Escanaba ( /ˌɛskənɑːbə/ ess-kə-nah-bə) is a city in the U.S. state of Michigan, located in the banana belt on the state's Upper Peninsula. As of the 2000 census, the city population was 13,140, making it the third-largest city in the Upper Peninsula after Marquette and Sault Ste. Marie. It is the county seat of Delta County.
There is also Escanaba Township, which is north of the city and is not adjacent to it, although a portion of the urban area around the city extends into the township. Both are named for the Escanaba River that flows into the Little Bay de Noc of Lake Michigan just north of the city at 45°46′37″N 87°03′30″W / 45.77694°N 87.05833°W / 45.77694; -87.05833.
The word "Escanaba" roughly translates from various regional native languages to "land of the red buck" while others maintain that it refers to "flat rock". Escanaba was an Ojibwa village in the early 19th century. As an American settlement, Escanaba began as a port town in the mid-19th century, gaining importance to the Union as a shipping point for iron ore, lumber and copper during the Civil War. In his poem "The Song of Hiawatha", Henry Wadsworth Longfellow described how Hiawatha "crossed the rushing Esconaba" referring to the river. Located on Little Bay de Noc at the northern edge of Lake Michigan, Escanaba continues to serve as an important shipping point for iron ore to other Great Lakes ports, especially south to Chicago and northern Indiana. The local paper mill, for many years Mead Corporation's Publishing Paper Division, is currently operated by NewPage Corporation; located on the outskirts of the city alongside the Escanaba River, it is now the areas largest employer.