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Tip of The Thumb Heritage Water Trail

HC150. Sebewaing Road - Sebewaing
The launch ramp is a  hard-surface ramp with sufficient water depth and lake or impoundment size to accommodate all trailerable watercraft (minimum of 2.5 - 3 feet deep at a distance of 20 feet from shore). The site is signed.

Sebewaing, from the Chippewa for “little crooked creek” was a center for fishing, shipping, sugar, and beer making.

Sebewaing, similar to the Ojibwa word “sibi-wan” means “rivers, streams’. One reference indicates the translation to mean “where the river is” another reference says it refers to “crooked creek”. The River is seen on some old French maps as the Du Fill (Thread) River. The settlement of Sebewaing began in 1845, when the Reverend J.J.F. Auch, a Lutheran minister, established a mission here. Sebewaing Township was organized in 1853 with Frederic Shilling as the first Township Supervisor. Reverend Auch started the first school in 1854. In the 1860's cooperage (barrel making) was a thriving industry, using the plentiful oak trees of the region. Other early industries in Sebewaing included farming, coal mining, fishing, shipping and ship building. Sebewaing later became a center for beet sugar making with a major factory of the Michigan Sugar Company built here in 1902.

The town was once famous as home of the Sebewaing Brewing Company which produced beer for almost a hundred years until shutting down in 1965. The brewery began life as the E.O. Braendle Brewery in 1880. A fire destroyed the wood frame building in 1893. It was rebuilt with brick walls three feet thick and enjoyed prospered until Prohibition outlawed beermaking. The Sebewaing name began during Prohibition when in 1927, the Sebewaing Products Company was organized to produce malt extract. After Prohibition, Sebewaing again brewed beer until financial pressures in the 1960's shut down most of the independent breweries in the United States.

HC160. Sebewaing Harbor Marina - Auchville / Lutheran Mission
 

Sebewaing, originally Auchville, was founded in 1845 by the Rev. J.J.F. Auch, a Lutheran missionary.

The first European to settle in what is now the town of Sebewaing was the Reverend J. J. F. Auch, a Lutheran missionary who came to preach to the Chippewa. In the same year, Reverend Auch help site other German missionary settlers on the Cass River at what became Frankenmuth. Reverend Auch with the help of the local Chippewa, built a log house, was joined in 1849 by his brother and other German missionaries. In 1849, Reverend Auch ferried lumber from Lower Saginaw Bay to the Chippewa village at Shebahyonk, seven miles north of Sebewaing, and built a mission house. In 1851, a party of settlers arrived on Lone Tree Island (since washed away) in the mouth of the Sebewaing River. They were stranded for three weeks until Reverend Auch could get the Chippewa to ferry them to the mainland settlement by birchbark canoe. The settlement was known as Auchville, but when the Township was organized in 1853, the village was renamed Sebewaing after the River. By 1854, the Chippewa had left the area and the mission house was sold. The first school in Sebewaing was taught by Reverend Auch in 1854. The school was attached to the Auch’s Lutheran church and the first class had a dozen students. Later the mission house was moved to 590 East Bay Street in Sebewaing and set up by the Michigan District of the Lutheran Church - Missouri Synod as a museum.

The Sebewaing Harbor Marina offers four launch ramps and charges a $6 daily launch fee. There are restroom facilities, showers, and a convenience store.

HC170. Sebewaing County Park - Sugar Industry
 

Michigan Sugar, a grower owned cooperative is the largest beet sugar processor east of the Mississippi River.

Michigan Sugar Company is the largest beet sugar processor east of the Mississippi River and fourth largest in the United States. The company has a long history in the region. The first factory was built in 1898 using the plentiful sugar beet crop that developed in the Thumb after the clearing and draining of the land in the late 19th century. In 1902, the Sebewaing plant was built. In 1906, Michigan Sugar Company was formed out of a merger of six independent sugar companies in the region. In 1963, the Flagenheimer Family owned the controlling interest in the company. Savannah Foods acquired the firm in 1984, and was then acquired by Imperial Sugar in 1997. In 2001, Imperial Sugar filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy. In 2002, 1,000 beet growers in the region formed a cooperative and bought the Michigan Sugar Company with Mark Flegenheimer as CEO. In 2004, the Monitor Sugar Company of Bay City and its growers joined the cooperative. All sugar produced in Michigan is now produced by one grower-owned cooperative. Michigan Sugar Company annually produces nearly one billion pounds of sugar under the Pioneer and Big Chief brand names - "Locally Grown. Locally Owned."

Sebewaing County Park has 64 camping sites for tent camping, a two-bedroom lodge, restroom facilities, running water, and showers on the Sebewaing River and Lake Michigan. There is a fishing site near the lodge that would have to be improved for put-in and take-out access by the County.

HC180. Bay Shore Camp - Bay Shore Camp
 

Bay Shore Camp, founded in 1911, continues to offer summer campmeetings in the 21st century.

Bay Shore Camp has its origins in a diversely-organized group of Evangelical Christians who gathered for campmeeting in the summer of 1911. The campmeeting was so successful that the next year the group sought a location for an annual permanent campmeeting ground. The group selected a defunct 40-acre “driving park” just north of the Sebewaing village limits, naming the camp “Bay Shore Park.” The group held annual family campmeetings through 1943, added summer camp for children in 1944. Ownership of Bay Shore passed from the United Brethren Church to the United Methodist Church in 1968 with the formal merger of the United Brethren and Methodist churches. The United Methodist Church, having more camp property than it could maintain, earmarked Bay Shore Camp for sale.

On the last night of Senior High Camp in the summer of 1968, the high-schoolers marched around the perimeter of the Camp carrying lit torches, seeking God, that He might “save Bay Shore for other boys and girls to come.” The Camp was saved, and Bay Shore Camp is formally known as “Bay Shore Evangelical Camp of the Detroit Conference, United Methodist Church.” Informally, the mission is “Bay Shore Camp & Family Ministries” or simply “Bay Shore Camp.” Campmeeting or Family Camp is still the highlight of each summer with 15 separate children and youth camps scheduled throughout June, July, and August. Many family-oriented Special Ministries are also offered fall, winter, and spring.

HC190. Kilmanaugh Road - Chippewa
 

The Chippewa (Ojibwe), the original people of Saginaw Bay had a village north of Sebewaing near Shebahyonk Creek.

The Chippewa or Ojibwe are the original inhabitants of the region. They had a large village nearby near Shebahyonk Creek. The Chippewa call themselves Anishinabe, in their language meaning original men. The name Chippewa comes from an Algonquian word "otchipwa" meaning to pucker, that derives from the Chippewa’s distinctive puckered moccasin seam. Oral tradition has the Chippewa origins to the north or east near the ocean.

During the time of the Little Ice Age in the 1400's, the people migrated to the Great Lakes region. They moved into lower Michigan in the 1600's and by 1700 they controlled both sides of Lake Huron. Étienne Brulé may have been the first Frenchman to meet with the Chippewa at Sault Ste. Marie in 1623. The 1600's were a period of war between the Chippewa and their allies against the Iroquois, and the Lower Peninsula of Michigan was often the battlefield. The Ojibwe expanded north and west in the 1700's eventually populating a large portion of the Western Great Lakes region as well as Central Canada. The Chippewa supported the French in their conflicts with the British, and the British against the Americans. As American settlers moved into Michigan, the Chippewa were displaced, forced to leave their lands in the Thumb in the Treaty of Detroit in 1807 and the Treaty of Saginaw in 1817.

The Chippewa were a woodland people. In Michigan, they did grow some corn, beans, and squash in permanent villages, but also gathered wild rice and maple sugar as staples. The Chippewa hunted and trapped game, Fishing in the Lakes, especially for sturgeon was important. Bark from the paper birch was an important part of the culture - it was used for their canoes as well as for walls of their homes. The local beaver that provided winter furs, also drew the Europeans to the region for trade. The currently recognized bands of the Chippewa in Michigan include Bay Mills Indian Community of the Sault Ste. Marie Band of Chippewa Indians, Grand Traverse Band of Ottawa and Chippewa Indians, Keweenaw Bay Indian Community of L'Anse of Chippewa Indians, Keweenaw Bay Indian Community of Lac Vieux Desert of Chippewa Indians, Keweenaw Bay Indian Community of Ontonagon Bands of Chippewa Indians, Sault Ste. Marie Band of Chippewa Indians, Saginaw Chippewa Indian Tribe of Michigan (Isabella).

HC200. Dutcher Road - Zebra Mussels
 

Zebra Mussels, an exotic invasive that arrived in the 1990’s has had a serious impact on Lake Huron’s ecosystem.

The zebra mussel (Dreissena polymorpha) is a small, nonnative mussel originally found in Russia. In 1988, the Zebra Mussel arrived in the Great Lakes in the ballast water of a transatlantic freighter and quickly colonized parts of Lake St. Clair. In less than 10 years, zebra mussels have spread to all five Great Lakes. Many lakes and rivers in Michigan are now infested with zebra mussels. Zebra mussels are one of the most “successful” exotic invaders in the Great Lakes region. The Zebra Mussel lives in lakes of all sizes as well as rivers. It is a prolific breeder - it can produce a million eggs per year. The tiny larvae drift with the currents, quickly spreading the mussels miles from an initial infestation. The mussels have been spreading because they live and feed in many different aquatic habitats, breed prolifically (each female produces one million eggs per year), and have both a planktonic larval stage and an attached adult stage. Adult zebra mussels are up to 2 inches in length and attach themselves to any hard object.

Adult zebra mussels colonize all types of living and nonliving surfaces. They attach to other zebra mussels and can build colonies up to a foot thick. Zebra mussels can clog water intake pipes causing problems for municipal water suppliers and industry on the Lakes. The Zebra Mussel is also a problem in its impact on the ecosystem. Zebra mussels are filter feeders and process up to 1 gallon of water per day per mussel. The huge population of zebra mussels can literally vacuum the waters clean of microscopic plankton. This reduces the food supply for other larval fish and native invertebrates causing some populations such as the native freshwater clams to decline precipitously. On the other hand, the zebra mussel is a food source for ducks, lake sturgeon, yellow perch, freshwater drum, catfish, and sunfish.

The Zebra Mussel has also increased water clarity, increasing the depth that sunlight can penetrate and has increased the density and depth of aquatic plants in the shallow waters of Saginaw Bay. This is a mixed blessing in that the increased plant growth provides more habitat for fish such as Yellow Perch and Walleye, but presents a nuisance for boaters and shoreline landowners who swimming beaches have been overgrown. The shells of the dead mussels stabilize the bottom sediments, providing a good habitat for another exotic invasive, Giant Reed as the Lake level has receded and exposed the lake bed. Zebra mussels can spread by larval or adult mussels being moved to new waters by humans. Avoid spreading zebra mussels by draining live wells, cleaning vegetation off boat trailers, removing attached zebra mussels from boat hulls, and not dumping bait into lakes or rivers.

HC210. Rose Island Drive - Perch
 

Yellow Perch are a major shallow water game fish. The population declined in the 1960’s, but recovered in the 1990’s.

Yellow Perch (Perca flavescens), also known as Lake Perch can grow to be 6 to 10 inches long and weigh 6 to 16 ounces. They live to be more than 10 years old. There are six or seven distinctive vertical bars on the sides of the fish. The dorsal fins are definitely separated with two or three spines in the forward dorsal fin. Although they can adapt to a variety of habitats and water temperatures, yellow perch usually occur in schools near shore in shallow waters, usually at depths of less than 30 feet. Yellow Perch eat a variety of organisms, including aquatic insects, crayfish, and fish. They feed in the morning and evening, rest on the bottom at night and continue feeding year-round, making Perch a favorite of ice fishermen. Perch are also very good eating, and many other species of fish are misnamed Perch in order to capitalize on their delicacy.

Yellow perch spawn in the Spring after the ice breaks up. Adults migrate into shallow weedy sections of the shore or into the rivers and randomly release long strings (up to seven feet) of transparent eggs. A single female may lay 10,000-200,000 eggs. The egg masses eventually adhere to submerged vegetation, where they remain until hatching. Larval yellow perch commonly eat copepods, waterfleas, and other small crustaceans, including larger prey such as aquatic insect larvae and larval fish as they grow larger.

The Yellow Perch was an important commercial and sport catch on Lake Huron. The population of Perch went down in the 1990's as competition from Alewives reduced the food available in the Lake from other species. Another exotic invasive, the Zebra Mussel has helped the Perch by clarifying the water and encouraging a deeper growth zone for aquatic plants. Yellow Perch population in Saginaw Bay has begun growing, and are a continuing draw for fishermen into the area.

HC220. Pop’s Place Marina - Walleye
 

Walleye populations in Saginaw Bay are again well established through breeding, stocking, and habitat restoration.

Walleye (Stizostedion vitreum) can grow to be 13 to 25 inches long and weigh 1 to 5 pounds. They can live to be more than 7 years old. Its color is olive-brown to golden-brown to yellow on back, with paler sides, and is yellowish white underneath. The walleye is named for its pearlescent eye, which is caused by a reflective layer of pigment, called the tapetum lucidum, that helps it see and feed at night or in murky water. During the day, walleye often rest on the bottom, hovering in the shade of submerged objects or in the shadows of deep water. They feed at dusk to feed in the shallows over weed beds or rocky shoals. During the hottest months, walleye often remain near the bottom, even at night. Walleye are predators that eat minnows and small fish. Alewives make a large part of the Walleye’s current diet. They feed during the winter making them a favorite target of ice fishermen.

Walleye spawn in the Spring after the ice breaks up, generally when the water temperature reaches 42 degrees Fahrenheit. Walleye spawn in streams and rivers with moving water and gravelly or rocky bottoms. In the late 20th century, water pollution and dams on the rivers had a major impact on the spawning habitats of the Saginaw Bay Walleye. There was once a flourishing commercial fishery for walleyes in Saginaw Bay. After a productive period from the late 1940s to the early 1950s, the population and commercial catch of walleyes declined. A stocking program by the Michigan DNR helped the population to recover, and there is now a naturally breeding population. The DNR continues to watch and research the walleyes in Saginaw Bay to determine the future management of the species.

