History: Europeans missionaries have established missions around Little Traverse Bay by the 1850’s. Jesuit, Catholic, Mormon, and Presbyterian missionaries were all in the area and settled various parts of Northern Michigan. Once the railroad was built in 1873, the area experienced rapid growth. A newspaper reporter from Grand Rapids, described the area as “the land of million-dollar sunsets” a phrase that is still used today in the area, and was a large selling point to early tourism in the area.
Name: Originally called Bear River when missionaries first arrived in 1855, the town was later renamed Petoskey after Chief Petosega.
Industry: In the 19th and 20th century, the main industry was lumber. So much in fact, that lumber from this area was used to rebuild most of Chicago after the Great Fire. Towards the turn of the 20th century, tourism became a larger and larger portion of the economy in the area, and currently is the largest industry in Northern Michigan.