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Named for the bay on Lake Charlevoix upon which it is situated, Horton Bay, Michigan is an unincorporated community in southwestern Bay Township, Charlevoix County, in the northern Lower Peninsula.

Horton Bay is on the north-central shore of Lake Charlevoix, and just west of Walloon Lake. Horton Creek enters into the bay within the community. As a census-designated place (CDP), Horton Bay has defined borders, albeit solely for the purposes of the census. The chief routes to and from the community are Boyne City Road, Horton Bay Road, Horton Creek Road, Pincherry Road, Raycraft Road, Camp Daggett Road, Camp Sherwood Road, Sumner Road, and Old Horton Bay Road.

Cities and villages within twenty miles of Horton Bay include Boyne City, Charlevoix, Petoskey, Boyne Falls, and East Jordon, while the unincorporated communities of Bay Shore and Advance are within ten miles of the community.

The community, creek, and bay are named for Samuel Horton, who came in the late 1800s, and platted the townsite in 1876. A lumbering community, its first businesses included a sawmill, a boarding house, and a blacksmith shop. The Horton Bay General Store, which is still in operation, opened in 1876.

A post office opened on February 27, 1879, with Alonzo J. Stroud as postmaster. The post office was originally named Horton's Bay, but was changed to Horton Bay on October 12, 1894.

Horton Bay got off to a slow start. In 1903, the settlement had only sixty people and, five years later its population had risen only to seventy-five, although the community also had a feed mill by this point. On January 15, 1910, the post office was closed, and mail addressed to Horton Bay is now delivered by the Boyne City or Charlevoix post offices.

By the 1920s, Horton Bay had a Methodist Episcopal Church and an Evangelical Church. With the lumber industry in decline, a boarding house in Horton Bay was converted into a restaurant, and a couple of other restaurants were opened, as well. Mentioned earlier, the Horton Bay General Store served as the social center of the community. Originally a schoolhouse, the Horton Bay General Store was listed in the National Register of Historic Places in 2001.

The author, Ernest Hemingway, spent several summers in Horton Bay as a youth and as a young man. He fished the lake and creek, and was familiar with all of the businesses in town, some of which are still standing today. In 1921, Hemingway married his first wife in Horton Bay, and the town was the setting for several of his Nick Adams stories, in which he drew from his own experiences in the area, not all of which were portrayed as positive.

The Red Fox Inn, now a book, clothing, and art store, was originally built as the Horton Bay House, a boarding house for woodworkers. The inn is mentioned in Hemingway's short story, Up in Michigan, and tradition has it that the inn's proprietor taught Hemingway to fish in the 1910s and 1920s. The building was listed in the National Register of Historic Places in 1995.

Today, Horton Bay has a population of just over five hundred people. Besides the Horton Bay General Store, the Red Fox Inn, and the Horton Bay United Methodist Church, the town has a landscaping company, an antique store, and a couple of bed and breakfast lodging facilities.

The focus of this category is on the community of Horton Bay, as well as any businesses, churches, organizations, attractions, and events within the community.



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