Tag Archives: Caseville

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

The Final Days of Cheeseburger


The final weekend. It always comes fast. To some the final weekend is deemed the best. More vendor’s, top acts, the Cheeseburger grills are well seasoned and so is the staff. It’s also a bit sad. The waning hours signal the end of the summer. It’s only days away from the Labor Day weekend.

Friday’s highlights are the grand opening the Bay Wash Coin Laundry. Saturday go out to the beach and Row, Row, Row Your Cardboard Boat with Fireworks after the last show in the Amphitheater. Sunday is the car show down at the county beach. Be safe and enjoy one of the final weekends of the 2017 summer season.

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Great Hints for a Day at Cheeseburger in Caseville


The 19th annual Cheeseburger in Caseville is well underway. While rain on Monday dampened some of the evening festivities the weather looks promising for the rest of the week. In years past, official estimates were that  over 100,000 people visited Caseville during its 10 day festival. It’s a family friendly event during the day but offers a bit of craziness that true Parrot Heads appreciate. Here are some hints provided by those who frequent the event each year.


Be Prepared – This includes having your own water, a rain jacket and comfortable walking shoes. Have a small Cheeseburger in Casevillebackpack with snacks, sunscreen and even a change of clothes. Double on this point if your bringing kids!!


Gas Up Before You Arrive – If your getting here on fumes gas up in Elkton, Kinde, Bay Port, Port Austin or Bad Axe. Main street in Caseville gets busy and packed. You will feel better knowing you can get out without waiting an hour in line for a few gallons of gas.Cheeseburger in Caseville


Set Up a Base Camp – Park your car and plan on walking around. Park a few blocks away from Main so you can get easy in and out. Parking is crazy in the Caseville County Park or near Main Street. Do not park on someones lawn.


Do Not Drink on the Street – This is not New Orleans Mardi Gras. Open alcohol containers are a no-no. You will see the un-informed with a open beer walking down the street. They are a target for a ticket. Drink in designated areas.

 


Be Informed of Events – Grab a free Event Calendar from Caseville Chamber of Commerce. There are also several Smartphone apps available.

 


Set up For the Parade of Tropical Fools Early – This is the highlight of the whole festival. By late morning on Wednesday Cheeseburger Paradeyou should claim a spot for your clan with chairs and ribbon. Be cool about it. There will be up to 50,000 friends with you.

 


Support Your Local Firefighters – The Caseville Fire Department only offers its famous Firehouse Burgers on the first Saturday. Its for a great cause and they are delicious.


Use the Porta Pottys – Guys and Gals, public urination will get you arrested.Fortunately there are hundreds of portal toilets.


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Relax and Have Fun – Make a new friend, help a senior citizen, take crazy pictures and post. Its Key North and the best part of the summer.


Plan B- Do Something Else – If you, or your kids have had enough #CheeseburgerFest and crowds, try something else. Our 13 Things to Do When Your Bored with Cheeseburger in Caseville. has several fresh ideas.

Saving A Great Thumb Icon – Kilmanagh General Store


One of the roadside treats for me when I come up the Thumb on Fridays after work is to go through the tiny village of Kilmanagh. The iconic general store and vintage gas pump  are always worth a slow roll to see what has changed.



However time has taken its toll on the 1870 general store that sports one of the last 1800’s storefront facades that was common in that time. The Building and Zoning Department has deemed the porch unsafe and ordered it repaired or removed.

The owners Tom and Brenda Voss are taking steps to restore the property, but it’s expensive. It has to be rebuilt to meet current code requirements, starting with new foundations. The existing cement porch deck needs to be removed, and both upper and lower porch decks need to be rebuilt to current standards. The porch roof has pulled away from the wall, and collapsed. The roof deck will need to be opened up, and raised back into position before the roof structure can be jacked back into place.

The ornamental roof sections on the parapet wall need to be reconstructed, and the main roof needs to be repaired where the wall has pulled away. We expect that repairs to sill plates and other water damage will be required.

Our goal for phase one is to stabilize the structure, and weatherproof the building. When that is completed,  work to restore the Victorian detailing on the front, and start to repair siding and windows and paint the other areas of the building.

The Voss’s have kicked off a fundraising campaign to help with the costs of bringing the general store back to its former glory. Please consider a donation at their  Go Fund Me site.

