September 25, 2023
Pinnebog Air View

Pinnebog is a Tiny Taste of the Michigan Thumb

Champagne’s, Which Is No Longer Standing

The Little Four Corner Town

Walter Hume, “the Daniel Boone of Hume Township,” became the first settler in the area in 1844.  This little four-corner settlement was first called Pinnepog (Chippewa for partridge drum). However, there was another Pinnepog five miles north on Saginaw Bay, so this one changed to Pinnebog (“a high sounding and dignified way of saying pine bog”).

pinnebog vintage
Pinnebog in the early 1900s

The lumber town on the Bay changed its name to Port Crescent. Arthur Heminger became the first postmaster of Pinnebog on April 15, 1863. The Post Office was closed on Jan. 2, 1872, but was restored on Dec. 19, 1879. It was named from its location near the Pinnebog River.  Historical accounts of the first white farmers in the area noted that Pinnebog was the surveyed starting point for many of the original farms and the area grew around it.

Pinnebog General Store

Shots from the when Pinnebog was one of the interior four corner villages in Huron County. The ruins of Champagne’s Pinnebog general store can still be seen across from Heck’s Bar. Pinnebog has just about faded away.

Pinnebog General Store in the 1950s

The store was once part of the famous ghost town of Port Crescent and was moved into the village in the 1880s. It was known as the Powers General Store until it closed in 1988 after over a century of operation.

Local lore tells us that Walsh meats got it to start in the general store. Founder Ed Walsh was a butcher in the 1930s. Today Walsh Meats is known for its fresh meats and breakfast sausage.

The general store was torn don in 2014. It was the last of the original buildings from the 1800s..

Pinnebog Remains a Destination

Pinnebog Air View
Google Maps

The original platted town is gone. However, the tiny town is the northern boundary to several of the largest wind farms in the area. It sits on a strategic spot. It’s at the end of the North-south Pinnebog road, and in between Caseville and Kinde. It’s known as an ideal stop for bikers touring the back roads of Huron County.

Hecks Bar – The Center of the Universe

The tiny village is home to the famous Heck’s Bar. Known for its cool T-Shirt design denoting Pinnebog as the center of the universe. The town also hosts a homecoming every couple of years as a way to gather former residents who grew up in the area.

Heck's Bar
Heck’s Bar – The Center of the Universe

Heck’s is the sole survivor of Pinnebog. They offer one of the largest selections of craft beers in the area. The Friday perch fish fry and the famous double Heckle burger are Heck’s specialties. The décor is a bit dated which gives the iconic local bar its charm. The service is fast and conversation is pleasant as it’s never overly loud. It is somewhat kid-friendly with families surrounding large tables with grandkids in tow. The owner Robert Heck sponsors many charity events that support the local community such as the annual Porcupine Bash that helps veterans in long term V.A. care. So before you leave the Upper Thumb, come to the center of the Universe at Pinnebog’s Heck’s Bar.

  • The Abandoned Farmhouses – Photographer and artist Sue Hardy viewed Michigan’s Upper Thumb as her canvas. She took up her camera in the 1980s and ’90s and captured some fantastic views. Many of her subjects and places are gone forever.
  • Where in the heck is Kilmanagh? – The restoration efforts of the Kilmanagh are showing significant signs of progress. When this post was first published, many feared that the iconic general store would fall in.
  • Kinde Our Beantown – Many want to keep this place a secret. It’s a slice of a true American farming community in the Thumb of Michigan.
  • The Lost Company Town of New River – Near the tip of the eastern side of Michigan’s thumb lays a small cluster of neatly appointed cottages and mobile homes, some with a commanding view of the Lake Huron. This neighborhood is situated near a creek called New River.

Pinnebog - Hicks Bar

Upperthumb Banner
Avatar of Michael Hardy

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.

View all posts by Michael Hardy →

What do you think?