Harbor Springs, Michigan

Harbor Springs, Michigan
Downtown Harbor Springs along M-119
Downtown Harbor Springs along M-119
Location within Emmet County
Location within Emmet County
Harbor Springs is located in Michigan
Harbor Springs
Harbor Springs
Location within the state of Michigan
Coordinates: 45°25′54″N 84°59′31″W / 45°25′54″N 84°59′31″W / 45.43167; -84.99194
CountryUnited States
 • MayorMatthew Bugera
 • Total1.29 sq mi (3.35 km2)
 • Land1.29 sq mi (3.35 km2)
 • Water0.00 sq mi (0.00 km2)
669 ft (204 m)
 • Total1,194
 • Estimate 
 • Density931.11/sq mi (359.41/km2)
Time zoneUTC-5 (EST)
 • Summer (DST)UTC-4 (EDT)
ZIP codes
49737, 49740
Area code(s)231
FIPS code26-36560[4]
GNIS feature ID0627758[5]
WebsiteOfficial website

Harbor Springs is a city and resort community in Emmet County in the U.S. state of Michigan. The population was 1,194 at the 2010 census.

Harbor Springs is in a sheltered bay on the north shore of the Little Traverse Bay on Lake Michigan. The Little Traverse Lighthouse is a historic lighthouse on the Harbor Point peninsula, which shelters the deepest natural harbor on the Great Lakes. M-119 connects with US 31 7 miles (11 km) east and south at Bay View, and Petoskey, which is 4 miles (6.4 km) away on the south side of the harbor.

The area is known for its historic summer resorts, such as Wequetonsing, which was founded by Illinois businessmen and lawyers Henry Stryker, III, and Henry Brigham McClure. They were both connected with the Jacob Bunn industrial dynasty of Illinois.


Bay Street in Harbor Springs, circa 1900s

The European-American settlement started with a mission by French Catholic Jesuits; they called this area L'Arbre Croche, meaning Crooked Tree. In 1847, L'Arbre Croche had the largest concentration of Native Americans in Michigan.[6] French traders renamed the area Petit Traverse, or Little Traverse, when they arrived in the area. After more settlers came to the area from the eastern United States, they changed the name of the village to Harbor Springs, incorporating it in 1880.

The federally recognized Little Traverse Bay Bands of Odawa Indians are descendants of the numerous Odawa bands that historically occupied this area. They have their tribal offices in Harbor Springs, and a gaming resort in Petoskey. Their reservation lands encompasses approximately 336 square miles (870 km2) of land in Charlevoix and Emmet counties.

Ephraim Shay's hexagonally shaped house.

One of the city's more prominent European-American residents was Ephraim Shay (1839–1916), known for his invention of the Shay locomotive. The hexagonal-shaped house he built in downtown Harbor Springs still stands today and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The local elementary school is named after him.[7]

Another building of interest is the Douglas House on the shore of Lake Michigan. Designed by noted architect Richard Meier and completed in 1973, this house is one of 150 structures listed in 2007 as America's Favorite Architecture by the American Institute of Architects.[8]

Harbor Springs was the location of the Club Ponytail, a famous music hall destroyed by fire in 1969.