa Reservation from 1836 to 1848.[13]

The first permanent Euro-American settlement was made on April 16, 1841, when John Stronach and his son, Adam Stronach, arrived at the mouth of the Manistee River in a schooner loaded with fifteen men and equipment, and established a saw mill.[14]

From 1836 to 1848, much of the Manistee River Valley, including Manistee itself, was an Ottawa Reservation. During the lumbering era of the late 1800s, Manistee became a significant site for lumber mills. Huge numbers of white pine logs were floated down the river to the port at Manistee and eventually on to the lumber markets of Grand Rapids, Milwaukee and Chicago.

In 1846, the town was named "Manistee"; it was made part of Ottawa County, whose county offices were 100 miles away at Grand Haven. After a series of new counties were organized, by 1855 Manistee was part of a large Manistee county that also included modern-day Manistee, Wexford, and Missaukee counties.[15]

On October 8, 1871, the town was practically destroyed by fire; on the same day that the Peshtigo Fire, the Great Chicago Fire, and fires in Port Huron and Holland occurred, the Great Michigan Fire burned Manistee.[16] Manistee was incorporated as a city in 1882.[17]

21st century to present[edit]

In 2000, Manistee made national headlines after a local jury convicted a woman for expressing privately to her mother her wish that immigrants would learn English; the judge described it as "insulting conduct" consisting of "fighting words", an offense that was punishable under a local ordinance. Allegations appeared of improper procedure and irregularities in the court records. Two years later (November 1, 2002) and after the defendant spent four nights in jail, the conviction was overturned by the state Court of Appeals.[18][19][20][21]



Climate data for Manistee
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Average high °F (°C) 30
Average low °F (°C) 17
Average precipitation inches (mm) 2.13
Source: U.S. Climate Data,[24]


Historical population
Census Pop.
2019 (est.)6,114[3]−1.8%
U.S. Decennial Census[25]

2010 census[edit]

As of the census[2] of 2010, there were 6,226 people, 2,816 households, and 1,614 families residing in the city. The population as of 2013 is 6117. The population density was 1,892.4 inhabitants per square mile (730.7/km2). There were 3,599 housing units at an average density of 1,093.9 per square mile (422.4/km2). The racial makeup of the city was 91.5% White, 0.5% African American, 3.8% Native American, 0.4% Asian, 0.7% from other races, and 3.0% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 3.4% of the population.

There were 2,816 households, of which 26.2% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 39.1% were married couples living together, 13.4% had a female householder with no husband present, 4.9% had a male householder with no wife present, and 42.7% were non-families. 36.4% of all households were made up of individuals, and 14.7% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.18 and the average family size was 2.82.

The median age in the city was 43.6 years. 21.9% of residents were under the age of 18; 8% were between the ages of 18 and 24; 21.9% were from 25 to 44; 30.1% were from 45 to 64; and 18% were 65 years of age or older. The gender makeup of the city was 48.5% male and 51.5% female.

2000 census[edit]

As of the census[4] of 2000, there were 6,586 people, 2,912 households, and 1,729 families residing in the city. The population density was 2,023.7 per square mile (782.4/km2). There were 3,426 housing units at an average density of 1,052.7 per square mile (407.0/km2). The racial makeup of the city was 94.90% White, 0.33% African American, 1.38% Native American, 0.52% Asian, 0.03% Pacific Islander, 0.96% from other races, and 1.88% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 2.20% of the population.

There were 2,912 households, out of which 27.5% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 42.8% were married couples living together, 12.3% had a female householder with no husband present, and 40.6% were non-families. 35.1% of all households were made up of individuals, and 17.8% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.24 and the average family size was 2.88.

In the city, the age distribution of the population shows 24.0% under the age of 18, 7.3% from 18 to 24, 26.2% from 25 to 44, 23.1% from 45 to 64, and 19.4% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 40 years. For every 100 females, there were 86.9 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 81.3 males.

The median income for a household in the city was $30,351, and the median income for a family was $41,816. Males had a median income of $35,347 versus $20,102 for females. The per capita income for the city was $16,810. About 6.9% of families and 11.1% of the population were below the poverty line, including 13.2% of those under age 18 and 8.6% of those age 65 or over.


