Port Huron, Michigan
|City of Port Huron|
Military Road Historic District looking north along Huron Avenue
Maritime Capital of the Great Lakes, Gateway to Canada
Location within St. Clair County
|• Mayor||Pauline Repp|
|• Total||12.27 sq mi (31.78 km2)|
|• Land||8.10 sq mi (20.98 km2)|
|• Water||4.17 sq mi (10.80 km2)|
|Elevation||604 ft (184 m)|
| • Estimate |
|• Density||3,585.66/sq mi (1,384.38/km2)|
|Time zone||UTC−5 (Eastern (EST))|
|• Summer (DST)||UTC−4 (EDT)|
|FIPS code||26-65820 |
|GNIS feature ID||1624839 |
Port Huron is a city in the U.S. state of Michigan and the county seat of St. Clair County. 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 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.
This area was long occupied by the Ojibwa people. French colonists had a temporary trading post and fort at this site in the 17th century.
In 1814 following the War of 1812, the United States established Fort Gratiot at the base of Lake Huron. A community developed around it. The early 19th century was the first time a settlement developed here with a permanent European-American population. In the 19th century, the United States established an Ojibwa reservation in part of what is now Port Huron, in exchange for their cession of lands under treaty for European-American settlement. But in 1836, under Indian Removal, the US forced the Ojibwa to move west of the Mississippi River and resettle in what are now the states of Wisconsin and Minnesota.
In 1857, Port Huron became incorporated. Its population grew rapidly after the 1850s due a high rate of immigration: workers leaving poverty, famine, and revolutions in Europe were attracted to the successful shipbuilding and lumber industries in Michigan. These industries supported development around the Great Lakes and in the Midwest. In 1859 the city had a total of 4,031 residents; some 1855, or 46%, were foreign-born or their children (first-generation Americans).
By 1870, Port Huron's population exceeded that of surrounding villages. In 1871, the State Supreme Court designated Port Huron as the county seat of St. Clair County.
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, Illinois 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.
The following historic sites have been recognized by the State of Michigan through its historic marker program.
The city received the All-America City Award in 1955 and 2005.
Port Huron is the only site in Michigan where a lynching of an African-American man took place. On May 27, 1889, in the early morning, a mob of white men stormed the county jail to capture 23-year-old Albert Martin. A mixed-race man, he was accused of attacking a woman. They hanged him from the 7th Street Bridge. A memorial was installed in 2018 at the site, recounting Martin's history. The city collaborated with the Equal Justice Initiative on this memorialization.
According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 12.26 square miles (31.75 km2), of which 8.08 square miles (20.93 km2) is land and 4.18 square miles (10.83 km2) is water. The city is considered to be part of the Thumb area of East-Central Michigan, also called the Blue Water Area. The easternmost point (on land) of Michigan can be found in Port Huron, near the site of the Municipal Office Center and the wastewater treatment plant. The Black River divides the city in half, snaking through Port Huron and emptying into the St. Clair River near Downtown.
|Climate data for Port Huron NOAA Station|
|Record high °F (°C)||64
|Average high °F (°C)||31.3
|Daily mean °F (°C)||24.3
|Average low °F (°C)||17.4
|Record low °F (°C)||−19
|Average precipitation inches (mm)||1.96
|Average snowfall inches (cm)||11.0
|Average 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|
|Average 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 |
|U.S. Decennial Census|
Port Huron is the largest city in the Thumb area, and is a center of industry and trade for the region.
As of the census 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.
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. A reference to Port Huron was made in the Cohen Brother's film The Big Lebowski.
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.
Legendary NHL hockey broadcaster Mike Emrick started his career doing play-by-play hockey for the Flags on AM 1450 WHLS in the mid 1970s. Emrick would go on to broadcast Olympic hockey games and Stanley Cup playoffs for NBC Sports, and is a frequent guest contributor to sister station WPHM.
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 participated in the CIFL.
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.
The city government is organized under a council–manager government form. 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 voted 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. The city levies an income tax of 1 percent on residents and 0.5 percent on nonresidents. 
