2021 is the 150th anniversary of the opening of the channel between Portage Lake and Lake Michigan and also the the naming of the Village of Onekama.


150 years ago, Onekama, Michigan had its start. The wildly fascinating story of “The Cut” is the iconic and life-altering event that shaped Onekama. The local homesteaders, tired of their conflict with the Porter Lumber Milling Company whose dam at Portage Creek flooded their farmland, took matters literally into their own hands. Illegally hand digging a small trench from Lake Michigan to Portage Lake to lower the lake to its original depth, the homesteaders created a fantastic spectacle! On the night of May 14, 1871 when the trench was completed, the water rushed out taking with it woods and sand and creating a channel 500 feet wide and 12 feet deep. This channel brought great opportunity for the homesteaders and the mill and remains to this day an integral part of the Onekama community.

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Coincidently, just a week before, the Postmaster General appointed a postmaster to an office at the newly named village of “Onekama”. The year of 2021 is the sesquicentennial anniversary of these two events.

Through a series of activities and events based on the 150 year anniversary, “OneKama OneFifty” will celebrate the Portage Lake Channel and the village of Onekama. Activities will feature boat races and water recreation events, historical tours and programs, arts and literary tie-ins, a gala dinner, and a formal dedication of the Portage Lake channel to Lake Michigan.

Channel Dedication
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For ONEKAMA OneFifty Sponsorship Opportunities please email

Art students from Onekama’s school were asked to demonstrate these concepts in a logo.

 Thank you to all the students who participated in the OneKama OneFifty Logo Contest. 

Logo Winner - Karmen W.

Logo Contest Runners-Up - Dannika & Zoe