In its heyday, Manistee was home to a booming logging industry. Silas C. Overpack was a famous resident in the later part of the 19th century associated with logging. His well-known invention that he made downtown was his logging wheels, which were used in the logging industry from about 1875 until the later part of the 1920s.

In the late 19th century, Manistee was one of the leading shingle manufacturing cities in the world, with over 30 shingle mills on the Manistee river at one time. During the lumber boom of the 1880s, Manistee was the headquarters of its own railroad, the Manistee and North-Eastern, and had more millionaires per capita than anywhere else in the United States.[26]

Manistee is also associated with the salt industry. Manistee is now the home of three factories on Lake Manistee; Packaging Corporation of America, Morton Salt, and Martin Marietta. The town is also a local favorite for tourism and fishing.


Manistee is home to a radio station, WMTE-FM (101.5), and was previously home to the now-defunct WMTE (1340 AM). The Ludington Daily News, Manistee News Advocate and Traverse City Record-Eagle cover the Manistee area and distribute daily newspapers in the city.

Formerly distributing newspapers in Manistee included the Bear Lake Beacon, the Copemish Courier, the Manistee Advocate, the Manistee Daily Advocate (which became the Manistee News Advocate), the Manistee Daily News, the Manistee Democrat, and the Onekama Lake Breeze.


Manistee is home to 10 West Studios[27] which produces full-length motion pictures. Notable movies include: What If..., starring Kevin Sorbo and John Ratzenberger filmed in Manistee[28], Jerusalem Countdown featuring Randy Travis, Stacy Keach and Lee Majors, Mickey Matson and the Copperhead Conspiracy starring Christopher Lloyd and Ernie Hudson, and God Bless the Broken Road starring Jordin Sparks and Lindsay Pulsipher

Area activities[edit]

  • Orchard Beach State Park is approximately 2 miles North of Manistee.
  • Little River Casino Resort is approximately 5 miles North-East of Manistee.
  • Manistee National Golf Resort is approximately 2 miles South of Manistee.
  • Manistee Golf and Country Club was established in 1901 and is located within the city of Manistee.
  • There are three public beaches, Fifth Avenue Beach with the small man-made lake next to Fifth Avenue Beach and First Street Beach, located respectively north and south of the harbor entrance on the shore of Lake Michigan.[29]

Local events and attractions[edit]

Manistee has museums, an opera house, and recurring events.[30] These include:

The SS City of Milwaukee, a retired railroad car ferry, in Manistee harbor


Manistee has a historic downtown with many original buildings from the Victorian era. The entire Downtown District is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. There are a good variety of retail stores in Manistee, many of which are locally owned and operated.

Government and infrastructure[edit]

The Michigan Department of Corrections Oaks Correctional Facility is in Manistee Township, near Manistee.[49][50]


  • Over 40 charter fishing boats[51] operate on Lake Michigan from Manistee County ports.
  • Fishing in the Manistee River can yield salmon and steelhead.[52]
  • Because a large portion of the county is public land, hunting is popular.
  • Filmmaker Michael Moore visited Manistee in February 2011 to support the restoration of the Vogue Theatre in downtown Manistee.[53]


The Manistee Saints are a semi-professional baseball team that have called Manistee home since 1934. Their home games are at Rietz Park in Manistee. Formerly, the Manistee Colts and the Manistee Champs played in the Michigan State League, a minor league baseball league.

There are many golf courses located around the city of Manistee.

There are also two ski resorts near the city of Manistee.

There are many disc golf courses, mountain biking trails, and hiking trails all over Manistee County and in the city of Manistee.


