Petoskey was once a living coral colony. The scientific name is: Hexagonaria percarinata. It lived during the Devonian Period (350-400 million years ago). During the Pleistocene (about 1.6 million years ago), the Great Lakes region was formed.
The bedrock where this coral lived was broken up by glaciers and relocated across the northen half of the lower peninsula of Michigan.
The name "Petoskey" is the white man's adaptation of of the name: Pe-tos-e-gay, (pronounced beh-dos-eh-geh) which was the name of the son of an Ottawa chief. His name means "rising sun", or "sunbeams of promise". It is said that when Chief Neaatooshing saw his son for the first time, he was bathed in the sun's rays. The chief saw this as a sign that the child would grow up to be a great man.
When he grew up, Pe-tos-e-gay married an Ottawa princess, and had 10 children. He was a successful fur trader who also acquired great land and wealth. In 1873, a few years before his death, the developing town where he lived was also named after him.
In 1965, the fossilized coral was designated the state stone of Michigan.