Petoskey, Michigan

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Petoskey, Michigan
City of Petoskey
Little Traverse Bay at sunset.jpg
Northern Michigan Hospital Petoskey Michigan.jpg
Petoskey Michigan Public Library.jpg
Petoskey Michigan Panorama Looking North US131.jpg
Petoskey Michigan Sign US31.jpg
From left to right: The Little Traverse Bay at sunset, the Northern Michigan Regional Hospital, a panorama from US 131, a sign on US 31, the Crooked tree art center, and the Bear River which flows through Petoskey; the Mitchell Street Bridge is in the background.
Location within Emmet County
Location within Emmet County
Petoskey is located in Michigan
Location within the state of Michigan
Coordinates: 45°22′24″N 84°57′19″W / 45.37333°N 84.95528°W / 45.37333; -84.95528Coordinates: 45°22′24″N 84°57′19″W / 45.37333°N 84.95528°W / 45.37333; -84.95528
CountryUnited States
Incorporated1879 (village)
1895 (city)
 • TypeMayor–council
 • MayorJohn Murphy[1]
 • ManagerRobert Straebel
 • Total5.33 sq mi (13.82 km2)
 • Land5.15 sq mi (13.33 km2)
 • Water0.19 sq mi (0.49 km2)
Elevation669 ft (202 m)
 • Total5,877
 • Density1,141.83/sq mi (440.88/km2)
Time zoneUTC-5 (EST)
 • Summer (DST)UTC-4 (EDT)
ZIP code(s)
Area code231
FIPS code26-63820[4]
GNIS feature ID0634731[3]
WebsiteOfficial website

Petoskey (/pəˈtɒski/ pə-TOSS-kee) is a city and coastal resort community in the U.S. state of Michigan. The population was estimated at 5,670 at the 2010 census. It is the county seat of Emmet County, located at the northern end of the Lower Peninsula.[5]


By 1876, the Grand Rapids and Indiana Railroad had built a line north to Petoskey. Petoskey became the county seat of Emmet County in 1902.[6]

Odawa inhabitants[edit]

The Little Traverse Bay area was long inhabited by indigenous peoples, including the Odawa people. The name Petoskey is said to mean "where the light shines through the clouds" in the language of the Odawa. After the 1836 Treaty of Washington, Odawa Chief Ignatius Petosega (1787–1885) took the opportunity to purchase lands near the Bear River. Petosega's father was Antoine Carre, a French Canadian fur trader and his mother was Odawa.[7]

Early Presbyterian missions[edit]

By the 1850s, several religious groups had established missions near the Little Traverse Bay. A Mormon offshoot had been based at Beaver Island, the Jesuit missionaries had been based at L'arbor Croche and Michilimackinac, with a Catholic presence in Harbor Springs, then known as "Little Traverse".[8] Andrew Porter, a Presbyterian missionary, arrived at the village of Bear River (as it was then called) in 1852.[9][10]

Pioneer commercial interests[edit]

Amos Fox and Hirem Obed Rose were pioneer entrepreneurs who had made money during both the California Gold Rush and at Northport selling lumber and goods to passing ships. Originally based at Northport, in the 1850s Rose and Fox[11] (or Fox & Rose)[12] expanded their business interests to Charlevoix and Petoskey. Rose also earned income as part of a business partnership that extended the railroad from Walton Junction to Traverse City.[13] H.O. Rose, along with Archibald Buttars,[14] established a general merchandise business in Petoskey.[15]

After the partnership split, Rose relocated to Petoskey and in 1873 built the first dock in the town.[16] When the Grand Rapids and Indiana Railroad was about to be extended into the Bay View area, Rose purchased much land in that area, as well as trolley cars, to enable transport between Petoskey and Bay View.[17] Rose also developed the first general store, extensive lime quarries (Michigan Limestone Company, aka Petoskey Lime Company;[18]),[19] building the Arlington Hotel, and lumbering enterprises, and harbor improvements in 1893.[20][21] He served as first president of the village and officiated at early commemorative public events.[22][23] Rose's influence on the city was also commemorated by the naming of the H. O. Rose room at the Perry Hotel.[24]