Currently operating[edit]


  • James Madison Elementary (DayCare, Pre-School, K), Manistee Area Public Schools
  • Thomas Jefferson Elementary (1-2), Manistee Area Public Schools
  • Trinity Lutheran School (K-8), Lutheran Church - Missouri Synod Private School
  • John F. Kennedy Elementary (Location of Former Middle School) (3-5), Manistee Area Public Schools


  • Casman Alternative Academy (7-12), Provides an alternative education for those in Manistee County and surrounding areas.
  • Manistee High/Middle School (6-12), Manistee Area Public Schools, Class B/Division 3 ; Division 5 (Football) in sports

All grades

Formerly operating[edit]


  • George Washington Elementary (K-6), Manistee Area Public Schools
  • Abraham Lincoln Elementary (K-6), Manistee Area Public Schools
  • John F. Kennedy Elementary (Parkdale Location) (4-6), Manistee Area Public Schools


  • Guardian Angels Schools (7-12), Catholic Church School
  • St. Joseph Schools (K-12), Catholic Church School
  • Newland Academy (6-12), School (Type Unknown) (formerly "Lake Bluff Academy")[54]


  • Tomaszewski Country School (K-8), School (One Room Country School)Closed 1959/60 Students moved to Parkdale School
  • Union School (?-?), School (Type Unknown)
  • Woodrow Wilson Elementary (?-?), Manistee Area Public Schools


