Aviva Directory » Local & Global » North America » United States » States » Michigan » Cities & Towns » Indian River

Situated along southern and southeastern Burt Lake, as well as southwestern Mullett Lake, at the area where the Sturgeon River flows into Burt Lake, and where the Indian River flows out of Burt Lake into Mullett Lake, the community of Indian River, Michigan is in eastern Tuscarora Township, Cheboygan County, in the northern Lower Peninsula.

Although Indian River is an unincorporated community, without official boundaries, it has been defined as a census-designated place (CDP) by the U.S. Census Bureau, which had set boundaries for the purpose of the census, although these boundaries may not correspond with the area that local consider being part of Indian River.

The CDP boundaries designate the eastern half of Tuscarora Township as Indian River, while the western part of the township includes the community of Burt Lake, in the lower west part of the lake by that name.

Indian River is located in the center of the Inland Water Route, a 38-mile chain of lakes and rivers. The Indian River flows through the center of the CDP between Burt Lake and Mullett Lake, while the Sturgeon River flows north from the southern part of the CDP north, joining the Indian River as it flows into Mullett Lake.

I-75 runs roughly north-south through the center of the CDP, intersecting M-68. M-27, which used to be US-27, runs largely parallel to I-75, offering an indirect alternative to I-75 on its approach to the Mackinac Bridge, which joins Michigan's Lower and Upper peninsulas. The concentration of development in Indian River is along the southeastern shores of Burt Lake, and Burt Lake State Park is just south and southwest of there.

Cities and villages within twenty miles of Indian River include Wolverine, Alanson, Pellston, Cheboygan, Petoskey, and Onaway, while the unincorporated communities of Topinabee, Burt Lake, and Afton are within ten miles. Indian River is about thirty miles south of the Straits of Mackinac and the Mackinac Bridge.

Visitors to the community may notice the 32-foot sculpture of a sturgeon at the intersection of South Straits Highway and M-68. Created by Tom Moran, the sculpture was paid for through a fundraising drive by the Burt Lake Preservation Association. The community is also home to the National Shrine of the Cross in the Woods, billed as the world's largest crucifix, adjacent to Burt Lake State Park.

The Indian River Golf Club is an 18-hole golf course near the center of the CDP.

This portion of Tuscarora Township was first settled by David Smith, Jackson Corey, S.P. Hayes, M.A. McHenry, and John B. Clark in 1876. Speculating that the Mackinaw Division of the Michigan Central Railroad would cross the river at this point, McHenry, along with Floyd E. Martin, purchased 152 acres from Clark in 1878, planning a townsite on a portion of this property.

McHenry had built a home on the south side of the river, and later operated a hotel there. He opened a general store in 1879. Martin hired Oliver S. Heyden to survey the townsite in 1879, and the plat was recorded the following year, although the community was never incorporated. A post office was established on September 22, 1879, with Heyden as the first postmaster.

The railroad came through in 1881. Shortly afterward, both Darius Parsons and Daniel Keeney opened separate sawmills and shingle mills, and John Parker opened a mill on Burt Lake. A school and a Methodist Episcopal Church were built in 1881.

In the early years of the community, most visitors came by steamboat. Around the turn of the 20th century, more than thirty-two steamboats carried people, mail, and supplies to Indian River, and various forest products were shipped from the community.

After the lumbering industry declined in the early 1900s, the area lost population for a time. More recently, it has become a resort community.

The focus of this category is on the community of Indian River, Michigan. Websites representing topics relating to the community, or to any businesses, industries, schools, churches, organizations, attractions, or events, are appropriate topics for this guide.


Faith & Spirituality

Places to Stay

Services & Industries



Recommended Resources

Search for Indian River on Google or Bing