The Michigan Historical Marker at Grand Marais reads:
Grand Marais, which is among Michigan’s oldest place names, received its name from French explorers, missionaries and traders who passed here in the 1600s. “Marais” in this case was a term used by the voyaguers to designate a harbor of refuge. In the 1800s Lewis Cass, Henry Schoolcraft and Douglass Houghton also found the sheltering harbor a welcome stopping place. Grand Marais’s permanent settlement dates from the 1860s with the establishment of fishing and lumbering. At the turn of the century Grand Marais was a boom town served by a railroad from the south. Its mills turned out millions of board feet annually. Lumbering declined around 1910, and Grand Marais became almost a ghost town, but the fishing industry continued. Many shipping disasters have occurred at or near the harbor of refuge, which has been served by the Coast Guard since 1899. In 1942 the first radar station in Michigan was built in Grand Marais. Fishing, lumbering and tourism now give Grand Marais its livelihood.
More Grand Marais on Michigan in Pictures!