How Alpena got its name

Brick Thunder

Brick Thunder, photo by cmu chem prof

The Pure Michigan Blog has an excellent series on how Michigan cities got their names. They are up to Part 10. One of the cities is Alpena:


Alpena County was first named “An-a-ma-kee,” or “Thunder,” in honor of an old Chippewa chief of the Thunder Bay band who had signed a treaty negotiated with Henry Schoolcraft in 1826. After studying the Indian legends around the word “An-a-ma-kee” (or Animikee), Henry Schoolcraft concluded that the name was not completely appropriate. Then he manufactured the name Alpena from “Al,” an Indian syllable meaning “the”, and either “pinai,” an Arabic word meaning “partridge,” or “peanaisse,” an old French word meaning “bird.”

Check this photo out background big and in Phil’s huge Cities & Towns slideshow.

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