If someone was to blindfold you and drop you into the center of Apple Island, once you took the blindfold off, you’d think you were somewhere in northern Michigan.

Guess again.
It’s smack in the middle of Orchard Lake in Oakland County, just a few miles from Auburn Hills, between Pontiac and Farmington Hills…on the outskirts of Detroit.

What makes this little island so cool? (and it IS very cool…)

Native Americans discovered this island over two thousand years ago. Tribal chiefs had their meetings here, including Chief Pontiac, who is still rumored to be buried here (more on that later).

It is also believed that the mighty Chief John Okemos came from here; in 1856, he was quoted as saying "I was born in Michigan, near Pontiac, on an island in a lake… I was 30 years old when I left the place I was born." Researchers feel the chief was referring to Apple Island, though there is no definite proof.

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After James Galloway purchased the island in June 1827, a handful of others came and built homes on the island…none of those homes survive today (the gallery below shows old foundations, rubble, and remnants of those old houses).

Now, back to Chief Pontiac.
It’s the general consensus that he was buried at the corner of Broadway & Walnut in St. Louis, Missouri, at the Stadium East parking garage. It’s definitely not a cool place for a mighty warrior to be memorialized. And why the heck should Pontiac be buried in St. Louis/Missouri (of all places) instead of Michigan? While visiting Illinois, he was stabbed to death by a Peoria tribe member as revenge for murdering his uncle, a tribe chief. Pontiac's body was supposedly taken across the river and buried in St. Louis because tradition stated he couldn't be buried in hostile territory.

Locals who live near the island – and those who once did – still believe Chief Pontiac was buried on Apple Island. There is a site in the island’s Western Woods section that is believed to be an old Indian burial ground. Nicknamed “Pontiac’s Mound”, the site was excavated to find proof of burials. The results proved nothing, one way or the other…..but thanks to the digs, the island is now on the National Register of Historic Places.

Nobody lives on this island now.....it's a nature preserve and is also used for archaeological purposes. You can only visit during the regular tour months every year.

If you take the tour, you’ll enjoy walking through this little hunk of Northern Michigan that somehow found its way into the suburbs of Detroit.

The Remains of Deserted Houses on Apple Island

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