Written by Perry F. Powers in 1912 in the book "A History of Northern Michigan".

North Park From Depot, Mancelona Michigan

North Park From Depot, Mancelona Michigan


Mancelona, thirteen miles southeast of Bellaire, is a flourishing village on the Grand Trunk & Indiana Railroad and is but a few years younger than the county seat.

The first movements at this point having any connection with a village were in the spring of 1872 by Leander C. Handy and A. D. Carpenter, who opened a store and established the nucleus of a business center.

Prior to that time section 20, upon a portion of which the village is located, had been occupied a short time.

Perry Andress, after residing several years in Lapeer and St. Joseph counties, Benton Harbor and Allegan, came with his family in 1869 to where Mancelona now is, before the township was organized.

He took the site of the Mancelona Hotel and vicinity as a homestead.

Mr. Andress erected the hotel building and opened a place of public entertainment when the railroad was just being surveyed, and also gave some attention to lumbering.

In 1880 he removed to Petoskey, purchased the Occidental Hotel and retained it until his death, March 11, 1881.

The town and village of Mancelona were named from Mr. Andress' youngest daughter, Mancelona Andress, afterward well known in Petoskey society.

Leander C. Handy and A. U. Carpenter opened the first store at Mancelona in 1872.

Mr. Handy bought the first village lot, erected the first frame building, sold the first merchandise, bought the first load of wheat and the first load of apples, shipped the first carload of wheat and assisted in securing the location of the blast furnace operated by J. Otis & Company, the Mancelona handle factory and the butter dish and sash, door and blind factories.

He may be put down in local history as the real founder of the village.

The second store was started by Marshall Emery, and soon after the arrival of Perry Andress, the proprietor of the village plat, a post office was established with Mr. Andress as postmaster.

He kept the office in his hotel for about a year, when Mr. Handy succeeded him and continued in office for many years.

A Congregational church was organized at Mancelona in 1874.

The Methodists supplied the villagers with occasional preaching in 1873-5, and the Mancelona and Kalkaska circuit was organized in 1877.

Mancelona Michigan State Street Looking East

Mancelona Michigan State Street Looking East

In the image above on the extreme left side you will see a Harness Shop owned by the Brown Brothers.

Clicking this link will take you to a page built for the Civil War Veteran by the name of Nicholas Brown.

In 1875 a schoolhouse was built which answered the needs of the district for several years, but in 1882 a Union building was erected, the pupils being regularly graded during that year.

In 1877 Mr. Andress, the original proprietor of Mancelona, platted about fifteen acres on the north half of section 20, thus adding to the area of the village.

Furnaceville, or Antrim, which adjoins Mancelona on the south, is practically a part of the village.

It was founded by John Otis, a New York man who located there in 1882 and, with R. M. Cherrie, erected and started a blast furnace for the manufacture of charcoal pig iron.

In May, 1883, the furnace and all the main buildings of the plant were consumed by fire at a loss of about $40,000, but in September Mr. Otis resumed the enterprise alone and developed it finally into a large iron manufactory employing about one hundred and fifty men.

He also started a broom factory, built large kilns for the manufacture of charcoal and made Furnaceville a busy industrial town.

It is still an important manufacturing center with a large plant for the making of wood alcohol and chemicals, an extensive charcoal pig iron furnace, and saw and planing mills.

Mancelona and Furnaceville combined present a picture of varied industrial life, for, besides the manufactories mentioned, they turn out flour, veneer, cheese box material, broom handles, butter and gasoline launch engines—certainly a conglomeration.

Mancelona Township contains about twelve thousand acres of cutover hardwood timber lands, the soil of which is of a heavy sandy loam and particularly favorable to heavy potato crops.

Abundant crops have, in fact, been raised, as may be verified by the shipments of over one hundred and seventy-five carloads of potatoes in one of the recent seasons.

Most of this trade gravitates to the village.

A village incorporation was secured in 1889; so that Mancelona is now a regular civil body with wide paved streets, electric light and power plant, an excellent system of water works, a good bank (Antrim County State Savings), two weekly newspapers, an up-to-date public school system and a fine county normal school, a township library, an opera house and a number of churches.

The last named include Methodist, Catholic, Congregational, Episcopal and German Reformed organizations.

Douglas Lake 1940 Mancelona Mchigan

Douglas Lake 1940 Mancelona Mchigan