Grand Traverse County, Michigan

Not to be confused with Traverse County, Minnesota.
Grand Traverse County, Michigan


Map of Michigan highlighting Grand Traverse County
Location in the U.S. state of Michigan
Map of the United States highlighting Michigan
Michigan's location in the U.S.
Founded 1851[1]
Named for Grand Traverse Bay
Seat Traverse City
Largest city Traverse City
  Total 601 sq mi (1,557 km2)
  Land 464 sq mi (1,202 km2)
  Water 137 sq mi (355 km2), 23%
  (2010) 86,986
  Density 187/sq mi (72/km²)
Congressional district 1st
Time zone Eastern: UTC-5/-4

Grand Traverse County is a county located in the U.S. state of Michigan. As of the 2010 census, the population was 86,986.[2] The county seat is Traverse City.[3]

According to the United States Census Bureau, it is estimated that the population of Grand Traverse County in July 2015 was 91,636

Grand Traverse County is part of the Traverse City, MI Micropolitan Statistical Area, which also includes Benzie, Kalkaska, and Leelanau counties.

Interlochen, home of the Interlochen Center for the Arts is located in Green Lake Township.


In 1840 it was separated and originally named Omeena County. Grand Traverse County was organized by an act of the state legislature on April 7, 1851.[1] Grand Traverse is derived from a French phrase meaning "long crossing" and the county is so named because it is situated at the Grand Traverse Bay.[1][4] The first permanent settlement in the county was the mission now known as Old Mission.

Historical markers

There are twelve recognized Michigan historical markers in the county:[5] They are:


According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 601 square miles (1,560 km2), of which 464 square miles (1,200 km2) is land and 137 square miles (350 km2) (23%) is water.[7] Grand Traverse County is considered to be part of Northern Michigan.

Adjacent counties


  • Arbutus Lake
  • Bass Lake
  • Cedar Hedge Lake
  • Christmas Tree Lake
  • Coffield Lake
  • Duck Lake (Wahbekaness)
  • Dyer Lake
  • Elk Lake (Largest in more than one county including Grand Traverse)
  • Ellis Lake
  • Fife Lake
  • Fish Lake
  • Green Lake (Wahbekanetta)
  • High Lake
  • Huellmantel Lake
  • Long Lake (Largest in County)
  • Lost Lake
  • Mirror Lake
  • Mud Lake
  • Muncie Lake
  • Pickerel Lake
  • Rennie Lake
  • Rush Pond
  • Silver Lake (Deepest in County)
  • Lake Skegemog
  • Strombolis Lake
  • Truax Lake
  • Twin Lake
  • Vandervoight Lake


  • Acme Creek
  • Angell Creek
  • Beitner Creek
  • Campbell Creek
  • Cedar Run
  • Coleys Creek
  • Desmond Creek
  • Fife Outlet
  • Fourmile Creek
  • Gens Creek
  • Harris Creek
  • Headquarters Creek
  • Kids Creek
  • Kingsley Creek
  • Mitchell Creek
  • Neal Creek
  • Orchard Valley Creek
  • Rudhardt Creek
  • Swainston Creek
  • Vanderali (West) Creek
  • Vanderlip (East) Creek
  • Williamsburg Creek
  • Woodland Creek
  • Yuba Creek



Air service

Grand Traverse County is served by Cherry Capital Airport, which is located near Traverse City. Grand Traverse County also has three smaller unpaved airports: Yuba Airport, Green Lake Airport, and the Acme Skyport

Major highways

County Roads

  • CR 137
  • CR 602
  • CR 604
  • CR 605
  • CR 610
  • CR 611
  • CR 620
  • CR 633
  • CR 637
  • CR 641
  • CR 660
  • CR 672
  • CR 700


Historical population
Census Pop.
Est. 201591,636[8]5.3%
U.S. Decennial Census[9]
1790-1960[10] 1900-1990[11]
1990-2000[12] 2010-2013[2]

