The early French voyageurs in coasting from Mackinac southward found two considerable indentations of the coast line of Lake Michigan on the east side, which they were accustomed to cross from headland to headland. The smaller of these they designated 'La Petite Traverse,' and the greater, 'La Grande Traverse.' These names were transferred to the two bays known as Little Traverse and Grand Traverse Bays.

Grand Traverse means 'a long, long way round' and it must have seemed a long way to the first people who came over the Great Lakes and threaded the pathless wilderness guided only by chart and compass, sleeping under the everlasting stars, with giant trees for a canopy while the hemlock and pine boughs furnished a soft bed whose sweet odors soothed their weary senses and refreshed them for the toilsome onward march still farther from civilization.

A charm of historic association rests upon all its area. Mound-builders, the most ancient inhabitants of the territory of the United States of whom we have any knowledge, had extended their scattered frontier settlements into the Grand Traverse country. The ground's surface has been scarred by Indian wars in the remote past.

Here the cross was erected by the early missionaries, and weather-beaten buildings erected by their successors still remain to connect us with a past that is rapidly receding. The fame of the Grand Traverse Region, however, is not dependent on its past. Its pleasant climate, beautiful scenery, and abundance of sports are of world wide reputation.


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Last updated: 11 April 2014 12:20 p.m. MST