Based on the vision laid out in the Gilmore Township Master Plan, the Township has crafted a draft zoning ordinance to guide its development and preservation. It is available for review in advance of the public hearing at the link below:
Notice to Gilmore Township Residents:
The following documents related to the adoption of a Freedom of Information Act compliance policy are posted here for your review. Questions and comments may be directed to Gilmore Township Clerk Sharyn Bower, firstname.lastname@example.org.
In planning news, the Gilmore Township Master Plan was adopted on May 27, 2014.
A sneak peek from the Introduction to the the Lakes to Land Community Master Plan…
At just 7.25 square miles, Gilmore Township is the smallest in Michigan. The area was first settled in 1855 by Joseph Robar and John B. Dory. Until 1873, Gilmore was part of Blaine Township.
The first improvements to Gilmore Township’s harbor on beautiful Betsie Bay occurred in 1859. The harbor was deepened and piers were constructed; additional improvements soon followed. This proved vital to the fledgling settlement’s future growth, which would depend heavily upon the shipping industry.
One early commercial development was the Frankfort Iron Works, constructed in 1869. At the height of production, it was the largest manufacturing industry in Benzie County; it remained a major area employer until it closed in 1883, phased out by improved technology. In 1892, the Ann Arbor Railroad launched the world’s first car-ferry service from Betsie Bay. Rail cars carrying lumber, coal, and grain now had a rapid shortcut to the shores of Wisconsin. In later years, the ferries hauled iron ore, liquid fuel, passengers and automobiles. The industry slowly declined, and in 1982 the Michigan Department of Transportation ceased operations altogether.
Elberta, the only village in Gilmore Township, was platted in 1866 and recorded as “Frankfort City”; in 1894, it was incorporated as “South Frankfort,” a moniker that would arise from time to time for years to come. Early luminaries include Benjamin Farley, first postmaster in 1870; L.W. Crane, lumberman and founder of the local sawmill, built in 1872; and James Gillmore, Benzie County’s first newspaper publisher and the gentleman for whom the township was named. The home of a sawmill, a broom handle factory, and Frankfort Furnace, it shipped out wood, lumber, handles, bark, and pig iron. However, citizens recognized that its name was easily confused with the neighboring town across the bay. In 1911, they changed it to Elberta for the popular peach variety extensively cultivated in the area at the time.
Once the source of over 99% of the tonnage shipped in and out of Benzie County, Betsie Bay remains central to Elberta’s future. Today the village sports outstanding deep water access for fishing and recreational use, enhanced by excellent marinas. Construction of a waterfront park and performance pavilion and improvements to Elberta’s infrastructure are laying the groundwork for a world-class recreational destination.