As of the census[13] of 2000, there were 77,654 people, 30,396 households, and 20,730 families residing in the county. The population density was 167 people per square mile (64/km²). There were 34,842 housing units at an average density of 75 per square mile (29/km²). The racial makeup of the county was 96.51% White, 0.40% Black or African American, 0.93% Native American, 0.49% Asian, 0.03% Pacific Islander, 0.54% from other races, and 1.09% from two or more races. 1.49% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race. 25.1% were of German, 11.3% English, 10.7% Irish, 8.4% American and 7.4% Polish ancestry according to Census 2000. 96.4% spoke English and 1.6% Spanish as their first language.

There were 30,396 households out of which 32.80% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 55.70% were married couples living together, 9.20% had a female householder with no husband present, and 31.80% were non-families. 25.00% of all households were made up of individuals and 9.00% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.49 and the average family size was 2.99.

In the county the population was spread out with 25.40% under the age of 18, 7.90% from 18 to 24, 29.70% from 25 to 44, 24.00% from 45 to 64, and 13.10% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 38 years. For every 100 females there were 95.20 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 92.10 males.

The median income for a household in the county was $43,169, and the median income for a family was $51,211. Males had a median income of $34,796 versus $24,139 for females. The per capita income for the county was $22,111. About 3.80% of families and 5.90% of the population were below the poverty line, including 5.30% of those under age 18 and 5.90% of those age 65 or over.


Grand Traverse County is part of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Gaylord.[14]


The county government operates the jail, maintains rural roads, operates the major local courts, keeps files of deeds and mortgages, maintains vital records, administers public health regulations, and participates with the state in the provision of welfare and other social services. The county board of commissioners controls the budget but has only limited authority to make laws or ordinances. In Michigan, most local government functions police and fire, building and zoning, tax assessment, street maintenance, etc. are the responsibility of individual cities and townships.

Elected officials

(information as of November 2008)


Grand Traverse County predominantly supports the Republican Party, particularly at the federal level.

In the 2008 presidential election, Republican candidate John McCain received 24,716 votes in the county (50.60% of the total) to Democrat Barack Obama's 23,258 (47.62%), even as Obama carried the state of Michigan by a double-digit margin.[15] McCain's margin of victory in the county was narrower than usual for a Republican candidate.

In 2004, Republican president George W. Bush received 27,446 votes in the county (59.42%) to Democrat John Kerry's 18,256 (39.52%).[16]

In 2000, Bush received 22,358 votes in the county (58.48%) to Democrat Al Gore's 14,371 (37.59%).[17]


Grand Traverse county has five school districts:

TCAPS is by far the largest district in the county, with 19 total schools, whereas Kingsley has 3, Woodland has 2, and Elk Rapids and the Children's House have 1 (Elk Rapids Area are mostly in Antrim County, and Forest Area is based in Kalkaska County). Below is a list of schools


