The railroad's arrival in the 1870s transformed the formerly sleepy Little Traverse Bay region into a tourist mecca. Victorian resort communities and the growing towns of Harbor Springs and Petoskey provided lodging, dining, entertainment, and supplies to an influx of settlers, speculators, and tourists who visited in the summer or stayed year-round. Over the decades, cars have replaced trains and steamships and many structures have been altered or demolished, but "Little Traverse Bay, Past and Present" shows that the area's history is still very much a part of the present day. Featuring contemporary images by Rebecca Zeiss, over three hundred historic (most never before published) photos, and historical narrative by Michael R. Federspiel, this volume documents the development of the tourist economy and also serves as a snapshot of the region today.
"Little Traverse Bay, Past and Present" is divided into chapters by place and topic. Federspiel and Zeiss look at the cities of Petoskey and Harbor Springs; the resort associations of Bay View, Wequetonsing, and Harbor Point; and railroads, steamships, and excursions. Along the way, they visit historic hotels, public buildings, residences, commercial districts, and waterfront areas. At many sites, Zeiss's beautiful and precise photos show that the historic views are still as they were; at others, they are hidden behind facades or structural alterations. Sometimes the historic sites are simply gone, replaced by something totally new or turned into empty lots. Federspiel also includes an introduction on the making of modern Little Traverse Bay and introduces the leaders and businessmen behind it.
Popular tourist regions often boast beautiful souvenir photo books or history books addressing their past. "Little Traverse Bay, Past and Present" is both, making it of interest to visitors and local residents alike who want to learn more about the area's nineteenth-century history as well as those interested in its appearance today.