Tag Archives: Pinnebog

The Thumb Town of Pinnebog


Pinnebog, Huron County

Walter Hume, “the Daniel Boone of Hume Township,” became the first settler in the area in 1844; this settlement was first called Pinnepog (Chippewa for partridge drum); but 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”), while the other one changed to Port Crescent; Arthur Heminger became the first postmaster ofpinnebog_shirt Pinnebog on April 15, 1863; the office was closed on Jan. 2, 1872, but was restored on Dec. 19, 1879; it was named from its location near the Pinnebog River. Today much of the original town is gone. However the tiny town is the northern boundary to several of the largest wind farms in the area. Pinnebog is home to the famous Heck’s Bar. Known for its Heckle burger and cool T Shirt design denoting Pinnebog as the center of the universe.


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A Ghost Town in the Thumb


Port Cresent State Park Beach SouthPort Crescent State Park is one of the largest state parks in southern Michigan.  Located at the tip of Michigan’s “thumb” along three miles of sandy shoreline of Lake Huron’s Saginaw Bay, the park offers excellent fishing, canoeing, hiking, cross-country skiing, birding, and hunting opportunities.  However a little known aspect of this park is that it sits on the location of a ghost town.

Pinnebog Confusion

Walter Hume established a trading post and hotel near the mouth of the Pinnebog River in 1844. From these humble beginnings the area took the name of Pinnebog, taking its name from the river of which it was located. However, a post office established some five miles upstream also took its name from the river. To avoid confusion the  town changed its name to Port Crescent for the crescent-shaped harbor along which it was built.

Port Crescent had two steam-powered sawmills, two salt plants, a cooperage whichPort Cresent manufactured barrels for shipping fish and salt, a gristmill, a wagon factory, a boot and shoe factory, a pump factory, a brewery, several stores, two hotels, two blacksmith shops, a post office, a depot and telegraph office, and a roller rink. Pinnebog employed hundreds of area residents. Others worked at blockhouses where they extracted brine from evaporated water to produce salt. At one time a this 17 block village boasted of a population of more than 500

Port Crescent prospered as a lumber town from about 1864 to 1881. One sawmill became so busy salvaging thousands of trees felled in one of the infamous fires experienced by the Midwest in 1871 that it added a 120-foot brick chimney to help power the plant. In 1881, another fire swept through the Thumb region, destroying the area’s timber resources.


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The Town of Port Crescent Declines

When the timber in the Pinnebog River basin was gone, the town began to decline.  The lumber mills closed, as did the firewood-fueled salt plants. Workers dismantled some of the buildings and an 800-foot dock, moving them north to Oscoda, Michigan. Some Port Crescent residents moved their houses to nearby towns. By 1894, all of the buildings in Port Crescent were gone, leaving few traces of the town behind. Nathaniel Bennett Haskell, who owned the sawmill and salt plant on the west side of the river, began to export white sand which was used in the manufacture of glass. This continued until 1936.l

Port Crescent State Park

After  World War II, the  demand for public use areas along shoreline property stimulated Port Cresent State Park River Bankinterest for an additional state park in the Thumb. Twenty years later, the Michigan Department of Conservation acquired possession of 124 acres of fine woodland at this place for a new state park. Port Crescent State Park was officially established on September 6, 1959.

Today little remains of the former town. Foundations can be seen, in the Organization Area, where a structure stood. The lower 10 feet the old sawmill chimney is a prominent part of the park entrance.


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