Port Huron, Michigan

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Port Huron, Michigan
City
Young Thomas Edison, in front of the Blue Water Bridge
Young Thomas Edison, in front of the Blue Water Bridge
Nickname(s): Maritime Capital of the Great Lakes, Gateway to Canada
Location within St. Clair county (left) and Michigan (right)
Location within St. Clair county (left) and Michigan (right)
Coordinates: 42°58′49″N 82°26′15″W / 42.98028°N 82.43750°W / 42.98028; -82.43750Coordinates: 42°58′49″N 82°26′15″W / 42.98028°N 82.43750°W / 42.98028; -82.43750
Country United States
State Michigan
County St. Clair
Incorporated 1857
Government
 • Type Council-Manager
 • Mayor Pauline Repp
Area[1]
 • Total 12.26 sq mi (31.75 km2)
 • Land 8.08 sq mi (20.93 km2)
 • Water 4.18 sq mi (10.83 km2)
Elevation 604 ft (184 m)
Population (2010)[2]
 • Total 30,184
 • Estimate (2012[3]) 29,684
 • Density 2,500/sq mi (950/km2)
Time zone Eastern (EST) (UTC−5)
 • Summer (DST) EDT (UTC−4)
ZIP code 48060
Area code 810
FIPS code 26-65820 [4]
GNIS feature ID 1624839 [5]
Website porthuron.org

Port Huron is a city in the U.S. state of Michigan and the county seat of St. Clair County.[6] The population was 30,184 at the 2010 census.

The city is adjacent to Port Huron Township but is administratively autonomous. Located along the St. Clair River, it is connected to Point Edward, Ontario in Canada via the Blue Water Bridge. The city lies at the southern end of Lake Huron and is the easternmost point on land in Michigan. Port Huron is noted for its regional distinctiveness. Anthropologists assume that this is due to its close proximity to Canada. As a result many Canadian institutions and parts of Canadian culture are quite prevalent in Port Huron.

Port Huron is home to two paper mills; Mueller brass; and many businesses related to tourism and the automotive industry. The city features a historic downtown area, boardwalk, marina, museum, lighthouse, and the McMorran Place arena and entertainment complex.

History[edit]

In 1814 following the War of 1812, the United States established Fort Gratiot at the base of Lake Huron. French colonists had a temporary trading post and fort at this site in the 17th century, but this developed as the first settled European-American population in the area. Until 1836, an Ojibwa reservation occupied land in part of the modern area of Port Huron. They were removed to west of the Mississippi in Wisconsin and Minnesota.[7]

In 1857, Port Huron became incorporated. Its population grew rapidly after the 1850s due a high rate of immigration attracted by the successful shipbuilding and lumber trade. In 1859 the city had a total of 4.031 residents; 1855 were of foreign birth or their children.[8] By 1870, Port Huron's population exceeded that of surrounding villages. In 1871, the State Supreme Court designated Port Huron as the county seat.[9]

On October 8, 1871, the city, as well as places north in Sanilac and Huron counties, burned in the Port Huron Fire of 1871. A series of other fires leveled Holland and Manistee, Michigan, as well as Peshtigo, Wisconsin and Chicago on the same day. The Thumb Fire that occurred a decade later, also engulfed Port Huron.

In 1895 the village of Fort Gratiot, in the vicinity of the former Fort Gratiot, was annexed by the city of Port Huron.[10]

The following historic sites have been recognized by the State of Michigan through its historic marker program.

