Photo by Jonas Geschke on

Andrew J. Blackbird Museum in Harbor Springs

Northern Michigan has a rich history. The area north of Harbor Springs near Good Hart has had many names over its history. The first settlers, the Native Americans, called it L’Arbre Croche or Crooked Tree. A large tree with a crooked trunk located at the foot of the Lamkin Hill drive just down from Good Hart was a visible marker on Lake Michigan for canoes coming into shore.

The Lake Michigan shoreline was a natural gathering place for Native Americans and large populations settled in what is now Harbor Springs, Seven Mile Point, Good Hart, and Cross Village. Middle Village was the half way, or middle spot, between Harbor Springs and Good Hart.

Andrew J. Blackbird was born in what is now Harbor Springs around 1815. His father was an Ottawa chief named Mack-e-te-be-nessy (Makade-binesi, “black hawk”). The name was mistranslated as “Blackbird”, which became the family’s English name. Mack-e-te-be-nessy was chief of the Arbor Croche, or Middle Village band of the Ottawas. Andrew was trained as a blacksmith but enjoyed education and attended Twinsburg Institute in Ohio and Michigan State Normal School, now Eastern Michigan University.

During the 1850’s, Blackbird was a counselor for both the U.S. and Ottawa and Ojibwa peoples and worked to help Native American veterans receive pensions. He helped settle land claims and worked to achieve citizenship for Native Americans. He married and bought a house in Harbor Springs. He became the town’s second postmaster in 1858.

Today, Blackbird’s mark on Harbor Springs as well as the Native American influence on Northern Michigan is preserved at the Andrew J. Blackbird Museum. Located on Main Street in Blackbird’s restored house, the Museum shares space with the Harbor Springs Area Chamber of Commerce. Native American artifacts fill the museum space. This tiny museum is across the street from the Harbor Springs History Museum.

For more information on the Andrew J. Blackbird Museum:

368 E. Main St., Harbor Springs, MI, 49740

(231) 526-0612

Activities & Attractions in Northern Michigan

Charlevoix's Historical Museums

Charlevoix’s History Museums

The Harsha House and the Charlevoix Depot Museum, run by the Charlevoix Historical Society, preserve much of Charlevoix’s rich history.

Northern Michigan Arts Scene

West Michigan is home to numerous artists with so many different talents. Groovy music, vivid paintings, gorgeous photography, and more!

M-119 Tunnel of Trees

Take a beautiful color tour as you travel under a tunnel of colorful trees along M-119 from Harbor Springs to Cross Village.

The Little Traverse Wheelway

The Little Traverse Wheelway

Bicyclists, walkers, and roller bladers can go from Harbor Springs to Charlevoix on the 26-mile long Little Traverse Wheelway.

Maple Syrup Time

Maple Syrup Season

Spring brings lots of outdoor activities to Northern Michigan but one often ends up on pancakes: making maple syrup.

Charlevoix Circle of Arts

The Charlevoix Circle of Arts is a vibrant, cultural center in downtown Charlevoix that presents six major visual exhibits annually.

Beaver Island

Beaver Island Up North

Beaver Island is located 32 miles offshore of Charlevoix, Michigan and is the largest island in Lake Michigan.