The Joy of Our Big Blue

By Joy Houser

Article originally published March 9, 2017

Like many surroundings that blend into our existence, it’s so easy to overlook wonderment we pass by in our day-to-day lives. Thoughts around how very fortunate we are to have one of the most stunning and hardworking rivers in Michigan right on our doorsteps comes to my mind. 


When we hear the heart call to wiggle our toes along its shore, jump in, float by, catch its wind on a sailboat, or pull dinner out at the end of a fishing line, it’s a willing and accommodating host beckoning us to come and stay for a while.

Did you know that the St. Clair River, which some consider a strait, flows in a southerly direction, connecting the southern end of Lake Huron to the northern end of Lake St. Clair? It branches into several channels near its mouth at Lake St. Clair, creating a broad delta region known as the St. Clair Flats.

From a bird’s eye view we see the waterways of Lake St. Clair as well as the St. Clair River connecting it to Lake Huron (to the North) and Detroit River connecting it to Lake Erie (to the South).  

The River is 40.5 miles long, drains Lake Huron into Lake St. Clair, and forms part of the Canadian province of Ontario and Michigan. The river is a significant component in the Great Lakes Waterway, with shipping channels permitting cargo vessels to travel between the upper and lower Great Lakes.

Bygone days saw French voyageurs of the 18th century traveling on the river to trade with Native Americans and transport furs in canoes to major posts of French and British traders. European demand for American furs, especially beaver, was high until the 1830s.

In our southernly backyard, ships built in Marine City during the mid-19th century carried immigrants up the river on their way to new homes in the American West.  Lumber harvested on the thumb of Michigan was shipped downriver on log rafts to Detroit.In the early 20th century, lake steamers carried passengers and traveled among the small towns along the St.Clair and Detroit Rivers, and around the Great Lakes.  Wouldn’t it be delightful to once again see these beautiful ladies gliding around our shores!

Then along came the 20th century with freighters traveling throughout the Great Lakes transporting commodities such as iron ore from the Mesabi Range, copper, and grain, all products of settlers’ labor.

                                                                  Iron was taken to Ohio and other industrial cities for processing and steel manufacture and grain was often shipped to major eastern markets such as Cleveland and New York City.

So it goes, through all of her life, our big, beautiful, true Blue never stops inspiring and reminding us how blessed we are. We feel her softness while splashing around her silkiness, her strength supports the weight of emboldened freighters powering back and forth between shores. The peaceful billowing sails ride the wind as speed boats skim her surface, and fishing enthusiasts                                                                                                                                                                                                                 kick back…soon…to share her bounties!                                                                                                                                                                                         

Joy Houser is a proud born and raised Michigander who moved to Port Huron in 2011 to begin a newly married once upon a lifetime. She has two daughters along with two granddaughters who have thoughtfully made their homes via road trip “can’t wait to get there” places in Traverse City and Virginia Beach!
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Disclaimer: Blue Water Healthy Living is an online magazine located in Port Huron, Michigan. Our purpose is to promote healthy living by showcasing the Blue Water Area, its people, issues and surroundings. This online magazine is devoted to providing healthy living related stories, local happenings, and commentary. Often inspiring and uplifting, our stories come from our heart and soul to promote the enjoyment of a more fulfilling Blue Water Area lifestyle. The material on this web site is provided for informational and amusement purposes only and is not to be confused with any medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. The views and opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect the opinions and values of Blue Water Healthy Living.

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