Ottawa Indians once lived in the pine forest between Lakes Wahbekaness and Wahbekanetta. In the 1800s white men came and cut the pines, leaving only a small forest between the lakes. This virgin pine was purchased in 1917 by the state and became part of one of the first state parks. When the lumbering era ended the Wylie Cooperage occupied the Indian village site, making barrels until the hardwood ran out. Willis Pennington's summer hotel opened in 1909, was popular with fishermen until automobiles and better roads drew them elsewhere. Then in 1918, Camp Interlochen, one of Michigan's first girl's recreation camp was opened, followed in 1922 by Camp Penn Loch for boys. In 1928, by arrangement with Willis Pennington, Joseph L. Maddy and Thaddeus P. Giddings established the National High School Orchestra Camp It grew rapidly in scope, size and reputation, Becoming the National Music Camp in 1931 and affiliating with the University of Michigan
in 1942. Interlochen Music Academy was chartered in 1960 to provide year-around training in the creative arts.