The French built Fort St. Joseph here in 1686 to protect
their fur trade from English aggression. This garrison was
transferred to Mackinac in 1688 when the fort burned. The area was
permanently settled in 1790. In 1814, Fort Gratiot was built and
the town was organized in 1828, called Desmond. Desmond and
Gratiot were renamed Port Huron in 1837. Port Huron became a
village in 1849 and a city in 1857.
In 1859, the Chicago, Detroit & Canada Grand Trunk Railroad
was built between West Detroit and the Fort Gratiot area of Port Huron.
In 1869 the Grand Trunk built west from downtown Port Huron towards
Flint. Other roads to reach town were the Port Huron and
Northwestern from Bad Axe in 1879, the Pere Marquette's Almont branch in
1882, and the Port Huron and Northwestern from Saginaw via Marlette in
1889. Later in 1916, the Detroit, Bay City & Western reached the
city from Bay City in 1916 and its related road, the Port Huron &
Detroit went south from town in1918.