Michigan: Ontonagon County

Ontonagon County (pop. 6,780) is along Lake Superior on the Upper Peninsula, west of Houghton County. It has the third-smallest population among Michigan’s counties.

The only Ontonagon County in the U.S.

“Ontonagon” is a word derived from a Native American word meaning “hunting river” or “bowl.”

Bond Falls, on the Ontonagon River

Ontonagon County is the westernmost county in the U.S. that is entirely in the Eastern Time Zone.

The county seat is the village of Ontonagon (pop. 1,494), located at the mouth of the Ontonagon River on Lake Superior.

Downtown Ontonagon in the rain

The Ontonagon Lighthouse dates from 1866; it was deactivated in 1964.

Summer tours are available.

The unincorporated community of Matchwood was named for the Diamond Match Company, which owned large pine forests in the area. Diamond was America’s largest manufacturer of matches in the late 19th century.

The Porcupine Mountains are in the western part of the county, near Lake Superior. They contain North America’s largest stand of old-growth northern hardwood forest west of the Adirondack Mountains of New York.

Lake of the Clouds


michigan counties complete

2 comments on “Michigan: Ontonagon County

  1. lois grunwald says:

    I like the name “Lake of the Clouds.” Bond falls is beautiful.

  2. Mary Schlick says:

    A really interesting piece — all new information about things I have never even wondered about!

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