Oden Island is an approximate 110 acre island in the center of Crooked Lake (2,300 acre surface area). Visible from several points along US-31 Highway, Oden Island is a lovely spot to explore.
The bridge to Oden Island wasn’t constructed until 1959. It cost approx. $15,000 to complete with a 9ft. clearance for boaters. According to a 1960 Petoskey News Review article, Mr. Cy Jordan (of Alanson) worked for four years to be able to bridge Oden Island to the mainland. He had to introduce special legislation to the State of Michigan and several bills were required to be passed in order to start his project. It was noted in the article that the island had been platted for subdivision in 1901 with six cedar stakes having been found. After approvals, Mr. and Mrs. Jordan subdivided their 60 acres on the western shore of the lake. Over the next few years, they sold off lots and homes were built upon the island. The lots were priced at $40 and $50 per foot dependent on their position on the lake.
There is some confusion as to exactly when Mr. Jordan became the owner of his property as it states in the Emmet County Register of Deeds (online record search) that the mortgage from the First National Bank of Petoskey was recorded to Circuit Controls Inc (Mr. Jordan’s company) on May 17th, 1960 then granted to Mr. & Mrs. Jordan on May 18th, 1960. This was for the purchase of Oden Island Development lots 1 & 2 of the plat that was recorded in February of the same year. It is clear that they were the owners of this land (the entire development) prior to the platting of the development. It is not clear when they took ownership.
In 1963 an easement was granted from lots 3 & 4 of the Minne-Wa-Wa Beach Plat for owner Cy Jordan to to gain access to the southern part of the island. At the time of the Minne-Wa-Wa Beach Plat recording (1911) it was noted that Amos B. Amon, Lizzie B. Amon, Levi Pond, Minera Pond and May L. Ball were the proprietors. (It also unclear when these individuals took ownership of their portion of the island).
The Oden Island Development is upon the island’s southwestern shore. The Minne-Wa-Wa Beach plat is along the northwestern shore.
In 2000, with the news of a projected development on the eastern shore, the Little Traverse Conservancy stepped in and protected the land through a $1 million dollar purchase. Today, there are hike-able trails and a nice parking lot for visitors on approximately 50 acres of the island’s northeast shore. Hikers can view the beautiful waters of Crooked Lake along the mile-long shoreline. The loop is a total of about 1.2 miles and is a lovely moderate walk through a cedar forest and protected wetlands. Link to conservancy.
Oden Island got its name from Mr. William Oden Hughart, a president of the Grand Rapids & Indiana Railroad with services between Cincinnati, Ohio, and the Straits of Mackinac passing through Petoskey, Oden and to Mackinaw City. The Oden name was given in the 1880s.
The Crooked Lake sandbar is a very popular spot among boaters to anchor and enjoy a sunny day. The sandbar is just northwest of the island.
On a calm day, the island offers an enjoyable view to kayak paddlers who are welcome to paddle under the bridge on their journey around the island.
Rocky Point Nature Preserve (the eastern most point of the island) was established in 1986 by the Little Traverse Conservancy was originally only accessible by boat. (Approx. 5.5 acres).
The center part of the island is owned and controlled by the Oden Island Association (approximately 9 acres).
Directions: (From Petoskey) Take Pickerel Lake Road east until it becomes Channel Road. Follow Channel Road until it becomes Oden Island Road. Cross over the bridge and turn right onto Leeward Drive. The parking lot and trailhead are at the end of Leeward Drive.