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You are Here: Home - Area Information - History

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Mancelona History Book

Mancelona History

It was in 1869, four years after the Civil War when Perry Andress homesteaded in Mancelona that was named after his young daughter. In 1871 the Township was authorized by the Legislature in Antrim County. People came first primarily to farm. In 1872 the Grand Rapids and Indiana Railroad arrived opening up the Village to southern and northern trade centers. In 1882 a John Otis built a blast furnace to make pig iron using charcoal from the maple trees so abundant in the area. By 1900 Mancelona-Antrim was the largest villages in the county due mainly to the Antrim Iron Company, an outgrowth of Otis's first endeavors. Many Swedish people immigrated to the village as well as people from Indiana and Kentucky to work in the woods and iron plants. Antrim Iron was the main support for the Village until 1945 when it closed down due to the scarcity of hardwood and newer iron making technology but in its day, it was "tops". The farmers gradually concentrated on growing the potato, which is now the major crop in the area. After some low years the village revived with the coming of stamping plants like present day Dura and three saw mills mostly handling hardwood. It was always known for its fishing and hunting and vigilante spirit.

In the sixties, The Lakes of the North Recreation Community began east of Mancelona and the ski resort Schuss Mountain began in the west. With the growth of the recreation areas in the western half of the county [Torch Lake and Shanty Creek], East Jordan and Charlevoix to the northwest, Petoskey north, Gaylord and Interstate 75 to the northeast and east, and Traverse City to the southwest; Mancelona has become a crossroads community. US 131 carries traffic north on State 66 to Charlevoix, to Petoskey, Boyne City and Gaylord via Alba. Each day State C38 brings more traffic from Interstate 75 at the Waters exit from the southeast and central Michigan. State 571 takes one south to Twin and Starvation Lakes or to Grayling on State 72 and the famous Manistee and Au Sable trout streams. Directly west runs State 88 to Bellaire, the Chain of Lakes and Alden and Traverse City. US 131 to the south brings and takes travelers to Kalkaska hence Traverse City or to Grand Rapids and the Mid West.

Earnest Hemmingway wrote stories of Mancelona. It has an annual Bass Festival since 1955 and the White Pine Cross Country Run but increasingly more popular are snowmobile events. Gradually it is becoming a retirement village of former residents returning home, home of the Ironmen.

Contributed by: Doc Crippen


Press Release:

The Book, Mancelona in the 20th Century has gone to press. Prepurchase sales just now are $35.00 a copy plus Mich. Sales tax and $5.00 shipping if you cannot pick up your book in Mancelona. Pick up date and location will be announced. The Book is twice the number of pages and photos originally contracted for and costing MAHS $8,000 more, therefore all purchases made after the books arrive in Mancelona will be $40.00, plus tax and shipping (if needed). Presently the presale of books can be purchased for $35.00, tax and shipping by charge card, cash or check at the Mancelona Hardware on W. State and W. Limits Roads. Also by cash or check (only) books may be purchased from MAHS treasurer, Greta Milne (231-587-5165) or any MAHS member and at the True Value Hardware down town Mancelona. Hurry while the $35.00 price lasts, approximately one month. A news article will be released as soon as we know the exact arrival date of this beautiful and long awaited book of the history and people of this area. Any questions please contact Ed or Cassie Crippen 231-587-0503. By Cassie Crippen PO Box 517, MANCELONA 49659 231 587-0503

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