Photograph by Todd Reed

Mason County's recorded history began on May 18, l675 when French missionary-explorer Pere Jacques Marquette died at the mouth of the river that was to bear his name. Marquette, en route to his mission at St. Ignace after a two-year voyage of exploration into Illinois, was the first white man to visit the area and his death site was recorded in journals kept by two French companions who accompanied him on his trip.

It wasn't until the mid 1840s, however, that the first settlers began to arrive, lured by thousands of acres of pine trees. Lumber mills sprang up and eventually the railroad came to the village of Pere Marquette, now Ludington. Wooden steamboats, later replaced by steel carferries, linked Michigan's west shore to Wisconsin and opened a new form of commerce tourism.

Mason County's natural resources make it one of the most appealing to visitors of any area in Michigan. Established as a county in 1855, Mason County's lumber business gave way to light manufacturing, the chemical industry and water-related activities, such as salmon fishing and pleasure boating.

But there are still reminders of the era of lumber barons. Large, well-kept homes on Ludington Avenue were built before the turn of the century by some of the areas most notable lumbermen.

Historic preservation within Mason County has become important to its residents. The Mason County Historical Society operates White Pine Village, located south of Ludington on the Buttersville Peninsula. The village is an authentic portrayal of the county's history. Located in White Pine Village is the Rose Hawley Museum, which contains artifacts and the written and pictorial history of the area.

Mason County has some of the finest farms and fruit growing areas in Michigan. Apples, cherries, peaches, pears and blueberries are abundant. Dairying and asparagus comprise other farms.

For outdoor lovers, the county's rivers and streams provide excellent fishing for those who enjoy pan fish. Fishermen who want a bigger catch head for Lake Michigan and the coho and chinook salmon or the big lake trout. There are numerous inland lakes ideal for fishing, boating and swimming.

An active Chamber of Commerce, Tourist & Resort association and Visitors & Convention Bureau assure Mason County will remain a favorite for visitors.

(Courtesy of WMD Phone Guide)


Mason County District Library

217 E. Ludington Ave.
Ludington, Michigan 49431
voice: 616-843-8465, fax: 616-843-1491

204 E. State St.
Scottville, Michigan 49454
voice: 616-757-2588, fax: 616-757-3401

LUMANET Information System 616-757-4211


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