Leland Township encompasses all of North Lake Leelanau and borders the eastern shore of Lake Michigan. Rolling hills, orchards and woodlands define the township’s terrain.
Leland Township is the only township in Leelanau County that includes two villages. The village of Leland originated in the early 1850s when settlers crossed Lake Michigan from North Manitou Island. In 1870, an iron furnace was built on Lake Michigan in Leland as a refinery for ore from the Upper Peninsula. The village of Lake Leelanau—once known as Provemont—sprang up at the Narrows between the north and south arm of Lake Leelanau. The village of Lake Leelanau supplied steamers with wood from a lumberyard built in 1864.
Tourism eventually replaced the lumber and iron businesses, with early visitors traveling by train and lake steamer. Hotels were built around both villages starting in 1890, and Leland Township has been a tourist destination ever since.
Leland Township’s population is 2,043, according to the 2010 Census. Although it is one of the smaller townships in land area, Leland Township ranks fourth in permanent population among Leelanau County’s 11 townships. However, that population multiplies manyfold in June through August, with as many as 12,000 people estimated to visit on a summer day.