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Township History


The origins of Chocolay Township began when the Wisconsin Glacier, which was 8,000 to 10,000 feet thick, melted. This glacier carved out the rivers and hills throughout the Upper Peninsula.

This area was used by the Indians as a summer camping place. French explorers used the name Chocolate for the river because of its dark brown color in their map marking (the name was changed to Chocolay in the early 1900s). In 1842 the Chocolay River became a well known boundary marker in the Treaty of 1842, when mineral lands to the west of it were ceded to the United States by the Chippewa Indians. This territory extended to the head of Lake Superior, which was known then as Fond du Lac or "bottom of the lake".

In March of 1860, Chocolay Township was cut from a part of Marquette Township, which at the time covered all of Marquette County. Various parts remaining in Marquette Township were later set up as the surrounding townships of Forsyth, Turin, Sands, Skandia, and West Branch. Chocolay Township became a Charter Township on May 16, 1972.

Historical information taken from the History and Background of Chocolay Township 1860-1964, Centennial Edition, published July, 1964. In 2008, a more recent history of Chocolay Township was published. Click Chocolay Township History Then and Now to view the history online. The document is available for viewing at the Township Hall.

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