Muskegon (/məˈskɡən/ mə-SKEE-gən) is a city in and the county seat of Muskegon County, Michigan, United States.[7] Situated around a harbor of Lake Michigan, Muskegon is known for fishing, sailing regattas, and boating. It is the most populous city along Lake Michigan's eastern shore. At the 2020 census, the city's population was 38,318.[4] The city is administratively autonomous from adjacent Muskegon Township.

Muskegon, Michigan
Muskegon viewed from across Muskegon Lake
Muskegon viewed from across Muskegon Lake
Port City, Lumber Queen of the World, Skeetown, Midwest Riviera, Lumbertown
Location within Muskegon County and the state of Michigan
Location within Muskegon County and the state of Michigan
Muskegon is located in Michigan
Muskegon is located in the United States
Coordinates: 43°14′03″N 86°14′54″W / 43.23417°N 86.24833°W / 43.23417; -86.24833
CountryUnited States
 • TypeCommission-Manager
 • MayorKen Johnson[1]
 • City ManagerFrank Peterson
 • City18.20 sq mi (47.13 km2)
 • Land14.14 sq mi (36.63 km2)
 • Water4.05 sq mi (10.50 km2)
617 ft (191.4 m)
 • City38,318
 • Density2,709.33/sq mi (1,046.05/km2)
 • Metro
Time zoneUTC−5 (EST)
 • Summer (DST)UTC−4 (EDT)
ZIP codes
Area code231
FIPS code26-56320[5]
GNIS feature ID1620963[6]

Muskegon is the center of the Muskegon metropolitan statistical area, which is coextensive with Muskegon County and had a population of 175,824 as of the 2020 census.[3] It is also part of the larger Grand Rapids-Kentwood-Muskegon-combined statistical area.[8]

History edit

The entrance to Muskegon Lake from Lake Michigan

The name "Muskegon" is derived from the Ottawa mashkiigong, meaning "marshy river or swamp".[9][10]

The "Masquigon" River (Muskegon River) was identified on French maps dating from the late 17th century, suggesting French explorers had reached Michigan's western coast by that time. Father Jacques Marquette traveled northward through the area on his fateful trip to St. Ignace in 1675, and a party of French soldiers under La Salle's lieutenant, Henry de Tonty, passed through the area in 1679.[11]

The county's earliest known Euro-American resident was Edward Fitzgerald, a fur trader and trapper who came to the Muskegon area in 1748 and who died there, reportedly being buried in the vicinity of White Lake. Between 1790 and 1800, a French-Canadian trader named Joseph La Framboise established a fur-trading post at the mouth of Duck Lake. Between 1810 and 1820, several French-Canadian fur traders, including Lamar Andie, Jean Baptiste Recollect, and Pierre Constant, had established fur-trading posts around Muskegon Lake.[11]

Euro-American settlement of Muskegon began in earnest in 1837, which coincided with the beginning of the exploitation of the area's extensive timber resources. The commencement of the lumber industry in 1837 inaugurated what some regard as the most romantic era in the history of the region. Lumbering in the mid-19th century brought many settlers, particularly from Germany, Ireland, and Canada.[12]

Some Muskegon neighborhoods began as separate villages. Bluffton was founded as a lumbering village in 1862 in Laketon Township. It had its own post office from 1868 until 1892. Muskegon annexed it in 1889.[13]

Geography edit

Muskegon is in western Muskegon County, on the south side of Muskegon Lake, a harbor of Lake Michigan. The city is bordered to the north, across Muskegon Lake, by the city of North Muskegon and Laketon Township. It is bordered to the east by Muskegon Township, to the southeast by Fruitport Township, to the south by the cities of Muskegon Heights, Roosevelt Park, and Norton Shores, and to the west by Lake Michigan. It is 42 miles (68 km) northwest of Grand Rapids, 36 miles (58 km) north of Holland, and 58 miles (93 km) south of Ludington.

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the city has an area of 18.20 square miles (47.14 km2), of which 4.05 square miles (10.49 km2), or 22.3%, are covered by water.[2] The Muskegon River empties into Muskegon Lake at the city's northeast end.