Later history[edit]

Petoskey viewed from the harbor, circa 1900s

In the late 19th century, Petoskey was in the region of Northern Michigan where 50,000 passenger pigeon birds were killed daily in massive hunts, leading to their complete extinction in the early 20th century.[25] A state historical marker memorializes these events, including the last great nesting of the passenger pigeons at Crooked Lake in 1878.[26] One hunter was reputed to have personally killed "a million birds" and earned $60,000, the equivalent of $1 million today.[27]

Petoskey is noted for a high concentration of ancient fossil coral, now named Petoskey stones, designated as the state stone of Michigan.

This city was the northern terminus of the Chicago and West Michigan Railway.

With members descended from the numerous bands in northern Michigan, the Little Traverse Bay Band is a federally recognized tribe that has its headquarters at nearby Harbor Springs, Michigan. It also owns and operates a gaming casino in Petoskey.


The Petoskey stone, a form of ancient fossil coral found in abundance in the area; it is named after the town.

Part of Northern Michigan, Petoskey is on the southeast shore of the Little Traverse Bay of Lake Michigan at the mouth of the Bear River. According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 5.29 square miles (13.70 km2), of which 5.09 square miles (13.18 km2) is land and 0.20 square miles (0.52 km2) is water.[28]


Historical population
Census Pop.
U.S. Decennial Census[29]
City Hall

2010 census[edit]

As of the census[30] of 2010, there were 5,670 people, 2,538 households, and 1,319 families residing in the city. The population density was 1,113.9 inhabitants per square mile (430.1/km2). There were 3,359 housing units at an average density of 659.9 per square mile (254.8/km2). The racial makeup of the city was 91.7% White, 0.7% African American, 4.7% Native American, 0.4% Asian, 0.5% from other races, and 2.1% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 1.9% of the population.

There were 2,538 households, of which 24.3% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 36.7% were married couples living together, 11.8% had a female householder with no husband present, 3.5% had a male householder with no wife present, and 48.0% were non-families. 39.2% of all households were made up of individuals, and 12.2% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.10 and the average family size was 2.81.

The median age in the city was 39.8 years. 19.4% of residents were under the age of 18; 11.9% were between the ages of 18 and 24; 24.5% were from 25 to 44; 28.1% were from 45 to 64; and 16.1% were 65 years of age or older. The gender makeup of the city was 47.3% male and 52.7% female.

2000 census[edit]

As of the census[4] of 2000, there were 6,080 people, 2,700 households, and 1,447 families residing in the city. The population density was 1,210.9 per square mile (467.6/km2). There were 3,342 housing units at an average density of 665.6 per square mile (257.0/km2). The racial makeup of the city was 94.18% White, 0.33% African American, 3.17% Native American, 0.81% Asian, 0.02% Pacific Islander, 0.20% from other races, and 1.30% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 1.17% of the population.

There were 2,700 households, out of which 27.5% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 39.8% were married couples living together, 11.0% had a female householder with no husband present, and 46.4% were non-families. 39.4% of all households were made up of individuals, and 14.6% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.14 and the average family size was 2.89.

In the city, the population was spread out, with 23.0% under the age of 18, 9.6% from 18 to 24, 28.5% from 25 to 44, 21.7% from 45 to 64, and 17.3% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 39 years. For every 100 females, there were 85.6 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 81.2 males.

The median income for a household in the city was $33,657, and the median income for a family was $48,168. Males had a median income of $35,875 versus $25,114 for females. The per capita income for the city was $20,259. About 6.6% of families and 12.0% of the population were below the poverty line, including 8.6% of those under age 18 and 8.4% of those age 65 or over.


The Little Traverse History Museum is housed in the former Chicago and West Michigan Railroad depot.
Petoskey Marina



  • Indian Trails provides daily intercity bus service between St. Ignace and East Lansing, Michigan[32] and between Grand Rapids, Michigan and Petoskey.[33] Transfer between the two lines is possible in Petoskey.
  • The EMGO/SRR bus service runs Monday through Friday, from Petoskey, Mackinaw City, Harbor Springs, and to multiple locations in Emmet County with flexible routes within many communities along the way.


