Visiting Port Huron, Michigan, and the Black River: Serving a Former Commercial Facility Become a Marina
A city defined by water in many aspects
Port Huron, in St. Clair County, Michigan, noted for its associations with famous historical figures (1), is known also for its presence on the shore of the St. Clair River, at the southern end of Lake Huron, from which the monumental Blue Water Bridge stretches to the eastern, Canadian shore of the River at Point Edward, near Sarnia, Ontario.
What is maybe less known is that Port Huron is situated at the mouth of the Black River. While the St. Clair is commonly known as a river, it is perhaps a moot point whether it is a river in the strictest sense. As Patricia M. Eckel has written:
'The Great Lakes together constitute a great river with a continuous shore- or coast-line with huge embayments (lakes) connected by narrow channels (straits). ... A strait is a relatively narrow waterway connecting two larger bodies of water and the Great Lakes has quite a few, all locally called "rivers." A river, in contrast is "a stream of water bearing the waste of the land from higher to lower ground, and as a rule to the sea." (Dictionary of Geological Terms, according to the American Geological Institute).' (2)
While the St. Clair — the 'river' with which Port Huron is most widely identified — is perhaps more strictly a strait between Huron and Erie, the Black River is indeed truly a river by common definition.
It is interesting therefore that the longstanding harbour used for many years as a commercial port was established on the Black River rather than on the body of water known as the St. Clair River.
(It is interesting also that a significant portion of the area of Michigan adjoining the Black River watershed actually drains northwards into Saginaw Bay rather than into the St. Clair River, into which the Black River flows.)
Today, the former commercial harbour on the Black River is a marina for yachts and other recreational craft; indeed, more than one marina. One of these is known as the River Street Marina; another is interestingly known as the Desmond Marine (note spelling) rather than 'Marina' (3). River Street Marina is situated at 525 River Street, Port Huron, Michigan 48060. The Desmond Marine is situated at 207 Water Street, Port Huron, Michigan 48060. Port Huron's marina facilities offer boating enthusiasts both summer and winter storage and a wide range of services.
Thus in hydrological and fluvial terms, to the question: "Where is Port Huron?" the answer is surprisingly complex.
February 2, 2019
(1) Among the historical figures associated with Port Huron are:
Thomas Alva Edison (1847-1931), prolific inventor and founder of General Electric, who spent a significant part of his youth in Port Huron; Herbert W. Kalmbach (1921-2017), Presidential lawyer and Watergate figure, banker and US Naval aerial navigation expert and inventor of an aerial de-icing device, who was born in Port Huron; Admiral Frederick C. Sherman (1888-1957), highly decorated commander of the USS Lexington at the Battle of the Coral Sea , 1942, and subsequently Asst. Chief of Staff to Admiral Ernest King , was born in Port Huron; and many others.
(2) Patricia M. Eckel, Some Thoughts on Isostatic Rebound as a Hypothetical Factor in Lake and Strait Characteristics in the Great Lakes,
(3) See also: http://desmondmarine.com/riverst.html ; http://desmondmarine.com/desmond.html
Also worth seeing
In Port Huron itself, The Blue Water Bridge, linking with Sarnia, Canada over the St. Clair River, is an impressive feat of engineering. Close to the Port Huron end of the Bridge is a statue of Thomas Alva Edison (1847-1931). Fort Gratiot Lighthouse, dating from 1829 and rebuilt in 1933, was Michigan's first lighthouse.
How to get there: Airlines serving Detroit Metropolitan Wayne County Airport, include United Airlines, which flies from New York Newark and Chicago O'Hare, and Air Canada, which flies from Toronto Pearson. Car rental is available at Detroit Metropolitan Airport. At Port Huron, the River Street Marina may be contacted at: 810.984.9746; the Desmond Marine may be contacted at 810.982.3990. Please check with the airline or your travel agent for up to date information. Please refer to appropriate consular sources for any special border crossing arrangements which may apply to citizens of certain nationalities.
MJFenn is an independent travel writer based in Ontario, Canada.
Other of my hubpages may also be of interest
- Visiting Dearborn, Michigan: dynamic city with memories of Henry Ford
Recalling a larger-than-life tycoon in a city with the preponderant presence of the automotive industry
- Visiting the Old Federal Building, Sault-Ste-Marie, Michigan: After a Design by James Knox Taylor, B
Built in an era when functionalist design was less widespread, Sault-Ste-Marie's Old Federal Building is situated on the site of Old Fort Brady.