Lake Leelanau is a small town and community located between Leland and Suttons Bay at the only access across Lake Leelanau, one of the largest inland lakes in Michigan. A great deal of history remains in Lake Leelanau today. When the Native Americans first settled in the area, they called it "ke-ski-bi-ag" which means "narrow body of water". They called the lake "lee-lan-au" which means "delight of land".
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History of Lake Leelanau
In the middle of the nineteenth century, French settlers migrated from Canada and the area became known as "Le Naro" referring to its location near "the narrows", the area that connects North and South Lake Leelanau. In 1854, a dam was built on the Leland River which raised the water by 12 feet and substantially increased its size.
In 1855, the first vineyard was planted in Leelanau County by the Schaub family who sold their wine locally as well as in Detroit and Ohio. A fur trader, Andre de Beloit, mightily tried to drill for oil in 1867 but hit an artesian spring instead. The artesian spring still flows today and is located near Fountain Point resort. The areas first post office was established in 1871 and was referred to as "Provemont", believed to be shortened from "improvement" reflective of the times. The post office was renamed to Lake Leelanau in 1924.
The Catholic school, St. Mary of Assumptions was built in 1887 and later burned to the ground forcing residents to rebuild in 1928 the brick school that remains today on the shores of Lake Leelanau.
Lake Leelanau Today
Lake Leelanau provides a gateway from the west side of the peninsula to the east side. Less than 300 people reside in Lake Leelanau on a year-round basis. However, as with other areas throughout Leelanau County, tourism plays a major role in the community's economy.
Lake Leelanau Real Estate
Investors will find moderately priced homes in the Village and the areas immediately surrounding it. Those seeking a waterfront residence or vacation home will find existing dwellings in a wide range of prices, sizes, and age. Vacant parcels are also available providing an opportunity to build a custom home. Most waterfront areas have firm, sandy bottom ideal for swimming and all water sports.
Other Community Information
Schools in Lake Leelanau
Families living in Lake Leelanau will be in the Suttons Bay school district. St. Mary's Catholic School provides private, Catholic education to children in kindergarten through twelfth grade. Suttons Bay public school offers education for children from kindergarten through high school.
Lake Leelanau Churches
Lake Leelanau is home to a couple of churches. Within a short drive to neighboring villages, additional churches can be found.