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The village of Port Sanilac, Michigan is situated on the eastern edge of Sanilac County on Lake Huron, in the Thumb Region of the Lower Peninsula.

Surrounded by Sanilac Township, the village includes one and a half miles of shoreline on Lake Huron, which makes the village a popular tourist destination for boaters, fishermen, beachgoers, and seasonal residents.

M-46 (Main Street) terminates at its intersection with M-25 (Lakeshore Drive) downtown, a couple of blocks from the lakeshore. Cities and villages within twenty-five miles of Port Sanilac include Carsonville, Applegate, Lexington, Sandusky, Croswell, Deckerville, Forestville, and Minden City.

Port Sanilac. is a Harbor of Refuge on the western shore of Lake Huron, and its docks are popular among boaters, primarily with recreational navigation interests.

Originally lit in 1886, the Port Sanilac Light is a local landmark. The foundation of the lighthouse is made of dressed stone and timber, while its tower is octagonal and hourglass-shaped, and made of tiered and reverse stair-stepped brick. It is fourteen feet in diameter at its base, it tapers vertically to about nine feet, and is capped with a cast iron lantern room, which houses a fourth-order Fresnel lens, which is still active. The light was registered with the National Register of Historic Places in 1984, and its complex consists of five historic structures: the lighthouse, keeper's residence, brick oil house, wooden outhouse, and a well.

Another local attraction is the Sanilac Shores Underwater Preserve. Established to promote the conservation of submerged historic resources in Lake Huron, near Port Sanilac, the Preserve covers an area of one hundred and sixth-three square miles of the lake, and is open to scuba divers. There are several shipwrecks near Port Sanilac.

European-American lumbermen came to the area around 1830 to peel the bark from hemlock trees, which was used in tanning leather. They built a rough shanty to live in while they were there, which became a landmark for passing sailors on Lake Huron, who called the place Bark Shanty Point.

The first permanent settlers came in 1844, when William Austin and some others took land claims in the area. In 1848, Anthony Oldfield, and William, Hugh, and Quintin Thompson built a sawmill there. A post office was established on December 30, 1854, with William Van Camp as postmaster. At that time, the name of the community was shortened to Bark Santy.

A Methodist-Episcopal Church was established by a circuit-rider in 1850, a school was built in 1852, and the first church building was constructed in 1866. Raymond Hardware was opened in 1850 by Uri Raymond.

On August 4, 1857, Bark Shanty was renamed Port Sanilac, after the county, and Port Sanilac was incorporated as a village in 1877.

Docks were built at Port Sanilac in 1857, and both shipping and passenger services continued until the docks were destroyed by fire in 1913. The Port Sanilac Lighthouse was constructed in 1884, and lit for the first time in 1886.

In 1880, when Port Sanilac first appeared on a census roll, the population of the village was 595. By 1920, however, it had declined to 135. Its peak population was 658 in 2000, although there were only 567 people at the time of the 2020 census.

The focal point of this portion of our guide is the village of Port Sanilac, so appropriate resources may include websites representing the village and any other governmental entities within the village, as well as local businesses, industries, schools, churches, organizations, attractions, events, entertainment venues, and recreational opportunities.



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