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A Bit of Historical Trivia Late 1880’s

By Derek Smith

1. When the American pioneers arrived to St Clair Twsp. around 1821, it was an area of
Indians, pine, black ash, and hemlock trees. There were also a few French Canadians
living on the banks of the Black River.

2. The only post office at that time outside was in what is now Port Huron, was in
Marysville, formerly Vicksburg Village.

3. It was written in 1882 that the current of the St. Clair River, being so rapid, would not
allow for the ice to jam as to prevent the passage of boats. It was also written that it
was quite evident that the Government would never permit a bridge to be built across
either the St. Clair or Detroit rivers. It would pass an entire embargo on the passage of
the immense shipping industry. We all know that this is not the case today.

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Pacific Hotel and Longshoreman’s Hall corner of Huron and Butler St 1902

4. The city of Port Huron, lying at the foot of Lake Huron, became an important shipping
port. All the great through lines of steamers plying between Buffalo, Chicago, and points
north make Port Huron a regular stopping point. In 1882, by an actual count, it was said
that during the navigation season, a steamer passed by every 4 minutes.

5. In the late 1800s, the National Stave Co. in Port Huron employed 70 to 80 men and had
a capital of $100,000. There were 4 sash, door, blind and planing factories employing 50
to 60 men, three iron foundries and machine shops and 2 boiler shops which together
employed 70 to 80 men, and four shipyards and 2 dry-docks that employed between 400-
500 men. The Taylor, Smith, and Clark celebrated fire extension ladder is also
manufactured in Port Huron. One stave sawmill employs 50 men and manufactures
100,000 fish kegs annually and 1,000,000 feet of lumber.

6. At this time Port Huron boasts that no city in the state of the same population has a
better school system or finer buildings. Prof. Bigsby of the State Normal School is now
the superintendent of the public schools of Port Huron.

7. In the late 1880s, the Huron House is a very large fine hotel and Albion House is a
fine new hotel located at the foot of Butler St. In all, there are 10 hotels in the city.

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