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Petoskey, Michigan
—  City  —
Location in the state of Michigan
Coordinates: 45°22′24″N 84°57′19″W / 45.37333, -84.95528
Country United States
State Michigan
County Emmet
 • Mayor Bill Fraser[1]
 • Total 5.29 sq mi (13.70 km2)
 • Land 5.09 sq mi (13.18 km2)
 • Water 0.20 sq mi (0.52 km2)
Elevation 666 ft (202 m)
Population (2010)[3]
 • Total 5,670
 • Estimate (2012[4]) 5,707
 • Density 1,113.9/sq mi (430.1/km2)
Time zone EST (UTC-5)
 • Summer (DST) EDT (UTC-4)
ZIP code 49770
Area code(s) 231
FIPS code 26-63820[5]
GNIS feature ID 0634731[6]

Petoskey is a city and coastal resort community in the U.S. state of Michigan. The population was 5,670 at the 2010 census. It is the county seat of Emmet County.[7]

Petoskey and the surrounding area are notable for being the setting of several of the Nick Adams stories by Ernest Hemingway, who spent his childhood summers on nearby Walloon Lake, as well as being the place where for Calliope, the protagonist of Jeffrey Eugenides' Middlesex, events take a severe and lasting turn. Petoskey was also the location where 50,000 passenger pigeon birds were killed each day in the late 19th century, prior to their complete extinction in the early 20th century.[8] A state historical marker commemorates the events, including the last great nesting in 1878.[9] One hunter was reputed to have personally killed "a million birds" and earned $60,000, the equivalent of 1 million dollars today.[10]

Petoskey is also famous for a high concentration of Petoskey stones, the state stone of Michigan. Petoskey is the birthplace of information theorist Claude Shannon and Civil War historian Bruce Catton and is the boyhood home of singer-songwriter Sufjan Stevens. Actress Megan Boone, star of the NBC television series The Blacklist that premiered in September 2013, was born in Petoskey.

The name "Petoskey" is said to mean "where the light shines through the clouds" in the language of the Odawa Indians (Little Traverse Bay Band), who are the original inhabitants. The Petoskey stone and the city were named after Chief Ignatius Petosega (1787–1885), who founded the community. Petosega's father was a French Canadian fur trader and his mother was an Odawa (Ottawa) Indian.[11]

This city was the northern terminus of the Chicago and West Michigan Railway.


The Bear River flows through Petoskey; the Mitchell Street Bridge is in the background.

Part of Northern Michigan, Petoskey is on the southeast shore of the Little Traverse Bay of Lake Michigan at the mouth of the Bear River. According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 5.29 square miles (13.70 km2), of which, 5.09 square miles (13.18 km2) is land and 0.20 square miles (0.52 km2) is water.[2] The Petoskey area also is rather hilly and rocky.


City Hall

2010 census[]

As of the census[3] of 2010, there were 5,670 people, 2,538 households, and 1,319 families residing in the city. The population density was 1,113.9 inhabitants per square mile (430.1 /km2). There were 3,359 housing units at an average density of 659.9 per square mile (254.8 /km2). The racial makeup of the city was 91.7% White, 0.7% African American, 4.7% Native American, 0.4% Asian, 0.5% from other races, and 2.1% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 1.9% of the population.

There were 2,538 households of which 24.3% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 36.7% were married couples living together, 11.8% had a female householder with no husband present, 3.5% had a male householder with no wife present, and 48.0% were non-families. 39.2% of all households were made up of individuals, and 12.2% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.10 and the average family size was 2.81.

The median age in the city was 39.8 years. 19.4% of residents were under the age of 18; 11.9% were between the ages of 18 and 24; 24.5% were from 25 to 44; 28.1% were from 45 to 64; and 16.1% were 65 years of age or older. The gender makeup of the city was 47.3% male and 52.7% female.

