Tag Archives: Huron County

Caseville Shanty Days 2018


The Caseville Chamber of Commerce has announced the weekend of February 16-18, 2018 for this winter’s Shanty Days. This is the event’s 26th year of mid-winter fun on the ice. It’s the largest winter carnival in Michigan’s Upper Thumb.

Click this link to find neat stories of past Shanty Day Weekend Shenanigans.Caseville Shanty Days
Photo courtesy of af.mil


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Great Getaways in Michigan’s Upper Thumb


This 15 minute video is a great review of some of the highlights of Michigan’s Thumb.  With 150 miles of shoreline the contrast between the rocky, rugged Lake Huron side is toured to the sugar sand and calm waters of Saginaw Bay. The thumb region is a great area to explore.

This video is from Great Getaways, a television travel series that spotlights active getaway adventures across the Midwest and Canada with an emphasis on the outdoors.


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Experience a Haunted House


If there is one area in Michigan’s Upper Thumb where the paranormal might reside it would have to be Bay Port. The area was the site of the vanished Ora Labora German Colony that existed from 1861-1867, the spooky and unattended Old Bay Port Cemetery the famous but now vanished and presumed haunted Bay Port Hotel and the address of the Sweet Dreams Inn where many claim to have experienced paranormal activity.


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The Inn was built in 1890 at the end of the lumber era in the Upper Thumb. Contracted by William H. Wallace, the Victorian style home was designed with the tastes and style common at that time by those with means. Wallace was active in politics and was a delegate in the Republican National Convention in 1908, 1916, and 1924. He was president of Michigan Sugar Company and Bay Port State Bank.  He owned the Wallace Stone Quarry which is just south of town and still in operation today.  His first wife, Elizabeth died in 1893 and local lore tells that she passed away in the home. There also a bit of a mystery in that despite the prominence of this individual there is no record of his or his son’s grave sites. Thus it’s no coincidence that visitors say Wallace and his first wife still roam the inn with his heavy footsteps, as well as whispering in the ears of the guests.


“Me and my best friend live in Bay Port We have seen ghosts and heard screams countless times walking on the street in front of the Sweet Dreams Inn. Also have heard stories of the ghosts and have seen the little girl looking out of the left window on the third floor. So I believe it is haunted!!!”


The Sweet Dreams Inn is a specialized bed-and-breakfast where guests hope to experience the proximity of these friendly ghosts. Guest have reported that doors open and close, beds and chairs are moved. Some report that they feel being touched and hear voices and footfalls where nobody has been. One event that was caught on a cell phone video was that of an “orb” flying through one of the guest bedrooms. At times guests are unnerved by the experience and leave in the middle of the night.


“Been there several times and have experienced activity first hand: footsteps, voices. Just because one person doesn’t have an experience doesn’t mean it never happens.”


The original family owned the large mansion for over 100 years. The family lived on the first two floors. They entertained in a large ballroom on the third floor. Local historians noted that the Wallaces would host parties on Saturday night that would last well into the morning hours. Guests say that most of the paranormal activity occurs on the third floor.


 “Most guests don’t know (about the unexplained occurrences) but they usually find out by the end of the night. Some guests leave at 3 or 4 a.m.”


The inn has been featured in two Haunted Michigan travel books and appeared in a paranormal documentary and movie. It’s also found in the famous Pure Michigan website. The Inn registers guests by appointment you can actually stay overnight.


Quotes from - hauntedhovel.com, michigansthumb.com

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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.


Kal


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