  • Freight rail service to Petoskey is limited and provided by the Tuscola and Saginaw Bay Railway (TSBY); however, the tracks are owned by the state of Michigan in order to preserve rail service in northern Michigan. Freight traffic includes plastic pellets delivered to a rail/truck transload facility for Petoskey Plastics. Occasional passenger/special excursion trains to Petoskey occur every now and then.

Historically, the Pennsylvania Railroad's Northern Arrow, the Pere Marquette Railway's Resort Special and other trains provided passenger traffic to Petoskey and Bay View, Michigan from as far as Chicago, St. Louis, Cincinnati and Detroit but these were discontinued in the late 20th century.[34][35] The Pere Marquette trains (and later the Chesapeake and Ohio Railway) used its station, and the Pennsylvania Railroad its own separate station.[36] The last Chesapeake and Ohio (successor to the Pere Marquette) trains were discontinued by 1963, thus ending scheduled passenger train service to Petoskey.[37]


  • The City of Petoskey Department of Parks and Recreation operates a 144-slip marina located in Bayfront Park. The marina offers seasonal and transient slips, gasoline, diesel fuel, boat launch, wireless internet, 30/50 AMP power, water, pump-out, restroom/showers, playground and adjacent park grounds. The Gaslight District is connected to Bayfront Park via a pedestrian tunnel. The marina received initial designation as a "Michigan Clean Marina"[38] in May 2007 and was recertified in 2010.[39]

Major highways[edit]


Among the many colleges in Michigan includes North Central Michigan College, located in Petoskey. The public school system consists of a high school, a middle school, and four elementary schools. Additionally, Petoskey Public Schools has a Montessori education building.[40]

Notable people[edit]


Mineral Well Park is one of many sites and buildings in Petoskey listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
  • Traverse, is published monthly with a focus on regional interests.
Local AM radio
  • WLDR (750) - country; simulcast of WLDR-FM Traverse City
  • WJML (1110) - Talk
  • WMKT (1270) - News/Talk (licensed to Charlevoix, studios in Petoskey)
  • WMBN (1340) - Sports Talk Radio
Local FM radio


This climatic region has large seasonal temperature differences, with warm to hot (and often humid) summers and cold (sometimes severely cold) winters. According to the Köppen Climate Classification system, Petoskey has a humid continental climate, abbreviated "Dfb" on climate maps.[45] Because of its proximity to Lake Michigan it has incredible seasonal lag, with August as the warmest month and February as the coldest month.

Climate data for Petoskey, Michigan (1991–2020 normals, extremes 1891–present)
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Record high °F (°C) 56
Average high °F (°C) 27.4
Daily mean °F (°C) 21.2
Average low °F (°C) 15.0
Record low °F (°C) −27
Average precipitation inches (mm) 2.40
Average snowfall inches (cm) 39.3
Average precipitation days (≥ 0.01 in) 18.2 13.9 10.8 11.8 12.3 10.6 10.1 10.5 12.2 16.7 16.8 17.3 161.2
Average snowy days (≥ 0.1 in) 14.4 11.3 5.4 1.9 0.1 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.3 4.7 12.3 50.4
Source: NOAA[46][47]

In popular culture[edit]

Petoskey and the surrounding area are notable in 20th-century U.S. literature as the setting of several of the Nick Adams stories[48][49] Ernest Hemingway, who spent his childhood summers on nearby Walloon Lake.[50] They are the setting for certain events in Jeffrey Eugenides' 2002 novel Middlesex, which also features Detroit and its suburban areas. The movie, "Beside Still Waters", directed by co-screenwriter Chris Lowell, was filmed in Petoskey in 2012.[51]

Christopher Wright, an author from Topinbee, wrote his novel "Bestseller" in 2002 under the pen name Christopher Knight. Wright funded the movie project for his book to be filmed in Petoskey in 2013. Wright also wrote the children's series "Michigan Chillers" and the series "American Chillers" under the pen name Johnathon Rand.[52]


