Northport is a village in Leelanau Township within Leelanau County in the State of Michigan, U.S.A. The population was 526 according to the 2010 U.S. census. When Leelanau County was formed in 1863, Northport served as the first county seat from 1863 to 1883.
In 1848 Michigan suffered from a smallpox epidemic that affected the entire population. Chief Peter Waukazoo and Reverend George Smith moved the Ottawa Mission from present-day Holland up to the Leelanau Peninsula, by boat and canoe. When the settlers had reached their destination they called it Waukazooville. Deacon Joseph Dame arrived in 1854 and platted the Village of Northport next to Waukazooville.
Northport was the largest town in Leelanau County for quite a while in the late 1800s and early 1900s. Several general stores were built in 1859, which sold items such as cloth, thread, needles, foods, axes, and more. There was no doctor in town at this time so Reverend Smith was called on to deliver babies and help the ill.
Many people who moved to Northport came from New York or Canada. The fishermen, farmers, and other community members would gather on the bay and cut chunks of ice for fisheries, hotels, or even private homes. The cherry industry that is prevalent in Northport today began in 1853 on Reverend Smith's farm. Farmers shipped to nearby cities and towns. The cherry industry in Leelanau County remains one of the largest in the world.
Northport is a picturesque, waterfront community with a proud heritage dating back to 1849. Residents and visitors will enjoy our newly renovated marina facilities, and nearly one-half mile of prime public beaches designed for bathing, picnics and special events such as our Friday farmer's market and destination weddings. Within Village limits exists a walking trail through woods, guaranteed to give you an "up north" experience.
Our newest businesses continue to thrive along with established retailers in the village.
Northport is becoming a leader in promoting a "green" environment with a wind powered turbine generating electricity for our wastewater treatment plant, a completed stormwater runoff project on Nagonaba Street, as well as streetscape additions, a new rain garden, and promotion of dark sky lighting.