CROSS VILLAGE, MICHIGAN 49723
Location and Regional Setting
Location and Regional SettingCross Village Township is located in the northwest portion of Emmet County, which is situated in the northern tip of Michigan's lower peninsula. Due to the coastal location Cross Village Township is much smaller than the standard geographic township in land area (9.75 square miles). Cross Village Township is bounded on the north and west by Lake Michigan, on the east by Center Township and on the south by Readmond Township.
Cross Village is a natural destination point for travelers in Emmet County, as it stands at the northern end of M-119, a state designated Scenic Heritage Route, that extends north from Harbor Springs following the Lake Michigan shoreline. This road is renowned for its natural scenery, particularly the bordering hardwood forests. En route to Cross Village, the traveler passes meadows, occasional panoramic views over Lake Michigan, historic cottages, tree stands that bridge the road in canopy fashion, minimum village services (at Goodhart) and antique shops. The road winds and twists to encourage slow speed and enhance the enjoyment of the scenic tour. While Cross Village is a the terminus of M-119, it is not the end of the road, as Shore Drive continues northeast out of the Township into Bliss Township.
Cross Village has a rich and varied history, which is known to date back to the 1600s. Members of both the Odawa and the Ojibwa Indian tribes resided in this area, at least part of the year-primarily in the spring, summer and fall. Locally available materials, include birch bark, porcupine quills and black ash were used in the baskets that they then used as a means of trade. Jesuit priests visited the Village in the late 1600s and established a mission. It is conjectured that the original cross on the bluff may have been erected by Father Marquette. A cross still stands close to the original spot on a scenic view recently acquired by the Township through a milage.
In the mid-1800s, the population of the area began to diversify as more people of European descent moved into the area. It was during this period, that the village was relocated off the shore.
The major early industries were fishing and timber. Fishing is still pursued in Cross Village. Other industries and business developed in the area to support these primary industries and the people they employed. Such supporting industries included a mill to process the timber and a cooper to produce the barrels for the storage and transporting of the fish.
In 1855, Father Wiekamp came to Cross Village and built his convent. The convent grew rapidly, and was self-supporting with its agricultural enterprises; it ultimately owned over 2000 acres of land in various townships.
The town continued to grow and thrive until the mill closed in 1911 due to the lack of timber resources. Other businesses suffered as well from the mill closing and some merchants moved out.
It was the fire in 1918 that completely devastated the town, destroying five large stores, the hotel, the post office, the Presbyterian Church and about 25 houses. Over 300 people were left homeless. Although many merchants had originally planned to rebuild, very few did. The many vacant lots in the heart of Cross Village are still a reminder of the fire.
Cross Village is named in at least three languages. It was called "L'Arbre Croche" by the early white traders for a tall, crooked fir tree on the bluff a few miles north of Middle Village (this tree long since cut down). "Waganaskisi" was the Odawa name meaning, "crooked tree" and "Anamiewatigoing," "tree of prayer, or cross," is still the Native name- for the village.
Today the Village currently has as its major features a fire hall, two churches, a post office, Legs Inn, Three Pines Studio, and the Cross Village General Store. In addition, it has a 9 acre recreational park on the shore of Lake Michigan with amble parking, a beach and an operating boat ramp that is available to everyone on a 24/7 basis.
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Last modified February 10, 2015