Notable people[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "2019 U.S. Gazetteer Files". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved July 25, 2020.
  2. ^ a b "U.S. Census website". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2012-11-25.
  3. ^ a b "Population and Housing Unit Estimates". United States Census Bureau. May 24, 2020. Retrieved May 27, 2020.
  4. ^ a b "U.S. Census website". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2008-01-31.
  5. ^ "US Board on Geographic Names". United States Geological Survey. 2007-10-25. Retrieved 2008-01-31.
  6. ^ "Find a County". National Association of Counties. Retrieved 2011-06-07.
  7. ^ "Clarke Home - Central Michigan University".
  8. ^ Bright, William (2004). Native American Place Names of the United States. Norman: Oklahoma University Press, pg. 265
  9. ^ County place names Archived 2009-03-13 at the Wayback Machine
  10. ^ "Manistee County, Michigan". 50-State Learning Resource Guide. Archived from the original on 2012-03-02. Retrieved 2009-04-07.
  11. ^ "Manistee, Michigan".
  12. ^ a b Books on Google Play Appletons' Annual Cyclopaedia and Register of Important Events, Volume 17 (D. Appleton & Company ed.). D. Appleton & Company. p. 114. Retrieved 6 April 2016. In 1751 a Jesuit mission was established here, but the first actual white settlement took place in 1841, when a sawmill was built.
  13. ^ Helen Hornbeck Tanner. Atlas of Great Lakes Indian History. (Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 1987) p. 165.
  14. ^ Powers, Perry F., and Cutler, Harry Gardner (1912). A History of Northern Michigan and Its People, pp. 374-75. Lewis Publishing Company.
  15. ^ HISTORY OF MANISTEE COUNTY, MICHIGAN With Illustrations and Biographical Sketches of Some of Its Men and Pioneers. H.R. Page & Co., Chicago. 1882. Retrieved 6 April 2016. In 1846 it was attached to Ottawa County, and the county offices were at Grand Haven, and there was also the nearest justice of the peace. Matrimony, in those days,was a serious matter, and attended with no little trouble. There was no one nearer than Grand Haven or Milwaukee authorized to speak the magic words so charming to the ear, and a trip of ninety miles by canoe, or on foot, was an excursion of considerable magnitude. In 1851 the county was attached to Oceana, county seat at Middlesex, and in 1853 attached to Grand Traverse, to which it remained attached until the Spring of 1855, when it was organized and raised to the honorable dignity of local sovereignty. Prior to 1855, Manistee, Wexford and Missaukee Counties comprised one township, or rather, they were embraced in the township organization of Manistee town.
  16. ^ H. R. Page & Co. (1882). "The Great Fire of 1871". History of Manistee County, Michigan. Chicago: H. R. Page & Co.
  17. ^ Charter of the City of Manistee, Michigan (1904).
  18. ^ "Manistee woman cleared in racial slur case". Luddington Daily News. 2002-11-06. p. A3.
  19. ^ Paul Craig Roberts (2002-11-14). "Costly immigration". The Washington Times.
  20. ^ Spiros Gallos (2002-11-30). "Manistee woman still sour over 'insulting words' conviction". Luddington Daily News. p. A3.
  21. ^ Suprynowicz, Vin (2003-01-05). "Jailed for speaking her mind". Las Vegas Review-Journal. p. 2E.
  22. ^ "US Gazetteer files 2010". United States Census Bureau. Archived from the original on 2012-01-25. Retrieved 2012-11-25.
  23. ^ Karen Schwallie (18 January 2006). "Wrens Cottage - Manistee Lighthouse".
  24. ^ "Climate - Manistee Michigan - Climate Graph". U.S. Climate Data. Retrieved 2012-10-15.
  25. ^ "Census of Population and Housing". Retrieved June 4, 2015.
  26. ^ "Manistee - Manistee County Tourism - Manistee, Michigan". Retrieved 17 April 2018.
  27. ^ "10West Studios". 10West Studios. Retrieved 18 March 2012.
  28. ^ Serba, John (2009-07-02). "'What If' direct-to-DVD movie filming in Manistee, Grand Rapids". Retrieved 2019-09-02.
  29. ^ "Manistee is yours to discover".
  30. ^ Manistee Attractions, Events, Culture Archived 2007-08-12 at the Wayback Machine
  31. ^ Historic Arcadia Archived 2008-01-24 at the Wayback Machine
  32. ^ Mokofsky, Colton. "Armory Youth Project, former National Guard armory in Manistee turned into place for kids". Daily News.
  33. ^ "Brethren1".
  34. ^ Brian Allen. "Manistee Audubon".
  35. ^ Lake Bluff Bird Sanctuary at Pure Michigan.
  36. ^ "Bird Sanctuaries : Lansing, Michigan : Birding Trips". Archived from the original on 2010-09-19.
  37. ^ "Manistee-Art". 19 July 2008. Archived from the original on 19 July 2008. Retrieved 17 April 2018.
  38. ^ a b "Manistee Area Genealogical and Historical Societies".
  39. ^ "Manistee Fire Hall Marker".
  40. ^ Manistee Fire Department. Archived 2010-08-06 at the Wayback Machine
  41. ^ "Marilla1". Archived from the original on 2010-02-27. Retrieved 2010-02-20.
  42. ^ Ramsdell Theatre. Archived 2006-12-21 at the Wayback Machine
  43. ^ Manistee Art Institute at Ramsdell Theatre. Archived 2000-09-02 at the Wayback Machine
  44. ^ "Visit Manistee Michigan - Manistee County Travel Information".
  45. ^ "S.S. City of Milwaukee - Site of the S.S. City of Milwaukee and the Coast Guard Cutter Acacia".
  46. ^ "Visit Manistee Michigan - Manistee Victorian Sleighbell Parade Old Christmas Weekend West Michigan".
  47. ^ "Vogue Theatre".
  48. ^ Waterworks Building and Museum,[permanent dead link] AAA, Michigan.
  49. ^ "Oaks Correctional Facility (ECF)." Michigan Department of Corrections. Retrieved on August 10, 2010.
  50. ^ "Manistee township, Manistee County, Michigan Archived 2011-06-08 at the Wayback Machine." U.S. Census Bureau. Retrieved on August 10, 2010.
  51. ^ "Welcome to the Manistee Area Charterboat Association".
  52. ^ "Fly Fishing the Manistee River in Michigan". Archived from the original on 2008-01-06.
  53. ^ "Michael Moore visiting Manistee's Vogue Theater". Muskegon Chronicle. 2011-02-08. Retrieved 2011-05-25.
  54. ^ Braciszewski, Kevin. (March 31, 1998) Manistee County School has New Name, Ludington Daily News.
  55. ^ "FlyManistee : Manistee Airport". Archived from the original on 2012-10-14.
  56. ^ M-55 end point photos Archived 2007-12-11 at the Wayback Machine
  57. ^ M-22 (Michigan highway), "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2005-12-06. Retrieved 2005-07-01.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  58. ^ "Biography for Robert Wadlow". IMDb. Retrieved March 6, 2012.

Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]