Port Huron, Michigan

Port Huron, Michigan
Port Huron, Michigan
—  City  —
Fort Gratiot Lighthouse
Nickname(s): Maritime Capital of the Great Lakes, Gateway to Canada
Location of Port Huron, Michigan
Coordinates: 42°58′49″N 82°26′15″W / 42.98028°N 82.4375°W / 42.98028; -82.4375Coordinates: 42°58′49″N 82°26′15″W / 42.98028°N 82.4375°W / 42.98028; -82.4375
Country United States
State Michigan
County St. Clair
Incorporated 1857
 - Mayor Pauline Repp
 - City 12.2 sq mi (31.7 km2)
 - Land 8.1 sq mi (20.9 km2)
 - Water 4.2 sq mi (10.8 km2)
Elevation 604 ft (184 m)
Population (2000)
 - City 32,338
 - Density 4,001.9/sq mi (1,545.1/km2)
 Metro 61,328
Time zone Eastern (EST) (UTC−5)
 - Summer (DST) EDT (UTC−4)
Area code(s) 810
FIPS code 26-65820[1]
GNIS feature ID 1624839[2]
Website www.porthuron.org

Port Huron is a city in the U.S. state of Michigan and the county seat of St. Clair County.[3] The population was 32,338 at the 2000 census. The city is adjacent to Port Huron Township but is administratively autonomous. It is joined by the Blue Water Bridge over the St. Clair River to Sarnia, Ontario in Canada. The city lies at the southern end of Lake Huron and is the easternmost point on land in Michigan. Port Huron is home to a Domtar Paper Mill; Mueller Industries; Henkel and many companies related to the automobile industry. The city also features a historic downtown area, boardwalk, marina, museum, lighthouse, and the McMorran Place arena and entertainment complex.

The city was a recipient of the All-America City Award in 2005.



In 1814, Fort Gratiot was established at the base of Lake Huron and was considered the first Euro-American population in the area. There was a Ojibwa reservation in part of the modern area of Port Huron until 1836.[4]

In 1857, Port Huron became an incorporated city. Port Huron's population grew rapidly after the 1850s due in part to a successful shipbuilding and lumber trade. By 1870, Port Huron's population exceeded that of surrounding villages. In 1871, the Supreme Court designated Port Huron as the county seat.[5]

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

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 vital waterway joining Lake Erie and Lake Huron. Designed to bar English traders from the upper lakes, the fort in 1687 was the mobilization center for a war party of French and Indians. In 1688 it was abandoned, but the site became part of Fort Gratiot in 1814. A park now rests where the fort once stood.
  • 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 on the Great Lakes. Retired from Coast Guard Service in 1970, she was presented to the City of Port Huron in 1971.
  • Grand Trunk Railroad 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, Thomas convinced the 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 opened as the Port Huron Museum of Arts and History. A rear addition was constructed in 1988.
  • The Harrington Hotel. The Hotel opened in 1896. It 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.
  • The Grand Trunk Western Railroad Tunnel. The tunnel was opened in 1891 and links Port Huron, Michigan 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 and then converted to diesel fuel in 1958. 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.

Historic photographs


  • According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 12.2 square miles (32 km2), of which, 8.1 square miles (21 km2) of it is land and 4.2 square miles (11 km2) of it (33.99%) is water.
  • It is considered to be part of the Thumb of Michigan, which in turn is a subregion of the Flint/Tri-Cities region, although Port Huron has closer ties to the Metro Detroit area than the Tri-Cities/Flint region. St. Clair county is part of the Detroit Metropolitan Statistical area.
    • Port Huron is the principal city of the Blue Water Area, a subregion of the Thumb.
  • The eastern most point (on land) of Michigan can be found in Port Huron, just south of the Blue Water Bridge.


As of the census[1] of 2000, there were 32,338 people, 12,961 households, and 8,048 families residing in the city. The population density was 4,001.9 per square mile (1,545.3/km²). There were 14,003 housing units at an average density of 1,732.9 per square mile (669.1/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 86.69% White, 7.74% African American, 0.87% Native American, 0.55% Asian, 0.01% Pacific Islander, 1.32% from other races, and 2.81% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 4.28% of the population. 23.9% were of German, 10.1% Irish, 9.4% English, 8.6% United States or American and 6.1% Polish ancestry according to Census 2000.

There were 12,961 households out of which 32.4% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 39.8% were married couples living together, 17.5% had a female householder with no husband present, and 37.9% were non-families. 31.9% of all households were made up of individuals and 13.2% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.43 and the average family size was 3.04.

In the city the population was spread out with 27.0% under the age of 18, 9.7% from 18 to 24, 29.6% from 25 to 44, 19.6% from 45 to 64, and 14.0% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 34 years. For every 100 females there were 90.7 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 86.1 males.

The median income for a household in the city was $31,327, and the median income for a family was $39,869. Males had a median income of $32,053 versus $22,113 for females. The per capita income for the city was $17,100. About 13.4% of families and 16.9% of the population were below the poverty line, including 21.5% of those under age 18 and 14.2% of those age 65 or over.

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


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.


Blue Water Bridge

Major highways

Two Interstates terminate at the Port Huron-to-Sarnia Blue Water Bridge, and they meet The 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.
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 The 402.
Business Loop 94.svg
I-94 Business Loop
Business Loop 69.svg
I-69 Business Loop
M-25 follows the Lake Huron/Saginaw Bay shoreline, beginning in Bay City and ending in at junction 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.
Ontario 402.png
The 402 begins in Sarnia, Ontario, across the river from Port Huron and at the eastern end of the Blue Water Bridge.

Mass transit

The Blue Water Area Transit system,[6] 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 (37 km) road. This new system will help people in St. Clair County travel through Metro Detroit.



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)



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.


Huron Light Ship Museum
  • 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.[9]
  • 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.

Notable current & former residents



The thumb area is an unranked radio region. Local radio in Port Huron includes WPHM AM, WBTI FM, WHLS AM, WSAQ FM, and WGRT. Most Detroit radio stations can be heard in the Port Huron area.

Local FM

  • WNFA 88.3 FM, Port Huron, Power 883
  • CBEG-FM 90.3 FM, Sarnia, CBC Radio
  • WNFR 90.7 FM, Port Huron, Wonderful News Radio
  • WSGR-FM 91.3 FM, Port Huron, The Eclectic Sound For The Bluewater Area
  • 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 106.3 FM, Sarnia ON, K106.3 Sarnia/Port Huron's Best Rock
  • WSAQ 107.1 FM, Port Huron, Q Country 107
  • WORW 91.9 FM, Port Huron, "The Wave"

Local AM

  • WMIC 660 AM, Sandusky, The Thumb's Information Station (Daytime Only)
  • CHOK 1070 AM, Sarnia ON, CHOK Country
  • WHLS 1450 AM/WHLX 1590 AM, Port Huron, Good Times & Great Hits
  • WPHM 1380 AM, Port Huron, Information Radio 1380
  • WLCO 1530 AM, Lapeer, Real Country (Daytime Only)


Broadcast television

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

Detroit Area

Southwestern Ontario

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

Local sports teams

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 currently plays at McMorran Place, beginning in 2010.

The Port Huron Pirates arena football team dominated the Great Lakes Indoor Football League up until their departure to Flint, MI. McMorran Arena once again hosts indoor football with the Port Huron Predators of the Continental Indoor Football League.

See also


External links

Surrounding communities

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