  1. ^ "City Council Profiles". 2020. Retrieved March 20, 2020.
  2. ^ "2020 U.S. Gazetteer Files". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved May 21, 2022.
  3. ^ a b U.S. Geological Survey Geographic Names Information System: Petoskey, Michigan
  4. ^ a b "U.S. Census website". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved January 31, 2008.
  5. ^ "Find a County". National Association of Counties. Retrieved June 7, 2011.
  6. ^ Kilborn, Harriet. "History of Emmet County". Emmet County website. Archived from the original on December 2, 2009. Retrieved April 7, 2016.
  7. ^ Vogel, Virgil J. (1986). Indian Names in Michigan, pp. 45–46. University of Michigan Press. ISBN 0-472-06365-0.
  8. ^ "History of St. Francis". The first Catholic Church was built in Petoskey around 1859 by Father Sifferath, who was stationed in Harbor Springs
  9. ^ Hellmann, Paul T. (2005). Historical Gazetteer of the United States. New York: Routledge (Taylor & Francis Books). p. 555. ISBN 0-415-93948-8. Retrieved May 3, 2016.
  10. ^ "Little Traverse Bay". Archived from the original on July 10, 2018. Retrieved May 3, 2016. Petoskey, named for Chief Pe-to-se-ga of the Bear River Band was first settled in 1852 by Andrew Porter, a Presbyterian missionary.
  11. ^ Sprague, Elvin L.; Smith, Mrs George N. (1903). Sprague's History of Grand Traverse and Leelanaw Counties, Michigan: Embracing a Concise Review of Their Early Settlement, Industrial Development and Present Conditions, Together with Interesting Reminiscences. B.F. Bowen. p. 345.
  12. ^ Fuller, George Newman; Beeson, Lewis (1918). Michigan History. Michigan History Division of the Department of State. p. 392.
  13. ^ Bowen, B.F. (1905). Biographical History of Northern Michigan. Alpena County (Mich.): B.F. Bowen & Co. p. 499.
  14. ^ ANDERSON, S. E. WAIT and W. S. (1918). OLD SETTLERS OF THE Grand Traverse Region. p. 49.
  15. ^ Bowen, B.F. (1905). Biographical History of Northern Michigan. Alpena County (Mich.): B.F. Bowen & Co. pp. 482, 486–499.
  16. ^ Bowen, B.F. (1905). Biographical History of Northern Michigan. Alpena County (Mich.): B.F. Bowen & Co. p. 498.
  17. ^ Agria, John J.; Agria, Mary A. (2014). Bay View. Arcadia Publishing. p. 30. ISBN 978-1-4671-1166-9.
  18. ^ United States Army Corps of Engineers (1890). Report of the Chief of Engineers U.S. Army. U.S. Government Printing Office. p. 2672.
  19. ^ Federspiel, Michael (2014). Little Traverse Bay, Past and Present. Wayne State University Press. p. 5. ISBN 978-0-8143-3820-9.
  20. ^ United States Congressional serial set. 1895. p. 2911.
  21. ^ United States Congressional Serial Set. U.S. Government Printing Office. 1897. p. 2944.
  22. ^ Kilborn, Harriet (1960). "The History of Petoskey Area". Welcoming the first train to Petoskey on November 25, 1873, "H. 0. Rose was on hand to do the official "welcoming" honors."
  23. ^ The Traverse Region, Historical and Descriptive: With Illustrations. Chicago: H. R. Page & Co. 1884. pp. 154–155, 160. Retrieved February 3, 2017. The Traverse Region, historical and descriptive.
  24. ^ "H.O. Rose Dining Room, Perry Hotel Restaurant, Petoskey". Archived from the original on May 8, 2016. Retrieved May 3, 2016.
  25. ^ Department of Vertebrate Zoology, National Museum of Natural History in cooperation with the Public Inquiry Mail Service (March 2001). "The Passenger Pigeon". Smithsonian Institution. Archived from the original on March 13, 2012. Retrieved February 28, 2012.
  26. ^ "Last Great Gathering of Passenger Pigeons, Crooked Lake Nesting Colony". Petoskey, Michigan: Michigan state historical marker. Retrieved February 29, 2012.
