Escanaba (/ˌɛskəˈnɑːbə/ ess-kə-nah-bə) is a city in the U.S. state of Michigan, located in the banana belt on the state's Upper Peninsula. The population was 12,616 at the2010 census. As of the 2000 census, the city population was 13,140, making it the third-largest city in the Upper Peninsula after Marquette and Sault Ste. Marie. It is the county seat of Delta County.

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Aerial view of Escanaba, Michigan.

There is also Escanaba Township, which is north of the city and is not adjacent to it, although a portion of the urban area around the city extends into the township. Both are named for the Escanaba River that flows into the Little Bay de Noc of Lake Michigan just north of the city at 45°46′37″N 87°03′30″W.

History Edit

The word "Escanaba" roughly translates from various regional native languages to "land of the red buck" although some people maintain that it refers to "flat rock". Escanaba was anOjibwa village in the early 19th century.[7] As an American settlement, Escanaba began as a port town in the mid-19th century, gaining importance to the Union as a shipping point for iron ore, lumber and copper during the Civil War. In his poem "The Song of Hiawatha", Henry Wadsworth Longfellowdescribed how Hiawatha "crossed the rushing Esconaba" referring to the river. Located onLittle Bay de Noc at the northern edge of Lake Michigan, Escanaba continues to serve as an important shipping point for iron ore to other Great Lakes ports, especially south toChicago and northern Indiana. The local paper mill, for many years Mead Corporation's Publishing Paper Division, is currently operated by NewPage Corporation; located on the outskirts of the city alongside the Escanaba River, it is now the area's largest employer.

As shipping increased, a lighthouse was needed to warn of a sand shoals that reached out into Little Bay de Noc from Sand Point, asandspit located just south of and adjacent to the harbor area. The United States Lighthouse Service approved construction of the Sand Point Lighthouse at a cost of $11,000. Construction began in the fall of 1867 and was completed in early spring 1868. It was deactivated in 1939, and was used by the United States Coast Guard to house seaman assigned to Escanaba. The building was completely restored to its original design in the late 1980s, and placed on the National Register of Historic Places.

The historic House of Ludington, downtown Escanaba.

The House of Ludington is a landmark historic hotel in downtown Escanaba. Originally built in 1865 as the Gaynor House Hotel, it was renamed after lumberman Nelson Ludington 1871. It was rebuilt as a brick structure in the Queen Anne Style in 1883, becoming the New Ludington Hotel.

Bay de Noc Community College, a public 2-year college, was founded in the city in 1962.

Geography Edit

According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 16.50 square miles (42.73 km2), of which 12.88 square miles (33.36 km2) is land and 3.62 square miles (9.38 km2) is water.[1] Escanaba is home to one the safest natural harbors in the upper Great Lakes, which makes it a natural destination for boaters.[8] Ludington Park, a three-quarter mile stretch of lake shore where the city's easternmost point extends into Little Bay de Noc, is one the of largest city parks in Michigan.

Transportation Edit

C&NW railway station in Escanaba, Michigan - 1953.

  • US 2 runs eastward to St. Ignace and the Mackinac Bridge, 143 miles (230 km) to the east. Along the way it passes through Gladstone, 9 miles (14 km) north/east and Manistique, 54 miles (87 km) east. It runs west concurrent with US 41 until Powers, and from there 21 miles (34 km) west to Iron Mountain.
  • US 41 connects with Marquette 66 miles (106 km) to the north and with Powers 24 miles (39 km) west before turning south to Menominee.
  • M‑35 runs northwest 51 miles (82 km) through undeveloped areas to Gwinn. Going south, it provides a direct route along the shore of Green Bay to Menominee, 55 miles (89 km) to the southwest.
  • M‑69 runs northwest toward many rural communities before ending at Crystal Falls.
  • The city is served by Delta County Airport, with flights daily to Minneapolis/St. Paul and Detroit via Delta Connection
  • Indian Trails provides daily intercity bus service between St. Ignace and Ironwood, Michigan[9] and between Hancock, Michigan and Milwaukee, Wisconsin[10]

Demographics Edit

City Hall and Library

Escanaba is located in Michigan Congressional District 1; its Representativesince 2011 in Congress is Dan Benishek (R).

2010 census Edit

As of the census[2] of 2010, there were 12,616 people, 5,622 households, and 3,090 families residing in the city. The population densitywas 979.5 inhabitants per square mile (378.2 /km2). There were 6,178 housing units at an average density of 479.7 per square mile (185.2 /km2). The racial makeup of the city was 93.5% White, 0.4% African American, 2.6% Native American, 0.6% Asian, 0.3% fromother races, and 2.7% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 1.2% of the population.

There were 5,622 households of which 26.1% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 36.8% were married couples living together, 13.6% had a female householder with no husband present, 4.6% had a male householder with no wife present, and 45.0% were non-families. 38.2% of all households were made up of individuals and 17.6% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.14 and the average family size was 2.82.

The median age in the city was 41.4 years. 21.4% of residents were under the age of 18; 9.9% were between the ages of 18 and 24; 22.6% were from 25 to 44; 26.4% were from 45 to 64; and 19.6% were 65 years of age or older. The gender makeup of the city was 47.1% male and 52.9% female.

