|Mouth of the Huron River|
Thursday, March 7, 2013
Huron’s Port was Important to the Town’s Development
The rapidly increasing business of this place begins to arrest the attention of our own citizens, as well as travellers and emigrants, who feel an interest in the settlement of Huron County. Since the Steam Boat Sheldon Thompson was built at this port in 1830, it has been noted as one of the best places for ship building on the western Lakes. Since which, the following large Schooners have been built and fitted out at this place, viz. the Marengo, launched in June, 1831- burthen 105 tons;- the Austerlitz, launched in April, 1832- burthern 131 tons, built by Capt. Church and owned by O. Newberry, Esq. of Detroit;- the Prince Eugene, launched in May, 1832- burthern 101 tons, built by Capt. Parsons, and owned by Mr. T. Jackson of Huron;- the Buffalo, launched in May, 1832- burthern 161 tons;- and a new Schooner, now on the stocks, which will be launched about the 20th June- burthern 130 tons;- the two last vessels owned by Messrs. Standart & Hamilton of Milan, and built by Capt. Church. They are all built of the best materials and after the most approved models, and by first rate ship builders;- any country may well be proud of either of them.The above mentioned vessels, together with the well know Lady of the Lakes, Louisa Jenkins, Cincinnati, Mary of Milan, Eclipse, and a number of small vessels, too numberous to mention, are owned at this port and Milan, and employed in exporting produce to Detroit and the upper Lakes, as well as to Buffalo and Oswego; and in return bringing merchandize and emigrants from Buffalo;- give to the Port of Huron a name abroad and at home of increasing importance. It is a well known fact, that this place began its date as a port in 1824; at which time waggons were frequently driven across the mouth of the river on a sand bar, which obstructed the waters of the Huron, and caused them to set back in the low lands of the adjoining country, occasioning innumerable and complicated diseases. These evils the fostering hand of Government not only removed, but converted the harbor into one of the best and safest on the Lake, by extending piers a quarter of a mile into the Lake, preventing sand from washing into the channel. To the country generally it is of vast importance, as good roads lead to Milan, and from that village to all surrounding country. The merchants of Milan and Huron have gone into competition with those of Sandusky city in vending salkt, and purchasing produce, which has reduced the price of the former, and advanced the latter to unreasonable rates. The farmers feel the effects of this competition to a great extent; many of whom are rapidly increasing in wealth.
The town of Huron, in a great measure, owes it flattering prospects to the enterprising citizens of Milan; through whose influence and exertions appropriations were made for the improvement of the harbor. The village of Milan is well situated for trade, and by its connection with Huron by the Huron River, which is navigable up within three miles of Milan, together with its healthy location, will soon become a place of extensive business. It is in contemplation to connect the two villages, at the head of navigation, by a canal, which will no doubt ere long be carried into effect. A daily line of Steam Boats, from Buffalo to Detroit, now call at Huron, both on their upward and downward passage, landing and receiving passengers, freight, & c. A daily line o f Stages has also been recently established, running from Huron through Milan, Norwalk, Mount Vernon, to Columbus. The large amount of business already brought to the Lake, by this route, exceeds the expectations of its most sanguine friends.
Note: The Milan Canal, which was completed in 1839, brought a period of prosperity to Milan. The Canal linked Milan to the Huron River and, subsequently, Lake Erie. Ships traveled along the three-mile canal, and then proceeded to the Huron River and eventually traveled another seven miles to Lake Erie through the town of Huron. Farmers could bring their grain, hogs, and other goods to market in Milan and save a day’s travel time over less than ideal roads. Farmers from a 70-80 mile radius to the south, east, and west took advantage of Milan’s Canal. In its heyday, 600-700 wagons arrived in Milan per day, and as many as 20 sailing vessels were loaded with upwards of 35,000 bushels of grain. The population of Milan surged from around 280 residents in 1824 to 500 in 1840 to 1,500 in 1850. Ultimately, the Milan Canal resulted in a major decline in the shipbuilding and exports from Huron.