In May 2022, local environmental groups announced cleanup efforts along Muskegon Lake officially have been completed, leading the Environmental Protection Agency to begin its study to remove Muskegon Lake from the EPA's list of "Areas of Concern", which was expected to be finalized by the end of 2022 and promised additional new economic activity in the downtown and nearby lakefront neighborhoods.[14]

Climate edit

Muskegon has a humid continental climate (Dfa) with hot summers and cold winters. Precipitation is consistent year-round. Muskegon receives heavy lake-effect snow from Lake Michigan during winter.

Climate data for Muskegon, Michigan (Muskegon County Airport) 1991–2020 normals,[a] extremes 1896–present
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Record high °F (°C) 63
Mean maximum °F (°C) 50.3
Mean daily maximum °F (°C) 32.5
Daily mean °F (°C) 26.6
Mean daily minimum °F (°C) 20.7
Mean minimum °F (°C) 0.7
Record low °F (°C) −21
Average precipitation inches (mm) 2.42
Average snowfall inches (cm) 29.1
Average precipitation days (≥ 0.01 in) 16.3 12.9 10.9 12.5 11.3 10.0 9.1 9.1 9.4 12.6 13.5 14.9 142.5
Average snowy days (≥ 0.1 in) 14.4 11.7 5.4 1.4 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.2 4.1 10.9 48.1
Average relative humidity (%) 78.1 75.2 71.1 65.4 64.1 68.2 70.6 74.5 76.4 74.3 74.9 78.6 72.6
Average dew point °F (°C) 17.1
Source 1: NOAA (relative humidity and dew point 1961–1990)[15][16][17]
Source 2: World Meteorological Organization[18]

Demographics edit

Historical population
U.S. Decennial Census[19]

2010 census edit

As of the census[20] of 2010, 38,401 people, 13,967 households, and 7,895 families resided in the city. The population density was 2,702.4 inhabitants per square mile (1,043.4/km2). The 16,105 housing units had an average density of 1,133.4 per square mile (437.6/km2). The racial makeup of the city was 57.0% White, 34.5% African American, 0.9% Native American, 0.4% Asian, 2.6% from other races, and 4.5% from two or more races. Hispanics or Latinos of any race were 8.2% of the population.

Of the 13,967 households, 32.5% had children under 18 living with them, 27.9% were married couples living together, 22.9% had a female householder with no husband present, 5.8% had a male householder with no wife present, and 43.5% were not families. About 36.0% of all households were made up of individuals, and 12.8% had someone living alone who was 65 or older. The average household size was 2.38. and the average family size was 3.09.

The median age in the city was 34.1 years; the age distribution was 23.3% were under 18; 12.2% from 18 and 24; 28.8% from 25 to 44; 24.1% from 45 to 64, and 11.6% were 65 or older. The city's gender makeup was 52.1% male and 47.9% female.

2000 census edit

As of the census[5] of 2000,[21] 40,105 people, 14,569 households, and 8,537 families were residing in the city. The population density was 2,794.5 inhabitants per square mile (1,079.0/km2). The 15,999 housing units had an average density of 1,114.8/sq mi (430.4/km2). The racial makeup of the city was 57.9% White, 31.7% African American, 2.3% Native American, 0.46% Asian, 2.7% from other races, and 3.50% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino people of any origins were 6.4% of the population.

Of the 14,569 households, 31.1% had children under 18 living with them, 33.2% were married couples living together, 20.2% had a female householder with no husband present, and 41.4% were not families. About 34.4% of all households were made up of individuals, and 12.9% had someone living alone who was 65 or older. The average household size was 2.42, and the average family size was 3.13.

In the city, the age distribution was 25.8% under 18, 11.6% from 18 to 24, 32.2% from 25 to 44, 18.0% from 45 to 64, and 12.4% who were 65 age or older. The median age was 32 years. For every 100 females, there were 109.6 males. For every 100 females 18 and over, there were 110.3 males.