  • Fort St. Joseph. The fort was built in 1686 by the French explorer Duluth. This fort was the second European settlement in lower Michigan. This post guarded the upper end of the St. Clair River, the vital waterway joining Lake Erie and Lake Huron. Intended by the French to bar English traders from the upper lakes, the fort in 1687 was the base of a garrison of French and Indians. In 1688 the French abandoned this fort. The site was incorporated into Fort Gratiot in 1814. A park has been established at the former site of the fort.
  • Fort Gratiot Light. The Fort Gratiot Lighthouse was built in 1829 to replace a tower destroyed by a storm. In the 1860s workers extended the tower to its present height of 84 feet (26 m). The light, automated in 1933, continues to guide shipping on Lake Huron into the narrow and swift-flowing St. Clair River. It was the first lighthouse established in the State of Michigan.
  • Lightship Huron. From 1935 until 1970, the Huron was stationed in southern Lake Huron to mark dangerous shoals. After 1940 the Huron was the only lightship operating on the Great Lakes. Retired from Coast Guard Service in 1970, she was presented to the City of Port Huron in 1971.
  • Grand Trunk Railway Depot. The depot, which is now part of the Port Huron Museum, is where 12-year-old Thomas Edison departed daily on the Port Huron – Detroit run. In 1859, the railroad's first year of operation, Edison convinced the railroad company to let him sell newspapers and confections on the daily trips. He became so successful that he soon placed two newsboys on other Grand Trunks running to Detroit. He made enough money to support himself and to buy chemicals and other experimental materials.
  • Port Huron Public Library. In 1902 the city of Port Huron secured money from philanthropist Andrew Carnegie to erect a municipal library. In 1904, a grand Beaux-Arts-style structure was built at a cost of $45,000. At its dedication, Melvil Dewey, creator of a widely used book classification system, delivered the opening address. The Port Huron Public Library served in its original capacity for over sixty years. In 1967, a larger public library was constructed. The following year the former library was renovated and re-opened as the Port Huron Museum of Arts and History. An addition was constructed in 1988.
  • Harrington Hotel. The Hotel opened in 1896 and is a blend of Romanesque, Classical and Queen Anne architecture. The hotel closed in 1986, but a group of investors bought the structure that same year to convert it into housing for senior citizens. The Harrington Hotel is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
  • Grand Trunk Western Railroad Tunnel. The tunnel was opened in 1891 and links Port Huron with Canada. This international submarine railway tunnel was the first international tunnel in the world. The tunnel's total length is 6,025 feet (1,836 m), with 2,290 feet (700 m) underwater. The tunnel operations were electrified in 1908; half a century later they were converted to use diesel fuel. Tracks were lowered in 1949 to accommodate larger freight cars. During World War I, a plot to blast the tunnel was foiled. A new tunnel has since been opened.

In 1962, a convention of the Students for a Democratic Society was held in Lakeport, a community several miles north of the city. While there, they developed the Port Huron Statement, the SDS manifesto.

The city received the All-America City Award in 1955 and 2005.

Historic photographs[edit]

Geography[edit]

Climate[edit]

Climate data for Port Huron NOAA Station
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Record high °F (°C) 64
(18)
69
(21)
82
(28)
87
(31)
96
(36)
102
(39)
103
(39)
102
(39)
101
(38)
90
(32)
81
(27)
66
(19)
103
(39)
Average high °F (°C) 31.3
(−0.4)
33.8
(1)
42.8
(6)
55.5
(13.1)
67.1
(19.5)
77.3
(25.2)
82.0
(27.8)
80.5
(26.9)
73.4
(23)
60.6
(15.9)
47.7
(8.7)
35.6
(2)
57.3
(14.1)
Daily mean °F (°C) 24.3
(−4.3)
26.2
(−3.2)
34.4
(1.3)
45.9
(7.7)
56.9
(13.8)
66.9
(19.4)
72.3
(22.4)
71.2
(21.8)
63.8
(17.7)
51.7
(10.9)
40.5
(4.7)
29.2
(−1.6)
48.61
(9.22)
Average low °F (°C) 17.4
(−8.1)
18.6
(−7.4)
26.0
(−3.3)
36.2
(2.3)
46.6
(8.1)
56.6
(13.7)
62.6
(17)
61.8
(16.6)
54.3
(12.4)
42.7
(5.9)
33.3
(0.7)
22.8
(−5.1)
39.9
(4.4)
Record low °F (°C) −19
(−28)
−15
(−26)
−7
(−22)
8
(−13)
21
(−6)
32
(0)
35
(2)
37
(3)
25
(−4)
20
(−7)
2
(−17)
−7
(−22)
−19
(−28)
Precipitation inches (mm) 1.96
(49.8)
1.97
(50)
2.07
(52.6)
2.86
(72.6)
3.13
(79.5)
3.39
(86.1)
3.23
(82)
3.26
(82.8)
3.84
(97.5)
2.78
(70.6)
3.11
(79)
2.19
(55.6)
33.78
(858)
Snowfall inches (cm) 11.0
(27.9)
9.9
(25.1)
5.0
(12.7)
0.7
(1.8)
0
(0)
0
(0)
0
(0)
0
(0)
0
(0)
0
(0)
1.3
(3.3)
8.3
(21.1)
36.1
(91.7)
Avg. precipitation days (≥ 0.01 in) 13.0 10.0 10.5 12.9 11.7 10.7 10.1 10.7 10.8 11.9 12.5 13.4 138.2
Avg. snowy days (≥ 0.1 in) 7.4 5.9 2.9 0.6 0 0 0 0 0 0 0.8 5.3 22.9
Source: NOAA [11]

