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Situated about twenty miles south of the City of East Jordan, the village of Bellaire, Michigan is the county seat of Antrim County, in the North Michigan region of the Lower Peninsula.

The village spans Forest Home Township and Kearney Township, which are separated by the Intermediate River. The Bellaire post office serves large portions of both townships, as well as parts of Central Lake, Chestonia, Custer, and Helena townships.

Bellaire is just north of Lake Bellaire, and Intermediate Lake is a couple of miles to the north, while Blair Lake borders the village in the northeast. The Intermediate River enters the village in the northeast, where it widens to form what could reasonably be considered a lake, then flows through the western portion of the village to empty into Lake Bellaire. The Cedar River passes through Blair Lake to join the Intermediate River.

M-88 is the main route through the city. Others include Bellaire Highway (Cayuga Street), Derenzy Road, Orchard Hill Road (Forest Home Avenue), and Stover Road. The village of Central Lake is 8.2 miles north, Mancelona is 11.7 miles southeast, and Elk Rapids is 25.4 miles southwest of Bellaire, although its distance is lengthened by the necessity of driving around the lower part of Torch Lake.

Prior to being displaced, Native Americans inhabited the region for thousands of years. The first European-Americans came to the region in the mid-1800s to harvest forest products, and its rich waterways made the region ideal for a lumber town. Several Civil War veterans came for farmland awarded to them for their services in the war.

A post office was established there on June 20, 1879, with Rufus Hall as postmaster. At that time, the community was known as Keno. Later that year, the county seat was moved from Elk Rapids to Keno, a contested decision that was heard by the Michigan Supreme Court. On May 26, 1880, shortly after the Supreme Court supported the vote to move the county seat, the town's name was changed to Bellaire.

In 1891, the Chicago & Western Michigan Railroad (Pere Marquette) established a station in Bellaire, and the town was incorporated as a village that same year. In 1901, the East Jordan & Southern Railroad extended its line through Bellaire.

By 1900, the village had four grocery stores, five meat markets, four hardware stores, three hotels, two blacksmith shops, three harness shops, six lumber mills, a bakery, a jeweler, eight doctors, and seven barbershops.

Bellaire's peak population was in 1900 when it had about a hundred more people than it did at the time of the 2010 census. Once the lumber was depleted and the importance of the railroads diminished, the village's population decreased dramatically over three decades before beginning a slow recovery.

Today, tourism plays a significant role in the village's economy, particularly as a site for summer vacation homes. The village supports a robust business community and some light industry. Short's Brewing Company opened in Bellaire in 2004, where it also operates a pub.

The focus of this category is on the village of Bellaire, Michigan. Appropriate resources include websites representing the village government and any businesses, industries, schools, places of worship, organizations, attractions, and events with a presence in the village.


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