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Marine City, Michigan
Marine City from across the St. Clair River
Marine City from across the St. Clair River
Motto(s): 
A Community of 1000 Adventures
Location within St. Clair County
Location within St. Clair County
Marine City, Michigan is located in Michigan
Marine City, Michigan
Marine City, Michigan
Location in Michigan
Country United States
State Michigan
County St. Clair
Platted 1835
Government
 • Type Council–manager
Area
 • Total 2.90 sq mi (7.50 km2)
 • Land 2.16 sq mi (5.58 km2)
 • Water 0.74 sq mi (1.91 km2)
Elevation
584 ft (178 m)
Population
 (2010)
 • Total 4,248
 • Estimate 
(2019)
4,058
 • Density 1,882.19/sq mi (726.69/km2)
Time zone UTC-5 (Eastern (EST))
 • Summer (DST) UTC-4 (EDT)
ZIP code(s)
48039
Area code(s) 810
FIPS code 26-51600
GNIS feature ID 1624706

Marine City is a city in St. Clair County in the U.S. state of Michigan. Located on the west bank of the St. Clair River, it is one of the cities in the River District north of Detroit and south of Lake Huron. In the late 19th century, it was a major center of wooden shipbuilding and lumber processing.

The population was 4,248 at the 2010 census. The city formerly featured an international auto ferry service, The Bluewater Ferry to Sombra, Ontario, Canada across the river.

Geography

  • According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 2.46 square miles (6.37 km2), of which 2.15 square miles (5.57 km2) is land and 0.31 square miles (0.80 km2) is water.
  • It is considered to be part of the Thumb of Michigan, which in turn is a subregion of the Flint/Tri-Cities.
    • Marine City can also be considered as in the Blue Water Area, a subregion of the Thumb.
  • It is part of the Detroit-Warren-Livonia Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA) and the Detroit-Ann Arbor-Flint Combined Statistical Area (CSA).

History

Downtown Marine City
Downtown Marine City with interurban car. Unknown year.

The area of Marine City had been Ojibwa territory for centuries before the first European contact. French trappers and missionaries settled in Detroit and nearby areas during the colonial period. They developed plots in the typical rectangular shape of colonial French, with the narrow end along the riverfront. The first Catholic Church was built by French Catholics at Catholic Point, where they had bought land before the United States was formed.

It was not until after the American Revolution that European-American settlers arrived in any number. In the 1780s they obtained a deed for land from the Chippewa Indians. The Americans called the community "Yankee Point", because so many settlers came from the Northern Tier of states, with late 18th and 19th century migration originating from New England. They also called the settlement "Belle River", later the name of a neighborhood.

The village was platted as Newport in 1835-37. Although never incorporated by that name, it was known as "Newport" for 31 years. In 1865, it was incorporated as the Village of Marine City. Thriving on lumber and shipbuilding, the village re-incorporated as a city in June 1887.

The second half of the 19th century was the period of great growth in the village, with many workers employed in the lumber and shipping industries. Rafts of lumber filled the St. Clair River in the spring to be worked at Marine City or Detroit. Shipyards built some of the many ships that crossed the Great Lakes. Lake steamers linked passengers with small towns around the lakes. Their decks were full and their flags were flying. Marine City was centered on a park by the river, where bands played in the bandstand at City Hall during the summer.

As the lumber business ran down, the area became linked to other resource extraction. Ships carried iron from Duluth, Minnesota, which had been mined in the Mesabi Range, to Ashtabula, Ohio for steel, passing through the Soo Locks at Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan. Marine City was where the captains of lake ships lived. Many worked for the Pittsburgh Steamship Company, piloting iron ore ships from Duluth, Minnesota to Ashtabula and other ports.

In the 21st century, Marine City has become the home of ten antique stores, including the "Water Street Antique Mall" located at 412 S Water Street. The Snug Theater is a 98-seat theater featuring live performances. It will be joined in 2014/15 by a sister theater, The Riverbank Theater, in a former bank building (originally Marine Bank & Trust) down the street. Also joining the two acting theaters is the old Mariner Theatre which serves as a special event center, Movie theatre, gallery for Fine Art Models and the home of the World famous builders model for Titanic. The antique shops and theaters are joined by restaurants and retail, catering to visitors as well as residents.

Demographics

Historical population
Census Pop.
1870 1,240
1880 1,673 34.9%
1890 3,268 95.3%
1900 3,829 17.2%
1910 3,770 −1.5%
1920 3,731 −1.0%
1930 3,462 −7.2%
1940 3,633 4.9%
1950 4,270 17.5%
1960 4,404 3.1%
1970 4,567 3.7%
1980 4,414 −3.4%
1990 4,556 3.2%
2000 4,652 2.1%
2010 4,248 −8.7%
2019 (est.) 4,058 −4.5%
U.S. Decennial Census

2010 census

As of the census of 2010, there were 4,248 people, 1,765 households, and 1,117 families residing in the city. The population density was 1,975.8 inhabitants per square mile (762.9/km2). There were 2,015 housing units at an average density of 937.2 per square mile (361.9/km2). The racial makeup of the city was 96.8% White, 0.3% African American, 0.7% Native American, 0.2% Asian, 0.5% from other races, and 1.6% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 1.7% of the population.

There were 1,765 households, of which 31.1% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 44.6% were married couples living together, 13.3% had a female householder with no husband present, 5.4% had a male householder with no wife present, and 36.7% were non-families. 31.3% of all households were made up of individuals, and 14% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.41 and the average family size was 3.00.

The median age in the city was 40.2 years. 22.9% of residents were under the age of 18; 8.2% were between the ages of 18 and 24; 25.8% were from 25 to 44; 27.9% were from 45 to 64; and 15.3% were 65 years of age or older. The gender makeup of the city was 48.2% male and 51.8% female.

Notable residents

  • Steve Fisher, author and Hollywood screenwriter, was born in Marine City
  • Stephen Benedict Grummond, industrialist and mayor of Detroit (1884-1885), was born in Marine City
  • Jeff Gutt, second-place finisher of the 2013 The X Factor television singing competition and current lead singer for Stone Temple Pilots
  • Brendon Kay, former quarterback for the Cincinnati Bearcats and briefly with the Pittsburgh Steelers
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