Demographics[edit]

Historical population
Census Pop.
1900 19,158
1910 18,863 −1.5%
1920 25,944 37.5%
1930 31,361 20.9%
1940 32,759 4.5%
1950 35,725 9.1%
1960 36,084 1.0%
1970 35,794 −0.8%
1980 33,981 −5.1%
1990 33,694 −0.8%
2000 32,338 −4.0%
2010 30,184 −6.7%

Port Huron is the largest city in the Thumb area, and is a center of industry and trade for the region.

2010 census[edit]

As of the census[2] of 2010, there were 30,184 people, 12,177 households, and 7,311 families residing in the city. The population density was 3,735.6 inhabitants per square mile (1,442.3/km2). There were 13,871 housing units at an average density of 1,716.7 per square mile (662.8/km2). The racial makeup of the city was 84.0% White, 9.1% African American, 0.7% Native American, 0.6% Asian, 1.2% from other races, and 4.5% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 5.4% of the population.

There were 12,177 households of which 32.5% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 34.5% were married couples living together, 19.9% had a female householder with no husband present, 5.6% had a male householder with no wife present, and 40.0% were non-families. 33.0% of all households were made up of individuals and 11.8% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.42 and the average family size was 3.03.

The median age in the city was 35.8 years. 25.6% of residents were under the age of 18; 9.9% were between the ages of 18 and 24; 26.3% were from 25 to 44; 25.2% were from 45 to 64; and 13.1% were 65 years of age or older. The gender makeup of the city was 47.8% male and 52.2% female.

Culture[edit]

  • The Great Lakes Maritime Center offers a lot of opportunities to learn about the history of the Great Lakes. Freighters pass within 100' of the wide glass windows, and there is an underwater live camera feed.
  • The School for Strings presents over 50 concerts each year with its Fiddle Club, Faculty and Student Ensembles. It provides a premier music education across the area with more than half its graduates going on to professional studies in major music school across the country.
  • There are a number of recurring local events. A calendar is available.[14]
  • The fall brings the Blue Water Film Festival. Which has had notables such as Chris Gore, Sid Haig, Curtis Armstrong, Timothy Busfield, Loni Love, Dave Coulier and more.
  • The main branch of the St. Clair County Library is located in downtown Port Huron. The library contains more than 285,300 books, nearly 200 magazine subscriptions, and over 22,700 books on tape, books on compact disc, music compact discs, cassettes, and videos.
  • The International Symphony Orchestra of Sarnia, Ontario and Port Huron, Michigan perform events at McMorran Place and the Imperial Oil Centre for the Performing Arts in Sarnia.
  • Encompassing over 100 homes and buildings, the Olde Town Historic District is Port Huron's first and only residential historic district. The Olde Town Historic Neighborhood Association is an organization working to preserve historic architecture in Port Huron. They have hosted an annual historic home tour, flower plantings and beautification and neighborhood Christmas decorations.
  • The Welkin Base Ball Club is Port Huron's historic vintage base ball team. Modeled on Port Huron's first baseball club from 1867, the Welkin Base Ball Club re-creates the time of base ball's roots. Playing other vintage ball clubs of the area, the Welkins strive to entertain and educate spectators about Port Huron's past.

Sports[edit]

Port Huron has had a strong tradition of minor league hockey for many years.

