Destination Bellaire

A Brief History of Bellaire


Back in the early 1800's, the original post office in the area was called Keno. In 1879, one of the area's first settlers, Ambrose G. Palmer, suggested the name be changed to Bellaire, due to the clearness and purity of the air.

The population of Bellaire quickly climbed to total about 1000 residents and remained at that level for three decades.
The 1920’s and 30’s were lean years in Bellaire with the population dropping to 300 by 1930. In 1921, on July 14 at 2:30 p.m., a cyclonic windstorm caused wires to short circuit, setting fire to a barn. The fire spread rapidly engulfing twelve other buildings, including a hotel, a restaurant, a carpenter shop, a bakery and the Catholic church. Total loss was said to be more than $300,000.

Soon after, following a lengthy contentious debate, the county seat of Antrim County was moved from Elk Rapids to Bellaire. A slim majority of the 1070 voters approved the move. The argument for moving the county seat was a simple one. Early settlement of Antrim County had taken place along the Lake Michigan shoreline near Elk Rapids, but the population growth  began to move inward, so many felt the seat of county government and the courts should relocate to a more centralized location.The popularity of the area for cottage owners and other visiting tourists resulted in a resumption of growth for Bellaire in the 1940’s and growth really took off after the end of World War II.

Today, Bellaire’s population exceeds 1500 people, has several fine restaurants, boasts three award-winning, nationally acclaimed Bed and Breakfast Inns and is home for Shanty Creek Resort and seven golf courses.

Historic Bellaire

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