The city's median income for a household was $27,929, and for a family was $32,640. Males had a median income of $29,114 versus $22,197 for females. The per capita income for the city was $14,283. About 16.8% of families and 20.5% of the population were below the poverty line, including 27.6% of those under age 18 and 14.3% of those 65 or over.

Economy edit

VanDyk Mortgage Convention Center

Downtown Muskegon serves as the hub for much of Muskegon County. Positioned along the southern shoreline of Muskegon Lake, it stretches for nearly two miles. Downtown is home to a number of hotels, a 25,000-square-foot convention center completed in 2021, and the Historic Mercy Health Ice Arena.[22] The Muskegon Farmer's Market welcomes more than 10,000 visitors every Saturday in the summer, and the boutique incubator shops and chalets on Western Avenue are a popular attraction for residents and tourists looking to support small businesses.[23]

Arts and culture edit

Frauenthal Center for the Performing Arts

The Frauenthal Center for the Performing Arts includes two theaters, the main historic Frauenthal house and the smaller Beardsley Theater in the adjoining Hilt Building.[24] It was refurbished in 1998 and again in 2021, and hosts JAM Theatrical productions, Muskegon Civic Theatre productions, and is home of the West Michigan Symphony Orchestra.[25][26] The Frauenthal was originally built as the Michigan Theater in 1929.

The Muskegon Museum of Art opened in 1912. Among the highlights of its permanent collection is Tornado Over Kansas, by John Steuart Curry.[27] Muskegon has a growing collection of publicly owned and displayed art pieces. More than two dozen pieces are on permanent display, predominately in the downtown area.

USS Silversides at the USS Silversides Submarine Museum

Lakeshore Museum Center and Hackley & Hume Historic Site, built by Muskegon's lumber barons, are restored and open to the public.[28] The Hackley & Hume mansions are part of downtown Muskegon's Heritage Village—two blocks from Muskegon Lake, and a National Register Historic District. The mansions are operated with the Lakeshore Museum Center, which details the history of Muskegon County, from the Pottawatomi and Ottawa Native American tribes and lakeside fur traders to the Lumber Queen of the World to today.

Muskegon is also the home of the USS Silversides Submarine Museum[29] which features USS Silversides, a World War II submarine; USS LST-393, a World War II tank landing ship; and USCGC McLane, a Prohibition-era United States Coast Guard cutter. In addition, Muskegon also berths Milwaukee Clipper, a former passenger ship built in 1904 that traveled the same route as Lake Express does today.

Festivals edit

Events held in the town include:

  • Taste of Muskegon in June
  • Parties in the Park, every Friday from June to August at Hackley Park
  • The Lakeshore Art Festival in June
  • WeDiscover Festival in July, a two-day festival of electronic dance music, import and luxury cars, food, fireworks and family activities.
  • Motorcycle rally in July
  • Burning Foot Beer Festival held at Pere Marquette Beach
  • The Unity Christian Music Festival in August at Heritage Landing
  • The Michigan Irish Music Festival in September at Heritage Landing
  • The Muskegon Polish Festival on Labor Day weekend.[30][31]
  • The International Buster Keaton Society annual convention in October.[32]

Sports edit

Club Sport League Venue
Muskegon Lumberjacks Ice hockey United States Hockey League Mercy Health Arena
West Michigan Ironmen Indoor football American Arena League Mercy Health Arena
Muskegon Risers SC Soccer UPSL & Premier Arena Soccer League Mercy Health Arena and Kehern Stadium

Previous sports teams to play in Muskegon have included:

Club Sport Played from League Stadium
Muskegon Lumberjacks/Fury (1992–2010) Hockey 1992−2010 IHL, UHL Mercy Health Arena
Muskegon Thunder Indoor football 2007−2009 IFL Mercy Health Arena
Michigan Mayhem Basketball 2004−2006 CBA Mercy Health Arena
Muskegon Lumberjacks (1984–1992) Hockey 1984−1992 IHL Mercy Health Arena
Muskegon Mohawks Hockey 1965−1984 IHL Mercy Health Arena
Muskegon Zephyrs Hockey 1960−1965 IHL Mercy Health Arena
Muskegon Lassies Baseball 1946−1949 AAGPBL Marsh Field

The Seaway Run is run every year in late June. It features a 15k race, 5k race, 5k walk for fun, 15k wheelchair race.

