The Passenger Ship Missouri, circa 1912
           The steamer Missouri, in service from 1904 to 1917, brought many settlers, resorters and tourists to Leland
            and other villages in the county. This 255-foot-long and 40-foot-wide vessel had luxurious accomodations for
                        250 passengers. She was heartily welcomed by villagers standing at the docks.
Modern Leland is the site of the oldest and largest Ottawa village on the Leelanau Peninsula.
Not far from the river which flowed into Lake Michigan, bark-covered shelters, gardens and
fishing sites marked the settlement of Mishi-me-go-bing, &quotthe place where canoes run up
into the river to land, because they have no harbor". Some called it Che-ma-go-bing.
European settlement began when the Antoine Manseau family came from North Manitou
Island in 1853. Antoine Manseau, his son Antoine Jr., and John Miller built a dam near the
outlet of what was called the Carp River. Next to the dam they erected a water-powered
sawmill, a necessity for the building of a new community. The families of Cook, Porter,
Bryant, Buckman, Pickard, Cordes and Thies soon arrived, and docks were constructed as
wooding stations. Steamers and schooners tied up at these docks, bringing more and more
settlers, and Leland had 200 people by 1867.

The steamers Buffalo, Lawrence, Champlain, City of Traverse City, Illinois, Rising Sun,
Manitou, Puritan, Spirit, Michigan, Alleghany, Fountain City, and Idaho; schooners
Hiram Merrill, Cora A., Lucky; the sloop Defiance and many other vessels brought
passengers and their homesteading supplies. They came from Buffalo, Cleveland, Chicago and
other ports to take their place among the Leelanau Peninsula citizens. As comforts increased,
by way of lodges and mercantiles, resorters also arrived on the Lake Michigan vessels. Some
returned, summer after summer, and others made Leland their permanent home. By 1900 the
county population registered over 10,500, and Leland had become the county seat.

Antoine Manseau's route between Leland and the Manitou Islands has been travelled
thousands of times, by residents of and visitors to North and South Manitou. The Grosvenor
family, whose geneology traces to the islands, has operated mail and passenger boats between
Leland and the Manitous for many years, departing from Leland's historic Fishtown. Other
island families carrying maritime traditions into the 20th Century are the Telgards and the
Carlsons. Martin Telgard built boats in Northport before coming to Leland to establish with his
wife, Leone (Carlson), the Blue Bird restaurant in 1927. Maritime photos are displayed on the
inside walls of the establishment, reminding us of the heritage of the area. Carlson's Fisheries
supplies whitefish and other fish to local restaurants and to the public. Racks of fish are
removed from the smokers and offered for sale in Fishtown, where the family bases its historic
fishing tradition.


Link to Leland Home Page
Link to Leelanau Home Page