Harrisville, Michigan

Harrisville is a city in the U.S. state of Michigan and the county seat of Alcona County. The population was 514 at the 2000 census. The city is surrounded by Harrisville Township, but is administratively autonomous.

The place was first known as "Davison's Mill" after Crosier Davison, who in partnership with Simeon Holden, had purchased land and water power rights here in 1854. Benjamin Harris and his sons, Levi and Henry, of West Bloomfield, New York. A post office established in 1857 was named Harrisville, after the family operations. It was platted in 1870, incorporated as a village in 1887, and as a city in 1905.

Harrisville is on the edge of Huron National Forest, which offers outdoor recreational opportunities such as hunting, swimming, cross-country skiing and trout fishing. The forest contains 330 miles of hiking trails. The Huron and Manistee National Forests were separately designated, but were combined in 1945 for administrative purposes.

The Lake Huron beaches in and around Harrisville (including two state parks) have been recognized as being among the "top ten in Michigan." "Old-fashioned lake vacations abound on this pretty stretch of Lake Huron.

Harrisville is situated along the Lake State Railway, formerly the Detroit and Mackinac Railway (D&M). The D&M passenger depot is made of stone, which makes it one of two along the railway (the other being in Standish. It is privately maintained by local citizens as part of the municipality's historical legacy.


According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 0.6 square miles (1.6 km²), all land. It is considered to be part of Northern Michigan.

The city is on the western shore of Lake Huron and has a harbor for recreational boaters. The harbor is a center for salmon and trout fishing. It is also a designated "Harbor of Refuge" on Lake Huron by the US Coast Guard.

The town also boasts Harrisville State Park, which includes a wooded campground right along the beach. It is said that this beach is spectacular.

Sturgeon Point Light Station, a lighthouse and museum is just a few miles to the north, and is open to the public.

Harrisville City Airport is 2200 feet (671 meters) total length, but may be considered shorter. More complete information is available at the External links. It is located on Walker Road. A larger public airport that serves the area and has nearly all weather capability is Oscoda-Wurtsmith Airport.

Major highways

  • US 23. North of Standish, it has been designated the Sunrise Side Coastal Highway, and runs along the Lake Huron shoreline. US 23 is the most proximate connector to I-75, to which it connects in Standish, about 75 miles to the south. About 135 miles to the north is Mackinaw City and the Mackinac Bridge and the north end of the lower peninsula's I-75.
  • M-72 In 1936, downtown Harrisville became the eastern terminus of the 133 mile (214 kilometers) M-72, which runs across the lower peninsula from Empire, Michigan. It is one of three true cross-peninsular highways.


As of the census of 2000, there were 514 people, 239 households, and 131 families residing in the city. The population density was 831.2 per square mile (320.1/km²). There were 327 housing units at an average density of 528.8/sq mi (203.6/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 94.94% White, 2.14% African American, 0.39% Native American, 0.97% Asian, and 1.56% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 0.97% of the population.

There were 239 households out of which 18.4% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 44.4% were married couples living together, 8.4% had a female householder with no husband present, and 44.8% were non-families. 41.4% of all households were made up of individuals and 22.6% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 1.92 and the average family size was 2.57.

In the city the population was spread out with 16.0% under the age of 18, 7.4% from 18 to 24, 21.6% from 25 to 44, 25.9% from 45 to 64, and 29.2% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 48 years. For every 100 females there were 96.2 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 93.7 males.

The median income for a household in the city was $27,500, and the median income for a family was $34,286. Males had a median income of $23,625 versus $21,875 for females. The per capita income for the city was $16,983. About 9.3% of families and 13.6% of the population were below the poverty line, including 20.8% of those under age 18 and 6.5% of those age 65 or over.

Local events

Harrisville and environs have many recurrent annual events.

  • Harrisville Arts & Crafts Show - Each Labor Day weekend there is a regional craft show, parade, and national jamboree often referred to as Harmony Weekend. Hundreds of exhibitors display their product to over one hundred thousand visitors. The event is sponsored by the Harrisville Arts Council and the Society for the Preservation and Encouragement of Barber Shop Quartet Singing in America.
  • '''Sunrise Side Wine and Food Festival July 19, 2008 Noon to 6PM, a Michigan tradition featuring award-winning Michigan wines, delectable local foods and artisan breads, original art show, live jazz performances and a breathtaking view of Lake Huron under the big Festival Tent at Harrisville Harbor, the third Saturday in July..
  • Dragon Days (including a chili cook-off) at the Harrisville depot.
  • Independence Day Parade and Fireworks – Free concerts, a parade through downtown and a spectacular fireworks display.
  • Craftmaker's Cabin Arts and Crafts Show, July 5 and 6 (at the cabin, intersection of Main Street (M-72) and US-23).
  • Antique Show at the Harrisville Harbor.
  • Strawberry social at the Old Bailey School - Held on the last Sunday of June. The Old Bailey School is a 1907 one room school adjacent to the Sturgeon Point Light Station.
  • Sturgeon Point Light Station Sanctuary Bay Sailboat Race - A fundraiser for the Alcona County Historical Society, including a community event on the beach, is held the first Saturday in August.
  • Concert in the Park, Wednesday evenings during the summer at the Harbor.

City of Harrisville elected officials

  • Edward Gall, Mayor
  • Karen Sanderson, Clerk (989) 724-7322

Meetings - Second Monday Harrisville City Hall (Fire Station next to County Bldg.)

Notable residents

  • Harrisville is home to the legal offices of Pamela Burt, an attorney who in 2005 succeeded in getting the Michigan Supreme Court to throw out an appellate court's decision that had equated wayward beach walking to trespassing, while leaving intact the principle that owners of property abutting the Great Lakes own to the current water edge.
  • Harrisville is the summer home of author and screenwriter Judith Guest.
  • Casey Makela, the author of bestselling books on soap making, and owner of the Killmaster Soap & Woolen Works, lives in Harrisville.
  • Harrisville was the birthplace of Baseball Hall of Famer Kiki Cuyler.


  • The Alcona County Review, located in Harrisville, is the newspaper of record, and has served the community since 1877.
  • The Alpena News is the daily newspaper of record for much of northeastern lower peninsula of Michigan.
  • Daily editions of the Detroit Free Press and The Detroit News are also available throughout the area.

Further reading

Other affiliations

Harrisville is part of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Gaylord.


External links

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