Beaver Island

Sun shinning through trees on a Beaver Island drive

Hotel on Beaver Island named after Michigan's first and only "king"

North end of island looking across Paradise Bay

Flying from mainland to Beaver Island

Possibly, Beaver Island in one the best keep secrets of Michigan and perhaps of the Country. Situated at 45.75 latitude N. and 85.50 longitude W., and 30 miles from the city of Charlevoix in Lake Michigan, the island is a paradise of natural beauty, and a rich history.  Surrounded by the waters of Lake Michigan, its 55.8 square miles containing 7 small to moderate in lakes are making the place a fisherman’s paradise.  Beaver Island is also called the Emerald Isle of the United States due to the green of the forest and its tie with the country of Ireland.  The Native Americans passed by Beaver Island about 2200 years ago, even though there is no proof that they lived on the island, the oral history of the Odawas (Ottawas) say they did. They were on the island about 300 years ago when the Europeans arrived in the middle 1700s, some were recruited to help in the skirmish between the English and the French. Very little is known about the Odawas until Father Baraga came from L’Abre Croche in 1832 converting some of the Indians to Catholicism. In the 1800s one hundred traders and trappers, some Irish, started arriving to the island, trapping, fishing and cutting wood for the passing steamers as a way to earn a living on the island. In 1850 there were about 100 people living in a growing community at Whiskey Point, and unaware of the few Mormons living among them. Soon the Mormons overwhelmed them forcing them to leave.

Born in 1813 in New York, Jesse James Strang was the creator of the only American kingdom, established  in Beaver Island.  As a young lawyer he established his law practice in New York, but it did not satisfy his ambitions.  In 1844 he met Josef Smith and he converted to the new religion, becoming very fast one of its leaders.  After the assassination of Josef Smith, Strang produced a letter that said that Smith chose him as successor, he was challenged by Brigham Young .  Strang lead the people that accepted him to Beaver Island.  Producing some mysterious brass plates Strang decided to establish a colony on Beaver Island and proclaimed himself king. His abuses were well known until he was assassinated by some of his followers, and his people were driven off the island by an unruly mob. Soon after a new wave of settlers, mainly Irish, occupied the space left by the Mormons, they came from Gull Isle, Mackinac Island, and different cities off the main land and county Donegal in Ireland.

Beaver Island has a rich history and diverse back ground, today a place where many Michiganders find a place for summer homes or retirement. The island contains an Irish flavor, Irish flags are every were side to side by the American flag.  The island offers about six local motels, several BB and a diversity of rental places. Restaurants mainly located at St James in the harbor, offer a variety of cooking styles. At the heart of the community you will find the Beaver Island Community Center were residents and visitors come together to share fun, information, activities and entertainment. The wonderful harbor, known as Paradise Bay, offers a safe haven for the sailor and a spectacular view for the spectator. Green, green, green is the scenery that will follow you when you travel the ways and trails of the island, occasional encounters of deer, turkey and possible moose can make your day.

Plane or ferry will take you to an unhurried lifestyle in nature’s beauty, Beaver Island, a Michigan secret exposed by the Milan Eagle.

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