Pop’s Place Marina at 1902 Rose Island Road is located on Rose Island north of Sebewaing. There is a launch ramp with a $4 fee, as well as restrooms, food, and beverages.

HC230. Sumac Island Public Access - Saginaw Bay Waterfowl
A hard-surfaced ramp, in areas of limited water depth or limited size of water body, where launching and retrieving of largest boats may be difficult and not recommended. The site is signed.   The Site is closed 11:00 p.m. to 4:00 a.m.
 

Saginaw Bay, a mecca for hunters and birders, is a major nesting area and rest stop for migratory waterfowl.

Saginaw Bay with its lakeshore plain, wet prairies, dunes and swales, and shallow lake bottoms is a major habitat for North American birds. It is a major rest stop and feeding area for migratory song birds and waterfowl on the Central Flyway. The wetlands are host to Canada Geese, Snow Geese, Tundra Swans. Mallards, Grebes, and Wood Ducks nest here, while other waterfowl include Green Winged Teals, Canvasbacks, Redheads, Pintails, Ring Necks, Scaups, Longtails, Buffleheads, Goldeneyes, Mergansers, Ruddy Ducks, and Loons. The vast numbers of waterfowl have made the Saginaw Bay a mecca for hunters and birders alike.

The Bay also has waders including Herons and Bitterns, Yellowlegs, Sandpipers, Dunlins, and Sandhill Cranes. One can spot Terns and Cormorants fishing in the Bay. Circling above, a birder may spot Bald Eagles, Ospreys, and Hawks. The inland forests and thickets are home to Neotropical migrants as well as less migratory species of songbird including Warblers, Finches, Thrushes, Nuthatches, Wrens, Titmice, Kinglets, Waxwings, and Sparrows. The wetlands are home to huge numbers of Red-Wing Blackbirds and Swallows.

The State of Michigan and the Counties and communities along Saginaw Bay have preserved much of the coastline in parks ands reserves. The State provides Wildlife Areas at Quanicassee, Fish Point, and Wildfowl Bay with both birding and hunting access. Other State Parks with good birding opportunities include Sleeper State Park and Port Crescent State Park. County Parks such as Vanderbilt, Caseville, McGraw, Oak Beach, and Philip also afford good views and access to the birds of Saginaw Bay.

For more information look at http://www.saginawbaybirding.org

HC240. Weale Lane - Agriculture in the Thumb
 

Cleared by fires and drained by ditches, the “Thumb,” is now a major producer of sugar beets, potatoes, beans, and grain.

Agriculture in the “Thumb” had a late start. The Native Americans here did not practice extensive agriculture because the land was generally either forested or too wet. The Europeans who initially settled here in the mid-19th century did so for the timber, fish, and other resources rather than for farming. The land was eventually cleared by lumbering and by the Fires of 1871 and 1881 that burned across Tuscola and Huron Counties, clearing away the trees and slash. The ditching and tiling of the wetlands near Saginaw Bay opened those rich lands to farming as well.

Crops in the region include the typical Midwestern mix of corn, soybeans and livestock (cattle, hogs, and sheep). Local specialties include dry beans including most of the world’s navy beans and sugar beets (feeding the region’s sugar industry). Other major crops include wheat, hay, and dairy. There are more than 2,000 farms in Huron and Tuscola Counties. The combined production of those farms is more than three hundred million dollars. The average farm size is about 300 acres, with a median farm size of approximately 100 acres. Huron is the 3rd ranked County in Michigan in agricultural production, while Tuscola is ranked 14th in the State. Huron is ranked 1st in the State for production of corn for grain, dry beans, sugarbeets, and second in wheat for grain. Tuscola County is ranked 2nd in the State in dry beans and sugarbeets, 5th in corn for grain, 6th in wheat for grain, and 8th in soybeans.

HC250. Fin and Feather Access - Wallace Stone Quarry
A carry-down launching area. Site does not have an improved ramp and is siutable for car-top boats and canoes only. It has parking available within 150 feet of the launching area; the site is signed.

In operation since the 1890’s, the Wallace Stone Quarry produced limestone for quicklime and stone for road aggregate. Site Closed 11:00 p.m. to 4:00 a.m.

The Bay Port formation is A Mississippian limestone with a dolomitized underlayer. When the Saginaw, Tuscola, and Huron Railroad reached Bay Port, this made a large deposit of Bay Port limestone south of town accessible. In 1890, 100 men were employed by the railroad cutting limestone for building stone and crushing it for lime. The railroad station at the lime works was called Quarry. In 1900, the Bay Port Lime and Stone Company was sold to W.H. Wallace and partners, who renamed the firm the Wallace Stone Company. When the high quality limestone ran out, the quarry continued to operate using the harder dolomitic stone for aggregate for highways and railroad ballast. In 1962, the company was merged with J.P. Burroughs & Son in Saginaw. The company produced 500,000 to 700,000 tons of crushed rock in the 1960's and has since stabilized production. The quarry now uses 18 to 22 employees to produce 450,000 tons of decorative stone, base materials, shoreline protection, concrete stone, railroad ballast, asphalt split material and agricultural lime.

HC260. Brush’s Marina - Saginaw Bay Fishing
 

The rich fisheries of Saginaw Bay were destroyed by overfishing, exotic invaders, and pollution, but are starting to recover.

Saginaw Bay with its shallow waters has been a rich fishing ground that has attracted settlement to its shores. The Native American speared the plentiful Lake Sturgeon, and also caught the Northern Pike and Walleye that were found the shallows and river mouths. The Europeans that settled around the lakeshore also took advantage of the fishing that could be found here. The fisherman caught Whitefish, Lake Trout, Yellow perch, Lake Herring, and Walleye in large quantities. Sturgeon were originally so plentiful that they were dried and used as ful for steamships, but later in the 19th century were netted and smoked for human consumption. In the late 19th and early 20th centuries, Saginaw Bay produced millions of pounds fish each year with catches of Yellow Perch, Lake Herring, Lake Trout, Whitefish, Walleye, and Sturgeon. Commercial fishing was a 12-month industry with ice-fishing as well as netting and long-lining. Major fishing ports on the Bay included Sebewaing, Bay Port, Caseville, and Port Austin.

By the middle of the 20th century, the commercial fishery has crashed from overfishing, pollution, destruction of spawning habitat, and the introduction of exotic invasives. The Sea Lamprey was especially destructive to the large high value fish like then Lake Trout. The Alewife also pushed out the Lake Herring, and then proliferated without the Lake Trout as a top predator. The Michigan DNR and Federal government moved in to manage the fishery. Sea Lamprey control and the introduction of Salmon as a replacement predator helped to bring the Alewife population under control and established a new fishery. Stocking programs helped bring back the Walleye population. Controls on pollution and dam removal have helped the native fish species such as Walleye and Lake Sturgeon to reestablish breeding populations. Saginaw Bay is again a prime destination for the sport fisherman and the fish populations have recovered enough for a commercial fishery to sustain itself.

Brush’s Marina is at 137 N Unionville Rd. off M-25 near Bay Port. The marina has a launching ramp, restrooms and a campground.

HC270. Bay Port DNR Public Access - Bay Port
 

The Bayport DNR Public Access on Promenade Street is in Downtown Bay Port. It has a launch site suitable for small boats. There are restrooms available as well as restaurants, lodging and shops in Bay Port.

A hard-surface ramp with sufficient water depth and lake or impoundment size to accommodate all trailerable watercraft (minimum of 2.5 - 3 feet deep at a distance of 20 feet from shore). The site is signed. Site Closed 11:00 p.m. to 4:00 a.m.

Founded in 1851 as Geneva, then called Wildfowl Port, the town became Bay Port in 1872, and was a thriving fishing port.

Bay Port was originally founded in 1851 by Carl Heisterman as Geneva (for Geneva, Switzerland). The community changed its name to Wildfowl Point, and finally changed its name in 1979 to Bay Port when the Ora Labora post office was moved there. Bay Port was primarily town - Bay Port was known for its fisheries, catching, processing and shipping millions of pounds of Lake Herring, Sturgeon, Lake Trout, Walleye, Whitefish, and Yellow Perch. Fishing and fish processing was a major industry in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Originally the fish was salted, smoked, or picked for preservation, but in the 1920's and 1930's tons of fresh fish were shipped to Chicago and the East in refrigerated rail cars. A State of Michigan Historical Marker honors the Bayport Fishing District at the mouth of the Harbor at Promenade Street. Commercial fishermen continue to work out of Bay Port and visitors can continue to buy the freshest Lake fish here. Bay Port is also known for its sport fishery. Bay Port celebrates its fishing heritage with the Annual Bay Port Fish Sandwich Festival is held the first full weekend in August where thousands of fish sandwiches are sold. The annual Whitefish Boil held the 3rd Sunday in May.

In 1883, the Saginaw, Tuscola and Huron Railroad came to Bay Port, bringing tourists to Bay Port from East Saginaw for rock hunting excursions at the Bay Port Quarry. In 1886, W.L. Webster, the owner of the Railroad built the Bay Port Hotel. The hotel had 117 rooms, a casino, a bowling alley, and pool room, and electric lighting. The receding waters of Lake Huron caused a drop-off in the tourist trade at the hotel and it was torn down and its furnishings and fixtures were auctioned in 1907.

HC280. Bay Shore Marina - Ora Labora
 

Ora Labora (Latin for prayer and labor) was a German religious-socialist colony 1.5 NE of Bay Port (1862-1872).

In late fall/early winter of 1862, Emil Baur led a group fifty families to start a colony on the shores of Saginaw Bay. Baur was the founder of the (Methodist) Christian German Agriculture and Benevolent Society of Ora et Labora. The three words in Latin translate as prayer and work. The settlement was popularly known as Ora Labora. The settlement was modeled after the German settlement at New Harmony, Pennsylvania. Ora Labora was located on Wild Fowl Bay north of Bay Port. This location worked against the success of the settlement in that the water was too shallow for large ships to land, making it difficult to supply the colony, closest place to get supplies being down the Bay at Bay City.

The colony had little money available for supplies, because most of their funds were spent buying the land. Many of the colonists were city people that needed to learn from the beginning about how to farm. The colonists also had to fight malaria, and the depletion of their ranks from their men being drafted to fight in the Civil War. The women and elders remaining could not handle the work required to sustain the farming operations. The colony struggled and finally collapsed in 1872. The Michigan Legislature passed an act reimbursing the German Christian and Benevolent Society for the construction of drains and ditches in State Swamp Lands. This act gave each head of household in Ora Labora the right to a homestead. Many chose to settle nearby in Bay Port and Pigeon. The Ora Labora post office was established in 1863 and moved to Bay Port in 1872 when the Ora Labora colony had failed.

Bay Shore Marina is located at 137 North Unionville Road one mile north of Bay Port. This private marina has two launch ramps, a campground, restrooms, and showers.

HC290. Filion Road Public Access - William McKinley
The Filion Road Public is located at the west end of Filion Rd. This launch is for small boats only. There is parking available. There is no launch fee and no attendant on duty.

A hard-surface ramp with sufficient water depth and lake or impoundment size to accommodate all trailerable watercraft (minimum of 2.5 - 3 feet deep at a distance of 20 feet from shore). The site is signed. 

William McKinley Sr., father of President McKinley was an owner of the Pigeon River Iron Works in Caseville (1873-79).

William McKinley Sr. (1807-1892) was born in Mercer County, Pennsylvania. He was in the iron business and moved from place to place managing blast furnaces and foundries. He moved from Pennsylvania to Ohio to capitalize on the iron ore reserves in Eastern Ohio near Niles. He married Nancy Campbell McKinley in 1829, and they had nine children including William McKinley Jr. (1843-1901), who was elected President of The United States in 1896, led the country through the Spanish-American War, and was assassinated in 1901.

William McKinley Sr.’s connection to the Caseville area goes back to 1873 when he arrived in Caseville to manage the furnaces at the Pigeon River Salt and Iron Works as Superintendent, and later became a part owner. The Works had a furnace that was moved from Black River, Ohio, and had a capacity of 30 tons of pig iron per day. The iron ore was shipped from the Upper Peninsula ports of Marquette and Escanaba. The furnaces were fired for a year, and then stopped due to low prices in the iron trade and the high cost of fuel. The furnace changed hands and was fired again in 1879, but soon closed. William McKinley Jr., then an attorney in Canton, Ohio, visited his father in Caseville.

HC300. Beadle Bay Marina - Lake Herring
 

Lake Herring, once plentiful, declined with overfishing and competition from the Alewife, but may be recovering.

Lake Herring (Coregonus artedi) is not a true herring, but rather a small ciscoes. The Lake Herring is actually a member of the trout/salmon family closely related to the Lake Whitefish. The average adult weighs 2.4 to 12 ounces, and may live from six to 10 years. The Lake Herring is a small slender silvery sided fish that inhabits the mid water regions of the Great Lakes. Lake herring form large schools to spawn in the late Fall as the water cools. The Lake Herring spawn in all waters from the shallows to the deeps. Males move onto the spawning grounds first, and either leave before the females do, or remain behind for a few days. Eggs are deposited on the bottom and abandoned by the parents. The eggs develop slowly over the winter and hatch after the breakup of spring ice. The Lake Herring fry feed on algae and zooplankton. Adults eat the same as the fry, but add small crustaceans and insects.

Lake Herring were the main prey fish in the Great Lakes. They were the important food source for the major native predators including Lake Trout, Northern Pike, Yellow Perch, and Walleye. During the 19th and early 20th centuries the lake herring made up a significant part of the Great Lakes commercial fishery when they were smoked, salted, or pickled to preserve them for shipment. In the 1920's their numbers declined from overfishing, and in the 20th century the large populations of Lake Herring impacted by industrial pollution, and by competition from exotic invasives such the Alewife and Smelt. The Alewives and Smelt eat the same zooplankton and crustaceans as the Lake Herring and have replaced them as the major prey fish in the Great lakes. Recently however, Alewives have declined in number and Lake Herring have made a comeback in Lake Huron.