2000 census Edit

As of the census[4] of 2000, there were 13,140 people, 5,800 households, and 3,294 families residing in the city. The population densitywas 1,038.3 inhabitants per square mile (400.7/km²). There were 6,258 housing units at an average density of 494.5 per square mile (190.9/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 95.66% White, 0.11% African American, 2.61% Native American, 0.33%Asian, 0.02% Pacific Islander, 0.18% fromother races, and 1.09% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 0.66% of the population. 17.0% were ofGerman, 16.5% French, 11.4% French Canadian, 8.8% Swedish, 6.4% Irish and 5.2%English ancestry according to Census 2000.

There were 5,800 households out of which 26.6% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 42.2% were married couples living together, 11.2% had a female householder with no husband present, and 43.2% were non-families. 37.0% of all households were made up of individuals and 18.1% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.19 and the average family size was 2.88.

In the city the population was spread out with 22.5% under the age of 18, 9.8% from 18 to 24, 25.1% from 25 to 44, 21.2% from 45 to 64, and 21.4% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 40 years. For every 100 females there were 87.7 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 82.3 males.

The median income for a household in the city was $29,125, and the median income for a family was $36,995. Males had a median income of $32,310 versus $21,204 for females. The per capita income for the city was $17,589. About 10.8% of families and 13.8% of the population were below thepoverty line, including 17.7% of those under age 18 and 9.0% of those age 65 or over.

Culture Edit

Escanaba Middle School; the school board opted to completely renovate the historic 1930s downtown building instead of moving it outside of town.[11]

Although politically a part of the state of Michigan, Escanaba and the western Upper Peninsula of Michigan sometimes have closer cultural ties to the state of Wisconsin. Tourism has become significant for the local economy. Tourist draws include Lake Michigan beaches and local fishing and hunting opportunities. Most visitors come from Wisconsin and Illinois.

Escanaba is home to the William Bonifas Fine Arts Center, The Waterfront Art Festival,[12]The Escanaba City Band,[13] The Players de Noc, The Bay de Noc Choral Society[14] and many smaller arts organizations, art galleries and musical performing groups.[15]

Other attractions include the Cedar River Lighthouse, Delta County Historical Museum, Escanaba Family Fun Park, Herbal Acres,Sand Point Lighthouse, U.P. Steam & Gas Engine Museum, Wells Sports Complex, and Ludington Park.[16]

In January 1968, Green Bay Packers coachVince Lombardi's daughter was married in Escanaba at St. Anne's Church. Upon finding out his then-unwed daughter was pregnant, Lombardi, who was vacationing in Florida at the time, insisted she drive to Michigan to get married rather than doing it Green Bay, in order to keep the news out of the papers.[17]

Local radio stations include KMB Broadcasting's WDBC 680 AM (adult standards) and WYKX 104.7 FM (country music), Lakes Radio's WCHT 600 AM (news/talk), WGLQ 97.1 FM (adult top 40),WCMM 102.5 FM (country), and WGKL 105.5 FM (oldies), and standalone WUPF 107.3 FM (classic hits). Escanaba is also served by low-power translator stations of WNMU translator W296AX from Marquette, MI (at 96.5 FM),WPFF translator W254AG from Sturgeon Bay, WI (at 98.7 FM), and WHWL translator W261AI from Marquette, MI (at 100.1 FM).WJMN-TV, the local television station on channel 3, is mostly a satellite of WFRV in Green Bay and carries CBS programming.WLUC-TV in Marquette also operates a translator station in Escanaba on channel 14.

Shopping Edit

Escanaba has a mall called the Delta Plaza Mall, a small enclosed shopping mall which features JCPenney and ShopKo as its anchor stores. The biggest retailer is Wal-Mart. The other major retailers in the town are Menards,K-mart, Walgreens, and Tractor Supply Company. In the downtown district, there are smaller shops, including The Record Rack, T & T True Value Hardware, and St. Vincent De Paul. Eateries include: Drifters, Hong Kong Buffet, Family Inn, The Buck Inn, Hereford and Hops, Swedish Pantry, Rosy's Diner, Stone House, and the Ludington Grill. Bars and Saloons: Catmando's, Ernie's Irish Pub, and Barons. Butcher Shops: Viau's Market and Kobosic's Market.

Sayklly's Confectionery and Gifts ( has been providing chocolates and gifts since 1906.

Education Edit

Escanaba Area Public Schools operates public schools.

Confusion with Flat Rock (Lower Peninsula) Edit

Since the name "Escanaba" can be derived from the Ojibwa language as meaning "Flat Rock" and another city in Michigan exists with such a name, errors on maps of Michigan are still common.[18]

Another source of this confusion may stem from Flat Rock Township, which is situated to the northwest of the city. On most online maps, the location of Flat Rock Township is on J Road, roughly between 20th and 21st.[19]

Notable people Edit

  • Becky Iverson, golfer. Winner of one LPGATour event.
  • "Roaring" Dan Seavey, Great Lakes pirate.
  • Kevin Tapani, former Major League Baseball pitcher for the New York Mets, Minnesota Twins, Los Angeles Dodgers, Chicago White Sox, and Chicago Cubs.
  • Tom Bissell, author and Guggenheim laureate.
  • Fahey Flynn, television news reader.

Climate Edit

This climatic region is typified by large seasonal temperature differences, with warm to hot (and often humid) summers and cold (sometimes severely cold) winters. According to the Köppen Climate Classification system, Escanaba has a humid continental climate, abbreviated "Dfb" on climate maps.

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