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Northport, Michigan
Looking east at Northport on M-201
Looking east at Northport on M-201
Location within Leelanau County
Location within Leelanau County
Northport, Michigan is located in Michigan
Northport, Michigan
Northport, Michigan
Location in Michigan
Country  United States
State  Michigan
County Leelanau
Township Leelanau
 • Total 1.65 sq mi (4.28 km2)
 • Land 1.65 sq mi (4.27 km2)
 • Water 0.00 sq mi (0.01 km2)
607 ft (185 m)
 • Total 526
 • Estimate 
 • Density 318.57/sq mi (123.04/km2)
Time zone UTC-5 (Eastern (EST))
 • Summer (DST) UTC-4 (EDT)
ZIP code(s)
Area code(s) 231
FIPS code 26-58740
GNIS feature ID 0633697
Northport, MI village hall
Betty L. Mork Administrative Building

Northport is a village in Leelanau Township within Leelanau County in the U.S. state of Michigan. The population was 526 according to the 2010 U.S. census. When Leelanau County was formed in 1863, Northport served as the first county seat from 1863 to 1883.


In 1848 Michigan suffered from a smallpox epidemic that affected the entire community of people. Chief Peter Waukazoo and Reverend George Smith moved the community as well as the Holland-area Ottawa Mission up to the Leelanau Peninsula on boats or canoes. When the settlers had reached their destination they called it Waukazooville. Another man named Deacon Joseph Dame had come to Waukazooville in 1854, he had decided to change the name to Northport at this time.

Northport was the largest town in Leelanau County for quite a while in the 1800s and 1900s. Several general stores were built in the town in 1859 that sold items such as cloth, thread, needles, foods, axes, and more. There was no doctor in town at this time so Reverend Smith was called on to deliver babies, help the ill, & numerous other things.

1850s were a very hard time for the people of Northport, as they sat back and watched as the Civil War unfolded. However, by 1861 they could not just wait anymore, only a few men enlisted and were soon shipped out. As the year went on, they began recruiting more men from Northport who ended up joining the fight. Hard times came and went for the men in the war and the families back in Northport. Finally April 9, 1865 came around and the soldiers had gone back to Northport due to the end of the war.

The planting of crops, as well as growing, was a hard time for the people of Northport in the late 1800s. Having sanitary food was a necessity that sometimes was lacking in Northport. Many people that ended up living in Northport came from New York or Canada where the crops & economics were going down the drain.The fishermen, farmers, and other community would gather on the bay and cut chunks of ice for fisheries, hotels, or even private homes.

The Cherry industry that is so prevalent in Northport today had just begun in 1853 on Reverend Smith's farm. Farmers began producing cherries so much within those first few years that cherries were being shipped to nearby cities for their markets. By the 1960s cherry industry took a turn. In 1853 cherries were being harvested by hand or mechanically operated limb shakers, by the 1970s most farmers were using mechanical trunk shakers due to the damage that the tree was undertaking.


According to the United States Census Bureau, the village has a total area of 1.65 square miles (4.27 km2), all land.

Local attractions


  • Winter Carnival is held in February at Braman Hill Park. Activities include sledding and tubing, ice skating, Cardboard Box Sled Race, Broomball Tournament, and Chili Cook off.
  • The Scott Brow Fishing Derby is an annual event held every spring at the Old Mill Pond. The Northport Sportsman's Club stocks the water as well as sponsors the event. Prizes are awarded to the child with the largest fish.
  • The Fly In Breakfast at Woolsey Airport just north of Northport attracts small, unique aircraft to the small airfield. In addition to the planes, antique, custom, and sports cars are also on display. Breakfast is served in the morning and the community band provides entertainment.
  • The "Cars in the Park" car show is held annually at Haserot Park near downtown Northport. Viewers can look at classic cars while listening to music selected by a DJ. Trophies are given to the top twenty five vehicles.
  • The Miles For Mammograms, also known as The Alice Busby Memorial Walk, is held in early September. The memorial walk is a 2-mile walk or a 4.5 mile walk beginning and ending in downtown Northport. Miles For Mammograms helps community members, that suffer from a low income, to get free health services.


  • The Grand Traverse Lighthouse, nine miles north of town, is a historic building built in 1852. It is now a tourist attraction that sits within Leelanau State Park. Events such as the Haunted Lighthouse are held annually.
  • Leelanau State Park is located on the tip of Michigan's "little finger". It is home to nearly 1,300 acres that includes the Grand Traverse Lighthouse museum, a rustic campground, two mini cabins, 8.5 miles of hiking/skiing trail, and shoreline where petoskey stones can be found.
  • Braman Hill Recreation Center is a year-round facility that is home to tennis courts, basketball courts, a skate park and ice rink, a shooting range, a sledding hill, hiking trails, and warming hut with bathrooms. At the top of the hill is a fire ring and scenic view.

Places of interest

Frank Lloyd Wright designed the Amy Alpaugh House, located in Northport, in 1947.


Historical population
Census Pop.
1860 393
1870 238 −39.4%
1880 198 −16.8%
1890 304 53.5%
1910 524
1920 507 −3.2%
1930 577 13.8%
1940 606 5.0%
1950 582 −4.0%
1960 530 −8.9%
1970 594 12.1%
1980 611 2.9%
1990 605 −1.0%
2000 648 7.1%
2010 526 −18.8%
2019 (est.) 525 −0.2%
U.S. Decennial Census

2010 census

As of the census of 2010, there were 526 people, 251 households, and 147 families residing in the village. The population density was 318.8 inhabitants per square mile (123.1/km2). There were 405 housing units at an average density of 245.5 per square mile (94.8/km2). The racial makeup of the village was 93.2% White, 0.6% African American, 2.5% Native American, 0.2% Asian, 0.4% from other races, and 3.2% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 6.1% of the population.

There were 251 households, of which 15.9% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 48.2% were married couples living together, 8.0% had a female householder with no husband present, 2.4% had a male householder with no wife present, and 41.4% were non-families. 37.5% of all households were made up of individuals, and 19.9% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.10 and the average family size was 2.63.

The median age in the village was 57.5 years. 14.4% of residents were under the age of 18; 6.6% were between the ages of 18 and 24; 13.5% were from 25 to 44; 29.4% were from 45 to 64; and 36.1% were 65 years of age or older. The gender makeup of the village was 46.4% male and 53.6% female.


  • Northport Public School

Notable residents

Northport has gained fame for being an area where the rich and famous can live quietly and anonymously. According to the Leelanau Visitors Guide: "Chef Mario Batali lives north of town at Cathead point, and comedian and actor Tim Allen routinely spends summers in Northport. Mark Spitznagel, who manages a multi-billion dollar hedge fund, owns a 150 acre ranch in Northport. He summers in Northport Point, a posh community just outside the village." (Batali's and Spitznagel's Northport home and farm, respectively, both were featured in The New York Times.)

Speedskater and 2010 Olympic silver medalist Jonathan Kuck regularly vacations with his family at their summer home just outside Northport.

The second commander of the American Legion, war hero and businessman Frederic W. Galbraith, maintained a summer home in Northport during the 1910s and early 1920s.

Captain Clint Woolsey, one of the pilots who led the inaugural Pan American Goodwill Flight to Central and South America in 1926 and 1927 and died in a plane crash over Buenos Aires, Argentina, was born and raised in Northport. The local airport is named after him.

See also

Kids robot.svg In Spanish: Northport (Míchigan) para niños

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