French missionaries exploring the Great Lakes discovered the area now known as Menominee County. At the mouth of the Menominee River was a marshy area which yielded wild rice; this is where the city of Menominee stands today. The name of the area's Indians, Menominee, means wild rice eaters.  In 1790 a French Canadian named Louis Chappieau opened a thriving fur trading operation. The first sawmill was opened in 1832 and the lumbering industry continued through the Civil War. By 1890 the area ranked second in the nation as a principal lumbering region. After 1917 agriculture began to replace lumbering. The first school of agriculture in Michigan was established in Menominee County.

The county's name comes from an American Indian word meaning "wild rice eater." The county was originally created under the name of Bleeker in 1861. When county government was organized in 1863, the name was changed to Menominee.

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This site last updated: 21Sep201

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