September 25, 2023
Platts Drugstore

Then and Now – Platts Drugstore Port Sanilac

Platts Drugstore in Michigan’s Thumb was typical in its day. It had a bit of everything. This historical drugstore is deemed Michigan’s longest family-owned, continuously operating pharmacy in Michigan. It was founded by Frederick Platts in 1865 and operated until 1880, when his son Rudolph Platts took over the business. Rudolph operated the drug store until he died in 1925 when his son Guy D. took over the business. Guy was a graduate of the Ferris Institute in Big Rapids and a registered pharmacist for 50 years. Guy passed away on Sept. 7, 1960, and the pharmacy was turned over to his son, Charles Platts, and daughter, Ruth Glencer. Together they operated the business until October of 1980.

Platts Drugstore
Platts Drugstore c 1930s

This black and white photograph of the Platts Drug Store was likely taken in the 1930s. High in the cournice of the building it notes that it was established in 1880.

Port Sanilac Plat Map Downtown
Port Sanilac Plat Map Downtown – University of Michigan Collections

One of the adjoining buildings west of the drugstore was donated by Charlie Platts and his sister, Ruth Platts Glencer, and moved as part of the fantastic building collection in the Sanilac Historical Society Museum and Village. The Cash General Store offers a view of what a typical retailer would have looked like at the turn of the last century.

Site of the Former Platts Drugstore - Google Earth
Site of the Former Platts Drugstore – Google Earth

Today, the former Platts Drugstore/General Store is now the site of a real estate office. Despite the changes over the years, you can still make out faint outlines of the original building.

Thompson General Store

A close facsimile to the old Platts drugstore is across the street at the East Port Exchange Shop. This building was once the Thompson General Store.

Thompson General Store Port Sanilac
Site of the Former Platts Drugstore – Google Earth

Local artists and retailers offer handmade jewelry, greeting cards, paintings and pottery. Several boutique antique dealers are on hand too. The East Port Exchange Shop offers a variety of new retail items including beach towels and sand toys, as well as beautiful household items and clothing accessories.

The historical store also serves as the Village Welcome Center. Port Sanilac is one of our stops onshore of Michigan’s Thumb in our Michigan Day Trip Around the Thumb.

Miss Port Sanilac Party Boat

Aboard the Miss Port Sanilac 1960 – The Miss Port Sanilac is a 38-foot fishing vessel built in 1958 in Pigeon, Michigan. Today the Miss Port Sanilac operates out of Port Sanilac Marina for charter tours, wreck viewing, and diving. It’s a great working example of the Great Lakes fishing boat that was once common in port towns on the Lake Huron shore. This is a great opportunity to explore the eastern coast of the Thumb.

Port Sanilac Light Tower

Port Sanilac Lighthouse – Beacon for the Shore of Michigan’s Thumb – Located just north of Detroit, the Port Sanilac Lighthouse was one the last built on the eastern shore of Michigan’s Thumb. It filled the gap of the 60-mile stretch between Fort Gratiot and Harbor Beach Light. While privately owned, there are seasonal tours offers and an adjoining museum offer a local view of its past.

Michigan Beach Vacation

Michigan Day Trip Around the Thumb – Part Two – Our starting point for the second half of our fun day trips in Michigan adventure is in Grindstone City. We will begin heading west along Saginaw Bay’s shore of sugar sand beaches and interesting coastal towns and villages. Bring your bathing suit and explore the gentle cool clear waters of Saginaw Bay.

Abandoned Farmhouse

Huron County’s Abandoned Farmhouses – Photographer and artist Sue Hardy viewed Michigan’s Upper Thumb has her canvas. In the 1980s and ’90s, she took up her camera and captured some amazing views. Many of her subjects and places are gone forever. The study here is abandoned farmhouses and farm implements.

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Michael Hardy

Mike Hardy is the owner of Thumbwind Publications LLC. It started in 2009 as a fun-loving site covering Michigan's Upper Thumb. Since then, he has authored a vast range of content and established a loyal base of 60,000 visitors per month.

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6 thoughts on “Then and Now – Platts Drugstore Port Sanilac

  1. Hi Mike,

    Thanks for the article. The second picture is actually a different building. My father owned Platts in the’80s and’90s so I essentially grew up there. The Platts building is now a realtor … or it was the last time I was through town a few years ago. It would be just out of the picture to the right.

    1. Thanks…the Thompson General Store and your dads drugstore had, at one time practically the same look. I will be updating the post shortly. You wouldn’t happen to have any pictures of that drugstore, inside or outside. Personal stories or anecdotes too. People are fascinated about this topic.

      1. HI Mike, yes they really do look like the same building almost … actually the Thompson General Store in its current form looks more like the original Platts Drug Store … they added on in the 50s or the 60s I believe and my Dad had the large windows removed in the late 80s or early 90s … which really changed the face of the building. It was also moved back off the corner in the 40s or something like that … long before we moved to the town in ’75. Thanks for the update. Sorry for the ‘criticism’ … a few people contacted me about it and asked if it was correct. I like your work. I now live in Asia and like to look back at my time in the Thumb … very nostalgic …

  2. As for photos, I really don’t think I have anything. Old stories, there are many … but my time there was really in the ’80s … I was good friends with Ollie Raymond when I was a boy as I delivered newspapers to him and other members of his family so I used to get some great stories about growing up in the early 20th century. Our house was a hotel that was used to run liquor out of Canada to various cities during prohibition.

  3. That’s a story I would like to hear more about! Which house? I spent my summers in Port Sanilac as a kid starting in the mid-80’s on my grandparent’s farm on Ridge Rd. I remember the old Platt’s well. Still do back, mostly in the summer. I think my g-g-grandparents were making hard cider on the farm during prohibition.

    1. It was a bit of a struggle for us to figure out which building it was. There are two shops that looked almost the same. Thanks for visiting.

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