We begin our tour of Michigan’s 83 counties in Keweenaw County – the most northerly county in the state. This is the route that we’ll be taking:
Keweenaw (pronounced “KEY-win-awe”) is Michigan’s smallest county, by population, with 2,156 residents (2010 U.S. Census). It reached its peak of 7,156 in 1910.
About 90 percent of the county is under the surface of Lake Superior. When the underwater part is counted, it’s the largest county in Michigan.
The county is at the end of the Keweenaw Peninsula – the part of Michigan’s Upper Peninsula that extends into Lake Superior.
Isle Royale, the largest island in Lake Superior, is officially part of Keweenaw County. Isle Royale National Park was established in 1940.
Isle Royale is mostly wilderness, but it does have a lodge and campground near the eastern end.
Copper Harbor (pop. 108) is also the site of Fort Wilkins State Historic Park. The fort was established in the 1840s during the area’s copper rush.
Tours are given of the former Delaware copper mine in Copper Harbor.
The county seat of Keweenaw County is the unincorporated community of Eagle River (pop. 71). It’s the smallest county seat in Michigan.
The county has nine lighthouses on the National Register of Historic Places.
Near the community of Mohawk is the “snow stick,” which measures snow in the area every winter. The record is 32 feet in the winter of 1978-79.
The unincorporated community of Gay is known for its Gay Bar and its annual Gay Parade on Independence Day.
NEXT: HOUGHTON COUNTY