Beadle Bay Marina is located at 4375 Lone Eagle Trail on Sand Point off Crescent Beach Road. The marina has a launch, campground, restroom/showers, and a store.

HC310. Caseville Municipal Harbor - Caseville
 

First settled in 1836, Caseville’s harbor and natural resources made the town a center of industry and transportation.

Caseville was founded in 1836 as the Pigeon River Settlement. In 1852, it was renamed Port Elizabeth or Elizabethtown, and then Caseville in 1856. Caseville has become a thriving community by means of its location, its natural resources, and by the energy and ingenuity of its people. The first industries in Caseville were based upon its resources. The Pigeon River watershed had rich timber resources, and sawmills were developed to mill the lumber that could be floated down the river. The timber and naturally occurring salt brine beneath the town also made Caseville a salt producer, using waste from the sawmills to fuel the salt evaporators. Shipbuilding and ironmaking were also an early industries in Caseville.

After the Fire of 1881, the sawmills slowed down and eventually stopped as did the salt making. The people of Caseville turned to the land and to the Lake for their livelihoods. In 1883, the Pontiac, Oxford, and Port Austin Railroad was completed with Caseville as its northern terminus. Farming started inland on the now clear lands where the Fire had cleared off the slash from the timber cuts. Caseville also became a commercial fishing center. In 1896, the Village of Caseville was incorporated. Caseville also became a resort community, capitalizing on the Lake and the village’s accessibility by boat, by rail, and later by highway. Caseville has increased its tourist attraction with events that draw thousands to the area each year. In February is Shanty Days with the unique “potty trotty” race pushing wooden outhouses on skis on the ice. In August is the famous Cheeseburger in Caseville week where visitors sample cheeseburgers, celebrate Jimmy Buffet and things Caribbean at “Key North” on Lake Huron.

The Caseville Marina is located in downtown Caseville, offering a launch ramp with a $4 fee, restrooms, showers, and parking, as well as access to the restaurants, shops and lodging in downtown Caseville.

HC320. Port Elizabeth Marina and Yacht Club - Pigeon River Settlement and Port Elizabeth
 

Caseville was originally called the Pigeon River Settlement (1836) and then Port Elizabeth (1852), and Caseville (1856).

The first settler in the Caseville area was Reuben Dodge in 1840 from Maine. He built a cabin at the mouth of the Pigeon River. The settlement of trappers, hunters, fishermen, and small farmers that grew around the mouth of the Pigeon came to known as the Pigeon River Settlement. In 1852, William Rattle came to the area as an agent for Leonard Case of Cleveland, Ohio to build a sawmill and manages Case’s 20,000 acres of timber lands. The town was renamed Port Elizabeth in honor of Mr. Rattle’s wife Elizabeth. It was also called Elizabethtown. In 1856, the timber and mill operation was purchased by Francis Crawford and George Martin, also of Cleveland. Crawford changed the name of the town for the last time to Caseville.

The Port Elizabeth Marina and Yacht Club located at 6635 River Street in Caseville has two launch ramps with a launch fee of $4. The marina has restrooms and showers, picnic sites, parking, and a campground.

HC330. Hoy’s Saginaw Bay Marina - Shipping Industry
 

Caseville was an early center of ship building and an active port, shipping local timber and salt to Chicago and Detroit.

The shipping industry was very important to the towns along the shores of Saginaw Bay and Lake Huron. Until the coming of the railroads in the 1880's, shipping was the only way to get the products of the region such as cut timber and salt to markets in Chicago and the East. It was also the only way to get stores, materials, machinery, etc., into the towns from local deports such as Bay City or Port Huron, or from further afield. The Lakes also were the main means for passenger transportation before the railroads. In 1851, the Ward Steamship line linked the towns along the Huron Coast from Detroit to Saginaw with the sidewheel steamers, the Ruby and the Pearl. Since few of the towns had docks then, passengers were transported by small boats. By the 1860's the Ward Line ran one steamer a week (the Susan Ward) and the Detroit, Saginaw and Lake Huron Line ran two a week (the City of Sandusky and the City of Toledo). In 1871, Congress declared the Great Lakes part of the high seas and started regulating and enhancing the safety of Great Lakes shipping. In the 1880's, the railroads began to compete with Lake shipping. The steamships became larger and more luxurious, combining passenger service with freight until competition with the railroads drove them out of business by 1910.

As such, the towns on the coast of the Thumb needed to have deep natural harbors in river mouths or build docks and wharves to get out to deepwater. Sebewaing, Bay Port, Caseville, Port Austin, Port Hope, and Harbor Beach all had natural harbors, although each was improved. Other towns such as Port Crescent and Grindstone City built wharves to get their timber and stone to market. The treacherous weather and shoals of Lake Huron resulted in the loss of many ships. Lighthouses and life saving stations were located along the coast to aid in navigation and safety for the Lake Huron shipping. To provide a port of refuge in storms where there was no large natural harbor, the government constructed the world’s largest artificial freshwater harbor at Harbor Beach. Ship building for wooden lake ships using the plentiful timber resources of the region was an early industry in both Sebewaing and Caseville.

Hoy’s Saginaw Bay Marina at 6591 Harbor Street on the Pigeon River in Caseville offers a launch with a $4 fee, restrooms, and a store with a full line of fishing supplies, beverages, and food.

HC340. Riverside Marina - Polly Ann Railroad
 

The Pontiac, Oxford, & Northern (Polly Ann) ran from Caseville to Pontiac 1886 to 1955 (passengers), and (1984) freight.

The Pontiac Oxford, and Northern Railroad, affectionately known as the “Polly Ann” was originally chartered in 1879 as the Pontiac, Oxford, and Port Austin Railroad. In the 1870's there was frenzied competition for railroad construction in Michigan and on the path between Pontiac and Saginaw Bay, the two competitors were Dr. John Stanton, the main backer of the Pontiac, Oxford, and Port Austin, and James Ashley, the owner of the Toledo and Saginaw Bay Railroad. Stanton ran into financial problems and decided to end the line at Caseville, 20 miles to the west of Port Austin. Stanton and Ashley toured the proposed route together in 1881, and each was funded $1,500,000 by New York investors. The Fire of 1881 cleared much of the timber along the route and opened the land for farming. Stanton visited the communities along the route and asked for $1000 a mile for construction costs to put the line through each community. All towns along the route anted up except Almont and Attica, so the line was routed through Imlay City instead. Ashley decided against a Saginaw Bay line, but Stanton started construction in October of 1881 from Caseville south to Cass City, and then from Oxford north to Cass City. Stanton died in 1882, but construction continued from Oxford to Gagetown, and on to Cass City. In 1883, the line was completed and was operated by New York investors George Debevoise and Joseph Hale. Hale died in 1888, and his lawyer, Hugh Porter, bought the line out of Hale’s estate.

Porter renamed the line the Pontiac, Oxford & Northern, but even with a new name, the railroad was operating at a loss. In 1900, the line went into bankruptcy. Both the Pere Marquette and Grand Trunk railways wanted the Polly Ann for its access to Pontiac. The Handy Brothers of Bay City, owners of the Detroit, Bay City and Western bought the Polly Ann, and sold it to the Grand Trunk Railroad for $400,000 and a promise to buy the Detroit, Bay City and Western when it reached Detroit (it never did and ended in Port Huron). During the 20th century, the Grand Trunk deferred maintenance on the Polly Ann, resulting in reduced capacity and fewer trains. The line became freight only in 1956, and was closed and abandoned in 1984.

HC350. Caseville Park - Salt Production
 

Salt for fish processing and export was evaporated out of brines from drilled deep wells using sawmill wood waste as fuel.

Salt production in the Thumb derives from brines in the Marshall Formation. Michigan was once covered by a sea in the Mississippian Era (about 325 million years ago). The salt brines are concentrated solutions of sodium chloride and other compounds. The saltworks were a derivative industry of the Thumb’s lumber industry. Wells were drilled near the sawmills in Caseville, Port Austin, Grindstone City, Port Hope, Harbor Beach, and White Rock and the waste products from the mills - the bark, sawdust, and slash was burned to evaporate the salt in large evaporating blocks. The salt was then packed into barrels and shipped out for use in preservation, for industry, and for the table. Hundreds of thousands of barrels of salt were produced in Huron County until the Fire of 1881 finished lumbering in the County and the sawmills closed down. Without a source of fuel for evaporation, the salt works closed down as well. Salt could be produced cheaper elsewhere in Michigan in areas that were still timbering, and later directly from mines in the Detroit area. The only salt well still in operation is operated by the Huron County Road Commission for winter road salt.

HC360. Oak Point - Charity Island Lighthouse
 

Charity Island Light operated from 1857 to 1939 when it was replaced with an offshore light at Gravelly Shoal to the SW.

Charity Island Lighthouse is located at the entrance to Saginaw Bay, thirty-four miles north of the mouth of the Saginaw River. Big Charity Island is 322 acres and is mostly limestone. Little Charity Island is 6 acres 1.5 miles to the southwest. Big Charity Island is surrounded by a number of shoals extending both north and south from the Island that posed a significant risk to the shipping in Lake Huron and Saginaw Bay. In a n1838, Lieutenant James T. Homan recommended "a light-house on the northeastern part of the outermost of the Charity island” in Saginaw Bay “which may be seen soon after leaving that on Point-aux-Barques, and form a connecting link with one at the mouth of Saginaw River, the bay navigators will feel themselves more secure."

The recommendation was not heeded until 1856, when Congress appropriated $4,800 for the construction of a light station on the northwest point of Big Charity Island. The lighthouse was completed in 1857 and Colin Graham was appointed as the station's first keeper. The lighthouse was a brick tower, 39 feet tall, with an octagonal cast iron lantern displaying a fixed white Fourth Order Fresnel lens. The light was visible for 13 miles, marking the shoals and providing a navigation beacon for the Lake and the Bay. In 1907, the light was one the earliest in the lake to receive an acetylene lighting system. The light was automated in 1916. By 1939, the Charity Island Light was deemed obsolete with the construction of a new offshore light at Gravelly Shoal, and the station deactivated and abandoned by the Coast Guard. With no maintenance, the lighthouse and its structures rapidly deteriorated.

The Lighthouse and its lands were sold into private ownership in 1963, and changed hands a number of times. In 2002, a group of citizens gathered together in Au Gres to form the Charity Island Preservation Committee with their charter being the stabilization and eventual restoration of the 1857 tower. The lighthouse dwelling (on a different parcel than the lighthouse) was demolished in 2003, and a summer cottage was built in its place. The Arenac County Historical Society (Charity Island Preservation Committee) continues to work to restore and preserve the tower of Charity Island Lighthouse - for more information, see their website at http://www.geocities.com/charityislandlight/index.html.

HC370. Albert Sleeper State Park - Albert Sleeper
 

Albert Sleeper was Governor of Michigan (1916-1920) and signed the State Park Act creating the State Parks System.

Albert E. Sleeper (1862-1934) was the 29th governor (Republican) of Michigan who served from 1917 to 1921. Albert E. Sleeper was born in Bradford, Vermont, December 31, 1862. He came to Lexington, MI (Sanilac County) in 1884. After several years, Sleeper entered the banking business and became director in the banks at Yale, Bad Axe, Marlette, Ubly, Applegate, and Lexington. In 1901, he married Mary C. Moore, and moved to Bad Axe. He was elected senator of the 20th district from 1901-04 and elected Michigan’s state treasurer in 1910. In 1916, Albert Sleep was elected governor of Michigan in 1916 and reelected in 1918. During his term as governor he created the first permanent state police force, issued the first driver's license. Perhaps his greatest accomplishment was his signing of the State Parks Act, creating the State Parks system.

Albert Sleeper State Park was originally opened as a county park in 1925. In 1927 the state acquired the property and called it Huron State Park. In 1944, the park was renamed in honor of Albert E. Sleeper. Albert E. Sleeper State Park comprises 723 acres of forest, wetlands and sandy beach and dunes. The beach/day use area is open from 8am to 10pm daily. The state park campground has 280 modern campsites. There is an electrical outlet, firepit, and picnic table for each site. Three toilet/shower buildings have flush toilets and hot water showers. There is parking near the beach area.

HC380. Philip County Park - Lumber Industry
 

Lumber was the major industry here from the 1850’s through 1880’s cutting Huron’s famous Cork Pine (White Pine) forests.

In the 1840's the Thumb was mostly forested. An early use of the timber resources was shingling - splitting Hemlock and White Pine to make shingles. Shingles were used as currency in the cash-poor wilderness. “Shingle Weavers” squatted in the forests and shaved shingles by hand. One thousand shingles equaled one dollar, and shingles were accepted at the bars for whiskey and beer. Ten thousand bought a barrel of flour and twenty thousand bought a barrel of salt pork (the wallets must have been large in those days).

The prize tree for the lumberjacks was the “Cork Pine” - old growth White Pines that were 200 feet tall and 5 feet in diameter. A timber cruiser would walk the forest and mark the places with the best timber. Logging would start in midwinter when the ground froze and the trees could be skidded on sleds to the rivers. Cutting and skidding continued until the spring thaw when the ice broke up on the river. The logs were floated downstream to the sawmills located in the towns at the mouths of the rivers. Lumbermen would also tie together huge rafts of logs and float them down the coast of Lake Huron with tugs or barges.

The major era of lumbering was over by the 1890's. Much of the old growth timber had been clear cut and the lumberman in that time did not replant trees. The Great Fires of 1871 and 1881 burned over the entire Thumb, wiping out some of the communities quickly by the flames or more slowly by the lack of wood. The railroads allowed the moving and cutting of hardwood, but this wasn’t sustainable for long. Most of the logging operations ceased by the 1880's. The cleared land was opened for the agriculture that dominated the economy of the County from then on.

