Port Huron

Port Huron

Port Huron, city (1990 pop. 33,694), seat of St. Clair co., S Mich., a natural, deepwater port of entry at the junction of the St. Clair River with Lake Huron; inc. 1857. It is a shipping center with railroad shops and plants that manufacture transportation equipment, building materials, machinery, salt, metal and paper products, chemicals, consumer goods, and electrical equipment. The earliest European settlement began (1686) with the French fort St. Joseph. The town grew after the building (1826) of Fort Gratiot Turnpike (between Port Huron and Detroit), ushering in a lumbering era. Local deposits of salt, oil, and natural gas were developed. Port Huron is connected by a railway tunnel and an international bridge with Sarnia, Ont. The old Fort Gratiot lighthouse marks the St. Clair straits off Port Huron. Thomas Edison grew up in the city.

Port Huron is a city in the U.S. state of Michigan. As of the 2000 census the city had a population of 32,338, with a 2006 estimate of 31,302. It is the county seat of St. Clair County. 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.

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 organized population in the area. 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.

On Sunday, October 8 1871, the city, as well as White Rock and surrounding areas, burned in a devastating fire. 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 . 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.
  • Grand Trunk Railroad Deport. The depot, which is now part of the Port Huron Museum, is where 12-year-old Tom Edison departed daily on the Port Huron - Detroit run. In 1859, the railroad's first year of operation, Tom persuaded the company to let him sell newspapers and confections on the daily trips. He became so successful the he soon placed two newsboys on other Grand Trunk runs 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 , with 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 the city. While there they developed the Port Huron Statement, the SDS manifesto.


  • According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 12.2 square miles (31.7 km²), of which, 8.1 square miles (20.9 km²) of it is land and 4.2 square miles (10.8 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.
    • Port Huron is the principal city of the Blue Water Area, a subregion of the Thumb.
  • The eastern most point of Michigan can be found in Port Huron, just south of the Blue Water Bridge.


As of the census 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/sq mi (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 major center of industry and trade in the Thumb.


The City of Port Huron is organized under the City Council/City 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 who hold a two year term of office. The current mayor is Brian Moeller.


Major highways

Two Interstates terminate at the Port Huron-to-Sarnia Blue Water Bridge, and they meet Highway 402 (Ontario).
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 Highway 402.
I-94 Business Loop
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.
Highway 402 (Ontario) 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, 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 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 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 City of Port Huron owns and operates 17 waterfront areas containing and 3.5 miles (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.


Notable Residents



The thumb lies between the Detroit Radio and the Saginaw-Bay City-Midland Radio. Radio Stations heard throughout a large portion of the Thumb are WTGV-FM and WMIC-AM.


  • WNFR 90.7 FM, Port Huron
  • WBGV 92.5 FM, Marlette WBGV, Today's Best Country
  • WTGV 97.7 FM, Sandusky WTGV, Light & Easy Listining
  • CFGX 99.9 FM, The Fox FM, Your perfect Music Mix
  • WGRT 102.3 FM, Port Huron WGRT, Your Great Music Station
  • CHKS 106.3 FM, Sarnia ON, K106.3 Sarnia/Port Huron's Best Rock
  • WSGR 91.3 FM, Port Huron, The Bluewater Area's Only True Alternative
  • WNFA 88.3 FM, Port Huron, Power 883


  • WMIC 660 AM, Sandusky, The Thumb's Information Station
  • CHOK 1070 AM, Sarnia ON, CHOK Country


Broadcast Television

St. Clair County and the other southern Thumb counties lies in the Detroit TV. TV stations watched in the Port Huron Area are Bold Faced.

Detroit Area

Sarina/Windsor Area


Local Sports Teams

The following professional team plays at McMorran Place:

Welkin Base Ball Club of Port Huron - Vintage Base Ball played by 1860's rules and customs

See also

Photo gallery


External links

Surrounding communities

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