The Port Huron Flags played in the original International Hockey League from 1962-1981, winning three Turner Cup championships in 1966, 1971 and 1972. Its leading career scorers were Ken Gribbons, who played most of his career in the IHL; Bob McCammon, a lifelong IHLer who went on to be a National Hockey League coach with the Philadelphia Flyers and the Vancouver Canucks; Bill LeCaine and Larry Gould, who played a handful of NHL games with the Pittsburgh Penguins and the Vancouver Canucks, respectively.

Port Huron was also represented in the Colonial Hockey League (also operating under the names United Hockey League and International Hockey League), with franchises from 1996 until the league folded in 2010. Originally called the Border Cats, the team was renamed the Beacons in 2002, the Flags in 2005 and the Icehawks in 2007. Among the more notable players were Bob McKillop, Jason Firth, Tab Lardner and Brent Gretzky.

The Port Huron Fighting Falcons of the junior North American Hockey League played at McMorran Place, beginning in 2010 until 2013. The team moved to Connellsville, PA for the 2014 season. The team's name was changed to the Keystone Ice Miners.

The Port Huron Pirates indoor football team dominated the Great Lakes Indoor Football League up until their departure to Flint, MI. McMorran Arena once again hosted indoor football with the Port Huron Predators of the Continental Indoor Football League in 2011. The Predators failed to finish the 2011 season, and were replaced in 2012 by the Port Huron Patriots who also particiate in the CIFL.

Parks[edit]

The City of Port Huron owns and operates 17 waterfront areas containing 102 acres (0.4 km2) and 3.5 miles (5.6 km) of water frontage. This includes three public beaches and six parks with picnic facilities. The city also has nine scenic turnout sites containing over 250 parking spaces. Port Huron operates the largest municipal marina system in the state and has five separate locations for boat mooring.

The City has 14 public parks, 4 smaller-sized “tot” parks, 19 playgrounds (City owned), 9 playgrounds (School owned), 33 tennis courts, including 16 at schools and 6 indoors, 3 public beaches, 4 public swimming pools, 1 community center, and 1 public parkway.

Government[edit]

The city government is organized under a council/manager form of government. The City Council is responsible for appointing a City Manager, who is the Chief Administrative Officer of the city. The Manager supervises the administrative affairs of the city and carries out the policies established by the City Council. As the Chief Administrative Officer, the City Manager is responsible for the organization of the administrative branch and has the power to appoint and remove administrative officers who are responsible for the operation of departments which carry out specific functions. The City Council consists of seven elected officials—a mayor and six council members. Beginning with the 2011 election, citizens will vote separately for Mayor and Council. Council members will serve staggered four-year terms and the Mayor will serve a two year term. The current mayor is former city clerk, Pauline Repp.

Federally, Port Huron is part of Michigan's 10th congressional district, represented by Republican Candice Miller, elected in 2002.

Education[edit]

Colleges

Media[edit]

Radio[edit]

See also: Thumb Radio

The thumb area is an unranked radio market with two commercial broadcasters licensed to serve the city. Radio First owns and operates five radio stations in the region while Port Huron Family Radio is the licensee of sole station WGRT.

The following is a list of broadcast radio stations that provide local content to the Port Huron Area. Other stations may be heard area over the air however their content is not directed to residents of the city.

Local FM[edit]

  • WNFA 88.3 FM, Port Huron, Power 883
  • CBEG-FM 90.3 FM, Sarnia, CBC Radio One (relays CBEW-FM Windsor)
  • WNFR 90.7 FM, Port Huron, Wonderful News Radio
  • WSGR-FM 91.3 FM, Port Huron, The Eclectic Sound For The Bluewater Area
  • WORW 91.9 FM, Port Huron, "The Wave"
  • WBGV 92.5 FM, Marlette, Country 92.5
  • WBTI 96.9 FM, Port Huron, Today's Hit Music
  • WTGV 97.7 FM, Sandusky, Light & Easy Listining
  • CFGX-FM 99.9 FM, The Fox FM, Your perfect Music Mix
  • WGRT 102.3 FM, Port Huron, Your Great Music Station
  • CHKS-FM 106.3 FM, Sarnia ON, K106.3 Sarnia/Port Huron's Best Rock
  • WSAQ 107.1 FM, Port Huron, Q Country 107

Local AM[edit]