HC390. Thompson Scenic Turnout - Sawmills
 

Sawmills at the mouths of rivers processed millions of board feet of lumber in the boom years of the late 1800’s.

Sawmills cut the raw timber into milled lumber. The easiest way to get the cut logs from the forest to the mill was by water using the rivers and streams. In Huron County, logs were milled at Caseville on the Pigeon River, Port Crescent on the Pinnebog River, Port Austin on Bird Creek, New River on the New River, Huron City on the Willow River, Port Hope on Diamond Creek, Rock Falls on Allen Creek (south of Harbor Beach), and White Rock City on the White River. If the streams were not deep enough, logs were skidded in by sled, or dragged by teams of horses or oxen on plank roads.

The milled lumber was then loaded onto ships or barges and floated to market. Each sawmill created auxiliary enterprises. Many of the sawmills had saltmaking operations using the slash and sawdust waste from the milling as fuel for evaporation. Iron makers also used the wood waste for fuel. Barrel making was required to pack the salt for shipment. Piers often had to be built for those mills on smaller streams such as Port Crescent and Port Hope that didn’t have deepwater channels for ships to dock.

Working conditions in the sawmills were not pleasant. Milling was a summer job and sawmill workers might work 12 hour days with one hour off for lunch. Accidents were commonplace and many died or were maimed in the mills. Many of the mills were so busy that the workers didn’t have time even to get a drink of water.

The Fires of 1871 and 1881 cleared much of the timberlands of the Thumb. Many of the sawmills burned in the Fires. Many others closed soon afterward from lack of timber to cut. By the early 1890's the sawmills had shut down in Huron County, and the machinery had been dismantled and sold elsewhere where there were still trees to be cut.

HC400. Oak Beach Access - Dune and Swale Complex
 

Sandy dune ridges and low wet swales are a special habitat caused by the irregular water levels of Lake Huron.

The Great Lakes Wooded Dune and Swale Complex is a unique habitat found in the Great Lakes region. The habitat is a complex series of upland beach ridges (dunes) separated by wetland swales. This habitat complex is unique to the Great Lakes as a result of the changing levels of the post-glacial Great Lakes. As the Lakes receded, they deposited a series of beach ridges ranging from 1.5 to 12 feet high, generally parallel to the existing shoreline ranging up to two miles inland. In the foredune near the Lake, grasses and shrubs adapted to the sand such as Beach Grass (Ammophila breviligulata), Dune Grass (Calamovfila longiflora), and Dune Willow (Salix cordata) flourish and hold the sands in place. Behind the foredunes is a shallow wet Swale where lake-influenced calcareous sands and variable Lake levels host Twig Rush (Cladium mariscodes), Sweet Gale (Myrica gale), Shrubby Cinquefoil (Calamagrostis canadiansis) and Grass of Parnassus (Parnassia glauca). A deeper swale behind the foredune is filled with Rushes (Juncus), Spike Rush (Eleocharis acicularis), and Threesquare (Scirpus americanus). Inland, the dune ridges are covered in a canopy of Jack Pine (Pinus banksiana), White Pine (Pinus Strobus), and Red Pine (Pinus resinosa). Some of the dryer ridges were covered in Red Oak (Quercus rubra). The swales in between are filled with wetland species such as Sedges (Carex), Buttonbush (Cephalanthus occidentalis), and Marsh Marigold (Caltha palustris).

Much of the Dune and Swale complexes on Lake Huron have been modified and impacted by road development, farm drains, filling and development. Some have been developed into resorts, golf courses and marinas over the years. Many of the ridges were logged over. The swales are also at risk from exotic invasives such as Giant Reed (Phragmites Australis), Reed Canary Grass (Phalaris arundinacea), and Purple Loosestrife (Lythrum salicaria). One of the better preserved Dune and Swale complexes is nearby, just up Oak Beach Road to the SE at the Huron County Nature Center.

The Oak Beach Access is located at the end of Oak Beach Rd. on M-25. There is a launch area that will take small boats and canoes only. There is no fee for launching and no attendant. Oak Beach Park has 55 camping sites and restroom facilities.

HC410. Duggan’s Family Camping - Summer Resorts
 

People have been coming over the years to Summer Resorts on the Huron Coast by ship, then by train, and then by car.

After the Fire of 1881 and the end of the large-scale timber industry of the Huron Coast, the towns of Huron County needed other ways to prosper. Passenger steamers had had regular service to town on the Huron Coast since the 1850's and some people would travel up the Coast to vacation away from the cities. The Railroads came into the County in the 1880's. They needed to generate traffic, so one way was to invest in summer resorts. In 1886, the Saginaw, Tuscola and Huron Railroad built the Bay Port Hotel, a large resort complex with 117 rooms and a casino. In the same year, Stanford B. Crapo, an owner of the Per Marquette Railroad developed a summer resort at Pointe aux Barques. Wealthy families from throughout the Midwest would come to the Thumb by a rail line through Port Huron and Port Austin to a private station at Point aux Barques by special club cars.

The improvement of roads and the popularization of the automobile allowed the development of less exclusive resorts. Motels and campgrounds developed, and Huron County became a destination for vacationers from southern Michigan and beyond, seeking the beaches and fresh air of the lakeshore towns and villages. Many cottage communities developed for second homes on the Thumb. Huron County is also a mecca for boaters and marina resort complexes provide docking and camping for transient and long-term mooring.

Duggan’s Family Camping located at 2941 Port Austin Road provides 300 campsites, hiking trails, fishing, a playground, picnic grounds, a swim beach, parking, restrooms, showers, and a store.

HC420. McGraw County Park - Highway M-25
 

Originally a Native American trail, M-25 was part of U.S. Route 25 until 1973. M-25 is part of the Lake Huron Circle Tour.

A Native American trail once ran around the perimeter of the Thumb, following the sand ridges above the Lake Plain marshes. The Highway was developed in the 1920's as the automobile first came into widespread use. M-31 originally went from Port Huron to Saginaw around the Thumb from 1920 to 1926. In 1926, Route M-31 was decommissioned and replaced with the designation M-29. In 1933, US Highway 25 was extended north from Port Huron to Port Austin along the route of M-29. The rest of M-29 from Port Austin to Bay City was renamed M-25. This was done to avoid having a discontinuous M-29 and to promote a parallel naming convention (US-25 / M-25). In 1959, the last section of gravel paving was replaced by asphalt north of Port Hope making a continuous paved road around the Thumb for the first time. In 1973, US 25 was decommissioned in Michigan and Ohio having been effectively replaced by I-75 and I-94. The section between Port Huron and Port Austin was redesignated M-25 by the Michigan DOT.

At its Annual Meeting in November 1988, the Great Lakes Commission approved a “Great Lakes Circle Tour” project. The circle tour idea had originated with the Great Lakes Commission’s Tourism and Outdoor Recreation Task Force. The task force was a group of state and provincial representatives that worked for U.S. and Canadian cooperation on tourism. The Commission formed a Great Lakes Circle Tour Task Force and charged it with developing appropriate polices. The Task Force put together a color brochure promoting the idea and distributed 50,000 of them among the eight Great Lakes States and the provinces of Ontario and Quebec. A conference was organized in Toledo to present the initiative to the region and to address signage and routing issues. The routes were set on the state and provincial trunklines closest to the Great Lakes shorelines. On August 23, 1990, the Great Lake Circle Tour was dedicated at Sandusky, Ohio. Including in the Lake Huron Circle Tour is M-25 that parallels this Tip of the Tip of The Thumb Heritage Water Trail from Quanicassee to White Rock.

HC430. Port Crescent State Park Access - Sand Mining
 

Fine white sand from Port Crescent was mined and shipped out for glass making from 1881 through 1936.

As the supply of timber was depleted near Port crescent in the 1870's Nathaniel Bennett Haskell, a sawmill and salt plant owner started a sand mining operation. After the Fire of 1881, the former timber town of Port Crescent was abandoned. The dunes of Port Crescent continued to be mined for their sand. The fine white sand was prized both for glass making and as furnace sand. Some of the sand was shipped to the furnaces of the Upper Peninsula. In the 20th Century, sand was shipped to the glasswork of Detroit where Port Crescent sand became windows for Model T Fords at the River Rouge Plant. In 1936, the Pinnebog River overflowed and cut a new channel through the sand pit, ending the sand mining at Port Crescent.

HC440. Port Crescent State Park Access - Sand Mining
 

The ghost town of Port Crescent, once a thriving timber and fishing village, was abandoned and covered by the dunes.

Port Crescent was founded in 1864. The place was first called Pinnepog, changed its name to Port Crescent after its crescent-shaped harbor to avoid confusion with another Pinnebog upriver. Port Crescent once had a population of 500 as a thriving lumber town. The town had two sawmills, one on each side of the river. Alongside each sawmill was a salt factory that evaporated salt out of brine using sawdust and waste wood from the mill as fuel. The town also had a cooperage to make barrels for salt and fish, a gristmill, a wagon factory, a shoe factory, a pump factory, a brewery, several stores, a post office, and a train depot. The town was dependent on timber in the Pinnebog River basin that could be floated downriver to the mills. The town began to decline in the late 1870's as the supply of timber was depleted.

After the Fire of 1881, there was no more timber above Port Crescent. The sawmills closed, and the mills and their shipping dock were dismantled and moved to Oscoda. The salt factories also closed down for lack of fuel. People left Port Crescent and moved their houses to nearby towns. In 1894, the last building was moved out of Port Crescent, leaving a ghost town with a steel bridge, a brick chimney, and a cemetery. The sand mining continued to 1936, and then the State acquired the property in 1956, razed the chimney, and created a State Park. Port Crescent State Park features camping, swimming, a fine beach, picnicking, hiking trails, fishing, cross-country skiing, hunting, and fine birdwatching.

HC450. Jenks Roadside Park - Storm of 1913
 

The “White Hurricane” was the greatest natural disaster to hit the Great Lakes, with 90 mph winds and 30 foot waves.

The Great Lakes Storm of 1913, also known as the "White Hurricane," was a storm with hurricane-force winds that devastated the Thumb and entire Great Lakes from November 7, 1913, to November 10, 1913. The Storm was the most destructive natural disaster to ever hit the Lakes, killing more than 250 people, sinking 19 ships, and stranded 19 others. The financial losses in today’s dollars were in the billions including the loss of ships, cargo, structures, and trade. The loss of cargo alone in the Storm was enough to mean the rise in prices for raw materials and consumer goods throughout the United States.

The Storm was a classic “November Witch,” a gale caused by the convergence of two major storm fronts, fed by the Lakes' relatively warm waters. The storm produced 90 mph winds, waves more than 35 feet high, and whiteout snow squalls. On November 7th, Storm swept across Lake Superior with blizzard conditions and 50 mph winds. On the 8th, the Storm moved into Lake Michigan, but the winds in the front of the Storm temporarily abated allowing ship traffic to move north into Lake Huron. On November 9th, a second low pressure area moved in from the south and collided with the Storm. This caused the Storm to intensify on Lake Huron, especially around the Thumb. By midnight, Storm winds were sustained in excess of 70mph from the northwest. Gusts of 90mph were recorded off Harbor Beach. On the 10th and 11th, lake effect blizzard piled more than 2 feet of snow on the Thumb, with drifts more than 6 feet high, sealing off the communities from outside help for days. Eight ships sunk on Lake Huron in the Storm including the Argus, the James Carruthers, the Hydrus, the John A. McGean, the Charles S. Price, Regina, Isaac M. Scott, and the Wexford. The Storm caused heavy damage on shore destroying wharfs, docks, homes, and businesses.

HC450. Jenks County Park - Storm of 1913
 

The “White Hurricane” was the greatest natural disaster to hit the Great Lakes, with 90 mph winds and 30 foot waves.

The Great Lakes Storm of 1913, also known as the "White Hurricane," was a storm with hurricane-force winds that devastated the Thumb and entire Great Lakes from November 7, 1913, to November 10, 1913. The Storm was the most destructive natural disaster to ever hit the Lakes, killing more than 250 people, sinking 19 ships, and stranded 19 others. The financial losses in today’s dollars were in the billions including the loss of ships, cargo, structures, and trade. The loss of cargo alone in the Storm was enough to mean the rise in prices for raw materials and consumer goods throughout the United States.

The Storm was a classic “November Witch,” a gale caused by the convergence of two major storm fronts, fed by the Lakes' relatively warm waters. The storm produced 90 mph winds, waves more than 35 feet high, and whiteout snow squalls. On November 7th, Storm swept across Lake Superior with blizzard conditions and 50 mph winds. On the 8th, the Storm moved into Lake Michigan, but the winds in the front of the Storm temporarily abated allowing ship traffic to move north into Lake Huron. On November 9th, a second low pressure area moved in from the south and collided with the Storm. This caused the Storm to intensify on Lake Huron, especially around the Thumb. By midnight, Storm winds were sustained in excess of 70mph from the northwest. Gusts of 90mph were recorded off Harbor Beach. On the 10th and 11th, lake effect blizzard piled more than 2 feet of snow on the Thumb, with drifts more than 6 feet high, sealing off the communities from outside help for days. Eight ships sunk on Lake Huron in the Storm including the Argus, the James Carruthers, the Hydrus, the John A. McGean, the Charles S. Price, Regina, Isaac M. Scott, and the Wexford. The Storm caused heavy damage on shore destroying wharfs, docks, homes, and businesses.

HC460. Waterfront Park - Port Austin
 

First settled in 1837 by Jeduthan Byrd as Byrd’s Creek, then Dwightville, Port Austin was Huron County Seat 1865-1875.

