Huron County Michigan
Port Hope, MI (Potato Day) (1910) - Contributed by Paul Petosky
This clean, attractive, well built village rests
on a plateau extending back from the
shores of Lake Huron. With its commanding view of the lake on the east, and
the large cultivated fields to the westward, it
possesses a location that the traveler would go
far to find excelled.
The settlement of this place grew out of the lumber-manufacturing interests. It is laid out regularly into lots, which are ornamented by elegant dwellings, school-houses, churches, and shady trees. The lakeshore road, for several miles each way from the vilage, is unsurpassed by any in the county. Port Hope is located near the northern line of Rubicon Township, and is one of the oldest towns in the county.
The principal industry here now is the manufacture of salt. Wm. R. Stafford has a pan block, which he started in 1874, and made 16,000 barrels the first year. The well extends to the depth of 800 feet. The strength of brine is 84. To meet the capacity of the well, Mr. Stafford has largely increased his salt block, which gives him now a capacity of 60,000 barrels annually. He consumes 10,000 cords of wood annually, for which he pays one dollar per cord. In addition to this, Mr. S. has a barrel factory, flouring-mill and saw-mill. The flouring-mill has six run of stone, French buhr, with a capacity of 60 barrels daily. His saw-mill was first built in 1858. At this time the shore was lined with a heavy growth of timber, and there were no roads. For some years he cut out annually about 7,000,000 feet. His mill, dock, and a large amount of lumber was burned in 1871. Loss about $100,000. Rebuilt in 1872, and was burned again in 1881, with dock, and a million feet of lumber. The firm name at first was Stafford & Jenness. In 1868 it was changed to Stafford & Haywood, and Haywood retired in 1882. The salt block is carried on by an incorporated company, which is called the “ Port Hope Salt Company.” With this, Mr. Stafford is a large dealer in general merchandise, handling from $75,000 to $100,000 annually.
There is also another salt block, owned by Dr. R. C. Ogilvie. With this there is a saw-mill and barrel factory. In addition. Dr. Ogilvie has a drug-store, and is a dealer in general merchandise. He is also Postmaster of Port Hope. The salt block of Dr. Ogilvie was started during the early part of 1883. It has a capacity of 150 barrels daily. The well is a remarkably good one.
W. Leuty is a dealer in general merchandise. Dr. S. Bell has established himself in the village. Mrs. J. Gettz keeps millinery and fancy goods. There is a blacksmith and wagon shop by S. E. Carr, and a boot and shoe shop, by Felix Beckwith.
The town has good facilities for transportation. Two docks extend from the shore out into deep water for the accommodation of large vessels. Four regular lines of steamers stop here, connecting with Detroit and the upper lakes.
For the entertainment of people visiting Port Hope, Robert Winterbottom has a commodious hotel, which is located on Main Street.
Port Hope has an excellent graded school, in charge of J. J. Daily, Principal, and Mrs. M. G. Carr, assistant. There are 130 scholars in attendance. The school building is very creditable to the town. It cost $2,500. There is also a German school of from fifty to sixty pupils.
This village is well represented by societies. They have a Masonic lodge, with a chapter,—Port Hope Lodge, No. 138, F. & A. M., and Stafford Chapter, No. 27, of R. A. M. They have a good building for the holding of their meetings, the upper part of which is used by them, and the lower part as a public hall. Two literary societies have also been established in the village,—the “ Mutual Improvement Society,” and the 44 Chautauqua Literary and Scientific Circle.” These are in the third year of organization.
Of these there are four. The Methodists were the first to hold services in this town, which was in 1858, Rev. J. Tuttle presiding: meetings were then held in a boarding-house. A fine church edifice has been built, costing $4,500, and a parsonage which cost $1,500. Present membership is about seventy. Rev. H. G. Piersons is the Pastor.
The German Lutheran—Synod of Missouri—first organized in 1870. They have a large, fine church building, which was completed in 1872. Rev. W. Schwartz was the first Pastor. The present Pastor is Rev. Thomas Schoech. The Church has a parsonage. Rev. E. Delarme has charge of the German Reformed Church, which has some thirty members. They are to have a church building soon. Presbyterians.—Their first service was held at this village in 1875, by Rev. John Kay. They organized in 1881, with fifteen members. This society is erecting a fine church edifice, which, when completed, for architectural beauty, will be unsurpassed in the county. Rev E. L. Davies is the present minister.
The first school taught in Rubicon Township was by Thomas Nichols, who afterwards became a Methodist minister. The first school taught at Port Hope was in 1859, in a little old shingle shanty, by Mrs. James E. Haywood. The first Postmaster of this township, and also village, was W. R. Stafford, who held the same for twenty-two years, an unusual thing to happen to an official.
Port Hope has a daily mail service each way. The
people in the contiguous portions of Bloomfield,
Gore and Huron Townships, come here for their mail,
and also to do their trading.