2000 census[]

As of the census[5] of 2000, there were 6,080 people, 2,700 households, and 1,447 families residing in the city. The population density was 1,210.9 per square mile (467.6/km²). There were 3,342 housing units at an average density of 665.6 per square mile (257.0/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 94.18% White, 0.33% African American, 3.17% Native American, 0.81% Asian, 0.02% Pacific Islander, 0.20% from other races, and 1.30% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 1.17% of the population.

There were 2,700 households out of which 27.5% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 39.8% were married couples living together, 11.0% had a female householder with no husband present, and 46.4% were non-families. 39.4% of all households were made up of individuals and 14.6% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.14 and the average family size was 2.89.

In the city the population was spread out with 23.0% under the age of 18, 9.6% from 18 to 24, 28.5% from 25 to 44, 21.7% from 45 to 64, and 17.3% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 39 years. For every 100 females there were 85.6 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 81.2 males.

The median income for a household in the city was $33,657, and the median income for a family was $48,168. Males had a median income of $35,875 versus $25,114 for females. The per capita income for the city was $20,259. About 6.6% of families and 12.0% of the population were below the poverty line, including 8.6% of those under age 18 and 8.4% of those age 65 or over.


The Little Traverse History Museum is housed in the former Chicago and West Michigan Railroad depot.

Petoskey Marina


  • The nearest airports with scheduled passenger service are in Pellston Regional Airport[12] and Traverse City Cherry Capital Airport.



  • Freight rail service to Petoskey is limited and provided by the Tuscola and Saginaw Bay Railway (TSBY); however, the tracks are owned by the state of Michigan in order to preserve rail service in northern Michigan. Freight traffic includes plastic pellets delivered to a rail/truck transload facility for Petoskey Plastics. Occasional passenger/special excursion trains to Petoskey occur every now and then. Historically, the Northern Arrow and other rail lines provided passenger traffic to Petoskey and Bay View, Michigan from as far as Chicago and St. Louis, but these were discontinued in the late 20th century.


  • The City of Petoskey Department of Parks and Recreation operates a 144-slip marina located in Bayfront Park. The marina offers seasonal and transient slips, gasoline, diesel fuel, boat launch, wireless internet, 30/50 AMP power, water, pump-out, restroom/showers, playground and adjacent park grounds. The Gaslight District is connected to Bayfront Park via a pedestrian tunnel. The marina received initial designation as a "Michigan Clean Marina"[15] in May 2007 and was recertified in 2010.

Major highways[]

  • US 31 is a major highway running through the heart of the city. It continues southerly toward Charlevoix, Traverse City and Muskegon and northerly to a terminus near Mackinaw City.
  • US 131 has its northern terminus in the city and continues southerly toward Cadillac and Grand Rapids.
  • M-119, accessible off US 31 east of the city and Bay View, continues around the north side of Little Traverse Bay to Harbor Springs and then to Cross Village.
  • C-58 begins at C-81 just east of the city and continues to Wolverine.
  • C-81 is a north-south route passing just to the east of the city.


  • North Central Michigan College



Mineral Well Park is one of many sites and buildings in Petoskey listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

  • Petoskey News-Review
  • Traverse, is published monthly with a focus on regional interests.
Local AM radio
  • WLDR (750) - country; simulcast of WLDR-FM Traverse City
  • WJML (1110) - talk
  • WMKT (1270) - news/talk (licensed to Charlevoix, studios in Petoskey)
  • WMBN (1340) - adult standards
Local FM radio
  • WTLI (89.3) - contemporary Christian "Smile FM"
  • WTCK (90.9) - Catholic religious (Charlevoix)
  • WJOG (91.3) - contemporary Christian "Smile FM"
  • WTCM (93.5) - country; simulcast of WTCM-FM Traverse City
  • W237DA (95.3) - translator of WFDX-FM Atlanta (classic hits)
  • WLXT (96.3) - adult contemporary
  • WKLZ (98.9) - classic rock; simulcast of WKLT-FM Kalkaska
  • W259AH (99.7) - translator of WPHN-FM Gaylord (religious)
  • WICV (100.9) - classical (East Jordan); simulcast of WIAA-FM Interlochen
  • WCMW (103.9) - CMU Public Radio (Harbor Springs)
  • WKHQ (105.9) - CHR/top 40 (licensed to Charlevoix, studios in Petoskey)
  • WCZW (107.9) - oldies (Charlevoix); simulcast of WCCW-FM Traverse City