The first settlement on the site of Port Austin was in 1839 when Jonathan Byrd built a sawmill here. The site became known as Byrd’s Creek. In 1854, Byrd sold his mill to the lumbering partnership of Smith, Austin & Dwight. The town was renamed Dwightville, and then Austin’s Dock, Austin Port, and Port Austin. Smith, Austin, & Dwight went bankrupt in 1859, and the mills and timber was bought by Ayers, Learned, & Wiswell who operated the sawmills until the timber ran out in the 1880's. The first salt well in Huron County was drilled in here in 1864.

After the County Courthouse burned down in Sand Beach, the County Seat was moved to Port Austin and the town remained the County Seat of Huron County 1865 to 1875, when it was moved to Bad Axe in the center of the County. Port Austin was incorporated as a village in 1887. The Fire of 1881 did not burn Port Austin. As such, it was better situated to prosper afterwards. After the timber ran out, Port Austin turned to the land, serving as a market town and processing center for the rich farmlands to the south. The town was also a draw for summer vacationers, the most famous being President James Garfield who spent many summers here after the Civil War.

The Port Austin Light was built in 1878. In 1882, the Port Huron & North Western Railroad reached Port Austin. The Railroad was sold to the Pere Marquette Railroad in 1889, and the rails ran to Port Austin until CBX closed the line to Port Austin in1984. Port Austin is now a popular tourist destination, drawing people from across Michigan, and the Great Lake region.

HC470. Port Austin State Dock - Port Austin Reef Light
 

Built in 1878 to mark dangerous shoals, the lighthouse is being restored by the Port Austin Reef Lighthouse Association.

In 1873, Congress appropriated funds for the construction of a lighthouse mark the dangerous shoals north of Port Austin. The lighthouse was constructed on an octagonal shaped pier at a cost of $81,871, and was completed in 1878. In 1899, the pier was modified in 1899 with the addition of a new section. The lighthouse tower is 16 feet across the base, and 60 feet high to the ventilator ball. The tower was built of yellow brick, and is double walled for insulation and weatherproofing. Originally the Port Austin Reef Lighthouse was fitted with a Fourth Order Fresnel lens manufactured by Henri Le Paute of Paris. The lens had five flash panels and two fixed panels exhibited a rotating beacon with a focal plane of 76 feet above the mean low water level. There is an attached brick fog signal building with living facilities for the keeper.

In the 1930's the lighthouse was transferred from the U.S. Lighthouse Service to the U.S. Coast Guard. In 1937, the caisson (base foundation) was reconstructed, adding five feet of concrete to the sides, and three feet of concrete to the top. A steam operated fog horn was also added. In 1953, the light was fitted with a new 200 millimeter glass lens and automated. The light station was abandoned as a keeper was no longer needed. In 1979, the lighthouse was no longer considered by the Coast Guard to be an aid to navigation, and it was decommissioned and scheduled to be dismantled in 1984. Louis Schillinger, of Port Austin, stopped the light's dismantling by obtaining a 5-year license to restore the structure. The following year, a solar array was installed to power the beacon. The nonprofit Port Austin Reef Light Association was established in 1988 for the process of restoring the light. For further information contact:

Port Austin Reef Light Association
P.O. Box 546
Port Austin, MI 48467

The Port Austin State Dock is located North of M-25 at 8787 Lake Street There is parking available nearby and restroom and shower facilities. The Dock is operated by the DNR. It is a short walk from the Dock to the shops and restaurants of Downtown Port Austin. The launch facilities permit easy put-in and take-out.

HC480. Chuck’s Marine - Garfield and Learned
 

President James Garfield was a close friend to Maria Learned, wife of Charles G. Learned, a Port Austin lumber tycoon.

A native of New York, contractor Charles G. Learned helped build New York City's water-works system and the Erie Canal. Around 1837, Learned and his brother-in-law purchased several thousand acres of pine land in near Port Austin. Two years later, Learned and his wife, Maria Raymond, came to Port Austin and bought a house on three acres. Learned converted his cutover pine lands into a 2,000-acre farm where he continued to prosper as an agriculturalist and dairy farmer. Learned enlarged and updated this house in the French Second Empire style. In the 1860's Ohio congressman, later president, James A. Garfield, was a frequent guest here. Garfield was a friend with Maria Learned, Charles' wife. Garfield's close association to the Learned family, and his devotion to Maria were documented in his personal diary. Garfield and Maria died within months of each other, she in January 1881 of tuberculosis and, he from an assassin's bullet in September 1881 after only six months as president. As Garfield lay mortally ill, he asked to be allowed to travel to Port Austin and recover in the Learned home. From 1931 to 1979 the house served as the Mayes Inn and Tower Hotel. It was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1984. It was bought by the Pasant family in 1989 who renamed the Bed & Breakfast the Garfield Inn in honor of the connection between the Learned’s and President James Garfield.

Chuck’s Marine is located at 119 E. Spring Street in Port Austin Chuck’s is a full service marina with slips, storage, and repairs. It also has a launch ramp with a $3 launch fee. Chuck’s also has a boating and marine store.

HC490. Bird Creek County Park - Point aux Barques
 

Pointe aux Barques was named by the French in the 18th century after the rocks resembling moored ships on the point.

Point Aux Barques was named by French sailors/voyageurs for the character of the rocky shoreline looked like the ships moored along the shore. In 1896, Stanford B. Crapo, an owner of the Per Marquette Railroad began developing a summer resort at Pointe aux Barques. Wealth families from throughout the Midwest would come here by a rail line through Port Huron and Port Austin to a private station at Point aux Barques by special club cars. Later the train depot was converted into a golf clubhouse. A hotel was that had a large dining room that could seat 300, a bowling alley, and a dance hall, with bedrooms in the upper floors. The hotel burned down in 1913. Harvey Firestone, the Akron rubber manufacturer had two cottages here - one for his family and one for his servants. Edgar Guest, a popular Michigan poet from the early 1900’s, owned a summer cottage here. The settlement had a post office from 1897 to 1957. The Pointe aux Barques Resort is still a private community managed by the Pointe Aux Barques Resort Association. The Point Aux Barques Lighthouse was intended to have been built at this location, but was constructed on the Lake Huron shore east of its authorized location.

Paddlers should be careful rounding Pointe aux Barques. The coast has sea caves and stacks and can be dangerous if close in. Stay well clear of the rocks and cliffs. Do not do this section in bad weather - the waters off Pointe aux Barques can be treacherous in a storm as can be seen from the many shipwrecks here.

HC500. Eagle Bay Access - The Albany and Philadelphia
A carry-down launching area. Site does not have an improved ramp and is siutable for car-top boats and canoes only. It has parking available within 150 feet of the launching area; the site is signed.  There is no fee and no attendant.

The Eagle Bay Access is two miles E. of Port Austin on M-25 and N on Wallace Road.  It has a picnic area, a small secluded beach and fishing area, and pit toilets.

The Albany and the Philadelphia collided in the fog off Point aux Barques on November 10, 1893 sinking with 24 lost.

The Albany was a steel steamer built in 1884 at the Detroit Dry Dock, Wyandotte MI. She was owned by the Western Transit Company and on November 7, 1893 was carrying grain. The Philadelphia was an iron steamer built by D. Bell in Buffalo, NY. She was owned by the Anchor Line, and on her last voyage was carrying general merchandise. On the morning of November 7, 1993, the Albany and the Philadelphia collided off Point aux Barques in a dense fog.

The Philadelphia hit the Albany just forward of Number 2 gangway, smashing in the steel plates and penetrating several feet into the Albany. The Philadelphia's bow was flattened, but initially it was not taking much water. The Philadelphia took the Albany in tow and headed for Point aux Barques, 12 to the southwest. The Albany took water rapidly, and the crew of the Albany transferred to the Philadelphia. The Albany soon sank, stern-first in deep water, and the Philadelphia headed for shore at full steam. The Philadelphia began to sink as the wind picked up making the sea choppy. The two ships’ crews took to the two lifeboats. Twenty-two men, including Captain Hoff and Capt. A. J. McDonald, of the Albany were on the smaller boat and 24 men took to the larger boat. The smaller boat made it to shore, but the larger never made it and all were lost. Eleven bodies, all wearing life preservers, were recovered, and the missing boat was found bottom up. It is a mystery as to why the second boat capsized, but there is speculation that it was either run down by another passing ship in the fog or run down by the abandoned Philadelphia itself as it circled at free rudder.

Both ships are NE of Pointe aux Barques. The Philadelphia is at the depth of 125 feet at N 44.04.120, W 82.42.992. The wreck’s noteworthy sights include the engine, two boilers, rudder, propeller, stern capstan, and a load of cast-iron stoves. The Albany is at the depth of 149 feet at N 44.06.351, W 82.42.016. The wreck sits upright and intact. They are a little more than 2.5 miles apart. If you want to dive to see the Arctic, please be aware that this is a technical dive in deep water, and that experienced divers only should wreck dive in deep waters, preferably with an experienced divemaster.

HC510. Whalen’s Grindstone Shores - Grindstones
The fine sandstone of the Marshall Formation outcropping at Grindstone City was used to make sharpening stones.

Grindstones were made of the fine sandstone of the Marshall Formation. It is a gritstone with a very fine grain. There were two varieties of the stone - the light grade which was on the top of the formation that was softer and coarser, and the heavy grade which was several feet below that was harder and finer. The stones were used exclusively as sharpening stones. It produces a finer edge than the carborundum stones used today, but carborundum can be produced much more cheaply.

Because the stone splits when it is exposed to the freeze and thaw of winter, the grindstone miners would only expose enough stone for one season’s work. Quarrying would begin when the frosts were over for the season. The overlaying soil and shale would be cleared, and then holes drilled, and the rock was split with dynamite charges. The slabs would be raised, and a hole was punched in the center with a pick, and the corners trimmed. The stones were wetted to prevent chipping and hand finished in a turning frame. The stones were turned and finished to be round and balanced, and then dried. The stones made here varied in size and weight from small kitchen stones weighing from 2 ½ to 10 lbs. and from 6 to 10 inches in diameter; to the huge grinding stones that weighed more than two tons. The largest stone ever turned weighed more than 6600 lbs. Grindstones from Grindstone City, Michigan found a ready market in Canada, Germany, Russia, Africa, here in the United States, and many other places throughout the world. After World War I, carborundum grindstones started to be manufactured which replaced natural grindstone. The grindstone manufacturing here ended in 1929.

Whalen’s Grindstone Shores at 3373 Pte. Aux Barques Road has a boat launch, 22 campsites, restrooms, showers, and a store.

HC520. Grindstone City DNR Access - Grindstone City
Grindstone City DNR Access has a launch ramp and parking. This ramp has no launch fee and no attendant.  The site is closed 11:00 p.m. to 4:00 a.m.

There is a boat launch with a hard-surface ramp with sufficient water depth and lake or impoundment size to accommodate all trailerable watercraft (minimum of 2.5 - 3 feet deep at a distance of 20 feet from shore). The site is signed.

Founded in 1836 by Captain Aaron Peer, Grindstone City thrived until 1929 when carborundum replaced natural stones.

Captain Aaron G. Peer first visited Grindstone City in 1834, taking refuge in a storm in the natural harbor. He noticed the unusual rock, and later brought a load of the rock to Detroit where it was used to pave a few blocks on Jefferson and Woodward Avenues. In 1836, Captain Peer bough 400 acres of land here and began producing grindstones. Captain Peer operated the quarries until 1865 with various partners including the Wallaces. The other major operator in Grindstone City was the Cleveland Stone Company. Each built a large wharf to ship out the stone. A salt well was drilled and 125 barrels a day of salt were produced in the 1870's. The post office was established 1872, and operated until 1962.

In 1887, Wallace built a gristmill and grain elevator. In 1892, the first railroad was built into Grindstone City and the stone was shipped by rail. Grindstone City was a “company town,” and much of the workers housing was built by the Wallace Company and the Cleveland Stone Company. The grindstone business died in the 1920's as carborundum grindstones replace natural one’s. The Pere Marquette closed the rail line between Port Austin and Grindstone City in 1932. Grindstone City was platted and sold as lots, many for summer and retirement homes. The lakeshore property owners formed an improvement association that improved the Harbor. A large Grindstone can be seen at the corner of Copeland and Rouse Roads dedicated to the Pioneers of Grindstone City.

 

HC530. Kinch Road Access - Hunter Savidge Shipwreck
The Hunter Savidge sank on August 20, 1899 in a squall. Five were lost including Capt. Sharpsteen’s wife and son.

The Hunter Savidge was a wooden 2-masted schooner, 117 feet long, built in 1879 in Grand Haven, MI. The Hunter Savidge was owned by John Muellerweis, a businessman in Alpena, MI. In August of 1899, Captain Fred Sharpsteen of Sebewaing had taken a load of coal from Alpena to Sarnia, Ontario on the way to Cleveland, Ohio on what was to be a pleasure trip as well as a business trip. Aboard the schooner was Sharpsteen’s wife Rosa, and his 16 year old son John, who may have been making his first voyage on his father’s crew. Also aboard were the owner’s wife Mary Muellerweis and their daughter Etta.

The ship was en route home back to Alpena empty but for its ballast. On August 20, 1899, the schooner was becalmed as the wind had died off Pointe aux Barques. The Hunter Savidge had all sails out to try to catch any breeze. A squall came quickly onto the ship. While the crew tried to lower the sails, Captain Sharpsteen sent the women below to a cabin for safety. The squall struck the Hunter Savidge and rolled the ship over so that she was floating upside down. The crew were thrown over the side into the water, and all were able to swim back to the ship, except for John Sharpsteen and the First Mate Tom Duby. After 20 minutes, the steamer Alex McVittie arrived at the wreck and picked up the crew, but would not take the vessel in tow. As the Alex McVittie was heading north, she put the crew of the Hunter Savidge on another ship, the N.E. Runnels that dropped the crew off at Sand Beach (now Harbor Beach). Captain Sharpsteen chartered the tugboat, the Frank W to return to the wreck, but she had already sunk. Captain Sharpsteen spent days searching the coast for the bodies of his family, but they were never seen again.