Thumbwind chipped in a $100. Your contribution, however small or large will mean a great deal to this little community and those who love history. Please share this post and donate.


Kilmanagh is a place stuck in lore and time. In the Spring of 1891 the this western Huron County village hosted a grist mill or two general stores, a  blacksmith shop, and two or three saloons. Today only a couple relics IMG_0859[1]


of the village remains, the aging general store, a 1940’s service station, and a closed liquor store. Its an interesting stop on your way to the coast of Saginaw Bay. If you stop treat it respectfully as it’s literally a museum exposed to the elements.


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Walk among its ruins. Snap shots and hopefully write a few words on your find. The generals store is what takes your attention first. There is beauty in the decay.


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It’s a little gold mine for still life artists. The best example of someone who really invested himself into this is  John Nagridge who  in several seasons painted Kilmanagh Fall, Winter and Spring themes.  You can visit John’s website to view more knife renderings of Kalmanagh’s general store.


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Top 12 Must See Thumb Sites


We encountered many folks who have come up to the Upper Thumb for their entire lives but never have seen these interesting sites. How many have you been to?  Check these out and let us know if you have a “must-see” from the tip of the Thumb.


1_turnipTurnip Rock – Is a small geological formation in Michigan. It is a limestone stack located in Lake Huron, in shallow water a few meters offshore, near the rock called the Thumbnail which is the extreme tip of Pointe Aux Barques, a small peninsula in Pointe Aux Barques Township which in turn is the extreme tip of The Thumb.

Turnip Rock has been severely undercut by wave action,so that its top has a significantly larger cross-section than its base. Its consequent unusual form, reminiscent of a turnip, has made it an attraction for viewing by canoe and kayak. It’s only accessible from the water as it’s privately owned and not open to the public. Port Austin, the nearest large community, is the usual base for kayaking trips to Turnip Rock. If your thinking of paddling out to the rock, check out our post Turnip Rock – 5 Things to Know.


The Arc – A dilapidated barn from the late 1800s, carefully taken apart piece by piece, has IMG_0475[1]been rebuilt by Detroit artist Scott Hocking as a huge wooden ark.

Originally conceived as an “Emergency Ark,” the project plays into the Hocking’s fascination with mythic forms and structures from the ancient world.

“Many of Scott’s projects are in hidden spaces, where you can’t necessarily see them,” one enthusiast noted. “But this is enormous — and so visible. I drove in from the east, and could see right away the great presence it will have in that landscape.”


1_caseville_breakwallCaseville Break Wall – Its one of the few break walls anywhere that encourages you to walk out and take a look at the bay up close. You can fish, walk and catch a cool breeze on this 1/4 mile sprig of concrete and stone out into Saginaw Bay.

Watch the boats come in and out in the early morning and late afternoon. However ifs its stormy be prepared to get wet.


Charity Island – Also called Big Charity Island, is the largest island in Saginaw Bay, in the1_charity Island Michigan waters of Lake Huron. The island is 222 acres in area and has about 3 miles  shoreline. The island was named by lake mariners for its location, placed ‘through the charity of God’ at the entrance to Saginaw Bay midway between the city of Au Gres, Michigan and “The Thumb”.

Geologically, the island contains pockets of chert that are believed to have been quarried by Native Americans. Offshore, the gravel reefs to the south creates a shallow-water channel separating Charity Island from its smaller neighbor, Little Charity Island. The area between the two islands is a favorite spot for fishing. On the northeast end of the island, a small bay is lined with limestone bedrock, offering good holding ground as a place to anchor during storms. The harbor of refuge is accessible by small boat, though access is controlled by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

The island also contains an 11-acre  pond, literally a ‘lake within a lake’, fed by springs.