School Name District Address Grades Mascot
The Woodland Forest Area 7224 Supply Road K-8 Warriors
Fife Lake Elementary Forest Area 108 Pierce Street K-5 Warriors
The Children's House The Children's House 5365 N Long Lake Road PreK-6 N/A
Mill Creek Elementary Elk Rapids Area 9032 Old M-72 PreK-5 Elks
Kingsley Elementary School Kingsley Public Schools 402 Fenton Street K-4 Stags
Kingsley Middle School Kingsley Public Schools 403 Blair Street 5-8 Stags
Kingsley High School Kingsley Public Schools 7475 Kingsley Road 9-12 Stags
Silver Lake Elementary TCAPS 5858 Culver Road PreK-5 Seahawks
Westwoods Elementary TCAPS 1500 Fisher Road PreK-5 Wings
Courtade Elementary TCAPS 1111 Rasho Road PreK-5 Cougars
Blair Elementary TCAPS 1625 Sawyer Road PreK-5 Bobcats
Central Grade School TCAPS 301 7th Street K-5 Superstars
Eastern Elementary TCAPS 1600 Eastern Avenue PreK-5
Old Mission Peninsula Elementary TCAPS 2699 Island View Road PreK-5 Panthers
Second Long Lake Elementary TCAPS 7600 N Long Lake Road PreK-5 Panthers
Willow Hill Elementary TCAPS 1250 Hill Street PreK-5 Hawks
Traverse Heights Elementary TCAPS 933 Rose Street PreK-5 Roadrunners
Cherry Knoll Elementary TCAPS 1800 3 Mile Road PreK-5 Wildcats
TCAPS Glenn Loomis Montessori TCAPS 1009 Oak Street Toddler - 6 Mercury
TCWMS (West Middle) TCAPS 3950 Silver Lake Road 6-8 Titans
TCEMS (East Middle) TCAPS 1776 3 Mile Road 6-8 Trojans
TCWHS (West High) TCAPS 5376 N Long Lake Road 9-12 Titans
TCCHS (Central High) TCAPS 1150 Milliken Drive 9-12 Trojans
TCH (Traverse City High - New Campus) TCAPS 3962 3 Mile Road 6-12 Mavericks

Defunct TCAPS Schools

School Name Address
Sabin Elementary 2075 Cass Road
Norris Elementary 16540 Cherry Bend Road
Bertha Vos Elementary 3723 Shore Road
Bertha Vos International School 3723 Shore Road
First Long Lake Elementary 7600 N Long Lake Road
Oak Park Elementary 312 S Garfield Ave
Boardman School 400 Webster Street
Interlochen Community School 3113 M-137


See Also: List of communities in Grand Traverse County.



Unincorporated Communities and Census-designated Places

  • Acme
  • Brookside
  • Chums Corner
  • Interlochen
  • Karlin
  • Monroe Center
  • Summit City
  • Traverse Heights
  • Williamsburg

Ghost Towns

  • Angell
  • Bates
  • Garfield
  • Grawn
  • Hardwood Acres
  • Hodge
  • Mayfield
  • Mitchell
  • Neahtawanta
  • Old Mission Point
  • Schell
  • Tunk
  • Westminster
  • Wylie

Charter Townships


See also


  1. 1 2 3 "Bibliography on Grand Traverse County". Clarke Historical Library, Central Michigan University. Retrieved January 19, 2013.
  2. 1 2 "State & County QuickFacts". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved August 27, 2013.
  3. "Find a County". National Association of Counties. Retrieved 2011-06-07.
  4. Gannett, Henry (1905). The Origin of Certain Place Names in the United States. Govt. Print. Off. p. 141.
  5. "Michigan Historical Markers".
  6. "Old restaurant may take on new owners". Traverse City Record-Eagle.
  7. "2010 Census Gazetteer Files". United States Census Bureau. August 22, 2012. Retrieved September 21, 2014.
  8. "County Totals Dataset: Population, Population Change and Estimated Components of Population Change: April 1, 2010 to July 1, 2015". Retrieved July 2, 2016.
  9. "U.S. Decennial Census". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved September 21, 2014.
  10. "Historical Census Browser". University of Virginia Library. Retrieved September 21, 2014.
  11. "Population of Counties by Decennial Census: 1900 to 1990". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved September 21, 2014.
  12. "Census 2000 PHC-T-4. Ranking Tables for Counties: 1990 and 2000" (PDF). United States Census Bureau. Retrieved September 21, 2014.
  13. "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2008-01-31.
  14. "The Diocese of Gaylord, Michigan : A Diocese of the Roman Catholic Church - Diocese of Gaylord".
  15. "Dave Leip's Atlas of U.S. Presidential Elections - State Data".
  16. "Dave Leip's Atlas of U.S. Presidential Elections - State Data".
  17. "Dave Leip's Atlas of U.S. Presidential Elections - State Data".
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Coordinates: 44°44′N 85°33′W / 44.73°N 85.55°W / 44.73; -85.55

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