The wreck was lost until discovered by David Trotter in 1988 after eight years of research and searching for the wreck. The wreck is about 8 miles NE of the Pointe aux Barques Lighthouse at a depth of 175 feet. If you are interested in diving for the Hunter Savidge, please be aware that this is a technical dive in deep water, and that experienced divers only should wreck dive in deep waters, preferably with an experienced divemaster. There is an exhibit on the Hunter Savidge at the Pointe aux Barques Lighthouse museum.

Kinch Road has a good access point at the end of the road.

HC540. Huron City - Huron City
Huron City, founded in 1854 by Langdon Hubbard, thrived as a lumber town until it was destroyed by the Fire of 1881.

The site of Huron City was first settled by fishermen in the 1830's. A sawmill was built on Willow Creek in 1837 by Theodore Luce. The settlement was called Willow. Mr. Brakeman of Port Huron bought the mill in 1852, the place was known as Brakeman’s Creek after the new owner. In 1856, Langdon Hubbard bought the sawmill and built a half mile long dock to facilitate the shipping of the lumber since there was no natural harbor at Willow Creek. In 1861, the village was renamed Huron City. Hubbard’s timber business operated successfully until 1871, when the Fire of 1871 burned Huron City to the ground - homes, sawmill, warehouses, and all. After the Fire, Hubbard rebuilt Huron City with a new steam-powered sawmill, shingle mill, and flour mill and reconstructed the half-mile long dock into the lake. The mills processed hardwoods as well and the White Pine. The Fire of 1881 swept through Huron City and again burned it to the ground. Hubbard’s timber business was ruined but he again rebuilt the town, focusing on serving the farmers that moved into the cleared land to the south. Most of the people of Huron City moved away, however, and the town never again regained its prominence.

Hubbard rebuilt his house, “Lakeview” and expanded it in 1886 for guests. One guest was William Lyon Phelps, a friend of Hubbard’s son Frank who married, his sister Annabel Hubbard in 1892. William Lyons Phelps became a professor at Yale, and a world famous literary scholar, educator, author, book critic and preacher. He and Annabel returned to the house in Huron City, also known as the “house of the Seven Gables” after the Hawthorne story, form 1893 through 1938. When in residence Phelps occasionally preached at the Huron City Methodist Episcopal Church, drawing large crowds of up to 1000. In 1938, Life Magazine sent a reporter and photography up to Huron City to profile the Phelps. Annabel Hubbard died in 1939, and William Lyon Phelps died in 1943. The house went to his niece Carolyn Hubbard Parcells Lucas. In 1951, a museum was opened to house Phelps’ library and to feature the history of Huron City. In 1964, the Pointe aux Barques Life Saving Station house was moved here. In 1987, Carolyn Lucas passed away, and the house and museum were taken over by the William Lyon Phelps Foundation. The Museum is open Memorial Day through Labor Day. For hours and more information, check their website at http://www.huroncitymuseums.com.

HC540. Huron City - Huron City
Huron City, founded in 1854 by Langdon Hubbard, thrived as a lumber town until it was destroyed by the Fire of 1881.

The site of Huron City was first settled by fishermen in the 1830's. A sawmill was built on Willow Creek in 1837 by Theodore Luce. The settlement was called Willow. Mr. Brakeman of Port Huron bought the mill in 1852, the place was known as Brakeman’s Creek after the new owner. In 1856, Langdon Hubbard bought the sawmill and built a half mile long dock to facilitate the shipping of the lumber since there was no natural harbor at Willow Creek. In 1861, the village was renamed Huron City. Hubbard’s timber business operated successfully until 1871, when the Fire of 1871 burned Huron City to the ground - homes, sawmill, warehouses, and all. After the Fire, Hubbard rebuilt Huron City with a new steam-powered sawmill, shingle mill, and flour mill and reconstructed the half-mile long dock into the lake. The mills processed hardwoods as well and the White Pine. The Fire of 1881 swept through Huron City and again burned it to the ground. Hubbard’s timber business was ruined but he again rebuilt the town, focusing on serving the farmers that moved into the cleared land to the south. Most of the people of Huron City moved away, however, and the town never again regained its prominence.

Hubbard rebuilt his house, “Lakeview” and expanded it in 1886 for guests. One guest was William Lyon Phelps, a friend of Hubbard’s son Frank who married, his sister Annabel Hubbard in 1892. William Lyons Phelps became a professor at Yale, and a world famous literary scholar, educator, author, book critic and preacher. He and Annabel returned to the house in Huron City, also known as the “house of the Seven Gables” after the Hawthorne story, form 1893 through 1938. When in residence Phelps occasionally preached at the Huron City Methodist Episcopal Church, drawing large crowds of up to 1000. In 1938, Life Magazine sent a reporter and photography up to Huron City to profile the Phelps. Annabel Hubbard died in 1939, and William Lyon Phelps died in 1943. The house went to his niece Carolyn Hubbard Parcells Lucas. In 1951, a museum was opened to house Phelps’ library and to feature the history of Huron City. In 1964, the Pointe aux Barques Life Saving Station house was moved here. In 1987, Carolyn Lucas passed away, and the house and museum were taken over by the William Lyon Phelps Foundation. The Museum is open Memorial Day through Labor Day. For hours and more information, check their website at http://www.huroncitymuseums.com.

HC550. Lighthouse County Park - Point aux Barques Lighthouse
This lighthouse, built in 1847, and replaced in 1857 is being restored by the Pointe aux Barques Lighthouse Society.

In 1947, President James Polk authorized $5,000 to build a lighthouse at Pointe aux Barques. The lighthouse was built to provide a turning point for ships sailing up Lake Huron to Saginaw Bay and to give warning of the reefs at Point aux Barques. The lighthouse was constructed of beach stones and did not hold up well under the vigorous and exported conditions of Pointe aux Barques. It was replaced in 1857 by a conical white brick tower, 89-feet tall. The focal plane of the rotating Third Order Fresnel lens was 93-feet above Lake Huron. The light flashed every two minutes and was visible 16 miles away. A two-story keepers dwelling was attached to the tower.

In 1875, the Live Saving Station was constructed just south of the lighthouse. Even with the light, there were still wrecks at Pointe aux Barques. In 1908, an assistant keepers house was built. In 1914, the light was upgraded to an incandescent vapor lamp increasing the light’s range to 18 miles. In 1918, a lighted bell buoy was installed 2.5 miles north of the point. In 1932, an electric lamp was installed with an intensity of 120,000 candlepower. In the 1950's the Fresnel lens was removed and an airport-style rotating beacon was installed that had an intensity of 1,000,000 candlepower.

Today the tower, light keepers house, assistant, light keepers house, and an oil storage tank are preserved at Lighthouse County Park. The houses operate as a museum, showcasing the history of the Lighthouse, Pointe aux Barques, and regional maritime history. The lighthouse was transferred to Huron County in 2002. In 2003, a survey done by Professor Michael Nassaney of Western Michigan University was able to confirm the location of the 1847 lighthouse tower 100 feet from the existing tower.

The Lighthouse is being restored by the Pointe aux Barques Lighthouse Society, an organization is dedicated to preserving and restoring the light station and museums located inside. For more information on the Pointe aux Barques Lighthouse and its restoration, check the Pointe aux Barques Lighthouse Society’s website at http://www.pointeauxbarqueslighthouse.org.

Lighthouse County Park has 107 campsites, hiking trails, fishing, a playground, picnic grounds, a boat launch, a swimming beach, showers, a bathhouse, restrooms, and parking.

HC560. Whiskey Harbor - Prohibition Rumrunning
During Prohibition (1920-33), rumrunners smuggled alcohol across Lake Huron from Canada to ports and harbors in Michigan.

The 18th Amendment of the United States Constitution, along with the Volstead Act (which defined the term "beer, wine, or other intoxicating malt or vinous liquors" to mean any beverage with greater than 0.5% alcohol by volume), established Prohibition in the United States. This created an instant demand for the illegal alcohol. The easily available liquor in Canada and high profits to be made on delivery to the U.S. made “rumrunning” across Lake Huron widespread to the many small ports along the Huron shore, and to small remote coves like Whisky Harbor. From the Thumb, the liquor was trucked to Chicago and elsewhere. Illegal activities on the lakes reached its zenith during the fall of 1927 and the spring of 1928. To combat the rumrunners on the Great Lakes, the U.S. Coast Guard doubled the station crews, the number of patrol boats were increased, and a new 75-foot picket boat class was added to existing Great Lakes fleet. While the added resources helped the Coast Guard to reduce the flow of liquor across the Lakes from Canada, the rumrunning continued and was only stopped by the passage of the 21st Amendment, which the repealed Prohibition.

HC570. Kaufman Road - Lake Trout
 

Lake Trout, almost wiped out by the exotic invasive Sea Lamprey, are recovering after successful lamprey control efforts.

Lake Trout (Salvelinus namaycush) or Lake Char is a member of the trout/salmon family. The Lake Trout is a native fish in Lake Huron and was the top predator fish in the food chain. The average adult weighs 2 to 3 pounds but can grow as large as 40 pounds. Lake Trout are long lived and may survive up to the age of 20. The Lake Trout Lake trout have a typical salmonid body shape. The body markings are light colored and wormlike on a dark background. Lake trout have a deeply forked tail and the fins have a white leading edge.

Lake Trout are cold water fish. They require, cold, clear, well-oxygenated water, so they are found almost exclusively in oligotrophic (clear and well-oxygenated) lakes. In the summer, lake Trout often move to depths of 50 to 100 feet, but in spring and fall they may move to depths of 20 feet or less. In the winter Lake Trout feed near the surface, making them a good draw for ice fishermen. Lake Trout spawn on offshore shoals and reefs in the fall. The eggs hatch in the spring, and young lake trout usually move to deeper water after a short time. The young feed on insects, crustaceans, and small fish. The adults feed on larger prey fish. The traditional food source for Lake Huron’s Lake Trout was the Lake Herring. During the late 18th and early to mid 20th centuries, there was a substantial commercial fishery for Lake Trout. In the 1950's the Lake Trout population collapsed to near extinction. The major factor was Sea Lamprey parasitation, but other factors included the collapse of the Lake Herring population and pollution in the Lakes. Lake Trout are quite sensitive to water pollution. Control of the sea lampreys and the collapse of the Alewife population in the 1990's has led to a resurgence in the Lake Trout population in Lake Huron. In 2004, Lake Trout replaced the Chinook Salmon as the leading salmonid harvested by anglers in Lake Huron.

HC580. Harvie Road - Fire of 1881
The Fire of 1881 that burned over most of the Thumb was the first natural disaster served by the American Red Cross.

The Fire of 1881 or Thumb Fire started in Lapeer County on September 5th. By the 6th it had burned into Tuscola County, and on the 7th, it burned across Huron County to the Lake. The Fire was spread by gale force winds, and was fueled by logging slash and the debris left on the ground from the Fire of 1871. The Fire of 1881 destroyed part of Port Hope, all off Huron City, and much of the interior of the eastern side of the Thumb. It spared the towns along Saginaw Bay west of Point Aux Barques, although the telegraph lines were cut and communications were out to the area. The Fire of 1881 mobilized the nation for relief efforts. Clara Barton and the Red Cross raised $80,000 and set up relief efforts on the Thumb after the Fire - the first appearance outside New York City at a natural disaster in the United States. The Red Cross was a small amount compared to the amount of relief funds raised in Detroit, New York, and elsewhere. The total amount of relief raised for the Thumb Fire was more than $700,000.

The Fire of 1881 had a lasting effect on Huron County. It killed the timber industry, burning off the last of the timber and destroying many of the mills. Without timber slash as fuel, it also killed the salt making industry, as salt making went to other places in Michigan where costs were lower. The clearing of the timberlands opened the Thumb to agriculture and shifted the economic base of the County for the 20th century. It killed 282 and left more than 15,000 homeless, with total property losses of more than $2 million.

HC590. Kinde Road - Salmon
Chinook Salmon were introduced into the Great Lakes to control the exotic invasive Alewives and are now a valued gamefish.

Lake Huron is now home to three species of Salmon - the King or Chinook Salmon (Oncorhynchus tshawytscha), the Coho or Silver Salmon ( Oncorhynchus kisutch), and Pink Salmon (Oncorhynchus gorbuscha). Salmon were introduced into the Great Lakes as a predator for the Alewife and to reestablish a sport fishery that had been destroyed by the obliteration of the Lake Trout by the Sea Lamprey. In 1967, Coho Salmon and Chinook Salmon were introduced into Lake Michigan and Lake Huron. The introductions were a notable success. Both species naturalized to the Lakes and began to breed in the streams in which they were released. The population of the Alewives and the Salmon stabilized over the 1970's and a successful sport fishery in Salmon developed. Salmon spawn in rivers and require barriers (dam) free cold streams with gravel bottoms for spawning beds.

In Lake Huron in 2000, 15% of the Salmon sampled were bred in the wild and 85% were bred in Michigan hatcheries. In 2005, 80% of the Salmon sampled were bred in the wild and only 20% were hatchery fish. Many of the wild fish have naturalized in Canadian rivers and streams. This has had an impact on the Michigan sport fishery in two ways. First, the fish leave Michigan waters to spawn in August, reducing the Michigan catch. Second, there is a surplus of Salmon leading to a reduction in Alewives, their main food source that is resulting in smaller Salmon. This has also resulted in an increase in the Lake Trout and Lake Herring population. The Michigan DNR will continue to monitor the situation to determine what the new balance of predator and prey fish in Lake Huron will be.

HC600. Stafford County Park - Port Hope
Founded by William Stafford, Port Hope was a lumber town until destroyed by the Fire of 1871, and rebuilt as a milling town.