Some of Port Huron's earliest industries, like most Michigan towns, were related to the agriculture industry. A large grain elevator was located on the St. Clair River just north of the current Municipal Office Center. A bean dock was located on the St. Clair River, where dry edible beans from points north in the Thumb were loaded into ships. The dock operated as the Port Huron Terminal Company. Currently the bean dock is used as an event venue. Port Huron was also a national leader in the chicory coffee substitute industry. Future Congressman Henry McMorran in 1902 started Port Huron's chicory processing plant, located on the Black River near 12th Avenue. A second chicory plant operated at 3rd and Court Streets in Port Huron, which would later be purchased by McMorran's son. The roadside weed which grew in areas of the Thumb and Saginaw Valleys was brought to Port Huron for processing and then shipped worldwide. Chicory was commonly used as a coffee substitute especially in wartime.
Wartime also brought another industry to Port Huron: the Mueller Metals Company, which built a factory in Port Huron in 1917. The plant primarily made shell casings for World War I. The factory was originally owned by the Mueller Co., and since has been spun off into its own entity called Mueller Industries. The Port Huron Factory is still in operation, located on Lapeer Road on the city's west side, where they produce a variety of valves and fittings.
The Peerless Cement Company operated a cement plant just south of the Blue Water Bridge from the 1920s through the 1970s. The waterfront site is now the location of the Edison Inn and Blue Water Convention Center.
There are two paper mills in Port Huron. Dunn Paper operates a specialty paper mill at the mouth of the St. Clair River just north of the Blue Water Bridge. Domtar also operates a paper mill in Port Huron, located on the Black River. It was originally built in 1888 by the E. B. Eddy Company. The Domtar mill also specializes in specialty papers for the medical and food service industries. Adjacent to the Domtar Mill is the site of the former Acheson Colloids Company. Dr. Edward Acheson in 1908 founded the company, which made a variety of chemical and carbon-based products. The factory was purchased by Henkel and closed in 2010. However, Henkel continues to manufacture ink and carbon products under the Acheson brand.
A variety of factories related to the automotive industry occupy Port Huron's Industrial Park on the city's south side. Many of these produce plastic components for vehicles.
Jenks Shipbuilding Company was founded in 1889, renamed in 1903 as Port Huron Shipbuilding and ceased operations sometime after 1908. The shipyard was found on the north bank of the Black River between Erie Street and Quay Street which is now a parking area for Bowl O Drome and Port Huron Kayak Launch.
Ships built by Jenks includes:
Port Huron is served by two acute care facilities, McLaren Port Huron (formerly known as Port Huron Hospital), and Lake Huron Medical Center.
McLaren Health Care Corporation, a nonprofit managed care health care organization based in Flint, purchased the former Port Huron Hospital and began operating the 186-bed facility as Mclaren Port Huron in May 2014.
Lake Huron Medical Center, is a 144-bed facility operated by Ontario, California based Prime Healthcare Services. The for-profit company purchased the former St. Joseph Mercy Port Huron hospital in September 2015 from Trinity Healthcare. Upon completion of the sale, the formerly non-profit Catholic institution converted to a for-profit entity.
Port Huron's longtime financial institution was Citizens Federal Bank. The financial institution's headquarters was located in Port Huron with branches throughout the Thumb. The bank's name was changed to Citizens First in 1997. In early 2010, Citizens First was closed by the Michigan Office of Financial and Insurance Regulation. It the first bank in Michigan to fall victim of the financial crisis of 2007–2008. The assets of Citizens First were acquired by First Michigan bank of Troy. First Michigan would be renamed Talmer Bancorp before being purchased by Chemical Financial Corporation (now TCF Financial Corporation) in 2016.
The first station to sign on in Port Huron was WHLS, coinciding with the opening of the Blue Water Bridge in 1938. It was founded by Harold Leroy Stevens and Fred Knorr. John Wismer became part owner of the station in 1952. He would later launch the first Cable Television system in Port Huron and WSAQ in 1983. Wismer died in 1999.
The Times Herald launched its own radio station in 1947 known as WTTH. That station would later become WPHM, and was bought by Lee Hanson in 1986. WPHM got FM sister station WBTI in 1992. Wismer and Hanson were direct competitors until they were both bought by Bob Liggett's Radio First in 2000.
Radio First owns and operates five radio stations in the region while Port Huron Family Radio is the licensee of sole station WGRT. Non-commercial stations include St. Clair County Regional Education Service Agency's WRSX, high school station WORW, and religious broadcasters WNFA and WNFR.
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.
St. Clair County also receives the following stations from the Sarnia / London area, but are currently not carried on cable:
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 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.
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.