Michigan: Delta County

Delta County (pop. 37,069) is east of Menominee County on the north shore of Lake Michigan, mostly along the Big Bay de Noc and Little Bay de Noc.

Texas and Colorado also have Delta counties.

The county was named for the Greek letter “delta.” The Bays de Noc were named for the Noquet (or Noc) Indians, who once lived in the area.

The county originally had a triangular shape.

Delta County’s many historic lighthouses include the Poverty Island Light Station, which was in operation from 1875 to 1976. In 2011, Lighthouse Digest called it “America’s Most Endangered Lighthouse.”

About six miles south of the Garden Peninsula

A few miles west of Poverty Island, on St. Martin Island, is the St. Martin Island Light, built in 1905.

A rare “exoskeletal” lighthouse

The county seat of Delta County is Escanaba (pop. 12,616), which has been an important port town (for copper, lumber, and iron ore) since the mid-19th century.

Iron ore being loaded at Escanaba

The 52-mile-long Escanaba River flows into the Little Bay de Noc, just north of the city.

Escanaba means “land of the red buck.”

The Historic House of Luddington, built in the 1880s, still operates as a hotel and restaurant.

Built in Queen Anne style

The five-story Delta Hotel in downtown Escanaba  (1914) now has apartments.

It closed as a hotel in 1962.

The city of Gladstone, nine miles north of Escanaba, is well-known for the factory tours at the Hoegh Pet Casket Company.

8 sizes, 30 styles

In Nahma Township is the 100-foot Bay de Noquet Lumber Company Waste Burner (approx. 1893), now on the National Register of Historic Places.


It burned waste wood and bark from a sawmill.

Fayette Historic State Park, on the Big Bay de Noc, has reconstructed an industrial community that manufactured charcoal pig iron in the late 19th century.

More than 20 buildings are open.

NEXT: ALGER COUNTY

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One comment on “Michigan: Delta County

  1. John Dodds says:

    Wow, pet caskets! I wonder if there’s a Bernie-equivalent story about a guy from Gladstone.

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