Manistee, Michigan

For the ship of the same name, see Manistee (shipwreck).
Manistee, Michigan

Location of 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
Country United States
State Michigan
County Manistee
  Total 4.47 sq mi (11.58 km2)
  Land 3.29 sq mi (8.52 km2)
  Water 1.18 sq mi (3.06 km2)
Elevation 663 ft (202 m)
Population (2010)[2]
  Total 6,226
  Estimate (2012[3]) 6,173
  Density 1,892.4/sq mi (730.7/km2)
Time zone Eastern (EST) (UTC-5)
  Summer (DST) EDT (UTC-4)
ZIP code 49660
Area code(s) 231
FIPS code 26-50720[4]
GNIS feature ID 1620680[5]
Bascule bridge and river waterfront in downtown Manistee

Manistee 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 Ottawa. The first white settlement and sawmill was built there in 1841.[12]

The village of Manistee was one of about 15 Ottawa villages along the shore of Lake Michigan in 1830. Much of the Manistee River Valley, including Manistee itself, was an Ottawa Reservation from 1836-1848.[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 1836-1848, 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" but was a part of Ottawa County, with county offices 100 mies away at Grand Haven. After a series of new counties being drawn up, by 1855 it became part of a 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 the Peshtigo Fire, the Great Chicago Fire, and fires in Port Huron and Holland occurred, the Great Michigan Fire lit up Manistee.[16] Manistee was incorporated as a city in 1882.[17]

In 2000, Manistee made national headlines after a judge and jury convicted a woman for expressing privately to her mother her wish that immigrants would learn English, deeming it "insulting conduct" consisting of "fighting words" that was punishable under local ordinance. Allegations of improper procedure and irregularities in the court records appeared. 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,[23]


Historical population
Census Pop.
Est. 20156,084[24]−2.3%
U.S. Decennial Census[25]

2010 census

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

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 was 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 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 two radio stations, WMTE (AM) (1340) and WMTE-FM (101.5). 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, Jerusalem Countdown featuring Randy Travis, Stacy Keach and Lee Majors, and Mickey Matson and the Copperhead Conspiracy starring Christopher Lloyd and Ernie Hudson also filmed in Manistee.

Area activities

Local events and attractions

Manistee has museums, an opera house, and recurring events.[29] These include:

The S.S. 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

The Michigan Department of Corrections Oaks Correctional Facility is in Manistee Township, near Manistee.[47][48]



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



All grades

Formerly operating





Notable people

See also


  1. 1 2 "US Gazetteer files 2010". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2012-11-25.
  2. 1 2 "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2012-11-25.
  3. "Population Estimates". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2013-06-03.
  4. 1 2 "American FactFinder". 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
  10. "Manistee County, Michigan". 50-State Learning Resource Guide. Retrieved 2009-04-07.
  11. "Manistee, Michigan".
  12. 1 2 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. 11-06-2002. p. A3. Check date values in: |date= (help)
  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 (01-05-2003). "Jailed for speaking her mind". Las Vegas Review-Journal. p. 2E. Check date values in: |date= (help)
  22. Karen Schwallie (18 January 2006). "Wrens Cottage - Manistee Lighthouse".
  23. "Climate - Manistee Michigan - Climate Graph". U.S. Climate Data. Retrieved 2012-10-15.
  24. "Annual Estimates of the Resident Population for Incorporated Places: April 1, 2010 to July 1, 2015". Retrieved July 2, 2016.
  25. "Census of Population and Housing". Retrieved June 4, 2015.
  27. "10West Sudios". 10West Studios. Retrieved 18 March 2012.
  28. "Manistee is yours to discover".
  29. Manistee Attractions, Events, Culture
  30. Historic Arcadia
  31. "Brethren1".
  32. Brian Allen. "Manistee Audubon".
  33. Lake Bluff Bird Sanctuary at Pure Michigan.
  34. "Bird Sanctuaries : Lansing, Michigan : Birding Trips".
  35. Manistee Art Institute, About us,
  36. 1 2 "Manistee Area Genealogical and Historical Societies".
  37. "Manistee Fire Hall Marker".
  38. Manistee Fire Department.
  39. "Marilla1".
  40. Ramsdell Theatre.
  41. Manistee Art Institute at Ramsdell Theatre.
  42. "Visit Manistee Michigan - Manistee County Travel Information".
  43. "S.S. City of Milwaukee - Site of the S.S. City of Milwaukee and the Coast Guard Cutter Acacia".
  44. "Visit Manistee Michigan - Manistee Victorian Sleighbell Parade Old Christmas Weekend West Michigan".
  45. "Vogue Theatre".
  46. Waterworks Building and Museum, AAA, Michigan.
  47. "Oaks Correctional Facility (ECF)." Michigan Department of Corrections. Retrieved on August 10, 2010.
  48. "Manistee township, Manistee County, Michigan." U.S. Census Bureau. Retrieved on August 10, 2010.
  49. "Welcome to the Manistee Area Charterboat Association".
  50. "Fly Fishing the Manistee River in Michigan".
  51. "Michael Moore visiting Manistee's Vogue Theater". Muskegon Chronicle. 2011-02-08. Retrieved 2011-05-25.
  52. Braciszewski, Kevin. (March 31, 1998) Manistee County School has New Name, Ludington Daily News.
  53. "FlyManistee : Manistee Airport".
  54. M-55 end point photos
  55. M-22 (Michigan highway),
  56. "Biography for Robert Wadlow". IMDB. Retrieved March 6, 2012.

Further reading

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