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Petoskey, Michigan is a coastal resort city in the northern Lower Peninsula, and the county seat of Emmet County.

Situated along the southern shores of Little Traverse Bay, on Lake Michigan, the Bear River flows through the central part of the city, where it empties into the bay. The western portion of the city includes Bay Harbor Lake, which connects to Lake Michigan.

The main routes to and from the city are US-31 (Charlevoix Avenue) and US-131 (Spring Street), which ends at its intersection with US-31 downtown, after which US-31 continues east as Bay View Road. Cities and villages within twenty-five miles of Petoskey include Harbor Springs, Alanson, Boyne City, Boyne Falls, Charlevoix, Pellston, and Wolverine. The unincorporated community and census-designated place known as Bay View is adjacent to Petoskey to the northeast, and the unincorporated communities of Conway and Bay Shore are within ten miles of the city.

The city's Department of Parks and Recreation operates a 144-slip marina at Bayfront Park. The marina provides seasonal and transient slips, gasoline and diesel fuel, a boat launch, wireless Internet, 30/50 amp power, water, pump-out services, a restroom and showers, playground equipment, and adjacent park grounds. The Gaslight District is connected to Bayfront Park by a pedestrian tunnel.

Historically, the Pennsylvania Railroad's Northern Arrow, the Pere Marquette Railway's Resort Special, and other trains provided passenger services to Petoskey and Bay View, but these were discontinued in the late 1900s. The Pere Marquette trains, and later the Chesapeake and Ohio Railway, used its station, while the Pennsylvania Railroad had its own station. The Chesapeake and Ohio trains were discontinued in 1963. Today, freight service to Petoskey is limited, and provided by the Tuscola and Saginaw Bay Railway, although the tracks are owned by the state. Occasional special excursion passenger trains to Petoskey occur every now and then.

The Ottawa people inhabited the area before it was settled by European-Americans. Historically, the Ottawa were migratory, traveling from the Upper Peninsula and the northern Lower Peninsula to the southern part of the state for the winter months.

By the 1850s, there was a Catholic mission in Harbor Springs, which was then known as Little Traverse, and the Reverend Andrew Porter, a Presbyterian missionary, arrived to begin a ministry in Petoskey, originally known as Bear River, in 1852.

A pair of entrepreneurs, Amos Fox and Hiram Obed Rose, who had been in business selling lumber and goods to passing ships during the California Gold Rush, expanded their interests to Petoskey in the 1850s, as Rose and Fox. Rose was also involved in a partnership to extend the railroad from Walton Junction to Traverse City, and he, along with Archibald Buttars, opened a general merchandise store in Petoskey.

On December 2, 1857, a post office was established as Bear River, with the Rev. Porter as the first postmaster. For a time the community was also known as Porter's Village. On December 5, 1873, the post office was renamed Petoskey, and incorporated as a village in 1879, and a city in 1896.

After his partnership with Fox broke up, Rose moved to Petoskey and was involved in building the first dock in town in 1873. Anticipating the arrival of the Grand Rapids and Indiana Railroad, Rose acquired much of the land in the area, established a trolley car service, and opened a general store, large lime quarries, and lumber enterprises. He also built the Arlington Hotel.

Petoskey had a high concentration of ancient fossil coral, which became known as Petoskey Stones, which were designated as the state stone in 1965.

The peak population of Petoskey was 6,468 in 1950, and its current population is just over 5,700.

The focal point of this portion of our guide is on the city of Petoskey, Michigan. Appropriate resources include websites for the municipal government, the county government, and any other governmental entities within the city, as well as local businesses, industries, schools, places of worship, organizations, attractions, events, entertainment venues, and recreational opportunities.


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