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Henry Ford's Village Industry Experiment

Starting in 1919 Henry Ford ordered an exploration of sites that could be set up for small factories thought Southeast Michigan 

These small shops were to supply Ford Motor with needed components and tooling for vehicle production. As World War I drew to a close Ford saw the reliance on large centralized factories who relied on fossil fuel as a potential threat to national security and to the Ford enterprise.

A final list of over 200 sites was generated. From these Ford narrowed it down to 75 key locations throughout southeast Michigan primarily usually along rivers that where to be utilized for hydro powering the plants. From this list of 75, it's generally agreed that 19 village industries were acquired or created.

Many of the plant sites were former locations of grist and sawmills from Michigan’s earliest settlements. The goal of having a locally generated power from water turbines was a primary concern of being self-sufficient. Several other locations had small scale plants built…
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History of Point Aux Barques

For over 100 years Pointe aux Barques has been a private community. Consisting of  900 acres with  66 cottages located east just east of Port Austin.  Residents enjoy a clubhouse, private nine-hole golf course, tennis courts, woods and shoreline at the tip of Michigan's Thumb.

The video is a pictorial story of the Pointe Aux Barques resort community. Established in 1897 and still going strong today. The private resort community is over a century old consisting of 66 cottages just east of Port Austin.  It stretches over 900 acres of property located at the “tip of the thumb” in Huron County Michigan.  There is a nine-hole golf course, tennis courts, clubhouse, barn, wooded trails and shoreline on Lake Huron. 
Related Reading1871 Great Fire - The Burning Great Lakes1881 Fire: The Devastation of ParisvilleHistory of Pointe Aux Barques Michigan


Michigan Forest Fires in the 1800s Devastate the Thumb

Michigan Forest Fires in the 1800's Impact Today
The great Michigan forest fires of 1881 swept over four counties in three days, destroyed nearly two million dollars’ worth of property, and killed two hundred and eightly people. Their extent and irresistible power were largely due to atmospheric conditions. The summer of 1881 was excessively dry, and the drought had done its work nowhere more effectively than in the wide, blunt, tongue of land which lies between Saginaw Bay and Lake Huron. At the northern end of this tongue is Huron County. It was one of the worst fires in Michigan forest fire history.

Read about the Great Michigan Fire of 1881 at Thumbwind.com


Related Reading1871 Great Fire - The Burning Great Lakes

1881 Fire: The Devastation of Parisville



A KOOL Cigarette Sailboat

Kool Marketing with a SailboatIn 1971 Kool Cigarettes ran a unique marketing campaign. It was seen in magazines around the country with an ad that included sending in $88 and one box end from a carton of Kool cigarettes. Then in a few weeks a fully functional sailboat would be shipped to your door. My dad and mom both smoked at that time, (Who didn’t), but they did not smoke Kool’s. However, dad managed to snag an empty carton from the drug store he owned.

A 1971 Beach Toy Comes Back to LifeBoth the hull and the sail have been garage stored for over 43 years. The original sail is still in great shape as well as the hull. With the homemade fiberglass the boat weighs about 50 lbs. One person can take it down to the beach. Two people can sail around in it and there is usually water bubbling up from the dagger board slot. It’s more of a toy than a true sailboat, but it does force you to learn the basics of sailing and it will never sink.

Kool SuccessIn 1971, more than 48,000 Snark sailboats…

Spend an Evening on Charity Island in Saginaw Bay

The Allure of the Mysterious Charity IslandA lush tree-lined island sits on the horizon of both the north and south shores of Saginaw Bay. Big & Little Charity Islands sit in the middle of the bay a mere ten miles from the Michigan Thumb.  Except for the seasonal residents who work the dinner cruises at the lighthouse keepers house, the island is uninhabited. These islands are considered by the US Fish and Wildlife Services one of the more remote and least visited islands in the Michigan Island National Wildlife Sanctuary. This is partially due to the rock-filled treacherous waters that surround the island.

Charity Island by the Numbers
Big Charity Island is the largest island on the US side of Lake Huron. At 250 acres it imposes a dominating outline at the mouth of Saginaw Bay. It has an 11-acre pond that is spring fed and surrounded by reeds. It’s a favorite spot for nesting Bald Eagles and other birds and as a result, the Wildlife Service has denoted both islands as off-limits t…

Upper Thumb Festivals and Events

Bad Axe

Huron Community Fair- This end of summer offers good old fashioned 4-H agricultural exhibits, a midway full of rides and attractions, and an arena of events that include rodeos, tractor, and team pulling, demolition derbies and live entertainment.  Bay Port

Fish Sandwich Festival- This is considered one of the original shoreline festivals that has been featured by  ABC's 20/20, and NBC's Today Show. It celebrates one of the tastiest creations of the Upper Thumb. An original recipe fish sandwich that takes two hands to hold. Held in early August  Caseville

Shanty Days - This mid-winter festival in February began in 1992.  The major events can be found at Caseville County Park and in Caseville Harbor. The highlights include a Polar Bear Dip, Chili Cook-off Potty Trotty and Broom Ball Hockey.   Ribstock- It starts to warm up in the Upper Thumb in June and it also signals the start of festival season. Ribstock is a weekend full of top county western bands, line-dancing lessons …

Safe and Sound in Michigan

Michigan is a huge state. You can start at the southern border just north of Toledo Ohio and drive a solid 10 hours to reach Ironwood Michigan and never leave the state. So it's important when traveling in some of the more remote areas of the state to be prepared for winter driving and for emergencies.

Get Your Car Ready For Winter - Great Lakes winters can be brutal. Temperatures on a typical day dip below 30 degrees Fahrenheit and the strong winds from the lakes lead to massive snowfall. Here is how to get ready for the season. 

Have a Plan If You're Stranded - We should all have an emergency kit in our cars. In order to decide what to put in your kit, you need to take into account the weather in your area (here in Michigan, we know it will often be cold and snowy!) and what items will suit your family’s needs.





Likewise, if you hunt or fish in the Great Lake State it's important to have the skills to survive out in the wild. One of the most deadly outdoor sports is ice fish…