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Menominee County, Michigan


Menominee County administrative offices are located at 839 10th Avenue, Menominee, MI 49858; phone: 906-863-7779.

Beginnings [1]

Until a few European hunters and trappers established a permanent presence around 1800, indigenous people of the Menominee tribe inhabited the county exclusively. The name Menominee came from their own language, a distinct dialect of the Algonquin, and means "good seed" or "wild rice people." Wild rice and fish were diet staples.

The present day county area was a part of Mackinaw county at the time of the first settlements. Later, a portion of Mackinaw from the Menominee River to Lake Michigan was established as Delta County. Subsequently, Menominee became a county in 1863, and until 1883 included parts of Dickinson and Iron counties.

The first sawmill was installed in 1836 marking the emergence of a large lumbering industry that remained strong through the century. Simultaneously, the fish-abundant waters of Lake Michigan brought about a thriving fishing industry.

Settlement away from the Menominee River mouth first occurred in the 1850s as some German families established farms near Birch Creek. Additional farming settlements were established mainly along streams where timber had been cleared. Central areas of the county with heavier, more productive soils were settled and cultivated subsequently. Ports created for lumbering and trapping enterprises were important facilities for emerging manufacturing and agricultural industries. The Chicago and Northwestern Railroad extended a line through the county to Escanaba in 1872 giving impetus to further development.

  1. Central Upper Peninsula Planning & Development Regional Commission (CUPPAD), Menominee County Comprehensive Plan, 2003, www.menomineecounty.com, accessed November, 2014.