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Interlochen, Michigan is an unincorporated community in central Green Lake Township, west Grand Traverse County, in the northwest Lower Peninsula.

Interlochen is also a census-designated place (CDP), with boundaries described for the purpose of the US census. US Highway 31 forms the northern boundary of the CDP, and M-137 (Karlin Road) runs north-south through the center of town. Tonawanda Lake Road forms the upper part of Interlochen's eastern boundary, the remainder formed by Mud Lake, and a stream connecting Mud Lake with several other area lakes. The western and southern boundaries of the CDP are also formed by streams.

The cities and villages within twenty miles of Interlochen are Lake Ann, Honor, Thompsonville, Traverse City, Buckley, Copemish, Kingsley, Benzonia, Beulah, and Mesick, and unincorporated communities within ten miles include Bendon, Karlin, Grawn, Pavlovic Corner, Chum's Corner, Monroe Center, and Bass Lake.

Interlochen is north of Green Lake and Duck Lake, with Interlochen State Park occupying the space in between these two lakes. Other nearby lakes include Tuller's Lake, Tonawanda Lake, Bridge Lake, Ellis Lake, Bass Lake, Cedar Hedge Lake, Yonker Lake, Round Lake, and several others.

Although the CDP boundaries for the community do not include the area between the two larger lakes, Duck Lake and Green Lake, the community was named for its position between these lakes, and most people would consider the area of Interlochen State Park as being part of the community.

Duck Lake is a 1,930-acre body of water. It is just under a hundred feet deep at its deepest point. The lake was known as Wahbekaness (Water Lingers) by the Ottawa people before the European-American settlement. Just west of Duck Lake, Green Lake is a 2,000-acre body of water that is more than a hundred feet deep at its deepest point. The Ottawa knew Green Lake as Lake Wahbekanetta (Water Lingers Again), a reference to the similarities between the two lakes, which are approximately the same size and depth, each with a prominent peninsula.

M-137 passes between the two lakes. Today, Interlochen State Park and the Interlochen Center for the Arts are situated between the two lakes.

Historically, this was the location of a community known as Wylie. Approximately one mile south of the Interlochen CDP, the town was founded by the Wylie Cooperage Company in 1888, and the Manistee & Northeastern Railroad established a station there by that name. Wylie became a ghost town around 1915 when the supply of raw elm logs was depleted. The main part of the settlement, just north of Interlochen State Park, is now occupied by the Interlochen Center for the Arts, and typically considered to be within the Interlochen community, although outside of the CDP.

In the late 1800s, logging and fishing industries brought European and European-American settlers to the area, founding Wylie. However, the Manistee & Northeastern Railroad, which had helped to found Wylie, extended its line north, where it was crossed by the Chicago & West Michigan Railway, and it was at that crossing that the town of Interlochen was founded. A depot and interlocking tower were built there.

The Interlochen townsite was platted just south of the depot, along both sides of the Manistee & Northeastern tracks in late 1889 or 1890, and its business district developed along what is now M-137 and Riley Road.

Anticipating the eventual deforestation of the region, as well as the potential for a resort area, the Buckley and Douglas Lumber Company, which owned the Manistee & Northeastern Railroad, set aside 186 acres of virgin pine timber between Duck and Green lakes, creating what was originally known as Pine Park, and established the Pine Park Station, transporting visitors to the region during the warmer months to escape the larger Michigan cities. The Pennington Hotel was built on land adjacent to Pine Park, along the banks of Green Lake, in 1909.

Afraid that Pine Park would eventually be logged, the state purchased the property, which later became Interlochen State Park, the first state park organized by the state, as Mackinac Island was a national park before becoming Michigan's first state park in 1895.

The National High School Orchestra Camp was founded just north of Interlochen State Park in 1928. Today, it is known as the Interlochen Center for the Arts, which operates a fine art boarding high school, a public radio station (88.7 WIAA), and a summer camp. A couple of years later, the Center expanded to both sides of M-137, taking up the entire area of Wylie.

By the late 1900s, the railroads quit running through the area, removing their tracks by 1982, but the area continues to be popular among vacationers, who fish, swim, boat, hike, and camp in the area during the summer months, while recreationists come to ski or snowmobile during the winter.



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