Leelanau Peninsula

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search
Leelanau Peninsula.

The Leelanau Peninsula is a peninsula of the U.S. state of Michigan that extends about 30 miles (50 km) from the Lower Peninsula of Michigan into Lake Michigan. Leelanau County encompasses the entire peninsula. It is often referred to as the "little finger" of the mitten-shaped lower peninsula.

Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore is located on the west side of the peninsula. Leelanau State Park and the Grand Traverse Light are located at the northern tip. Grand Traverse Bay is on the east side and Traverse City is located at the base of the peninsula on the east side. The North and South Manitou Islands are located to the northwest of it. Lake Leelanau is run 13 miles (21 km) through the middle of the peninsula and covers 8,700 acres (40 km2).

The steep terrain and large bodies of water produce a milder microclimate than the more temperate areas further inland. The Leelanau Peninsula AVA is known as one of the best Michigan wine regions and is an American Viticultural Area (AVA). The peninsula is also a productive fruit region growing apples and tart cherries.

The Grand Traverse Band of Ottawa & Chippewa are a group of Native Americans who live on the peninsula around Peshawbestown.

Communities on the peninsula include:


Native Americans who first inhabited the area called this land "ke-ski-bi-ag," which means "narrow body of water,"[1] and called the lake itself "lee-lan-au," which means "delight of life."[2]

Henry Rowe Schoolcraft, an Indian agent for the territory, was credited with formally naming the county, and was said to use Leelinau as a character in his writing. See Leelanau County for a more complete discussion of the etymology of the name.

Scholars have established, however, that Leelinau was first used as a pen name by Schoolcraft's wife Jane Johnston Schoolcraft, in writings for The Literary Voyager, a family magazine which she and her husband wrote together and circulated among friends in the 1820s.[3] Jane Johnston was of Ojibwa (Chippewa) and Scots-Irish descent, and wrote in Ojibwe and English. While her writing was not published formally in her lifetime (except as Schoolcraft appropriated it under his own name), Jane Johnston Schoolcraft has been recognized as "the first Native American literary writer, the first known Indian woman writer, the first known Indian poet, the first known poet to write poems in a Native American language, and the first known American Indian to write out traditional Indian stories."[4] In 2008 Jane Johnston Schoolcraft was inducted into the Michigan Women's Hall of Fame.[5]

Points of interest[edit]


  1. ^ Leelanau County website re Lake Leelanau history Archived 2007-12-15 at the Wayback Machine
  2. ^ Info Michigan website
  3. ^ Jeremy Mumford, "Mixed-race identity in a nineteenth-century family: the Schoolcrafts of Sault Ste. Marie, 1824-27", Michigan Historical Review, 22 Mar 1999, pp.3-4, accessed 11 Dec 2008
  4. ^ Robert Dale Parker, Jane Johnston Schoolcraft, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, accessed 11 Dec 2008
  5. ^ Robert Dale Parker, Jane Johnston Schoolcraft, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, accessed 11 Dec 2008

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 45°03′00″N 85°39′18″W / 45.05°N 85.655°W / 45.05; -85.655