Cross Village is a quiet town overlooking Lake Michigan. This general area was known as Waganakisi by the Ottawa people. Cross Village itself was a village known to the Ottawa as Anamiewatigoing. It lost its importance when the Jesuit missionaries founded New L’Arbre Croche at what is now Harbor Springs in 1830.
The Tunnel of Trees, a 20 mile stretch of highway 119, is internationally known for its scenery. Leg’s Inn, one of two restaurants in the village, is a Michigan Historical site, and has been in business for over 90 years.
Cross Village, like many of the area’s small towns, was once a thriving center for lumber. Because of its location on the lakeshore it was also a fishing community. Cross Village is one of the oldest settlements in Michigan and today is known for its ties to the Ottawa people.
Early records say that Father Jacques Marquette, the famous French Jesuit who endeared himself to the Native American population of northern Michigan, planted a huge white cross on the bluff overlooking Lake Michigan before his death in 1675. As late as 1787, as many as twenty tribes populated the region and met here around tribal council fires. To the Natives who populated the numerous historic missions in the area, Cross Village became known as the “Land of the Cross”. To the French, this region was known as “L’Arbre Croche“; to the Ottawas, it was called “Wau-gaw-naw-ke-ze“; and to the English-speaking people at the time, it was simply known as “Land of the Crooked Tree”.