1_portaustinPort Austin Lighthouse – Is a lighthouse off the shore of Lake Huron, about 2.5 miles north of Port Austin, Huron County Michigan sitting on a rocky reef,  which is just north of the tip of the Thumb and a real hazard to navigation. The light was first lit in 1878, and its pier was modified in 1899. It is still operational and is automated. The foundation materials are a pier, and the tower is constructed of yellow brick, with buff markings. It is an octagonal, 60-foot tall tower, with an attached keeper house. In 1985 the lens was replaced by a 12-volt solar-powered Tideland Signal 300 mm acrylic optic, which eliminated the need to maintain the submarine cable


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Pointe Aux Barques Lighthouse – The Pointe aux Barques Lighthouse ranks among the oldest lighthouses in Michigan. It is an active lighthouse maintained by the US Coast Guard remotely, located in Lighthouse County Park on Lake Huron near Port Hope, Michigan in Huron County. “Pointe aux Barques” means ‘Point of Little Boats’, a descriptor of the shallow shoals and reefs that lurk beneath these waves, presenting a hazard to boats as they round Michigan’s Thumb.


Port Austin Farmer’s Market – One of that states largest on-going farmer’s market in Michigan. Every Saturday farmers, local artists and craftsman offer a unique blend of  local Wagon Rides at Port Austin Market.flare for each weekend. Be ready to walk as parking is at a premium in this small town. Enjoy a early Bloody Mary at the” Bank”and proceed to get your weekend stock of fresh corn, vegetables,  local fruit and an amazing assortment of local craftsmen offering clothing, rugs, collectibles to  to furniture. The market is open each Saturday though mid-October.

 


Octagonal Barn – The Thumb Octagon Barn is an historic and unique barn located outside 1_octGagetown, Michigan. It was built in 1924 by local businessman James Purdy. The Michigan Department of Natural Resources bought the property from the bank in 1991 to be incorporated into the adjacent Gagetown State Game Area. The farm buildings including the octagon barn had fallen into disrepair and was in danger of demolition. Local citizens banded together and organized the first Octagon Barn Festival in 1994 to raise funds to repair the barn. The Friends of the Thumb Octagon Barn was formed that year.

After the barn, historic farmhouse, garage and electric power plant were restored, other buildings were moved or built on the old Purdy farm. Moved to the site were a one-room schoolhouse and grain elevator. New construction included a schoolhouse museum, a large multipurpose building, a covered bridge and a sawmill. A blacksmith shop is planned.


1_petroSanilac Petroglyphs – The Sanilac Petroglyphs historic site is located near Cass City. Take M-53 to Bay City-Forestville Road and proceed east to Germania Road. Head south one-half mile on Germania; the site is on the west side of the road. The carvings, known as petroglyphs, were discovered by residents after a fire swept through the area in 1881 and revealed rocks bearing the designs. Because they are made in relatively friable sandstone, geologists have been able to determine that the carvings were made 300 to 1,000 years ago, dating back to the Late Woodland Period. The Bow Man, believed to represent a hunter, is the most well-known of the Sanilac Petroglyphs, rock carvings etched into a sandstone outcrop.


Sand Point – The Sand Point Nature Preserve is one of the most critical protected coastal 1_sand pontlands in the Saginaw Bay Watershed, and probably one of the most important in the Great Lakes. Through the North American Wetlands Conservation Act the Saginaw Bay Herpetological Survey found Sand Point Nature Preserve to be the most biologically diverse site along the Saginaw Bay shoreline.

Sand Point was also the legionary location of General George Meade who conducted the first survey of the region. Sand Point was the latitude baseline for Lake Huron.  Check out the historic survey post.  “Wilderness Surveyor to Victorious General”

 


Bay Port – This is one of the Upper Thumb’s tiniest lake shore Bayport Fish Companyvillages but it overflows with history and sites unique only to Michigan. Home of the Bay Port Fish Company, operates between spring and fall, depending upon the weather and has four boats: the Osprey, the Argo, the Patsy, and the Sunflower. You can see the Osprey and the Argo tied up in Caseville harbor at the fish house just south of the break wall. Fresh, smoked, and frozen fish can be bought from the retail store in Bay Port. They also can be found at several Farmers Markets in Michigan. Look for booths at the Port Austin Farmer’s Market, Ann Arbor Farmer’s Market, and the Eastern Market in Detroit.


Huron Co Nature CenterHuron County Nature Center – Located midway between Caseville and Port Austin the wilderness arboretum offers over 120 acres of woods, dunes, marsh connected by a intensive trail system. This offers a glimpse of the upper thumb has it appeared 100 years ago. Alternating sand dune ridges, (now with mature growth), and wide areas of pine, oak, fern and huckleberry.

There is no charge to visit and walk the trails. Donations are welcomed.


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