Petoskey State Park is located on Little Traverse Bay between Petoskey & Harbor Springs

Camp Pet-O-Se-Ga is located east of Petoskey on Pickerel Lake

Wilderness State Park is located north of Petoskey in Cross Village


This climatic region has large seasonal temperature differences, with warm to hot (and often humid) summers and cold (sometimes severely cold) winters. According to the Köppen Climate Classification system, Big Rapids has a humid continental climate, abbreviated "Dfb" on climate maps.[16]

Climate data for Petoskey, Michigan
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Average high °C (°F) −2
Average low °C (°F) −9
Precipitation mm (inches) 53
Source: Weatherbase [17]


Further reading[]

  • Cappel, Constance, Hemingway in Michigan, 1999, Little Traverse Historical Society: Petoskey, MI.
  • Cappel, Constance, ed., 2006 Odawa Language and Legends, Xlibris:Philadelphia, PA.
  • Cappel, Constance, 2007,The Smallpox Genocide of the Odawa Tribe at L'Arbre Croche, 1763: A History of a Native American People, Ediwin Mellen Press: Lewiston, NY.
  • Clarke Historical Library, Central Michigan University, Bibliography on Emmet County.[18]


  1. ^ "City Council Profiles". Retrieved 2013-11-25. 
  2. ^ a b "US Gazetteer files 2010". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2012-11-25. 
  3. ^ a b "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2012-11-25. 
  4. ^ "Population Estimates". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2013-06-03. 
  5. ^ a b "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2008-01-31. 
  6. ^ "US Board on Geographic Names". United States Geological Survey. 2007-10-25. Retrieved 2008-01-31. 
  7. ^ "Find a County". National Association of Counties. Retrieved 2011-06-07. 
  8. ^ Department of Vertebrate Zoology, National Museum of Natural History in cooperation with the Public Inquiry Mail Service (March 2001). "The Passenger Pigeon". Smithsonian Institution. Retrieved February 28, 2012. 
  9. ^ "Last Great Gathering of Passenger Pigeons, Crooked Lake Nesting Colony". Petoskey, Michigan: Michigan state historical marker. Retrieved February 29, 2012. 
  10. ^ "Was Martha the last "Pigean de passage"?". Life of birds. January 6, 2007. Archived from the original on 2007-10-09. Retrieved February 29, 2012.  at Wayback Machine
  11. ^ Vogel, Virgil J. (1986). Indian Names in Michigan, pp. 45–46. University of Michigan Press. ISBN 0-472-06365-0.
  12. ^ "Pellston Regional Airport Serving Northern Michigan Emmet County". Retrieved 2013-11-25. 
  13. ^ "EAST LANSING-PETOSKEY-ST. IGNACE". Indian Trails. January 15, 2013. Retrieved 2013-02-27. 
  14. ^ "GRAND RAPIDS-CADILLAC-TRAVERSE CITY-PETOSKEY". Indian Trails. January 15, 2013. Retrieved 2013-02-28. 
  15. ^ "Certified Michigan Clean Marinas". Michigan Sea Grant. Retrieved 2013-11-25. 
  16. ^ "Petoskey, Michigan Köppen Climate Classification". Weatherbase. Retrieved 2013-11-25. 
  17. ^ "". Weatherbase. 2013.  Retrieved on September 22, 2013.
  18. ^ "Home | Central Michigan University". 2010-10-07. Retrieved 2013-11-25. 

External links[]

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Coordinates: 45°22′24″N 84°57′19″W / 45.37333, -84.95528

This page uses content from the English language Wikipedia. The original content was at Petoskey, Michigan. The list of authors can be seen in the page history. As with this Familypedia wiki, the content of Wikipedia is available under the Creative Commons License.