On July 3, 1897, a small spark arose, creating a huge blaze, soon engulfing the small village of Lake Ann in flames. The fire swept out all 50 buildings making up the village’s downtown, and left 75 families homeless.
The damage cost $100,000 in 1897 dollars. The fire broke out mysteriously at William Habbler’s sawmill at about 1:30 p.m. It was also speculated that a spark from a tugboat ignited the blaze. The residents of Traverse City rushed to help fight the fire. Before the fire, the people of Lake Ann considered themselves rivals of Traverse City in a race to become the business center of lower Michigan. But now, they all worked hard to be sure that the inhabitants of Lake Ann were fed, clothed, and sheltered. Although Lake Ann never achieved becoming a business center rival to Traverse City, they remain a shady summer getaway.
Source: Michigan Every Day