Parks and recreation edit

Muskegon Break Water Light on Lake Michigan

Muskegon State Park has a Winter Sports Complex that features ice fishing, cross-country skiing, ice skating, and a luge track. P.J. Hoffmaster State Park has many sand dunes as well as two campgrounds and a public beach.[33]

Pere Marquette Beach is the largest free public beach on the western shore of Lake Michigan. Windsurfing, kite boarding competitions, and professional volleyball tournaments are held there. Its quartz sand beach is a Clean Beaches Counsel-certified beach. The beach area is popular with cyclists, runners, and hikers, and sand dunes border the beach to the east.

Muskegon Lakeshore Bike Trail allows for biking along the shores of Muskegon Lake to Lake Michigan, with two trails for bike paths, one on the east side of Muskegon and the other along the north side, which northerly connects to other trails, such as the Hart-Montague Bike Trail, making it possible to bike from Muskegon to Hart, Michigan, without ever leaving a bike trail.

Michigan's Adventure, the largest amusement park in the state, is in Muskegon County, a few miles north of the city of Muskegon. Michigan's Adventure features a midway with roller coasters, other rides, amusements, and a full water park.

Muskegon Country Club was founded in 1908 and features a course design by Tom Bendelow and a course redesign by Donald Ross.

Government edit

The city operates under a Commission-Manager form of local government. The seven-member city commission consists of four commissioners elected via a ward system and two commissioners elected at large. The mayor is also elected at large and serves as chairman of the commission. The city commission hires a city manager to manage the daily operations of the city.[citation needed]

Education edit

Hackley Library

Muskegon Public Schools was founded in 1860 and serves students from preschool through grade 12. Additionally, it runs the Muskegon Training and Education Center. Muskegon is also served by these private K-12 schools: Muskegon Catholic Central, Fruitport Calvary Christian, and Western Michigan Christian.[34]

Muskegon is also served by Muskegon Community College and Baker College. Western Michigan University, Ferris State University, and Grand Valley State University all operate programs out of the Stevenson Center for Higher Education on the Muskegon Community College campus.

Media edit

Muskegon's leading newspaper is The Muskegon Chronicle. The Chronicle is a daily newspaper owned by Booth Newspapers. It started publication in 1857.

Muskegon is served by the local television station WMKG-CD.

The Muskegon area is also served by several radio stations. WUVS-LP 103.7 is a popular urban (hip-hop/R&B) and gospel station with local programming as well as Sunday religious programming and local-based talk. Another local low-powered FM station is WUGM-LP 106.1, owned by the Muskegon Training and Education Center, which airs an Urban Oldies format dubbed "M-TEC 106 FM, Rock 'n' Soul." A Newer LP-FM Station WFFR-LP 100.9 also offers local programming along with a classic hits format. The station is based out of nearby Roosevelt Park. Other local FM stations include 90.3 WBLV-FM (classical/jazz/NPR), 91.7 WMCQ-FM (religious), WWSN FM 92.5 (adult contemporary), WGVS-FM 95.3 (public radio), WLAW-FM FM 97.5 (country), WLCS-FM 98.3 (oldies), WVIB-FM 100.1 (urban contemporary), WMRR-FM 101.7 (classic rock), WSNX-FM 104.5 (top 40, studios in Grand Rapids), WOOD-FM-FM 106.9 (news/talk, simulcast of WOOD-AM 1300/Grand Rapids), and WMUS FM 107.9 (country). Other local AM stations aside from WKBZ include WSMZ 850, WLAW 1490 (country).

Transportation edit

Muskegon as seen from the International Space Station in 2022

Public transportation is provided by the Muskegon Area Transit System (MATS – "The Shore Line"), which operates nine bus routes, three trolley routes, and a paratransit system.[35] MATS serves the Herman Ivory Passenger Terminal.[36]

MATS operates the Muskegon Trolley Company. Three routes cover the north side, south side, and downtown; each trolley stops at 11 locations, including Hackley and Hume Historic Site, USS Silversides, and Muskegon State Park.