Port Hope was founded by William Stafford who built a sawmill here in 1858. The key to the success of Stafford’s mill was the dock he constructed that allowed lumber to be loaded onto ships. The village that developed around the mill became known as Port Hope. The sawmill operation was successful and expanded in the 1860's. Stafford built a house on a bluff overlooking Lake Huron that survived both the 1871 and1881 Fires, and is now open as a Bed & Breakfast and is on the National Register of Historic Places.

The town burned in the Fire of 1871, but Stafford rebuilt (in stone) and expanded the sawmill operation, adding a planing mill to produce finished lumber. In 1874, Stafford began a salt making operation. Stafford also built a mercantile store. The town burned again in the Fire of 1881. All that remained of Stafford’s sawmill was the brick chimney. The town rebuilt again, but the Fire of 1881 killed the timber industry, and the subsequent prosperity of the area became based on farming the lands cleared by the Fire. The village of Port Hope was incorporated in 1887.

Stafford built a farm and a flour mill in Port Hope. The Railroad was delayed into Port Hope by agreements made by the town of Harbor Beach not to extend the lines north to Port Hope. While the railroad arrived in Harbor Beach in 1880, it was 1903 before an extension of the Pere Marquette Railroad was extended to Port Hope. The line ran passengers until 1929, and freight until abandoned by the C & O Railroad in 1971. In 1916, William Stafford died and his heirs left six acres of waterfront land to the County to create a park for public use.

Stafford County Park has 73 campsites, a playground, picnic grounds, a boat launch, a swim beach, showers, restrooms, and parking. It is walking distance to the restaurants, shops, and lodging of Port Hope.

HC600. Stafford County Park - Port Hope
Founded by William Stafford, Port Hope was a lumber town until destroyed by the Fire of 1871, and rebuilt as a milling town.

Port Hope was founded by William Stafford who built a sawmill here in 1858. The key to the success of Stafford’s mill was the dock he constructed that allowed lumber to be loaded onto ships. The village that developed around the mill became known as Port Hope. The sawmill operation was successful and expanded in the 1860's. Stafford built a house on a bluff overlooking Lake Huron that survived both the 1871 and1881 Fires, and is now open as a Bed & Breakfast and is on the National Register of Historic Places.

The town burned in the Fire of 1871, but Stafford rebuilt (in stone) and expanded the sawmill operation, adding a planing mill to produce finished lumber. In 1874, Stafford began a salt making operation. Stafford also built a mercantile store. The town burned again in the Fire of 1881. All that remained of Stafford’s sawmill was the brick chimney. The town rebuilt again, but the Fire of 1881 killed the timber industry, and the subsequent prosperity of the area became based on farming the lands cleared by the Fire. The village of Port Hope was incorporated in 1887.

Stafford built a farm and a flour mill in Port Hope. The Railroad was delayed into Port Hope by agreements made by the town of Harbor Beach not to extend the lines north to Port Hope. While the railroad arrived in Harbor Beach in 1880, it was 1903 before an extension of the Pere Marquette Railroad was extended to Port Hope. The line ran passengers until 1929, and freight until abandoned by the C & O Railroad in 1971. In 1916, William Stafford died and his heirs left six acres of waterfront land to the County to create a park for public use.

Stafford County Park has 73 campsites, a playground, picnic grounds, a boat launch, a swim beach, showers, restrooms, and parking. It is walking distance to the restaurants, shops, and lodging of Port Hope.

HC610. Heinemann Road - The John A. McGean
The John A. McGean, a 432 foot long coal freighter, was lost during the Storm of 1913 off Port Hope with all 28 crewmen.

The John A. McGean was a steel propeller-driven freighter, 432 feet long, built in 1908 by American Shipbuilding in Lorain, Ohio. She was owned by the Pioneer Steamship Company and commanded by Captain Chauncy R. Nye (nicknamed “Dancing Chauncy for his enthusiasm and skill on the dance floor in port). She was en route to Lake Superior with a load of coal from Sandusky, Ohio. She was sighted off Port Huron on November 9, 1913. On November 9th, the Great Storm of 1913 struck and the McGean was caught in its fury. The winds in the Storm were measured at 90 mph and the McGean, thought to be unsinkable was lost. The ship was last seen off Tawas Point and assumed to be sunk there. All 28 crew were lost, although only 20 bodies were recovered. The John A. McGean was found by the wreck hunter David Trotter in 1985. The wreck lies about nine miles off Port Hope in 195 feet of water at 43° 57.196 N and 82° 31.717 W. The wreck is upside down on the Lake bottom. If you want to dive to see the John A. McGean, please be aware that this is a technical dive in deep water, and that experienced divers only should wreck dive in deep waters, preferably with an experienced divemaster.

HC620. Rubicon Road - Fire of 1871
Drought and timber slash fueled the Fire of 1871 that burned across Michigan, devastating the Thumb and killing 100’s.

In October 1871, the Great Lakes region was in the midst of a serious drought. The land was dry and the logging of Michigan over the past twenty years left piles of flammable slash and debris, scattered among remaining stands of uncut forest. October 8th, 1871 was famous as the day of the Great Chicago Fire. It was also the day the Peshtigo Fire in Wisconsin which took more than 1,500 lives. The Great Fire of 1871 in Michigan took only 200 lives, but was much larger in extent than the other two more famous fires on that day.

The Fire of 1871 burned from Lake Michigan to Lake Huron, destroying the communities of Holland and Manistee in Western Michigan, and burning though the State from west to east through the Saginaw Valley and up though the Thumb marking October 9th, 1871 as the day Michigan burned. Forty square miles of the Thumb were completely devastated and 50 were found dead. The Fire was spread by gale force winds that blew from west to east. The cause of the Fire is debatable. Some say that lightning sparked the fires. Others blame a meteor shower. Whatever the cause, many fires merged into one big firestorm consuming the State.

The Fire of 1871 was a treetop canopy fire, jumping from tree to tree dropping debris on the ground. This allowed the Fire to move very quickly and also provided a large fuel bank for the subsequent Fire of 1881. The Fire of 1871 destroyed White Rock City, Rock Falls, Harbor Beach, Port Hope, New River, and Huron City. In many of the towns, the people had to jump into Lake Huron to escape the flames. Many of these communities were rebuilt, but White Rock and Rock Falls never recovered from this Fire. In the Fire of 1871, Huron County lost 339 homes, 18 schools, 1 Church, 2 hotels 4 hotels, 10 stores, 17 sawmills, 7 wharves, and more than $400,000 worth of lumber and produce.

HC630. Filion Road - Shipwreck - The Dunderburg
The Dunderberg, a wooden schooner sank on August 13, 1868, after a collision with the steamer Empire State.

The Dunderburg was a wooden 3-masted schooner, 187 feet long, built in 1867 by J.M. Jones in Detroit, MI. She was en route to Detroit with 40,000 bushels of corn as cargo on August 13, 1868. The Captain, Charles W. Green sighted the Empire State, a steamer that evening at a distance of ten miles, but as the ships grew closer, but was close-hauled (sailing tightly into the wind) and was unable to turn. The inexperienced second mate of the Empire State did not realize the danger until it was too late and the ships collided. The propeller of the Empire State struck the Dunderburg between the mainmast (center mast) and the mizzenmast (rear mast), opening a deep hole below the waterline. The crash also knocked out the Dunderburg’s oil lamps, and knocked Mrs. Wilcox, the wife of one of the ship’s owners overboard. She was lost in the darkness. The rest of the Dunderburg’s crew boarded the lifeboats and searched for Mrs. Wilcox after she was discovered to be missing, but she was not to found. After the Dunderburg sank, the crew boarded the Empire State and steamed to Port Huron. The second mate of the Empire State was charged with manslaughter for the death of Mrs. Wilcox, but the charges were later dropped. His pilot’s license was revoked, however. The wreck lies about six miles off Harbor Beach in 197 feet of water at 43°55.641' N and 82°33.391'W. The wreck is very well preserved and is considered one of the best idves in the Thumb Area Bottomlands Preserve. If you want to dive to see the Dunderberg, please be aware that this is a technical dive in deep water, and that experienced divers only should wreck dive in deep waters, preferably with an experienced divemaster.

HC640. Forest Bay Cottages - Shipwreck - The Marquis
The Marquis, a schooner barge carrying lumber hit a reef and sank in a snowstorm on November 12, 1892, with no lives lost.

The Marquis was a three masted wooden schooner barge, 148 feet long, built in 1879 by Jamieson of Mill Point Ontario. The Marquis was built as the schooner Tobias Butler. She sustained heavy damage in the Great Storm of November 11-17, 1883 on Lake Ontario, and then changed names when she was converted into a schooner barge. She was under tow with a load of lumber on November 12th, 1892 when she struck a reef of Forest Bay in a snowstorm and gale. The U.S. Lifesaving Service at Sand Beach (Harbor Beach) rescued four of the crew, while rest of the crew made it ashore on their own. The wreck lies in 15 feet of water off Forest Bay and is quite broken up and scattered. If you do want to dive the Marquis, please be aware that wreck diving even in shallow water can be hazardous and one should be cautious.

HC650. Rapson Road - Shipwreck - The Chickamauga

 

The Chickamauga, a schooner barge carrying iron ore sank in a storm off Harbor Beach on September 12, 1919.

The Chickamauga was a 3-masted wooden schooner-barge, 322 feet long, built in 1898 by Jas. Davidson in West Bay City, MI. The Chickamauga was originally built as a schooner, but was converted to a tow barge. Schooner barges were towed behind steamers, but were still rigged with masts and sails and could sail themselves if lost in a storm or not under tow. In 1919, the Chickamauga was on of the largest schooner largest on the Great Lakes (her sister ship the Santiago was two feet longer and was lost in 1918, coincidentally in deeper water NE of Port Hope). Schooner barges did have to be steered under tow, and carried a crew. On her final trip, the Chickamauga carried a crew of 10 men and one woman.

On September 12, 1919, She was en route from Escanaba to Cleveland with a load of iron ore in tow behind the steamer Centurion. During a storm, she sprang a leak and foundered in heavy seas. The crew were thrown into the water when the lifeboat was dashed to pieces when it was launched from the sinking ship. Fortunately, the crew were all wearing life jackets and were rescued by the Harbor Beach Coast Guard and the tug James Whalen. The Chickamauga sank in shallow water with its masts standing out of the water. Because it was a navigation hazard outside Harbor Beach’s harbor, it was dynamited on October 18th, 1919. The wreck may be found at 43°50.950' N and 82°37.430'W (about ½ mile NE of the Harbor Beach Lighthouse. The Chickamauga is popular with divers because it is in shallow (32 feet) and sheltered water. If you do want to dive the Chickamauga, please be aware that wreck diving can be hazardous and one should be cautious.

HC660. Harbor Beach Marina - Lifesaving Stations
 

The U.S. Lifesaving Service (now U.S.C.G.) operated stations at Pointe aux Barques, Harbor Beach, and Port Austin.

In 1874, Congress passed a law that created three classes of stations for the newly formed U.S. Life-Saving Service (USLSS). Pointe Aux Barques (PAB) Station was designated as a first class station and went into operation in USLSS’s Ninth District on September 15, 1876. This type of station was intended for remote locations and was fully crewed and equipped. The station was located on Lake Huron about 1/8 mile Southeast of the Pointe Aux Barques Lighthouse, in what is now Huron County’s Lighthouse Park. Five years later two more lifesaving stations were opened - Grindstone / Port Austin (first class) and Sand Beach / Harbor Beach (second class). Second class stations were manned by volunteer crews in more populated areas such as Harbor Beach. These lifesaving stations were set up to rescue victims of shipwrecks or ships in distress. Their main rescue equipment consisted of lifeboats, surf boats and the breeches buoy. A breeches buoy can be described as a contraption where a line is fired from a small cannon called a Lyle Gun onto the deck of the wrecked vessel, and a canvas chair (the breeches buoy) is used to slide the victims to shore.

In 1880, six members of the Pointe aux Barques crew died during a rescue on the schooner J.H. McGruder. In the Storm of 1913, the Port Austin boathouse and pier, the Point aux Barques boathouse, and breakwater, and the Harbor Beach boathouse and breakwater were destroyed. Even so, the Port Austin crew saved 25 from the steamer Howard M. Hannah on Pointe aux Barques Reef. In 1915, the U.S. Lifesaving Service was merged with the U.S. Revenue Cutter Service to form the U.S. Coast Guard.

The Harbor Beach Life Saving Station was closed by the Coast Guard in 1958 and torn down in 2004. The Harbor Beach Coast Guard Station remains on the site. The Port Austin Station was closed in the 1930's and the building is now privately owned. The Pointe aux Barques Life Saving Station was closed in 1956. The station house was moved to the Huron City Museum where is can be viewed as one of the exhibits.

Harbor Beach Marina is a municipal marina located just north of Harbor Beach. It has a launch ramp with a $4 launch fee, restroom and shower facilities, a picnic area, a campground, and parking.

HC670. Offshore Marina - Harbor of Refuge
 

The Harbor of Refuge is the world’s largest manmade freshwater harbor. The harbor and light were first built in 1875.

Between the St. Clair River and Saginaw Bay on Port Huron there was no save harbor in a storm in the mid 19th century. After many shipwrecks in Lake Huron in the 1870's it was decided by the U..S. Government to build a safe harbor. In 1872, Captain Jarad Smith of the Corps of Engineers examined Port hope and Sand Beach (Harbor Beach) for suitability and cost. Based on figuring 10,000 feet of breakwater for Port Hope, and 7,000 of breakwater at Sand Beach, it was decided to build the safe harbor at Sand Beach. Construction began in 1873. By 1881, there was 5,205 of breakwater was built and 150 acres of harbor was sheltered. In 1882, the breakwater was lengthened to 8,200 feet and more than 300 acres of harbor were protected more than 12 feet deep. The project used more than one million tons of iron, fifteen million board feet of timber, and 48,000 cords of stone. The total cost was more than $900,000.

