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Manistee, Michigan
Bascule bridge and riverfront of downtown Manistee
Bascule bridge and riverfront of downtown Manistee
Salt City
Location of Manistee, Michigan
Location of Manistee, Michigan
Manistee, Michigan is located in the United States
Manistee, Michigan
Manistee, Michigan
Location in the United States
Country United States
State Michigan
County Manistee
 • Total 4.53 sq mi (11.73 km2)
 • Land 3.28 sq mi (8.49 km2)
 • Water 1.25 sq mi (3.24 km2)
663 ft (202 m)
 • Total 6,259
 • Density 1,864.59/sq mi (719.97/km2)
Time zone UTC-5 (Eastern (EST))
 • Summer (DST) UTC-4 (EDT)
ZIP code
Area code(s) 231
FIPS code 26-50720
GNIS feature ID 1620680

Manistee ( man-IS-tee) is a city in the U.S. state of Michigan. The population was 6,259 at the 2020 census. It is the county seat and only city of Manistee County. The name "Manistee" is from an Ojibwe word first applied to the principal river of the county. The derivation is not certain, but it may be from ministigweyaa, "river with islands at its mouth". Other sources claim that it was an Ojibwe term meaning "spirit of the woods".

Manistee Township is to the northeast of the city, but is politically separate. The city is at the mouth of the Manistee River on Lake Michigan. The Charter Township of Filer is to the south of Manistee, while Stronach Township is to the east.


In 1751, a Jesuit Mission was established in Manistee. Missionaries visited Manistee in the early 19th century, and a Jesuit mission house is known to have been located on the NW shore of Manistee Lake in 1826. In 1832, a group of traders from Massachusetts built a log house up the Manistee River. However, they were soon driven off by the Ottawa. The first white settlement and sawmill was built there in 1841.

The village of Manistee was one of about 15 Ottawa villages along the shore of Lake Michigan in 1830. Much of the Manistee River Valley, including Manistee itself, was an Ottawa Reservation from 1836-1848.

The first permanent Euro-American settlement was made on April 16, 1841, when John Stronach and his son, Adam Stronach, arrived at the mouth of the Manistee River in a schooner loaded with fifteen men and equipment, and established a saw mill.

From 1836-1848, much of the Manistee River Valley, including Manistee itself, was an Ottawa Reservation. During the lumbering era of the late 1800s, Manistee became a significant site for lumber mills. Huge numbers of white pine logs were floated down the river to the port at Manistee and eventually on to the lumber markets of Grand Rapids, Milwaukee and Chicago.

In 1846, the town was named "Manistee" but was a part of Ottawa County, with county offices 100 mies away at Grand Haven. After a series of new counties being drawn up, by 1855 it became part of a Manistee county that also included modern day Manistee, Wexford and Missaukee Counties.

On October 8, 1871, the town was practically destroyed by fire; on the same day the Peshtigo Fire, the Great Chicago Fire, and fires in Port Huron and Holland occurred, the Great Michigan Fire lit up Manistee. Manistee was incorporated as a city in 1882.

In 2000, Manistee made national headlines after a judge and jury convicted a woman for expressing privately to her mother her wish that immigrants would learn English, deeming it "insulting conduct" consisting of "fighting words" that was punishable under local ordinance. Allegations of improper procedure and irregularities in the court records appeared. Two years later (November 1, 2002) and after the defendant spent four nights in jail, the conviction was overturned by the state Court of Appeals.