Commercial air service is currently provided by United Express operating regional jet flights on behalf of United Airlines at Muskegon County Airport (MKG), with nonstop service to Chicago O'Hare Airport. Other airlines provide passenger service via the Gerald R. Ford International Airport (GRR) in Grand Rapids.

Muskegon is the eastern port of the Lake Express High-Speed Car Ferry that crosses Lake Michigan to Milwaukee, Wisconsin offering three roundtrips a day in the summer, and two roundtrips in the fall.

Major roads edit

Several major highways serve the city, including:

Rail edit

Union Depot

CSX Transportation, along with the Michigan Shore Railway, provide rail service for many of Muskegon's industries. Rail passenger services ended in the 1960s. The nearest passenger rail available is via Amtrak in nearby Holland or Grand Rapids. Until 1971, the Chesapeake & Ohio Railway (successor to the Pere Marquette Railway) operated day and night trains from Union Station to Holland and Chicago.[37] The Grand Trunk Western and the Pennsylvania Railroad had earlier operated passenger trains out of another Muskegon station to various points in Michigan.[38]

Ferries edit

In 1937, the Grand Trunk Western began operating ferries that met up with train and carried passengers and automobiles across Lake Michigan to Milwaukee. Earlier, the GTW had operated the ferries out of Grand Haven. The GTW stopped operating the ferries in 1978. The last remaining ferries across the lake would be the ones launching from Ludington, Michigan[39][40] until the Lake Express first came into service on June 1, 2004.[41]

Notable people edit

Business and politics

Charles Hackley House


Science and technology


  • Haddon Sundblom, graphic artist, created popular images of Santa Claus for Coca-Cola






