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Harbor Springs, Michigan facts for kids

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Harbor Springs, Michigan
City of Harbor Springs
Downtown Harbor Springs along M-119
Downtown Harbor Springs along M-119
Location within Emmet County
Location within Emmet County
Harbor Springs, Michigan is located in Michigan
Harbor Springs, Michigan
Harbor Springs, Michigan
Location in Michigan
Country United States
State Michigan
County Emmet
Incorporated 1880
 • Type Mayor–council
 • Total 1.30 sq mi (3.37 km2)
 • Land 1.30 sq mi (3.37 km2)
 • Water 0.00 sq mi (0.00 km2)
669 ft (204 m)
 • Total 1,194
 • Estimate 
 • Density 924.79/sq mi (357.12/km2)
Time zone UTC-5 (EST)
 • Summer (DST) UTC-4 (EDT)
ZIP code(s)
Area code(s) 231
FIPS code 26-36560
GNIS feature ID 0627758

Harbor Springs is a city and resort community in Emmet County, Michigan. The population was 1,194 in the 2010 census.

Harbor Springs is in a sheltered bay on the north shore of the Little Traverse Bay on Lake Michigan. The Little Traverse Lighthouse is a historic lighthouse on the Harbor Point peninsula, which shelters the deepest natural harbor on the Great Lakes. M-119 connects with US 31 7 miles (11 km) east and south at Bay View and Petoskey, which is 4 miles (6.4 km) away on the south side of the harbor.

The area is known for its historic summer resorts, such as Wequetonsing, which was founded by Illinois businessmen and lawyers Henry Stryker III, and Henry Brigham McClure. They were both connected with the Jacob Bunn industrial dynasty of Illinois.


The European-American settlement started with a mission by French Catholic Jesuits; they called this area L'Arbre Croche, meaning Crooked Tree. In 1847, L'Arbre Croche had the largest concentration of Native Americans in Michigan. French traders renamed the area Petit Traverse, or Little Traverse, when they arrived in the area. After more settlers came to the area from the eastern United States, they changed the name of the village to Harbor Springs, incorporating it in 1880.

The federally recognized Little Traverse Bay Bands of Odawa Indians are descendants of the numerous Odawa bands that historically occupied this area. They have their tribal offices in Harbor Springs, and a gaming resort in Petoskey. Their reservation lands encompasses approximately 336 square miles (870 km2) of land in Charlevoix and Emmet counties.

Ephraim Shay's hexagonally shaped house.

One of the city's more prominent European-American residents was Ephraim Shay (1839–1916), known for his invention of the Shay locomotive. The hexagonal-shaped house he built in downtown Harbor Springs still stands today and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The local elementary school is named after him.

Another building of interest is the Douglas House on the shore of Lake Michigan. Designed by noted architect Richard Meier and completed in 1973, this house is one of 150 structures listed in 2007 as America's Favorite Architecture by the American Institute of Architects.

Harbor Springs was the location of the Club Ponytail, a famous music hall destroyed by fire in 1969.


According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 1.30 square miles (3.37 km2), all of it land. Harbor Springs has a lot to offer during the summer months, including beaches, sailing schools, marinas, multiple golf courses, bike paths, hiking trails, ice cream shops, candy stores, coffee shops and various summer vacation communities. In the winter months the two ski resorts Nub's Nob and Boyne Highlands offer over 678 acres of skiable terrain as well as terrain parks and various trails for snow shoeing & cross-country skiing. When Little Traverse Bay freezes over in the winter months, many people venture out on the ice for ice fishing and ice boating.

Harbor Springs is a few miles from neighboring Petoskey, Michigan, on the other side of the bay. It offers a wider variety of activities, including a multiplex movie theater, a thriving downtown area of its own, and several big-box stores.


The climate is described as Humid Continental by the Köppen Climate System, abbreviated as Dfb.


Historical population
Census Pop.
1880 164
1890 1,052 541.5%
1900 1,643 56.2%
1910 1,805 9.9%
1920 1,600 −11.4%
1930 1,429 −10.7%
1940 1,423 −0.4%
1950 1,626 14.3%
1960 1,433 −11.9%
1970 1,662 16.0%
1980 1,567 −5.7%
1990 1,540 −1.7%
2000 1,567 1.8%
2010 1,194 −23.8%
2019 (est.) 1,205 0.9%
U.S. Decennial Census

2010 census

As of the census of 2010, there were 1,194 people, 558 households, and 294 families residing in the city. The population density was 918.5 inhabitants per square mile (354.6/km2). There were 1,122 housing units at an average density of 863.1 per square mile (333.2/km2). The racial makeup of the city was 92.0% white, 0.3% African American, 4.8% Native American, 0.8% Asian, 0.1% Pacific Islander, 0.1% from other races, and 2.0% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 0.7% of the population.

There were 558 households, of which 19.4% included children under the age of 18, 38.4% were married couples living together, 10.0% had a female householder with no husband present, 4.3% had a male householder with no wife present, and 47.3% were non-families. 43.7% of all households were made up of individuals, and 23.1% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 1.93 and the average family size was 2.66.

The median age in the city was 55.8 years. 15.7% of residents were under the age of 18; 4.9% were between the ages of 18 and 24; 14.7% were from 25 to 44; 32.6% were from 45 to 64; and 32.2% were 65 years of age or older. The gender makeup of the city was 43.8% male and 56.2% female.



  • The nearest airports with scheduled passenger service are in Pellston Regional Airport and Traverse City Cherry Capital Airport.
  • Harbor Springs Municipal Airport is a public general aviation with no scheduled commercial flights.
Harbor 002
Panorama from the bluff overlooking the city


  • US 31, while not directly serving Harbor Springs, is accessible at the southern end of M-119 four miles southeast near Bay View.
  • M-119 travels around the north side of Little Traverse Bay, through downtown Harbor Springs, and then to a terminus at Cross Village.
  • C-77 is a north-south route beginning at Harbor Springs and continuing north to Cross Village.
  • C-81 is a north-south route running from just east of the city northerly toward Mackinaw City.

Notable people

  • Andrew Blackbird, Odawa (Ottawa) tribe leader and historian
  • Robert Klark Graham, inventor, eugenicist, businessman.
  • F. James McDonald, former president and chief operating officer of General Motors.
  • Joe Dart, musician
  • Hord Hardin, chairman of the Augusta National Golf Club, 1980-1991.

Images for kids

See also

Kids robot.svg In Spanish: Harbor Springs para niños

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