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Feud from 150 years ago created Onekama: village celebrates anniversary

Five boats float in Portage Lake next to the Channel that connects to Lake Michigan on a clear sunny day.jpg

Onekama is celebrating 150 years as a village.

That was also around the time that a feud helped create the channel between Portage Lake and Lake Michigan.

Rosalind Jaffe with Onekama OneFifty says the feud began with a lumber mill that controlled access between Portage Lake and Lake Michigan.

"They had a dam on their creek that they would use to power their water wheel. When they closed the dam, it raised Portage Lake about 6 feet. About 1860s you started get farmers coming in and the dam regularly flooded their land...so the farmers got really mad at this."

The famers started by using the legal system, but didn't get the outcomes they hoped. So, they purchased a small bit of land between Portage Lake and Lake Michigan, and started digging.

After two weeks the two bodies of water were connected, creating the channel that is still used today.

The formal dedication of the renovations of the Portage Lake channel is happening July 17th.

Details about all of their summer events can be found here.

Kendra Carr joined IPR as the All Things Considered host in 2019. She previously worked at WMOM in Ludington as the News Director. In 2017, WMOM received the Michigan Association of Broadcasters "Station of the Year" award.