  27. ^ "Was Martha the last "Pigean de passage"?". Life of Birds website. January 6, 2007. Archived from the original on October 9, 2007. Retrieved February 29, 2012. at Wayback Machine
  28. ^ "US Gazetteer files 2010". United States Census Bureau. Archived from the original on January 12, 2012. Retrieved November 25, 2012.
  29. ^ "Census of Population and Housing". Retrieved June 4, 2015.
  30. ^ "U.S. Census website". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved November 25, 2012.
  31. ^ "Pellston Regional Airport Serving Northern Michigan Emmet County". Retrieved November 25, 2013.
  32. ^ "EAST LANSING-PETOSKEY-ST. IGNACE" (PDF). Indian Trails. January 15, 2013. Archived from the original (PDF) on June 29, 2014. Retrieved February 27, 2013.
  33. ^ "GRAND RAPIDS-CADILLAC-TRAVERSE CITY-PETOSKEY" (PDF). Indian Trails. January 15, 2013. Retrieved February 28, 2013.[permanent dead link]
  34. ^ "Pennsylvania Railroad, Tables 190, 193". Official Guide of the Railways. National Railway Publication Company. 74 (1). June 1941.
  35. ^ "Pere Marquette, Table 6". Official Guide of the Railways. National Railway Publication Company. 74 (1). June 1941.
  36. ^ "Index of Railroad Stations, 1452". Official Guide of the Railways. National Railway Publication Company. 71 (3). August 1938.
  37. ^ "Chesapeake and Ohio Railway, Tables 10, 13". Official Guide of the Railways. National Railway Publication Company. 96 (1). June 1963.
  38. ^ "Certified Michigan Clean Marinas". Michigan Sea Grant. Archived from the original on April 12, 2013. Retrieved November 25, 2013.
  39. ^ "Clean Marina Program". Retrieved December 20, 2021.
  40. ^ "Public Schools of Petoskey".
  41. ^ Coates, Rick (September 26, 2010). "Petoskey's Rocker: Mark Farner". The Northern Express. Retrieved February 21, 2020.
  42. ^ "Music".
  43. ^ Sutton, Rene (April 2013). "Alan Hewitt — Featured Smooth Jazz Artist Archives Alan Hewitt – The Musical Force of Nature". The Smooth Jazz Ride. Archived from the original on January 4, 2015. Retrieved January 4, 2015.
  44. ^ "Herb Orvis Career stats"., National Football League.
  45. ^ "Petoskey, Michigan Köppen Climate Classification". Weatherbase. Retrieved November 25, 2013.
  46. ^ "NowData - NOAA Online Weather Data". National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Retrieved August 28, 2021.
  47. ^ "Station: Petoskey, MI". U.S. Climate Normals 2020: U.S. Monthly Climate Normals (1991-2020). National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Retrieved August 28, 2021.
  48. ^ "Home".
  49. ^ "The History of Petoskey and Emmet County - Petoskey Regional Chamber of Commerce, MI".
  50. ^ "Hemingway up in Michigan: The Birth of Nick Adams and a Literary Legend". October 14, 2019.
  51. ^ "Michigan connections of 'Beside Still Waters' run deep".
  52. ^ "Feature film to be shot in Petoskey, story written by local author".

Further reading[edit]

  • Cappel, Constance, Hemingway in Michigan, 1999, Petoskey, MI: Little Traverse Historical Society
  • Cappel, Constance, ed., 2006 Odawa Language and Legends, Philadelphia, PA: Xlibris[self-published source]
  • Cappel, Constance, 2007, The Smallpox Genocide of the Odawa Tribe at L'Arbre Croche, 1763: A History of a Native American People, Lewiston, NY: Ediwin Mellen Press.
  • Clarke Historical Library, Central Michigan University, Bibliography on Emmet County.[1]

External links[edit]

  1. ^ "Home | Central Michigan University". October 7, 2010. Retrieved November 25, 2013.