Onaway State Park

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Onaway State Park
Onaway State Park c1930.jpg
Onaway State Park c. 1930
Map showing the location of Onaway State Park
Map showing the location of Onaway State Park
Location within the state of Michigan
Location North Allis Township
Presque Isle County, Michigan
Nearest city Onaway, Michigan
Coordinates 45°25′53″N 84°13′45″W / 45.43138°N 84.22916°W / 45.43138; -84.22916Coordinates: 45°25′53″N 84°13′45″W / 45.43138°N 84.22916°W / 45.43138; -84.22916
Area 158 acres (64 ha)
Established 1921
Governing body Flag of Michigan.svg Michigan Department of Natural Resources

Official website

Onaway State Park
Architect Ralph B. Herrick
NRHP Reference # 09001066[1]
Added to NRHP December 8, 2009

Onaway State Park is a 158-acre (64 ha) state park in Presque Isle County, Michigan at the end of M-211 on Black Lake in North Allis Township 5 miles north of Onaway.[2]

Onaway State Park is one of Michigan's oldest state parks, having been dedicated in 1921.[2] It contains sand cobblestone beaches, large rock outcroppings, a campground, and a nature trail highlighting a diversity of trees.[2]


In 1919, Michigan created the created the Michigan State Park Commission to acquire lands for state parks. In 1920, Presque Isle County deeded 150 acres of land to the state for this purpose. The acreage included a city park then known as "The Indian Orchard" and some surrounding private lands. In 1921, the state began developing the park, adding two small bathhouses and toilet facilities to the picnic pavilion already in place. The two existing farmhouses were remodeled for use as a park store and manager's residence. In 1924 an entranceway and campgrounds were installed, and in 1927 a campground loop road was installed. A new residence was constructed after the original one burned in 1931.[3]

In 1933, the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) established a camp at Black Lake, with 15 men assigned to Onaway State Park. They regraded the entrance road and installed a foot trail, and the next year began excavation of a basement for the already existing pavilion. 1935 and 1936, a one hundred space parking area was created and of a stone campground toilet, designed by Ralph B. Herrick, was erected. In 1937 the pavilion was remodeled (also to a design by Ralph B. Herrick) and stone shelters added. In 1942 the campground was expanded.[3]

After the CCC disbanded, sanitation infrastructure was added in the 1960s, and more campsites were added in 1969. The roads were paved in 1970.[3]


Onaway State Park consists of a picnic area, a beach and day use area, and a campground. The campground area is divided into two sections. The lower campground was created in 1923, and campsite separation barriers (of logs, boulders, or concrete) were installed by CCC workers in the 1930s. A 1937 toilet building in the lower campground is constructed with limestone lower walls and log upper walls. The 1942 upper campground is located atop a bluff above the lower campground. The sites are heavily shaded, and the drives are angled.[3]

The picnic area has picnic tables and grills scattered through a shady grass area. The beach contains a pavilion/bathhouse dating from c. 1917. It is a log structure with a hipped roof and wraparound porch. A basement beneath was excavated in 1934, and is constructed of stone. Additional exterior renovations by the CCC added a stone fireplace and modified the porch.[3]

The park also contains the remnants of an Indian burial ground, called the Rainy River Cemetery (20PI35). No archaeological investigation of this site has been performed.[3]


  • Boat Launch
  • Campground - 96 Sites, 1 Cabin
  • Picnic Area
  • Picnic Shelter - Reservation required
  • Playground


  • Cross Country Skiing
  • Fishing
  • Hiking - 3 miles (4.8 km)
  • Swimming

Nearby Points of Interest[edit]


  1. ^ "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service. 2009-03-13. 
  2. ^ a b c "Onaway State Park". Michigan Department of Natural Resources. Retrieved November 8, 2013. 
  3. ^ a b c d e f Paul E. Janostak (2004), National Register of Historic Places Registration Form: Onaway State Park 

External links[edit]