In 1875, the first light was erected on the breakwater. It featured a timber tower frame supporting an octagonal cast iron lantern with a fixed 4th order Fresnel lens 44 feet above Lake level that was visible for 13 miles. After being damaged in the Storm of 1883, the light was strengthened with an iron frame tower, and a fog signal was added. The breakwaters were extended and strengthened and in 1885, the harbor protected 650 acres and the final cost of the project was $1,205,781. The Harbor quick got the nickname - the million-dollar harbor. In 1903, the wooden breakwaters had deteriorated and were replaced with concrete while the lighthouse and fog signal were stripped and rebuilt with brick. In 1914, the lighting element was upgraded to incandescent oil vapor, substantially increasing the brightness of the light. In 1919, the fog signal was upgraded an in 1935, a radio beacon was installed. During the 1960's the lens was replaced. The light was automated in 1968. The Harbor Beach Lighthouse Preservation Society has been working with city officials to preserve the historic landmark.

The Offshore Marina, located in downtown Harbor Beach offers two launch ramps, a store, and restrooms.

HC680. Bathing Beach Park - Harbor Beach

Founded in 1837 as Barnettsville, and renamed Sand Beach in 1861, the town was renamed Harbor Beach in 1889.

Harbor Beach was founded in 1837 by John Allen and Alanson Daggett. It was then called Barnettsville, and a post office opened in 1856. It was renamed Sand Beach in 1861. The village was destroyed in the Fire of 1871, and then rebuilt. The village was spared destruction in the Fire of 1881, but was a center of the relief effort. The village was chosen by the government to be the Harbor of Refuge on the Huron Coast, and construction on the Harbor which was started in 1875 was completed in 1885. The village of Sand Beach was incorporated in 1882.

After the Fire of 1881, Sand Beach closed its sawmills, and prospered as a harbor, service, and manufacturing community. Jeremiah Jenks built a flour mill, and in 1880, Jenks convinced the Detroit and Port Huron Railroad to go to Harbor Beach, offering assistance in roadbed grading if the Railroad agreed not to extend the line to Port Hope for a period of twenty years. In 1889, the village and post office were renamed Harbor Beach to give the town a new image (other than sand). In 1898, the Pere Marquette also extended a line to Harbor Beach (and then to Port Hope in 1903). The line ran until service was stopped in 1992. Harbor Beach became a city in 1910. In 1902, the Huron Milling Co. opened the largest industrial complex between Port Huron and Bay City. The plant made food seasonings and other products until 1995, when it was bought by Dow Elanco (now Dow Agrosciences). The plant now makes spinosad, and organic pesticide.

In Harbor Beach there are two museums. The Grice House Museum on 865 N. Huron Avenue next to the Marina exhibits local history. The Frank Murphy Memorial Museum celebrating the life of local son, Frank Murphy, is next to the Visitor's Center at 142 S Huron Avenue.

Bathing Beach Park is a city park that has a swimming beach with a bathhouse, picnic area, playground, restrooms, and parking.

HC690. Jenks Road - Frank Murphy
Frank Murphy was Mayor of Detroit, Governor of Michigan, Attorney General, and a Justice of the Supreme Court.

William Francis (Frank) Murphy (1890 - 1949) was born in Harbor Beach, Michigan. His father was a lawyer, and Murphy also became a lawyer, attending the University of Michigan and graduating with a BA in 1912, and LLB in 1914. Murphy also did further graduate work in law at Lincoln's Inn in London and Trinity College, Dublin. During World War I, Murphy served as an officer in the Army, attaining the rank of Captain. He started practicing law after the War in Detroit, and soon was appointed the chief Assistant U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Michigan. Murphy served as a Judge in the Detroit Recorder's Court from 1923 to 1930.

In 1930, Murphy was elected mayor of Detroit, running as a Democrat, serving until 1933. President Franklin D. Roosevelt appointed Murphy Governor-General of the Philippines where he served from 1933 through 1936. In 1937, Murphy was elected Governor of Michigan in 1937. In 1939, President Roosevelt appointed Murphy as his Attorney General. In 1940, Roosevelt nominated Murphy to be an Associate Justice of the Supreme Court. On the Supreme Court, Murphy was a voice for protection of individual rights, dissenting in the case of Korematsu v. United States (1944), charging that by upholding the forced relocation of Japanese-Americans the Court was sinking into "the ugly abyss of racism." Murphy died in Detroit, and is buried here at
Our Lady of Lake Huron Cemetery. The Frank Murphy Hall of Justice, named for him, was formerly home to Detroit's Recorder's Court and now houses part of Michigan's Third Judicial Circuit Court.

The Jenks Road Access at Rock Falls Cemetery is good place to rest, put-in and take-out. There Is ample parking alongside the road.

HC700. Toppin Road - Shipwreck - The Goliath
The Goliath, one of the first propeller driven steamships, exploded in 1848 with a cargo of 200 kegs of gunpowder.

The Goliath (also called the Goliah) was a wooden propeller steamship, 131 feet long, built in 1846 by O.M. Goodsell in St. Clair, MI. The Arctic was owned by D.N. Barney of Buffalo, New York. She was en route, heavily loaded from St. Claire River to the mines on Lake Superior with supplies including 200 kegs of gunpowder, 40 tons of hay, 20,000 bricks, 30,000 feet of lumber, 40 tons of hay, and 2,000 barrels of provisions and merchandise on September 13, 1848. It is likely that sparks from the boiler detonated the gunpowder blowing the ship to pieces. The burning ship was seen by settlers near White Rock. They said its mast and smokestack tipped over and then they saw the explosion. The explosion was aid to have been heard from Port Austin to Port Huron. The 18 men that went down with the Goliath are anonymous because the ship’s records went down with the ship. The burned upper section of the Goliath floated across the Lake to Goderich, Ontario, and the mast floated ashore at Kincardine, Ontario.

The Goliath was special in that it was among the first steam ships to use propellers and was the first to be designed exclusively to haul freight. The Goliath had twin-propellers and a high-pressure steam engine designed by John Ericsson. Ericsson was the Swedish-born inventor who later became famous for designing the iron-clad Monitor for the Union Navy during the U.S. Civil War. The wreck was lost for more than 100 years, and discovered in 1984, who kept the location secret until it was discovered again by wreck hunter Gary Binieki in 1994. The wreck may be found in 104 feet of water at 43°47.008' N and 82°32.721'W. If you want to dive to see the Goliath, please be aware that this is a technical dive in deep water, and that experienced divers only should wreck dive in deep waters, preferably with an experienced divemaster.

HC710. Helena Road - Shipwreck - The Arctic
The Arctic, a wooden steambarge with a cargo of coal struck some rocks and sank in a storm on September 5, 1893.

The Arctic was a wooden steambarge, 196 feet long, built in 1864 by Peck & Masters in Cleveland, Ohio. The Arctic was owned by A.T. Underwood of Menomenee, MI. She was en route from Toledo to Escanaba on September 5, 1893 with a load of coal. In the midst of a storm, the crew became disoriented by smoke from other vessels and the heavy seas. She struck some rocks, sprang a leak, and sank in 135 feet of water of White Rock. The crew were all saved by other ships in the flotilla. The wreck was lost for 100 years, and discovered in 1987. The wreck may be found at 43°41.462' N and 82°28.712'W. The Arctic has a distinctive steam engine. If you want to dive to see the Arctic, please be aware that this is a technical dive in deep water, and that experienced divers only should wreck dive in deep waters, preferably with an experienced divemaster.

HC720. Wagener County Park - Shoreline Restoration
Shoreline restoration with native plantings creates habitat for wildlife and protects our shoreline from erosion and beachloss.

Huron County has more than 90 miles of coastline on Lake Huron and Saginaw Bay. This shoreline is a dynamic place, constantly being impacted by wind, waves, storms, and the changing water levels of the Lake. Sand is constantly being moved into the beaches and out of the beaches. The stability of the shoreline is dependent on the natural vegetation on the shore. Beach grasses and forbs (flowering plants) root systems help hold the sands in place, and are key to the dune systems that protect the land behind them. Free flowing streams deposit sand into the Lake where it can be transported to replenish the beach sands. Trees above the beaches anchor the slopes and break the wind. Emergent plants in the Lake shallows and the wetlands hold the lake bottom silt in place and buffer the shore from wave action. All of the plants in the shoreline habitats provided food and homes for a rich diversity of fish and waterfowl that made the County one of the richest fisheries and waterfowl areas in North America.

Since the 19th century, we have sorely impacted this natural system on our coastline. Cutting our the forests of the Thumb created erosion, and siltation. Many of the wetlands were drained and cultivated. Much of the shoreline was developed, with homes and yards replacing the natural vegetation patterns, and vegetation control in the shallows to facilitate swimming and boating may weaken or destroy the shoreline plant community. Piers and breakwaters were installed, changing the pattern of sand movement along the coastline. The result of these human impacts is that the natural systems protecting our Coast have been disrupted, and that shore erosion is a result. Beaches may be lost or wave and storm action may erode away the coastline in times of high Lake level. Conversely when the Lake level recedes, newly exposed Lake bottom is quickly vegetated. Lacking healthy native plant communities on the shore, exotic invasives like Giant Reed may colonize the new shoreline, creating barriers to erosion, but also poor habitat for our native wildlife and an unpleasant alternative to the swimming beaches that they may be replacing.

Shoreline restoration with native plant mixes provides habitat for our native fish and wildlife. It protects our beaches and shorelines, holding them in place, and making it unnecessary to construct artificial shore protection. It also discourages the colonization of invasive species. For more information look at the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality Coastal management Program Website at http://www.michigan.gov/deq/0,1607,7-135-3313_3677_3696-11188--,00.html.

Wagener County Park has a boat launch with a $4 launch fee, restrooms, parking, a picnic area, a beach, and a camping area.

HC730. Leppek Road - Treaty of Detroit
This Treaty that ceded Anishinabeg lands in SE Michigan to the U.S., used White Rock as the NE landmark for the survey.

The Treaty of Detroit was a treaty between the United States and the Anishinabeg also known as the People of the Three Fires (the Ottawa, Chippewa, Wyandot and Potawatomi) nations of Native Americans. The treaty was signed at Detroit, Michigan on November 17, 1807, with William Hull, the governor of the Michigan Territory and superintendent of Indian affairs as the sole representative of the U.S. government. The treaty ceded the native nations’ claims to what is now Southeast Michigan and northwest Ohio. The boundary of the lands ran from the mouth of the Maumee River in Toledo definition in the treaty began with the "mouth of the Miami river of the lakes" or what is now known as the Maumee River at Toledo, Ohio. From there the boundary ran west up the middle of the river to the mouth of the Auglaize River at what is now Defiance, Ohio, then due north (just east of Jackson Michigan) until it intersected a parallel of latitude at the outlet of Lake Huron into the St. Clair River. This north-south line would become the Michigan Meridian used in surveying of Michigan lands. From this point (a point northeast of Lansing) the treaty boundary ran northeast to White Rock in Lake Huron, then due east to the international boundary with what was then Upper Canada, and then along the international boundary through the St. Clair River, Lake St. Clair, the Detroit River and then into Lake Erie to a point due east of the mouth of the Maumee River, and finally west back to the point of beginning.

White Rock would also figure in the Treaty of Saginaw in 1819. The Treaty of Saginaw was made between the U.S. and the remaining Anishinabeg ceded the center of the Lower Peninsula from just north of Alpena to just northeast of Kalamazoo, then due west to the boundary of 1807 northeast of Jackson and then up the boundary to White Rock.

HC740. White Rock Roadside Park - White Rock
White Rock was once large enough to dance upon, but lightning and military practice bombing have eroded it severely.

White Rock is a large limestone boulder that sits offshore of the coast of Lake Huron. The rock was a sacred place for Native Americans and was a familiar landmark for Native Americans and French traders as they paddled their canoes along the Huron Coast. In 1807 and in 1819, the rock was used as a landmark for treaties between the United States and the Anishinabeg.

According to a local legend, a group of white settlers decided to hold a square dance on the rock in 1860. Their Indian neighbors warned against it, saying the rock was sacred.


Two boatloads of dancers ignored the warning, rowed to the rock and began to party. A horrified witness watched from shore as a stroke of lightning killed the dancers. During World War II, White Rock was used for bombing practice by the Army Air Corps. The result is that now because of the bombing and lightning strikes over the years, the White Rock measures only 12 feet across, much reduced from the dance floor sized landmark of the past. The Michigan DOT has constructed a roadside rest stop overlooking White Rock. Motorists can stop to view White Rock from above and read about its history. There is also parking, a restroom, and a stairway leading down to a rocky beach that could be used for put-in and take-out of sea kayaks.

HC750. White Rock Road - White Rock City
Founded in 1829, White Rock City was a thriving lumber town until it was completely destroyed by the Fire of 1871.

Edward Petit, an early settler in Huron County, opened a trading post at Shebeon Creek, but moved the post to White Rock. White Rock was the first American settlement in Huron County. It is labeled as "White Rock City" on some early maps. By the mid-1830s, it was a thriving village. Industries included shingle making, sawmills, and salt wells. The village gained its own post office in 1859. The community was completely destroyed in the Great Fire of 1871.

The people of White Rock formed a bucket brigade at the edge of the town as the firestorm approached but had to flee for their lives into the waters of Lake Huron. The fire was so hot that people were forced to remain in the water off shore for eight hours. The wagons loaded with their possessions that the townsfolk had driven into the water to try to save them caught fire from the heat and burned to the waterline. Everything in town itself was destroyed including the lighthouse. The town soon rebuilt, but never grew beyond a small community, even though it was spared by the Great Fire of 1881. The plentiful timber on which the town’s economy was based was gone forever. The schoolhouse in White Rock was built in 1909 to replace the one built after the Fire.
The White Rock School continued in use until 1968. In 1970, the Huron County Historical Society acquired the White Rock Schoolhouse property in 1970 for a historical museum.

There is an access point suitable for launching at the end of White Rock Road. There is parking available nearby.

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