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The village of Fife Lake, Michigan is in eastern Fife Lake Township, in southeast Grand Traverse County, about twenty miles southeast of Traverse City.

The village is located near the intersection of US-131 and M-186. Nearby cities and villages include Kingsley, Kalkaska, and Manton.

Situated on the northern shores of the body of water, for which the village was named, the much smaller Mirror Lake is within the borders of the village, in the southwest. Fife Lake is a 627-acre body of water, about 55-feet deep at its deepest point. The lake has two islands.

The lake in the area around it was first discovered by European Americans when the land was being surveyed in preparation for a road connecting Traverse City and Midland. The surveyors were charged with determining the best route for the new road. They passed a previously unmapped lake, which they named for William H. Fife who was a member of the surveying team.

The village itself began as two towns both of which were platted in 1872. L.L. Shaw, from Grand Rapids, platted a village when she named Fyfe Lake, for the lake on whose bank it was situated. Another nearby community was platted by Thomas T. Bates, and named North Fife Lake. Serving both communities, a post office was established at Fyfe Lake on December 12, 1872, with Richard P. Thurber as postmaster. And December 1, 1875, the spelling of the Fyfe Lake post office was corrected to Fife Lake, as it was named for the body of water.

The towns were formed as the Grand Rapids & Indiana Railroad was being built through the area. Or originally a lumber town, the population along the lakeshore grew to three hundred by 1877, and by 1885 the two communities supported about a thousand people. In 1889, the two towns were incorporated together as the village of Fife Lake.

The village largely about the needs of the several nearby lumber camps. As the available trees were harvested, and the industry moved on, mini moved away and others began farming. Five Lake adapted, and briefly became an agricultural center. By 1900, its population had settled to about six hundred. The village included three hotels, saloons, a restaurant, two blacksmith shops, a woodenware factory, a sawmill, livery stable, hardware store, pharmacy, grocery store, general store, a couple of meat markets, a dry-goods store, shoe store, jeweler, barber, and a newspaper.

Agriculture didn't do well, unfortunately; the soil was too thin and sandy. By 1920, the population of the village had declined to about two hundred and fifty. Around that time, farms were phased out and cottages began to appear around the lake, beginning the town's new identity as a resort and tourist town. Today, tourism is the main industry in Fife Lake.

The lake itself is ideal for fishing, boating, and swimming. Local civic groups host family-friendly events, such as movies in the park, an ice fishing derby, Christmas events, and others. Downtown Fife Lake features shopping venues, art galleries, and restaurants, all within a short walk from the lake.

The focus of this guide is on the village of Fife Lake, Michigan. Appropriate topics for this category include online resources representing the village itself, or any individuals, businesses, industries, schools, churches, organizations, attractions, or events within the village.

 

 

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