Manistee, Michigan

Manistee, Michigan
Manistee, Michigan
—  City  —
Location of Manistee, Michigan
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 4.4 sq mi (11.3 km2)
 - Land 3.3 sq mi (8.4 km2)
 - Water 1.1 sq mi (2.8 km2)
Elevation 663 ft (202 m)
Population (2000)
 - Total 6,586
 - Density 2,023.7/sq mi (781.4/km2)
Time zone Eastern (EST) (UTC-5)
 - Summer (DST) EDT (UTC-4)
ZIP code 49660
Area code(s) 231
FIPS code 26-50720[1]
GNIS feature ID 1620680[2]
River waterfront in downtown Manistee

Manistee is a city in the U.S. state of Michigan. As of the 2000 census, the city population was 6,586. It is the county seat of Manistee County.[3] The name "Manistee" is from an Ojibwe word first applied to the principal river of the county.[4] The derivation is not certain,[5] but it may be from ministigweyaa, "river with islands at its mouth".[6][7] Other sources claim that it was an Ojibwe term meaning "spirit of the woods."[8]

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.



Missionaries visited Manistee in the early 19th century, and a Jesuit mission house is known to have been located on the NW shore of Lake Manistee 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 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.[9]

The first permanent Euro-American settlement was made on 16 April 1841, when John Stronach and his brother Joseph Stronach arrived at the mouth of the Manistee River in a schooner loaded with fifteen men and equipment to establish a saw mill.

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, Michigan occurred.[10]

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.[11][12][13][14]



As of the census[1] 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 population was spread out with 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 hayday, 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.

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.

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 this 1880's lumber boom, Manistee had more millionaires per capita than anywhere else in the United States.[16]


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.

Area activities

  • 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.[17]

Local events and attractions

Manistee has museums, an opera house, and recurring events.[18] These include:

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


Manistee is known[according to whom?] for its historic downtown, which retains many original buildings from the Victorian era. 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.[36][37]


  • Over 40 charter fishing boats[38] operate on Lake Michigan from Manistee County ports.
  • Fishing in the Manistee River can yield salmon and steelhead.[39]
  • 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[40].


Currently Operating


  • James Madison Elementary (K-3), Manistee Area Public Schools
  • John F. Kennedy Elementary (4-5), Manistee Area Public Schools
  • Thomas Jefferson Elementary (K-3), Manistee Area Public Schools
  • Trinity Lutheran School (K-8), Lutheran Church - Missouri Synod private school


  • Casman Alternative Academy (7-12), Provides an alternative education for those in Manistee County and surrounding areas.
  • Manistee Middle School (6-8), Manistee Area Public Schools
  • Manistee High School (9-12), Manistee Area Public Schools, Class B in sports

All grades

  • Manistee Catholic Central School (K-12), Roman Catholic private school, Class D

Formerly Operating


  • George Washington Elementary(K-6), Manistee Area Public Schools
  • Abraham Lincoln Elementary (K-6), Manistee Area Public Schools
  • Woodrow Wilson Elementary (?-?), Manistee Area Public Schools


  • Guardian Angels Schools (?-12), Catholic Church School
  • St. Joseph Schools (K-12), Catholic Church School


  • Newland Academy (6-12), School (Type Unknown) (formerly "Lake Bluff Academy")[41]
  • Tomaszewski Country School (?-?), School (Type Unknown)
  • Union School (?-?), School (Type Unknown)


Notable people associated with Manistee


  1. ^ a b "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2008-01-31. 
  2. ^ "US Board on Geographic Names". United States Geological Survey. 2007-10-25. Retrieved 2008-01-31. 
  3. ^ "Find a County". National Association of Counties. Retrieved 2011-06-07. 
  4. ^ Clarke Historical Library, Central, Michigan University, Bibliography for Manistee County
  5. ^ Bright, William (2004). Native American Place Names of the United States. Norman: Oklahoma University Press, pg. 265
  6. ^ County place names
  7. ^ "Manistee County, Michigan". 50-State Learning Resource Guide. Retrieved 2009-04-07. 
  8. ^ City information, Manistee.
  9. ^ Helen Hornbeck Tanner. Atlas of Great Lakes Indian History. (Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 1987) p. 165
  10. ^ The Great Fire Of 1871
  11. ^ "Manistee woman cleared in racial slur case". Luddington Daily News: p. A3. 11-06-2002. 
  12. ^ Paul Craig Roberts (11-14-2002). "Costly immigration". The Washington Times. 
  13. ^ Spiros Gallos (11-30-2002). "Manistee woman still sour over 'insulting words' conviction". Luddington Daily News: p. A3. 
  14. ^ Suprynowicz, Vin (01-05-2003). "Jailed for speaking her mind". Las Vegas Review-Journal: p. 2E. 
  15. ^ Lighthouse facts
  16. ^
  17. ^ Beaches and local attraction, Visit Manistee.
  18. ^ Manistee Attractions, Events, Culture
  19. ^ Historic Arcadia
  20. ^ Bretheren Church and Museum, Manistee.
  21. ^ Lake Bluff Bird Sanctuary.
  22. ^ Lake Bluff Bird Sanctuary at Pure Michigan.
  23. ^ Lake Bluff Bird Sanctuary information, Michigan Audubon Society.
  24. ^ Manistee Art Insitute, About us,
  25. ^ a b Manistee County Historical and Genealogical Society.
  26. ^ Manistee Fire Hall Historical marker Data base.
  27. ^ Manistee Fire Department.
  28. ^ Marilla Historical Museum, Visit Manistee.
  29. ^ Ramsdell Theatre.
  30. ^ Manistee Art Insitute at Ramsdell Theatre.
  31. ^ River Walk, Visit Manistee.
  32. ^ SS City of Milwaukee
  33. ^ Victorian Sleighbell Parade and Old Christmas Weekend at Visit Manistee.
  34. ^ Cinema Treasures, Historic Vogue Theatre.
  35. ^ Waterworks Building and Museum, AAA, Michigan.
  36. ^ "Oaks Correctional Facility (ECF)." Michigan Department of Corrections. Retrieved on August 10, 2010.
  37. ^ "Manistee township, Manistee County, Michigan." U.S. Census Bureau. Retrieved on August 10, 2010.
  38. ^ Charter Fishing boats
  39. ^ Fly fishing connection.
  40. ^ "Michael Moore visiting Manistee's Vogue Theater". Muskegon Chronicle. 2011-02-08. Retrieved 2011-05-25. 
  41. ^ Braciszewski, Kevin. (March 31, 1998) Manistee County School has New Name, Ludington Daily News.
  42. ^ M-55 end point photos

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