Tag Archives: Caseville

The little city in the thumb that calls it self the perch capital of the world

TBT – Caseville Harbor 1948

This shot looks out to Saginaw Bay from the interior harbor. The two buildings that remain today are the Huron Yacht Club on the left and the Bay Post Fish Company dock on the far right. Can you name any others?


Image from the State of Michigan archives

Caseville’s 25th Shanty Days February 17-19

It’s Shanty Days Silver Anniversary!

The middle of winter is celebrated and imbibed in the cold of February off the shores of the frozen Saginaw Bay. Caseville’s annual Shanty Days Festival kicks off the 2017 year of fun in Key North. 

Shanty Days PostponedDon’t be left out in the cold. The 2017 Shanty Days in Caseville promises to be eventful even if the weather doesn’t cooperate. Events are all weekend long at the Saginaw Bay Marina and the Caseville County Park including the popular Polar Bear dip cut from a hole in the ice at the marina. Two years ago the 2015 Caseville Shanty Days Sharnty Days 2015theme was “Let’s Get Flaky” which proved to be fun and  matched with some of the crazy events over the three blustery days. 2015 was also the first time that the iconic event was postponed for a week due to sub-zero temperatures and blizzard conditions.

2017 Shanty Days Highlights

Friday Feb 17 – Caseville Eagles Open to the Public Located Behind Caseville True Value

  • Fish Fry –  Burgers, fish & additional menu items 5:00 p.m.-8:00 p.m.
  • Karaoke 7 p.m.

Saturday Feb 18 – At Caseville Resort & Marina Events start at 11am and run all afternoon.

  • Broom Ball competition
  • Human Bowling
  • Chick On A Stick 3 person race, 2 guys carry their gal.
  • Winter Cardboard Sled Race – 2 person race.
  • Build your sled out of cardboard & duct tape.
  • Polar Bear Dip

Sunday Feb 19 – Kids Day at Caseville Resort & Marina and Caseville Eagles. Various events for youth


We will update this post and re-publish as information trickles in. Stay tuned.


The Legend of the Caseville Grave Robbers

The following is an excerpt from the Book “History of Caseville: biographies and legends” by Mary Cobb Langley and published in 1960. One story outlines a notorious crime that took place about 1870. At the time Caseville was a boom town as it was starting the transition from lumbering to supporting a growing farming community.  In the late 1800’s grave robbing was a common crime as the demand by medical schools for cadavers made for a quick albeit dirty profit.  See Grave Robbers Worked for Science and Themselves for more detail.

The Caseville Grave Robbers

Dr. S.J. Henderson operated a drug store in connection with his medical practice. This small, one story building had a cellar underneath sided with logs and a foot and a half of new saw dust on the floor. This building was located between the GAR Civil War Monument and Russell LeBlanc’s gift shop. The at that time the place was an apothecary he employed and a girl helper. This morning in particular the girl had occasion to go into the cellar.

Ora Labora GraveShe came up screaming about a man in the cellar. Her face was livid with fright. Several men ran up to her and inquired what she was screaming about. Shaken she said that there was a man hiding in the sawdust and she saw his feet sticking out. Well the fellows went down with the intent tan the hide off the culprit. But they too came back up in a flurry of excitement calling for the town constable. Upon investigation they discovered a man alright, but he harmless and very dead. In fact, had been buried the day before as some of them had attended his funeral.

The mystery deepened  as some unknown person had dug up the man from the grave, removed his burial clothing and hid it in the saw dust in the cellar of Henderson’s drug store. The sawdust had fallen away from the bare feet and this was what the girl saw. “Grave robbers have been at work here”, said the town constable, Horrors! Creepy thoughts and fear walked the streets of Caseville. The cemetery was searched and three empty coffins were found from recent burials. Stories started coming to light The man coming past the grave yard on his way home at night had heard voices and what sounded like the clink a shovel on a stone, but didn’t tell it to anyone for fear of being laughed at.

The newlyweds a Mr. and Mrs. Meyers, living near Ora Labora just Ora Labora Gravestonenorth of Bay Port. The young wife was up at 2 0’clock one morning, hearing a rig coming on the rough ground. She looked out into bright moonlight and noted a madly racing team driven by a man playing a whip over the horses backs. From his seat on the buck and rolling around on the of the buck board, head hanging over the open tail board, was the body of a man. Awaking her husband and telling him about the weird sight, she got nothing but a laugh and a “Oh, come on back to bed honey, that’s just taking a drunk home.”

This story proved the gang was at work in the Bay Port and Sebewaing vicinity. Through the combined efforts of the three, these miserable creatures were caught. Three men were in the work. They confessed to stealing the one man on recent burials. The bodies were taken the night after the funeral, stripped, wrapped in canvas, and taken has fast as horses could travel to Saginaw. There, the gruesome cargo was put on a train and shipped to a medical school. The school paid these men well. There was no train service in Caseville at this time. How they bemoaned the unkind fate that made one of the horses go lame and unfit to travel that night. They were severely punished and that ended the grave robbing.

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Pontiac, Oxford & Northern Railroad Co. and the Legend of the “Polly Ann”

Local folklore states that the Pontiac, Oxford & Northern Railroad (P.O. & N) ran from September 1889 until the last service run of the full length of the line on February 9, 1984. Nicknamed the “Polly Ann”, or Poor, Old and Neglected, the line was a single-track, standard-gauge, steam railroad, situated entirely within the Thumb Region of Michigan, extending from Pontiac to Caseville for just under 100 miles.

The Polly Ann’s Struggle to Survive

In the early 1900’s passengers never reacPOandNRRmaphed sufficient numbers to support the line. Aside from Pontiac, the communities being serviced were all sparsely populated. The fertile farmland known for its wheat, bean and sugar beet crops, contributed valuable tonnage to the railroad. It was said that there was always a free bag of beans to be had by the train’s crew whenever they had to layover. The term “out to beans” because synonymous with “out to lunch”. At just under 100 miles of track the line was absorbed by the G
rand Trunk Railway in 1909 for $400,000.

P.O.& N’s Era of Freight and Passenger

During the late 1930’s Oxford had one of the world’s largest gravel mines and was the source of cPigeonRailStationarloads for Grand Trunk Western. This regular assigned job was known as the “mud run”. The gravel was used for road construction and for the runways at nearby Selfridge Air Force Base in Macomb County.

Service continued to decline and the “Poor, Old & Neglected” ended its three runs a week  mixed-train service in 1955.

The Railway Still Lives On

Today the former industrial railway is now a source of recreation. The Polly Ann Trail in Lapeer County. Owned by the Michigan Department Namud_runtural Resources, is part of the abandoned corridor was once used by the Pontiac, Oxford & Northern Railroad. Local groups host horseback riding, cycling events, nature walks, runs, and charity fundraisers.

Remnants of the Polly Ann Railway

One of the last remnants of the Polly Ann track can still be seen in Caseville right off main street. The Caseville depot east moved in the Caseville_Postcard1980’s and is now a summer home. The original rail can be seen at the Caseville municipal park in the center of town.

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