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Bordering on Lake Michigan to the west, and Arcadia Lake to the south, Arcadia is an unincorporated community and census-designated place in Arcadia Township, Manistee County, in Michigan's Lower Peninsula.

The main route serving the community is M-22 (Northwood Highway), which forms the eastern boundary of the community, and Glovers Lake Road, which leads east to Glovers Lake, just over eight miles away. The village of Bear Lake is 8.9 miles southeast, Onekama is 9.8 miles south, and Elberta is 10.4 miles north of Arcadia.

It was settled in 1866 by Dr. W.L. Dempster, G.W. Boss, and H. Huntington, who built homes on the northern shores of what was then known as Bar Lake, named for the sand bar that crossed the channel opening into Lake Michigan, but which is now known as Arcadia Lake.

Arcadia Township was organized in 1870, with W.H. Cotton as its first supervisor. The village was founded by Henry Starke in 1880, who built a lumber mill there, and was first named Starkville. Starke was also instrumental in founding Trinity Lutheran Church, which still serves the community, and whose building is listed as a Michigan historical site. The early history of the community was as a lumber town, largely focused on Starke's mill. Although the Averill sawmill preceded Starke's operation, having been started by Harrison Averill in 1854, it was a temporary operation. The three more permanent, larger operations were the Starke Land and Lumber Company Sawmill, the Arcadia Furniture Company Sawmill, and the Arcadia Lumber Company Sawmill.

However, when a post office was established there on September 19, 1870, the post office changed the name to Arcadia, matching the township. Mrs. Anne Dempster was the first postmaster and was succeeded by Miss Amelia F. Huntington on April 7, 1871. The post office was closed on April 22, 1872, but was reestablished on May 18, 1881, the year that Henry Starke began construction on a narrow-gauge railway to carry logs.

In 1893, he began construction on a standard-gauge railway to Copemish, twenty-one miles away. The narrow-gauge railway ran east from Arcadia to a stop called Malcolm, about 5 miles. The standard-gauge railway, known as the Arcadia & Betsey River Railway, ran east from Arcadia, 6.7 miles to Malcolm, another 10.6 miles to Henry, and then on to Copemish. At Henry, it connected with the Chicago and West Michigan Railway, which later became the Pere Marquette. At Copemish, it connected with the Ann Arbor Railroad.

Shortly after his arrival in 1880, Henry Starke began building a bridge pier at the end of Lake Street, which extended about a thousand feet into Lake Michigan and served as Arcadia's Harbor before the channel was open. In 1892, Starke began building a channel near the south end of what was then known as Bar Lake. Completed in 1893, the channel had a depth of about ten feet, making Bar Lake a safe harbor for shipping on the Great Lakes. In 1905, the US government took over maintenance of the channel by dredging only, but without making any repairs to the piers. Under federal management, the piers fell apart, dredging was ineffective, and the channel is often closed by sand.

The focus of this category is on the community of Arcadia, Michigan, and may include websites representing local businesses, industries, schools, churches, organizations, and individuals. Since the Arcadia post office serves the township as well, any sites with an Arcadia postal address would be appropriate for this category.


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