Port Huron Historical Events

Port Huron Annual Float Down

Launched in August 1977 is the traditional Port Huron Float Down. Every year in the middle of August citizens of Port Huron and surrounding communities get together to end the summer. The float down begins at the Lighthouse Beach in Port Huron, where you float 8 miles down the St. Clair River to Chrysller Beach in Marysville. The event typically last all day and during the “ride” you float underneath the Blue Water Bridge. It is typically known as a “homegrown” Port Huron event. In 1987 the Coast Guard put an end to the annual event but then it was relaunched in the summer of 2008. Although in 2010 the Float Down was shut down again the citizens of Port Huron still try to hold the event yearly. (Port Huron Float Down, Located in Bibliography)


A photograph of myself and my cousin during the float down in 2012.

Fire of 1871

The Port Huron fire of 1871 took place on October 8th, 1871. This disaster earned a few names such as The Great Fire of 1871 and Great Michigan Fire. It burned a lot of cities including Port Huron, Michigan and White Rock, Michigan. This fire destroyed most of the thumb area while on its destructive path. At least 50 people died as a result of the Port Huron Fire of 1871. No one is sure how the fire started but the damage was worsened by many factors such as wind and an earlier drought. This great fire took weeks to put out.


Port Huron to Mackinac Sailboat Race

The Bayview Mackinac boat race is run every year by the Bayview Yacht Club. It is known as one of the longest fresh-water races in the world. Each year over two hundred boats enter to race. Although the course changed many times, the race starts in Port Huron, Michigan north of the Blue Water Bridge and ends in the Round Island Channel of Mackinac Island. The races began in 1925 and the boats travel a distance of 235 miles. The Friday before the races is typically known as Boat Night. This is where thousands of people gather around the Black River and watch the yachts line up. The race begins the Saturday afternoon with the smallest boats starting first and the larger ones last. The race typically ends between Sunday night through Tuesday morning. The boats have internet tracking for all the participants which allows everyone to also keep track of the races. The last boat to cross the finish line is known as the Pickle.

Racers who have completed 25 of races are known as “Old Goats”. Those who have completed 50 races are called “Grand Rams.” This is a typical Port Huron tradition.

Boats headed off for Mackinac Island Saturday morning. (Photo by DAVE ANGELL)

Students for a Democratic Society

Students for a Democratic Society was a student activist movement in the United States that was one of the main representations of the New Left. The society developed and expanded quickly in the mid-1960s before dying out in 1969. The Students for a Democratic Society has been a strong influence on student organization sense it ended in 1969.Its political manifesto, also known as the Port Huron Statement, was accepted at the organization’s first convention in 1962. This was based on a draft that was created by Tom Hayden. The Port Huron Statement disapproved of the political system of the United States. They criticized it for failing to achieve international peace and critiqued Cold War foreign policy, the threat of nuclear war, and the arms race. (Citation) In national matters, it disapproved racial discrimination, economic inequality, big businesses, trade unions and political parties. The political manifesto also recommended a series of changes. They purposed a need to reform into the two political parties in order to achieve a better democracy. The Port Huron statement also provided ideas on how to improve and advocate nonviolent civil disobedience. (Office of Tom Hayden, Students for a Democratic Society)


Alexis Bourque-HST 320

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