Kelleys Island is the largest US island in the western basin of Lake Erie, the Walleye Fishing capital of the world. With a landmass of twenty-eight hundred acres and an eighteen-mile shoreline, the island has a lot to offer. There are a variety of seasonal activities and events, places to explore, and a rich cultural and natural history to discover -- something for everyone!
Kelleys Island is three and one half miles north of Marblehead Peninsula. Most arrive by the Kelleys Island Ferry Boat Line located on State Route 163 in Marblehead, Ohio. You can bring your car or bicycle on the ferry or, once you arrive on the island, rent a golf cart or bicycle. However, the island is also accessible by airplane and private boat. Griffing Flying Service provides daily service from Sandusky, Ohio. Island marinas accommodate visiting boaters.
At least two Indian villages existed on Kelleys Island, probably the Erie (or Cat) nation, which was annihilated by the Iroquois in 1665. The petroglyphs of Inscription Rock, on the south side of the island, were probably carved over a period of years by the Eries and may describe certain important events in their history.
The island became the property of the Connecticut Land Company in about 1817 and was divided into 13 lots, which were given to stockholders in the Company. In 1833 the Kelley brothers, Datus and Irad, immigrants to the Cleveland area from Connecticut, began to buy parcels of land and soon owned the entire island. The Kelleys and their families began developing the island and its industries; wine-making, quarrying, logging, fruit-growing, and fishing as well as encouraging the cultural enrichment of the inhabitants.