The Classic Point of Pines Hotel and Summer Resort in Port Austin, MI – 1898

Do a bit of research on Port Austin, and you can’t help but run into this picture of a large building; the Point of Pines Hotel. Postcards indicate it was active from 1898 until 1935. But little else is recorded. I saw that an original hotel registry was for sale on eBay. Someone found the registry at a flea market in Chicago. Today, that original registry from the hotel can be seen at the Port Austin History Center.

Port of Pines Resort
Postcard of Pointe of Pines Hotel

Some prominent people stayed at the hotel, including Hazen S. Pingree. Pingree stayed at the hotel as the 24th governor of the State of Michigan from 1897 – 1901. He was also a four-term Republican mayor of Detroit.

Point of Pines Hotel c1935
Pointe of Pines Hotel c1935

Then I found this ad with the name “M.M. Buttars, Proprietor.” The Buttars was a prominent pioneer family in Port Austin and Port Crescent. It turns out that M. M. was Mary Maxwell Buttars. Not only did she own and run the resort, but she also sold cloth and picture frames.

Point of Pines Ad
Point of Pines Ad
Point of Pines Ad
Point of Pines Ad from the Port Huron Times

The ownership looks to have passed to James Cartwright in December 1911. The “Journal for Retail Merchants” noted that Cartwright was retiring from his retail business to run the Point of Pines with his son.

Pointe of Pines Ad

In 1931 the hotel looked to have been owned by William Dormey, a prominent area businessman who operated the Dormey’s Blue Water Inn in Caseville starting in 1932. His Whitefish and Chicken dinner combination looks to have been famous in the area.

Four views of the Pointe of Pines Hotel in Port Austin, Michigan, showing exterior, dining room, lobby and living room.
Four views of the Pointe of Pines Hotel in Port Austin, Michigan, showing the exterior, dining room, lobby, and living room.- Courtesy of the Burton Historical Collection, Detroit Public Library

The search is on to find more about this exciting piece of Port Austin history. We bet there are great stories and photos about this resort buried in a file cabinet about the Point of Pines Hotel.

*Cover Image Courtesy of the Burton Historical Collection, Detroit Public Library


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The Bay Port Hotel – The Bay Port Hotel was a resort. Using rail as transport, guests could get to the calm waters of Wild Fowl Bay in a 1/2 a day yet still have all the amenities of a big city hotel. The days of frontier resorts would soon end in the early 1900s as lumbering ended in Michigan.

Indian Villages and Sites in Huron County, Michigan – Upon its ninety miles of shoreline were numerous Indian villages and camps. These were found due to the debris left by the dwellers. The Indians in Huron County, Michigan, had a village site every few miles along the shore of Saginaw Bay.

History of Pointe Aux Barques

Caseville Harbor History Compared to Fishtown – It’s only been in the last 60 years that Caseville was known as a sport fishing and pleasure boat vacation spot. Before the marinas and boat slip, it was just docked along the Pigeon River. Buildings from the iron foundry, sawmill, and salt block stood as an industrial powerhouse from Caseville’s Days.

The Corner Drug & Jewelry Store Harbor Beach, Michigan – This iconic Harbor Beach store continues today as a unique retailer with a wide range of products. The Corner Store in Harbor Beach offers vinyl records, CDs, posters, memorabilia, magazines, and entertainment collectibles. It also has a selection of vintage, collectible books focused on Michigan and the Thumb region.

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4 thoughts on “The Classic Point of Pines Hotel and Summer Resort in Port Austin, MI – 1898”

  1. The Port Austin History Center has the original hotel registry on display. A Society member purchased it on eBay and donated it. Guest signatures date back to 1896.

    Reply
  2. Trying to find information on a place off of 23 In Grindstone City called The Ranch or Ed’s Ranch. Had music and hotel rooms. My parents owned it in the 1950’s but both are gone now.

    Reply

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