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Photo by Todd and Brad Reed Photography

The Inland Water Route Historical Museum

The Inland Water Route is a series of lakes and rivers that with a short portage connects Lake Michigan to Lake Huron. The water route was a pivotal part of the development of Northern Michigan as Native Americans used the route to avoid rough water on the big lakes. One of encampments along the waterway date back more than 3,000 years.

The history of the water route is preserved at the Inland Water Route Historical Museum in Alanson. This small, Northern Michigan museum is a treasure. Alanson is located on the Crooked River, one of the moving tributaries that connects the lakes.

The museum displays photos and artifacts on each community along the entire water route: Conway, Oden, Ponshewaing, Alanson, Indian River, Topinabee, and Cheboygan. The museum also includes displays on logging, railroad use, and lodging which were pivotal to the development of Northern Michigan.

The Inland Waterway includes Crooked Lake, Pickeral Lake, Burt Lake, and Mullett Lake and are connected by Crooked River, Indian River, and Cheboygan River. Communities developed along the rivers and lakes and became both resort and year ’round towns. The museum has an extensive collection of photos and artifacts focusing on the importance of the waterway in Northern Michigan’s history.

The museum, is located on River Street, one block from the swing bridge over the Crooked River. Hours are 10am-2pm, Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays-Sundays.

For more information on the Inland Water Route Historical Museum, please contact:

The Inland Water Route Historical Society

6217 River St., Alanson, MI, 49781

(231) 548-5716

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