Aviva Directory » Local & Global » North America » United States » States » Michigan » Cities & Towns » Port Austin

Situated near the tip of Michigan's Thumb Region, Port Austin is at the western end of Port Austin Township.

Port Austin is bordered by Lake Huron to the north, and by the township at all other points. M-25 (Port Austin Road, Spring Street, Lake Street, Grindstone Road) passes through the village, while M-53 terminates at its intersection with M-25 in Port Austin, and Pointe Aux Baques Road continues northeast to Pointe aux Barques Township and Grindstone City.

Cities and villages within twenty-five miles from Port Austin include Kinde, Bad Axe, Port Hope, Caseville, Elkton, and Harbor Beach, while the unincorporated communities of Pointe aux Barques, Grindstone City, Port Crescent, and Huron City are within ten miles.

Since first appearing on a census roll with a population of 757 in 1880, Port Austin's peak population was 883 in 1970, and its low population was 410 in 1920. After five decades of decline, the village had a population of 622 in 2020.

The Port Austin Police Department provides protection for the village and township, while the Huron County Sheriff's Department and the Michigan State Police also patrol the township and village. Fire protection services are provided by the Port Austin Volunteer Fire Department.

Jonathan Byrd is acknowledged to have been the first settler after moving to the area in 1837, and building a water-powered sawmill in 1839. The community that grew up there was known as Byrd's Creek, for the stream (now spelled Bird's Creek) that discharges into Lake Huron at Bird Creek Beach.

Gramp Creek also passes through a small portion of the village in the east.

Byrd sold his mill to Smith, Austin, and Dwight, a lumber firm, and the community was renamed Dwightville in 1854, for P.C. Dwight, a member of the lumber company.

After P.C. Austin, another partner in the firm, constructed a boat dock and erected a pole with a light to serve as a lighthouse, the community became known as Austin's Dock, Austin Port, and finally Port Austin. A post office was opened as Port Austin on January 19, 1856, with Rollin C. Smith as postmaster. For a time, the east side of town retained the name Dwightville but, eventually, the whole village became known as Port Austin, and served as the county seat from 1865 to 1875, when it was moved to Bad Axe.

In 1873, the US Congress appropriated funds for a proper lighthouse at Port Austin, and a site was chosen about two hundred feet east of the first one. However, the Lighthouse Board persuaded Congress that an offshore lighthouse would be more effective, and additional funds were appropriated in 1877. In 1878, a two-story brick duplex was built for the lighthouse keepers at the original site acquired in 1875, and the lighthouse was completed the same year. Its light was first displayed in September of 1878, with Charles Kimball as the lighthouse keeper. Assisting him were his brother Alonzo, and Aaron G. Peer.

The Port Austin Reef Lighthouse was decommissioned in 1979, and plans to dismantle it was halted through the efforts of the Port Austin Reef Light Association, who obtained a five-year lease to the property in 1988, with ownership transferred to the Association in 2012.

Port Austin was incorporated as a village in 1887.

Today, the village's economy is heavily dependent on tourism, outdoor recreation, and its proximity to Lake Huron.

The focal point of this portion of our guide is on the small village of Port Austin, Michigan. Appropriate topics include websites representing the municipal government or any other governmental body, such as the township, that is located within the village, as well as local businesses, industries, schools, places of worship, organizations, attractions, events, entertainment venues, and recreational opportunities.


Places to Stay



Recommended Resources

Search for Port Austin on Google or Bing