Turtle Island (Lake Erie)

Turtle Island (Lake Erie)

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Turtle Island (Lake Erie)

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Turtle Island is a remote island in the western portion of Lake Erie in the United States. The island has unique political status, as its ownership is divided between the U.S. states of Michigan and Ohio, even though the island has no residents or use. The island is located about northeast of the mouth of the Maumee River in Maumee Bay. Today, the island houses several abandoned structures and the ruins of a lighthouse dating back to 1866.


The Miami tribe were the first inhabitants of the small island prior to 1800. They used the island primarily to gather seagull eggs. The island was named after Miami chief Mishikinakwa (c. 1747–1812), who was an influential Indian leader in the Northwest Territory during the American Revolution.

The British operated a small fort on the island around 1794 in defense of the mouth of the Maumee River, but the fort was soon abandoned. There are conflicting accounts as to who maintained ownership of the island during this time. Local folklore alludes to the belief that the Indians owned the island and used it as a military fort, while others claim the British held control of it until losing it during the War of 1812. Official accounts of the history...
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