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Manitou Beach, Michigan is an unincorporated community in Rollin Township to the south, and Woodstock Township to the north, in the northwest quadrant of Lenawee County, in the southern part of the Lower Peninsula.

The census-designated place (CDP) is comprised of the unincorporated communities of Devils Lake, Geneva, and Manitou Beach, and includes the bodies of water known as Devils Lake and Round Lake, as well as the much smaller Mud Lake.

The chief route through the community is US-233, which forms the northern boundary of the CDP. Other routes include Devils Lake Highway, Manitou Beach Road, Skinner Highway, and Townley Highway. Cities and villages within twenty miles of the CDP include Addison, Cement City, Hudson, Onsted, Clayton, North Adams, Brooklyn, Adrian, and Jonesville, Somerset Center, an unincorporated community, is less than ten miles northwest.

The area around both lakes was inhabited by the Potawatomi people until the 1830s. The main part of the Potawatomi village was in the area of the current Devils Lake community, but the village extended around both Devils Lake and Round Lake.

It was the Potawatomi who gave both Devils Lake and Manitou Beach their names, as they are derived from the same source. The legend is that a Potawatomi princess disappeared while swimming in Devils Lake, near the current community by that name. As the princess was an excellent swimmer, the Potawatomi decided that the lake was the home of a devil. They named the lake Michenmanitou, which is Potawatomi for Devils Lake.

Situated at the northern portion of Devils Lake, the community of Devils Lake was the home of the governing council of the Potawatomi village until 1833, when the Native American inhabitants were driven out.

Among the first European-American settlers at Devils Lake were the Honorable Orson Green and the Joseph Beal family, who camped and then settled along the northern shores of Devils Lake. Levi Thompson and a man with the surname of Lapham also came in 1833. In the 1870s, John B. Allen opened a hotel in Devils Lake. Originally known as Allen's Landing, the building is now part of the Devils Lake Yacht Club. Mr. Allen also built the North End Hotel, and became the first postmaster when a post office was established on October 19, 1885. The post office operated until October 31, 1936, when mail delivery responsibilities were given to the Manitou Beach post office.

In the early 1900s, the Birdsall's Hotel was built. It later became the Lakeview Hotel and Dance Hall, which brought people into the area for music performances up until the late 1960s. The pavilion later became Tibb's IGA, and then Jerry's Pavilion Market, which features sections of the original wooden dance floor.

In the early 1900s, the Cincinnati Northern Railroad, and a branch of the New York Central Railroad ran to Devils Lake, bringing thousands of visitors to the region. Two steamboats, one a double-decker with a sidewheel, offered cruises on the lake. When automobiles became more common, the area developed into a summer resort, which it still is, although the CDP had a year-round population of just over two thousand in 2010.

Manitou Beach is on the south side of Devils Lake. As with Devils Lake, the Potawatomi were moved from the area in 1833 and 1834, as European-Americans moved in. By the turn of the 20th century, the Manitou Lake settlement outgrew the one at Devils Lake, its growth spurred by tourism and summer vacationers. A post office was established at Manitou Beach on March 20, 1889, with Columbus F. Beckey as postmaster. The Cincinnati, Jackson & Mackinaw Railroad opened a station at Manitou Beach. Today, the entire CDP continues to draw vacationers but, little by little, small rental cottages are being replaced by larger year-round homes as people come to stay.

The Geneva community is situated along the southwest portion of Round Lake. Geneva was given a post office on July 7, 1854, but it closed on January 15, 1908. Today, Geneva is gradually being absorbed by Manitou Lake, as the residential areas of both communities are approaching one another.

The focus of this category is on the Manitou Beach-Devils Lake CDP, and appropriate topics will include businesses, industries, schools, places of worship, organizations, attractions, and recreational opportunities in Devils Lake, Manitou Beach, Geneva, or elsewhere in the Devils Lake-Manitou Beach census-designated place.



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