Michigan: Grand Traverse County

Grand Traverse County (pop. 86,986) is at the southern end of Grand Traverse Bay.

The county’s name was derived from a French phrase meaning “long crossing,” which referred to the water crossing of the mouth of Grand Traverse Bay along Lake Michigan.

The 17-mile-long Old Mission Peninsula separates the bay’s West Arm and East Arm.

The Old Mission Peninsula has eight wineries. The Old Mission Point Lighthouse is at the northern tip of the peninsula.

Built in 1870, deactivated in 1933

The county seat of Grand Traverse County is Traverse City (pop. 14,674), largest city in the 21-county “Northern Michigan” region (which does not include the Upper Peninsula).

On many lists of America’s best small towns

Traverse City is well-known for the National Cherry Festival, which draws about 500,000 visitors during eight days in July.

The festival began in 1926.

The renovated State Theatre (1949) in downtown Traverse City is the home of the annual Traverse City Film Festival, co-founded by Michael Moore in 2005.

The theater shows movies all year.

The 710-seat City Opera House in Traverse City was built in 1891 and restored 1985-2005.

It hosts a variety of concerts.

Traverse City is the home of “The World’s Largest Cherry Pie Pan” – about 50 miles from the previous record-holder in the city of Charlevoix.

A pan in Canada also held the record for a time.

The former Traverse City State Hospital (originally the Northern Michigan Asylum, built in 1881) is now The Village at Grand Traverse Commons, a residential and commercial development.

The last remaining Kirkbride building in Michigan

The Interlochen Center for the Arts, nationally known for education in the arts, is southwest of Traverse City. Its Interlochen Arts Camp was founded in 1928 as the National Music Camp.

NEXT: KALKASKA COUNTY

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One comment on “Michigan: Grand Traverse County

  1. John Dodds says:

    Wow you weren’t joking about the cherry pie tin business. The 2nd largest folks must be so sad.

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