City of Onekama Michigan
Manistee County

Onekama, MI (Portage Point Inn) (1940s)- contributed by Paul Petosky

Onekama is situated on Portage Lake, is a platted village, though but little has been done here in the way of building as yet. Large property interests are owned here by Hon. A. W. Farr, of this place, and Hon. A. H. Dunlap, of Manistee. A newspaper correspondent of Manistee visited Onekama recently, and from him we have the following facts:

"Some two years ago Hon. A. W. Farr, whose extensive grounds at Onekama border on Portage Lake—one of the finest sheets of water to he found anywhere in the world — discovered traces of mineral in a spring, near his residence, that bubbled out from the foot of a hill, clear, cold, and sparkling, and sent some of the water to Prof. G. A. Mariner, analytical chemist, at 81 South Clark Street, Chicago. In due time Mr. Farr received from the professor the following analysis upon the basis of one gallon of the water:

Bicarbonate of Lime 11.6969 grains
Bicarbonate of Magnesia 5.4502
Bicarbonate of Iron 1.4873
Bicarbonate of Soda 58.0090
Sulphate of Soda .0351
Silica .8878
Chloride of Sodium a trace
TOTAL --72.5181 grains

"Upon comparing the analysis with those of the most famous springs of the country, and corroborating his own opinion with those who may have been said to be mineral spring experts, Mr. Farr was exceedingly gratified at the showing. But he was aware that a mineral spring without its cures was like a tree without fruits—that something more satisfactory than an analysis would be required by the indiscriminating public before they would come readily to his way of thinking, and take any interest in the matter. That additional testimony Mr. Farr has secured by the complete cure of a young gentleman of a serious kidney and lung trouble by the use of the water alone, and there are numerous others who have used the water during the past two years, since the making of the analysis, with the most beneficial results for serious affections. It is known that the great virtues claimed for the famous Waukesha Bethesda Water lie in three of its component parts, viz., the chlorides of soda, magnesia, and iron, which are found in the Bethesda analysis to be—soda, 1.25 grains; iron, .04 grains, and magnesia, 12.883 grains. Now, if a comparison of these parts in the analysis of the two springs be made, it will readily be seen that Mr. Farr's has the greater number of grains of these medical agents per gallon of water. Again we say, there is every reason to believe that a mineral spring has been developed at Onekama that will prove to be the equal of the most famous spring anywhere. If such should prove to be the case, its location is extremely advantageous for a famous Summer resort and watering place. A government dredge has been sot to work deepening the channel, and before very long vessels of the greatest draft, as well as steamers, will pass through into Portage Lake with perfect ease."

It is the present intention of gentlemen interested at Onekama to improve the place the coming year, and erect buildings of some sort not yet determined upon.

In 1878 there were raised in the township 458 bushels of wheat, 675 bushels of corn, 1,242 bushels of potatoes, 61 tons of hay were cut, and 1,050 pounds of butter made.

The population in 1878 was 327. There were 10,270 acres of taxable land, and 488 acres of improved land. During the Spring of that year 400 pounds of maple sugar were made.

History of Manistee, Mason and Oceana counties, Michigan 1882 H.R. Page