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Bright Moments in the History of Port Huron

Port Huron becomes a city on February 3, 1857, consolidating the villages of Fort Gratiot, Desmond, and Peru Gratiot and Huron

  1. In 1859 the Grand Trunk Railway begins service between Port Huron and Detroit.  Will Pitt Edison, brother of Thomas Edison, was operating the first public transit system in the community. The system was a single horse-drawn bus taking passengers from the train station into town. A little while later he and some associates launched the Port Huron and Gratiot Street Railway Company to provide horse-drawn streetcar service along several routes. Around 1886 a company from Chicago builds the Port Huron Electric Railway which later became the City Electric Company and provides service until 1930.
  1. In 1871 the State Supreme Court appoints Port Huron as the county seat.
  1. The St Clair tunnel is completed in 1889. It has a length of 6025 ft. It is considered an “Engineering Marvel “of the day. It is the first full-size subaqueous railroad tunnel built in North America. It is a National Historic Landmark in the USA. Its diameter is 19 feet 10 inches. The second tunnel was completed in 1995 and was built to accommodate shipping containers. It has a diameter of 27 ft. 6 inches and is 6129 ft. in length.
  1. In 1893 J B Sperry opens Sperry’s Department Store in downtown Port Huron. The store remained open for over 100 years and was considered one of the most iconic pieces of Port Huron history. Sperry’s sponsored many community events throughout the years including the annual Christmas parade. Sperry’s closed the doors in the year 2000.
  1. Late June and early July 1905 Keewahdin Park has its formal opening     
A close up of a newspaper

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A close up of a newspaper

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  1. Port Huron Junior College opens its doors in 1923. It would later become St Clair County Community College.
  1. The first Mackinaw to Port Huron sailboat race was held in 1925.  The sloop Bernida skippered by Russ Pouliot was the winner defeating a challenge from 12 other boats.

This race is one of the largest freshwater races in the world and usually features over 200 boats. In 2019 there were 202 boats registered in the 95th annual event. Racers who have completed 25 events are called “Old Goats” and those who have completed 50 are known as “Old Rams”.

  1. Sherman Woods becomes a recognized subdivision in 1926. The first two lots are sold for a price of $2000.00 each to Francais Partridge and her sister.
  1.   In 1927, a fleet of 5 motor coaches began operating along 4 streetcar lines and by 1930 the streetcar companies could no longer compete. The streetcars were sold and moved to Mt. Clemens. I sure wish I could buy one of those today! Port Huron has had some form of public transit for 143 of the last 151 years.

   11.   The first Bluewater Bridge opened on October 3rd, 1938. It is a cantilever truss bridge 6178 feet total length and the main span of 871 feet. The bridge carried 310,000 vehicles in 1939.   When building the bridge on the American side, workers encountered 20,000-year-old logs 45-90 feet beneath the surface, buried by glaciers thousands of years earlier.

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By 1991, the bridge saw 6,1000,000 vehicles cross and a plan was put in place for a second span.

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