General statement.—Kalkaska County lies west of Crawford County,
on the western slope of the high tract in the northern part of the
peninsula. Its eastern and southern parts are drained by Manistee
River and its northwestern parts by Board man and Rapid rivers.
The part south of Manistee River has a small settlement around
Fletcher, in the southeastern township, where there are a few square
miles of good farming land, but the remainder has scarcely any settlers. The eastern townships north of the river have only lumber
camps. The principal farming district in the county is on a morainic
belt lying east of the Grand Rapids and Indiana Railway and running entirely across the county from its north border to its southwest corner. The railway runs through a sandy plain several miles
wide that is largely unsettled. In tho northwestern part of the
county is another morainic belt which is nearly all settled. The
northwest corner is on a low sandy plain bordering Torch and Round
Wells.—The only flowing wells noted in this county are in the
southwestern part near Fife Lake. Walton Blue has a well in a
valley near the center of sec. 7, Springfield Township, 22 feet in
depth, which flows a weak stream. About a mile southeast, at an
old sawmill site, in the western part of sec. 17, is a flowing well
63 feet deep, which discharges a 1-inch stream.
It is probable that flowing wells may be obtained in the vicinity
of Rapid City and Barker Creek at the foot of the moraine in the
northwest part of the county, for they have been obtained in similar situations a few miles to the west at Williamsburg and Traverse
The wells in the Fletcher settlement go down 60 to 70 feet to
water and have very little head.
In the moraine east of the Grand Rapids and Indiana Railway
wells run from 40 to over 100 feet, the ground-water table being
generally about on a level with (lie inland lakes and streams. The
moraine is loose textured and largely gravel and sand below a few
feet of surface till.
In the sand plain along the railway wells are also sunk to a general water-table in harmony with the streams and lakes, and range
in depth from 10 feet near Kalkaska to about 80 feet in the northern
part of the county. The moraine in the northwestern part has wells
of various depths from 25 to 200 feet, there being no general water
table. The deep wells, however, go to a level about as low as the
sandy plain in tho northwest corner. On that plain water is only a
few feet below the surface, or in harmony with Torch and Round
So far as ascertained no wells have reached rock, and it is probable that the rock surface lies at a depth of several hundred feet
throughout the county.
Miscellaneous village supplies.—Barker Creek is on the slope of
the moraine south of Round Lake, in the southwestern part, at a
level about 40 feet above the lake, or 630 feet above tide. Wells
obtain water at 16 feet, and there are large springs in the vicinity
which supply part of the residents.
Rapid City is on the sand plain near Torch Lake, and has wells
16 to 20 feet deep.
Kalkaska, the county seat, is on Boardman River, and wells are
obtained at 10 to 24 feet. There is a waterworks plant, which
pumps its supply from the river, and is mainly used for fire protection and street sprinkling. The water, both in wells and river, is
soft enough for laundry and boiler use. In wells 10 to 16 feet deep
it is softer than in the deeper ones, probably because of more thorough leaching of the upper part of the sand.
Below are given two partial analyses,—one of a shallow-well water
and one of a river water at Kalkaska. There has been much typhoid
in the town, and the shallow waters must be regarded as unsafe.
The data were furnished by M. O. Leighton, of tho United States
Leetsville, though in the same sand plain as Kalkaska, is 50 feet
higher, and has wells correspondingly deeper, the usual depth being
At Westwood, which is north of Leetsville on the sand plain,
wells are 50 to 60 feet deep.
At South Boardman wells arc 18 to 40 feet, the town being on
the uneven slope of the moraine that lies east of the Grand Rapids
and Indiana Railway.
At Spencer and Sharon wells are only 12 to 20 feet deep, for they
are on low tracts bordering Manistee River.