Sister cities edit

See also edit

References edit

  1. ^ Mean monthly maxima and minima (i.e. the highest and lowest temperature readings during an entire month or year) calculated based on data at said location from 1991 to 2020.
  1. ^ "City of Muskegon". Retrieved 14 January 2022.
  2. ^ a b "2023 U.S. Gazetteer Files: Michigan". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved December 13, 2023.
  3. ^ a b "P1. Race – Muskegon, MI Metro Area: 2020 DEC Redistricting Data (PL 94-171)". U.S. Census Bureau. Retrieved December 13, 2023.
  4. ^ a b "P1. Race – Muskegon city, Michigan: 2020 DEC Redistricting Data (PL 94-171)". U.S. Census Bureau. Retrieved December 13, 2023.
  5. ^ a b "U.S. Census website". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2008-01-31.
  6. ^ "Muskegon". Geographic Names Information System. United States Geological Survey, United States Department of the Interior.
  7. ^ "Find a County". National Association of Counties. Archived from the original on 2011-05-31. Retrieved 2011-06-07.
  8. ^ "P1. Total Population - Grand Rapids-Kentwood-Muskegon, MI CSA: 2020 DEC Redistricting Data (PL 94-171)". U.S. Census Bureau. Retrieved December 13, 2023.
  9. ^ Sherman, Elizabeth B. (2003). Beyond the Windswept Dunes: The Story of Maritime Muskegon. Detroit: Wayne State University Press. p. 2. ISBN 0-8143-3127-0.
  10. ^ "Ojibwe People's Dictionary: mashkiig". Ojibwe People's Dictionary. University of Minnesota. Retrieved February 5, 2022.
  11. ^ a b "History of Muskegon". co.muskegon.mi.u. Retrieved 7 June 2019.
  12. ^ "History of the Churches of St. Mary's, Our Lady of Grace & St. Jean Baptiste". Our Lady of Grace & St Mary Catholic Parishes, Muskegon. Retrieved 9 July 2015.
  13. ^ Walter Romig, Michigan Place Names, p. 68
  14. ^ Carlson, Kate. "Muskegon Lake cleanup milestone creates 'greater energy' around future developments". Retrieved 2022-06-09.
  15. ^ "NowData – NOAA Online Weather Data". National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Retrieved May 8, 2021.
  16. ^ "Station: Muskegon CO AP, MI". U.S. Climate Normals 2020: U.S. Monthly Climate Normals (1991-2020). National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Archived from the original on 2023-09-15. Retrieved May 8, 2021.
  17. ^ "WMO climate normals for MUSKEGON/COUNTY ARPT MI 1961–1990". National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Archived from the original on 2023-09-15. Retrieved September 15, 2023.
  18. ^ "World Meteorological Organization Standard Normals 1961–1990". World Meteorological Organization. Retrieved May 22, 2021.
  19. ^ "Census of Population and Housing". Retrieved June 4, 2016.
  20. ^ "U.S. Census website". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2012-11-25.
  21. ^ "Muskegon, Michigan".
  22. ^ "Muskegon MI". Walk Score. Retrieved 2022-06-09.
  23. ^ Miller, Marla R. "Smaller spaces, niche products move Muskegon's retail sector forward". Retrieved 2022-06-09.
  24. ^ "Frauenthal Center for Performing Arts".
  25. ^ "Muskegon Civic Theatre".
  26. ^ "West Michigan Symphony Orchestra". Archived from the original on 2013-06-17.
  27. ^ "History". Muskegon Art Museum. 18 November 2008. Retrieved 2020-12-24.
  28. ^ [1] Archived October 21, 2014, at the Wayback Machine
  29. ^ "USS Silversides Museum: Reliving Naval History. WW2 Submarine Museum". USS Silversides Museum. Retrieved 2023-01-01.
  30. ^ "Muskegon Polish Festival". Muskegon Polish Festival. Retrieved 2020-12-24.
  31. ^ "Moose Fest 2019". West Michigan Tourist Association. Retrieved 2020-12-24.
  32. ^ "2014 Buster Keaton Convention". Archived from the original on 2016-03-23. Retrieved 2016-07-02.
  33. ^ "P.J. Hoffmaster State Park". Archived from the original on 2015-11-17.
  34. ^ "District Information". Archived from the original on 26 October 2015. Retrieved 11 November 2015.
  35. ^ "MATS History". Archived from the original on 2007-10-09. Retrieved 2009-05-06.
  36. ^, Stephen Kloosterman (2015-07-30). "Muskegon's new $2.8M downtown bus station to open Saturday". Retrieved 2016-11-21.
  37. ^ ""Trains," "Passenger trains operating on the eve of Amtrak"" (PDF).
  38. ^ "Index of Railroad Stations, 1430". Official Guide of the Railways. 71 (3). National Railway Publication Company. August 1938.
  39. ^ "Canadian National Railway-Grand Trunk, Table 150". Official Guide of the Railways. 71 (3). National Railway Publication Company. August 1938.
  40. ^ Hofsomer, Don. Grand Trunk Corporation, The Canadian National Railways in the United States 1971–1992. 1995. Michigan State University Press. ISBN 18790-94703
  41. ^ Stroud, Toni. "A new shortcut across the lake". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved 17 October 2021.
  42. ^ "Teen confessing to gunning down family". The Michigan Daily Online. Archived from the original on 2006-09-20. Retrieved 2022-08-04.
  43. ^ "Who is Tudor Dixon? 4 facts on Michigan governor candidate".
  44. ^ Stern, Susan (1978). Women composers : a handbook. Metuchen, N.J.: Scarecrow Press. ISBN 0-8108-1138-3. OCLC 3844725.
  45. ^ "Muskegon Actors' Colony – Home Page".
  46. ^ Madden, W. C. (2005) The Women of the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League: A Biographical Dictionary (2005). ISBN 978-0-7864-2263-0
  47. ^ Monaghan, Remi (30 July 2023). "'A chance to start fresh': Muskegon community steps up when pro bowler's family flees Ukraine". Retrieved 13 May 2024.

External links edit

43°14′03″N 86°14′54″W / 43.23417°N 86.24833°W / 43.23417; -86.24833