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Surrounded by Almira Township, Lake Ann, Michigan is a small village in northeastern Benzie County, in the northwest Lower Peninsula.

The village is situated on the northern and northeastern banks of the body of water by the same name, and the smaller Bryan Lake is entirely within the boundaries of the village. Several other lakes are nearby. The Platte River, south of the village limits, flows through Lake Ann, emptying into Platte Bay of Lake Michigan.

The chief routes through the village are Maple Street and Lake Ann Road, which intersect downtown. North Reynolds Road forms the village's western border.

Cities and villages within twenty miles of Lake Ann include Honor, Traverse City, Empire, Beulah, Thompsonville, and Benzonia, while the unincorporated communities of Hardwood Acres, Cedar Run, Bendon, and Interlochen are within ten miles of the village.

With a current population of just under three hundred, the village's population has fluctuated widely, from a low of 31 to a high of 271, since it first appeared on the census rolls at 241 in 1900.

Unsurprisingly, given the lakes and rivers in and around the village, its economy is largely based on outdoor recreation and seasonal tourism today.

The first European-American settlers in the area were the Addison P. Wheelock family, who came in 1862. Mr. Wheelock named the lake for his wife, although it was originally known as Ann Lake rather than Lake Ann. As others settled in the township, Mr. Wheelock became an influential man, whose home was the site of the first meeting of Almira Township in 1864.

Like many Michigan towns, the early growth of the community had much to do with the lumber industry and the railroad. The Manistee & Northeastern Railroad opened a depot in Lake Ann in 1888 to facilitate the transport of lumber from the village and surrounding region. A post office was opened on January 30, 1891, with Elijah Ransom as postmaster, and Lake Ann was incorporated as a village the following year. By 1897, its population was nearly seven hundred. Unfortunately, that didn't last.

On July 4, 1897, a fire destroyed most of the village. Although the village had fire brigades, they were unable to halt the spread of flames, and it was nearly an hour before help arrived from Traverse City. Although the village was rebuilt, it was on a much smaller scale. In 1914, another fire destroyed large parts of the village, and there was a third fire in 1918.

For three decades, the village suffered significant population losses. Nevertheless, the village rebounded, although never again reaching a population of three hundred. Despite a population of under a hundred, Lake Ann had a school in the 1920s, as well as a church, a hotel, a doctor's office, real estate offices, a dressmaker, a blacksmith shop, a milliner, two general stores, and some other businesses. This included a general store built in 1892, which had survived the fires and still stands today.

By the 1920s, the lumber industry was in decline and, with it, the importance of the railroad. Over the years, the community transitioned into a resort community, its focus turning to tourism. Within the village and the surrounding region, there are several cottages, on or near the lake. The village includes a bed and breakfast between Bryan Lake and Lake Ann, in the western portion of the village, as well as a restaurant, coffee shop, ice cream shop, and a local brewery, as well as a grocery store, churches, a library, and a historical society.

The focus of this portion of our guide is on the small village of Lake Ann, Michigan. Appropriate resources include those pertaining to the village government, as well as local businesses, industries, schools, churches, organizations, attractions, and events. It may also include resources outside of the village limits which are nevertheless considered to be part of the Lake Ann community.



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