Boundary Description for the Historic Landscape:
The Historic Core of Elk Rapids is bound by River Street to the north, U.S. 31 to the east, the alley beyond Traverse Street to the south and Oak Street, running along Grand Traverse Bay, to the west.
Period of Significance, 1852-1910:
The period of significance for the commercial district of Elk Rapids runs from 1852-1910. From 1852, when Elk Rapids was first platted, through its boom in lumbering, iron works and cement through the 1890‟s Elk Rapids was in a growth mode. The population kept growing, due to these booming enterprises, to an all time high of 2,000 people in 1910. This was the steadiest and most significant growth in the Elk Rapids history.
Management Issues:
The identification of this historic cultural landscape, while creating awareness of the unique cultural heritage, does not work to protect this area. While the establishment of a local historic district is the strongest form of protection, it is understood that this community is not necessarily interested in that option. The establishment of a Heritage Area would be beneficial to the community, bringing a sense of pride that should be fostered and encouraged. There are considerations of possible future activities and issues that could impact the overall integrity of the Historic Core of the Village of Elk Rapids
  •   Future Development – without careful planning, the historic context could be altered by non-compatible development. The views into and out of the area should be maintained. The land use, materials, and scale of infill projects should be compatible with the historic character.
  •  The spatial organization of the Historic Core would benefit from its usage being maintained as is - residential vs. commercial. The visual strength of this Historic Core, with its lovely residential homes, could be compromised if businesses begin infringing on the established residential neighborhoods (i.e. new commercial strip mall on Bridge Street). Types of businesses moving into the residential portion of this district should be well thought out in order to keep and maintain the historic character already in place (i.e. A Bed & Breakfast verses a Convenience Store)
  • While Elk Rapids is threatened by development creeping north from Traverse City, through Acme, the recent downturn in the economy and housing market allows Elk Rapids a small window to implement the various development control mechanisms supported by the Village before development pressures increase again.

General Recommendations: See pages 86 - 92 for details.