Climate data for Manistee
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Average high °F (°C) 30
Average low °F (°C) 17
Precipitation inches (mm) 2.13
Source: U.S. Climate Data,


Historical population
Census Pop.
1870 3,343
1880 6,930 107.3%
1890 12,812 84.9%
1900 14,260 11.3%
1910 12,381 −13.2%
1920 9,694 −21.7%
1930 8,078 −16.7%
1940 8,694 7.6%
1950 8,642 −0.6%
1960 8,324 −3.7%
1970 7,723 −7.2%
1980 7,665 −0.8%
1990 6,734 −12.1%
2000 6,586 −2.2%
2010 6,226 −5.5%
2020 6,259 0.5%
U.S. Decennial Census

2010 census

As of the census of 2010, there were 6,226 people, 2,816 households, and 1,614 families residing in the city. The population as of 2013 is 6117. The population density was 1,892.4 inhabitants per square mile (730.7/km2). There were 3,599 housing units at an average density of 1,093.9 per square mile (422.4/km2). The racial makeup of the city was 91.5% White, 0.5% African American, 3.8% Native American, 0.4% Asian, 0.7% from other races, and 3.0% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 3.4% of the population.

There were 2,816 households, of which 26.2% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 39.1% were married couples living together, 13.4% had a female householder with no husband present, 4.9% had a male householder with no wife present, and 42.7% were non-families. 36.4% of all households were made up of individuals, and 14.7% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.18 and the average family size was 2.82.

The median age in the city was 43.6 years. 21.9% of residents were under the age of 18; 8% were between the ages of 18 and 24; 21.9% were from 25 to 44; 30.1% were from 45 to 64; and 18% were 65 years of age or older. The gender makeup of the city was 48.5% male and 51.5% female.


Manistee is home to 10 West Studios which produces full-length motion pictures. Notable movies include: What If..., starring Kevin Sorbo and John Ratzenberger filmed in Manistee, Jerusalem Countdown featuring Randy Travis, Stacy Keach and Lee Majors, and Mickey Matson and the Copperhead Conspiracy starring Christopher Lloyd and Ernie Hudson also filmed in Manistee.

Area activities

  • Orchard Beach State Park is approximately 2 miles North of Manistee.
  • Little River Casino Resort is approximately 5 miles North-East of Manistee.
  • Manistee National Golf Resort is approximately 2 miles South of Manistee.
  • Manistee Golf and Country Club was established in 1901 and is located within the city of Manistee.
  • There are three public beaches, Fifth Avenue Beach with the small man-made lake next to Fifth Avenue Beach and First Street Beach, located respectively north and south of the harbor entrance on the shore of Lake Michigan.

Local events and attractions

Manistee has museums, an opera house, and recurring events. These include:

The S.S. City of Milwaukee, a retired railroad car ferry, in Manistee harbor


Manistee has a historic downtown with many original buildings from the Victorian era. The entire Downtown District is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. There are a good variety of retail stores in Manistee, many of which are locally owned and operated.


  • Over 40 charter fishing boats operate on Lake Michigan from Manistee County ports.
  • Fishing in the Manistee River can yield salmon and steelhead.
  • Because a large portion of the county is public land, hunting is popular.
  • Filmmaker Michael Moore visited Manistee in February 2011 to support the restoration of the Vogue Theatre in downtown Manistee.


The Manistee Saints are a semi-professional baseball team that have called Manistee home since 1934. Their home games are at Rietz Park in Manistee. Formerly, the Manistee Colts and the Manistee Champs played in the Michigan State League, a minor league baseball league.

There are many golf courses located around the city of Manistee.

There are also two ski resorts near the city of Manistee.

There are many disc golf courses, mountain biking trails, and hiking trails all over Manistee County and in the city of Manistee.


  • Manistee is served by Manistee County Blacker Airport (IATA: MBL, ICAO: KMBL, FAA LID: MBL), approximately three miles (4.8 km) northeast of the city. Since May 2012, Public Charters offers non-stop scheduled flights to and from Chicago Midway International Airport.
  • US 31 / LMCT traverses the heart of Manistee, running southerly toward Scottville and Muskegon and northerly toward Bear Lake and Traverse City.
  • M-22 / LMCT begins five miles (8.0 km) northeast of Manistee
  • M-55 begins one mile (1.6 km) northeast of Manistee and proceeds easterly across the Lower Peninsula to Tawas City.
  • Invalid type: M 1973 is a former state trunkline that used to run from US 31 on the city line of Manistee and Parkdale within Manistee Township to Orchard State Park. It was decommissioned in 2003.

Notable people

See also

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