  • WMIC 660 AM, Sandusky, (Daytime Only)
  • CHOK 1070 AM, Sarnia ON, CHOK Country
  • WHLS 1450 AM, Port Huron, The Cruise
  • WPHM 1380 AM, Port Huron, Information 1380
  • WHLX 1590 AM, Marine City, The Cruise

Newspaper[edit]

Broadcast television[edit]

St. Clair County lies in the Detroit television market. Channels available on Comcast are as follows:

Detroit Area[edit]

Southwestern Ontario[edit]

St. Clair County also receives the following stations from the Sarnia / London area, but are currently not carried on cable:

Transportation[edit]

Blue Water Bridge

Major highways[edit]

Two Interstates terminate at the Port Huron-to-Sarnia Blue Water Bridge, and they meet Highway 402.

  • I‑69 enters the area from the west, coming from Lansing and Flint, terminating at the approach to the Blue Water Bridge in Port Huron. (Once fully completed, the mainline of I-69 will span from Brownsville, Texas to Port Huron, Michigan.)
  • I‑94 enters the Port Huron area from the southwest, having traversed the entire Metro Detroit region, and, along with I-69, terminates at the approach to the Blue Water Bridge in Port Huron. On the Canadian side of the border, in Sarnia, Ontario, the route heads easterly designated as Highway 402.
  • BL I‑94
  • BL I‑69
  • M‑25 follows the Lake Huron/Saginaw Bay shoreline, beginning in Bay City and ending in at junction with I-94/I-69, and BL I-94/BL I-69 on the north side of the city.
  • M‑29 begins at BL I-94 in Marysville just south of the city and continues southerly.
  • M‑136 runs west from M-25 to M-19.
  • Highway 402 begins in Sarnia, Ontario, across the river from Port Huron and at the eastern end of the Blue Water Bridge.

Mass transit[edit]

The Blue Water Area Transit system,[15] created in 1976, includes eight routes in the Port Huron area. Blue Water Transit operates the Blue Water Trolley, which provides a one hour tour of various local points of interest. Recently, Blue Water Area Transit received a grant from the state to buy new buses for a route between the Port Huron hub and New Baltimore about 30 miles (48 km) south. Commuters could take an express bus traveling down I-94 and get off at the 23 Mile Road SMART Bus stop. At the same time, another bus will travel down M-25 and M-29 and pick up commuters in Marysville, Saint Clair and Algonac before ending up at the same stop on 23 Mile Road. This new system will help people in St. Clair County travel through Metro Detroit.

Rail[edit]

Main article: Michigan Services

Airports[edit]

St. Clair County International Airport is a public airport located five miles (8 km) southwest of the central business district.

Sarnia Chris Hadfield Airport, located across the St. Clair River in Sarnia, Ontario, offers daily service to Toronto's Lester B. Pearson International Airport operated by Air Georgian, a regional affiliate of Air Canada.

The Bluewater Bridge from the South along the St. Clair River (Port Huron, MI to Sarnia, ON)

Notable people[edit]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b "US Gazetteer files 2010". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2012-11-25. 
  2. ^ a b "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2012-11-25. 
  3. ^ "Population Estimates". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2013-06-03. 
  4. ^ "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2008-01-31. 
  5. ^ U.S. Geological Survey Geographic Names Information System: Port Huron, Michigan
  6. ^ "Find a County". National Association of Counties. Retrieved 2011-06-07. 
  7. ^ Helen Hornbeck Tanner. Atlas of Great Lakes Indian History. (Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 1987) p. 165
  8. ^ "Population of Port Huron", East Saginaw Courier, 13 October 1859, View 2, Chronicling America, Library of Congress, accessed 5 September 2014
  9. ^ A. T. Andreas, History of St. Clair County, Michigan -- Port Huron Township and City
  10. ^ Walter Romig, Michigan Place Names, p. 204
  11. ^ "NOWData - NOAA Online Weather Data". National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Retrieved February 18, 2013. 
  12. ^ Port Huron Museum
  13. ^ Carnegie Center, Port Huron Museum
  14. ^ Local event calendar.
  15. ^ Blue Water Area Transit system

External links[edit]

Surrounding communities[edit]