We examine stories and events that shaped the history of the Upper Thumb and Michigan. While we focus on the Thumb region, other Great Lakes historical events are covered. Major events include the lumbering era and the 1871 and 1881 great fires. We cover major pioneers and personalities that shaped the region. To hear many of our best stories, visit and subscribe to our Podcast, “The End of the Road in Michigan.”
The big issue 100 years ago was the cost of living in 1917 and the availability of food and coal due to the First World War. It was a theme that was clearly evident as stories were appearing weekly. Sugar beets were being sold by local farmers to processing companies for $8 a ton. Prices … Read more
102 years ago illustrations started to appear in the newspapers of Michigan’s Upper Thumb. The following was on the front page of the Harbor Beach Times on January 5th, 1917. Was food scarce? Coal was also in short supply causing layoffs of fisherman and the sugar beet processing plant in Mt. Clemens. It’s an interesting … Read more
Pictures and Postcards do a great job of capturing a moment in time. We found these gems throughout the Internet and made the collection from the 1800s thru the 1960s. They are a fascinating glimpse of the history of Caseville in pictures. It’s also amazing what has not really changed over the past 80 years. Many buildings and landmarks are still visible today.
Caseville’s history in pictures shows its transformation from lumbering to an industrial village and finally to a resort and tourist town. While the railroad was completed in 1881 delivering freight and passengers it never had the tourist appeal that Bay Port with its fine hotel and Pointe Aux Barques with its resort cottages. The Upper Thumb tourism industry got its start with the completion of M-25 around the Thumb in the 1930s. M-25 was Michigan’s first scenic highway.
Today, Caseville is known for its large beachfront, excellent harbor, and its festivals. Ribstock kicks off the summer with BBQ and great country music, Cheeseburger in Caseville pays tribute to Jimmy Buffet music, grilled burgers, and a chance to be a Parrothead for a week and Shanty Days offers a mid-winter blast of fun on the ice.
Related History of Caseville in Pictures and Postcards
This was the grocery store I remember going to in Caseville when growing up. The grandparents said it was once a bowling alley with wood floors that creaked as you walked on it. We assumed that it was true because it kinda looked like one. The smell was a unique combination of boasting chicken, suntan oil, sweat, and mustiness. You had to take your empty pop bottles to the back where they traveled down a conveyor belt to the deep basement. The Caseville IGA always seemed to have everything we needed for a summer weekend at the beach or an entire week with the grandparents. While it was cramped and crowded during the season, I loved it and was sorry to see it go.
Everyone simply referred to the store as “The IGA” or “Ig-A”. Those of us who grew up in Caseville sometimes still refer to the current store even in 2021, as IGA and everyone know what we are talking about.
IGA stands for the Independent Grocers Alliance founded in 1926. This is a brand of the grocery store that operates in more than 30 countries worldwide. However, it is not a chain store. The Caseville IGA operated as a franchise but the store was owned separately from the brand. These stores are typically found in small towns and the stores are owned by families and small businesses. IGA is headquartered in Chicago, Illinois.
Related Reading for Michigan History
Joys of a Michigan Cottage – It’s Different. At home you keep up appearances. With a cottage life you have the chance to cut some slack. Old books, fishing reels, a TV from the 1980’s or earlier! (with no remote), and ancient appliances can live out the rest of their useful lives. We have a 40 year old Snark sailboat that still makes it to the beach every year.
Boat Names in Caseville Harbor – The name selected for a boat may not seem like an important thing. But, considering the strong feelings many of us have for our boats; the fact that we put so much work, and sweat and money into them; the fact they are a big part of our memories of so many good times, with family, with friends; the fact that sometimes our very lives are in the safekeeping of our boat; most of us feel that selecting the right name for our boat is important.”
Caseville Historical Society – Have you or your family lived or vacationed in the Caseville area for many years? Then you probably have a box of old photos or post cards sitting in your basement or attic, or maybe a bundle of family letters written 50 years ago tucked in the back of an old drawer. Believe it or not, these are historical treasures!
History of the Thumb’s First Industry – The history of Grindstone City starts with a ship seeking shelter from a Lake Huron storm. The schooner Rip Van Winkle, captained by Aaron Peer, came into a natural harbor west of the Pointe Aux Barques lighthouse in 1834. After anchoring and securing his ship, the crew explored the dense virgin forest and rocky beach for shelter and firewood.
The 20 Sites of Henry Ford’s Village Industries – Henry Ford, the founder of Ford Motor, was growing increasingly concerned with the unfettered growth of cities. People streamed into Detroit and other industrial towns looking for work. The United States was changing from agricultural to an industrial nation. Ford also wanted to stem poverty in rural areas for those with seasonal work. His solution; Henry Ford’s Village Industries.