The train station in Newaygo, circa 1940
Long before the arrival of Europeans to the Laurentians in the 19 th century, people came to hunt, fish and enjoy the sunsets on the shimmering surface of the lakes. Of this part of prehistory, we have few witnesses. Among the rare artifacts, there are these Huron and Iroquoian vessels dating back 500 and 700 years respectively, found in the nearby Lac des Seize-Îles. These almost-intact pots tell us of an ancient aboriginal presence in our valleys, as do some of the place names that describe the Laurentian landscape.
We are here near the hamlet of Newaygo located on the shore of Lake Saint-François-Xavier. There is speculation as to the origin of this name; one hypothesis is that the word “Newaygo” is an Algonquin term meaning 'much water'.
It should be noted that a county in Michigan is also named Newaygo and accordingto their research it comes from the Chippewa chief, Nawago, signatory of the Treaty of Saginaw in 1819.