Tag Archives: PureMichigan

M25: the Ribbon around the Thumb


M25_SignA favorite tour for motorcyclist is the State Highway M-25. It’s a 147 mile road running from Port Huron to Bay City Michigan. With waters of Lake Huron or Saginaw Bay on one side and rolling pasture and farmland on the other it’s one of the more interesting drives in southern Michigan.

Officially M-25 is a state trunk line highway in the US state of Michigan. M-25 is part of the Lake Huron Circle Tour for its entire length. Starting at a junction with Business Loop I-69/Business Loop I-94 in Port Huron M25_Maprunning north along the coast the highway passes through Lexington, Port Sanilac, Harbor Beach and Port Hope. At Port Austin is the northern most point of M-25. From here the road turns west and south running through Caseville, Bay Port, Bay, Unionville and ending in Bay City. The section of M-25 in Bay City was named what is now called a Pure Michigan Historic Byway by the Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT). Originally called the Bay City Historic Heritage Route you can see historical neighborhoods and large Victorian homes constructed by the lumber barons of the 1800s.


Do you love Michigan’s Thumb? So do we. However we were frustrated on not seeing cool T-shirts that M25reflect our favorite spots. So we created ThumbWind-Mercantile. This on-line shop offers T’s unique to Michigan’s Thumb and can’t be found anywhere else. Check it out.

Roadside Parks and Scenic Turnouts

One aspect that is truly unique to M-25 is the number of places to stop, rest or take in the view. There are a number of interesting turn–offs provided by MDOT to get off the highway. Most are right on the beach.

77_LkHuron_sm_263618_7Lake Huron – Located South of Port Sanilac in Sanilac County. This stop has great views of Lake Huron, with stairs from the park to the beach. Historical Marker for “Great Lake Storm of 1913” when sudden tragedy took 235 lives and 10 ships sank.

Four Mile Scenic Turnout – Location is south of Forestville in Sanilac County. Offers some of the best views of Lake Huron, with stairs from the park on the bluff down to the beach.

White Rock – Located south of Atwater Road, Sherman Twp in Huron County. Great views of Lake Huron and White Rock. Steps to beach, observation deck, walking trails connecting to non-motorized path on M-25. White Rock is a large, white, off-shore boulder used as a boundary marker to define the territory released by the Native American tribes of Michigan to the United States under the Treaty of Detroit in 1807.

Jenks – location is 2 miles west of Port Austin in Huron County. Features a spectacular view of Saginaw Bay, with beach access, restroom and picnic facilities.

Thompson Scenic Turnout – located 10 miles southwest of Port Austin in Huron County. Thompson Park features 2 large grindstones and access to sandy beach on Saginaw Bay, picnic tables and benches.

Brown – located 3 miles south of Bay Port in Huron County. Contains the historical Marker for “The Great Fire of 1881.” A million acres were devastated in Sanilac and Huron counties.


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The Bay Port Hotel


The history of Michigan’s Upper Thumb is one of boom and bust. In the late 1800’s the lumber industry created frontier  millionaires and whole towns sprung up around mills. New industry such as salt blocks sprang up next utilizing tons of debris from the saw mills as fuel. The Bay Port Hotel was an exception. Using rail as transport, guests could get to the calm waters of Wild Fowl Bay in a 1/2 a day yet still have all the amenities of a big city hotel.  The days of frontier resorts would soon end in the early 1900’s as lumbering ended in Michigan. This is a clip found in Caseville’s museum collection.

Pictured here is the famous Bay Port Hotel. It was nestled among the beautiful trees on the shore of Saginaw Bay at Bay Port (1886-1907) This hotel was state of the art in its day. Well planned and built of the finest materials having 117 heated rooms, six excellent cooks, hot and cold baths, bowling alleys, pools tables and an electric lighting system, Casino and barber shop.

The culinary arrangements were second to none in Michigan. The ventilation and lighting system, as well as the fire protection offered guests was the best of its time.

Was it Haunted

About year 1900 despondent young man committed suicide in one of the lower rooms by slashing by slashing his wrists and throat. Before he died the young man succeed in making bloody hand prints over of the beautiful walls of his room. Because it was difficult to cover up the stains this was locked up and not used again.

Not long after the tragic death of the young man, the Bay Port Hotel had the reputation of being haunted. Guests were positive that throughout the nights, they heard voices even claimed to have seen the ghosts of the young man and his betrothed, who had preceded him in death.

The “Cincinnati Club” that rented the entire hotel for some weeks each summer, left and found a new summer home. Sail boats which dotted the bay near the hotel, disappeared. Excursion trains from the big cities discontinued their daily trips to the thriving port. In short the fancy hotel no longer was paying investors.


Bay Port Hotel


W.H. Wallace purchased it and sold the contents ‘by auction sale, before tearing down the building in 1907. Today all that remains are the front steps in front of an empty lot. 


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Images from Caseville Historical Society and Bay Port Chamber of Commerce.

 

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In 2012 Saginaw Bay Muck Was Poop


This post was originally published in 2012. It’s one of the most viewed and searched for on ThumbWind.  With the recent budget cuts announced for the EPA by the current administration it’s feared that the Great Lakes and Saginaw Bay will once again experience muck and fecal encrusted beaches.

We were trying to think of a tactful headline for this piece but decided cut to the chase. Huron County lake front owners have known for years that the declining water quality in Saginaw Bay is due to two factors. 1) Outdated and failing septic tanks and overflow from Bay City. 2) Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations CAFOs. Now we have actual experts that confirmed local suspicions of what exactly is in the muck that has been appearing on beaches.

At the 2012 Saginaw Bay Watershed Conference held at Saginaw Valley State University, Marc Werhougstraete, a Michigan State University Department of Fisheries and Wildlife research assistant, said muck means sewage and fecal matter are likely present.

The blue green muck is composed of different types of algae, macrophytes and decomposing organic matter that varies from season to season. In research Werhougstraete conducted at the Bay City State Recreation Area, he found both human and bovine feces (poop) in the muck.

Basically if you see the muck on the beach, think “poop”. Don’t go into the water and don’t let your kids play in the wet sand. “To reduce risk of contracting illness”, said Werhougstraete,  “avoid contact with muck, wash hands when in contact with it and do not submerge your head in the water.”

Common muck management, such as raking, also can release the pathogens from the muck. People cleaning beaches should do so in the morning, when the beaches are less busy and the sun can kill bacteria, Werhougstraete said.

The algae and muck have gotten so bad in recent years it now compares with the situation Lake Erie faced in the 1960s. NASA released pictures shot from the space station that showed the full algae bloom in 2011.

Featured image from  NOAA Great Lakes Environmental Research


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Flashback Thursday: Sleeper State Park 1944


The park first opened as a county park in 1925. In 1927 the state acquired the property and called it Huron State Park. In 1944, the park was renamed in honor of Albert E. Sleeper, governor of Michigan (1917-1920) and resident of Huron County, who signed into law the statute that created the state park system.

Sleeper State Park is 723 acres of forest, wetlands, sandy beach and dunes located on the Saginaw Bay of Lake Huron. Visitors can watch both sunrises and sunsets on the bay, relax in the shade and seclusion of the campground or roam the trails of the ancient dune forests. Camping April through October.


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