Cheboygan is an Indian name meaning "Through Passage", this refers to the Indians "passing through" during their fur trading days using the Inland Route to Mackinaw Island, instead of the straits passage. Cheboygan was first settled in 1845 by Mr. McLeod who built the first dam on the Cheboygan River. In 1898 Cheboygan had a population exceeding 8,000.
The lumbering operations were immense, with some being in operation since 1875. Fishing and shipping as well as lumbering were big industries during the boom years. The Phister & Vogel Leather Co. and Tannery had a large operation on the Cheboygan River.
Many steamers serviced the Cheboygan area. Two popular steamers were the Topinabee and the Liebner Davis.