Welcome to the St. Clair Historical Museum

We invite everyone to visit the Museum and enjoy its extensive displays, special collections and research archives, many of which can be found nowhere else in Michigan.

Housed in the former First Baptist Church, built in 1873, the Museum tells the history of the St. Clair area in a series of displays, photo galleries and specialty rooms.

On the Museum grounds, you will also enjoy the 1905 St. Clair Customs House which processed visitors and goods coming by ferry from Courtright, Ontario, Canada.  The building is restored as it would have appeared in the early 1900s.

Museum visitors will also enjoy the Oswald Emig Annex which displays a turn-of-the-century carriage, Civil War cannon and six-foot tall map of Michigan circa 1848.

Take an exciting trip in time at the St. Clair Historical Museum. Become part of the unique history of St. Clair that appeals to all ages. Inside the Museum’s historic First Baptist Church Building, you’ll find-

  • Miniature replica of Fort Sinclair
  • Native American birch bark canoe
  • Photos and artifacts of the Oakland Hotel
  • Diamond Crystal Salt display room
  • Historical photos of wooden and steel shipbuilding in St. Clair
  • Research area and record for genealogical research
  • A typical tour of the Museum begins in the foyer with aerial photos of St. Clair as we know it today. Then, as you climb the stairs to the main floor, you are greeted with a full size replica of a birch bark canoe constructed using original Native American techniques.

A model of the British Fort Sinclair greets you next. The fort was built in 1764 on the south bank of the Pine River by British Lt. Patrick Sinclair. It was constructed from logs cut in the area and floated down the river. Fort Sinclair served as the only British fort between Detroit and Michilimackinac.

Next on the tour are photo displays of wooden and steel shipbuilding in the St. Clair area from 1879-1915. Other Photo displays focus on the area’s lumber, brick and resort industries including photos of the Oakland Hotel (1881-1915). The Oakland Hotel and Mineral Springs was larger than the original Grand Hotel on Mackinac Island. The Museum also includes room displays depicting a late-19th century parlor, bedroom and kitchen.   Clothing, toys, period police equipment, original embossed milk bottles from local dairies, and other artifacts.

Specialty Rooms:

DIAMOND CRYSTAL SALT: Photos and production schematic of this pure table salt produced only in St. Clair since 1886.

BRENNER’S SHOE SHOP: Authentic 1890’s shoemaking and repairing equipment acquired from a St. Clair shoe shop.

TOOL ROOM: Home repair, farm and shipbuilding tools from the 1890’s including a unique 24-blade push-type lawn mower.

MARITIME ROOM: Photos and models of Great Lakes boats built in St. Clair’s Langell Shipyard and Great Lakes Engineering, architects’s models, and a chair from the Great Lakes steamer “Tashmoo”.

Researchers:

A research area is available to do additional reading. Bookshelves contain a wealth of information for public use.

The Museum contains collections of city directories, 1859 plat map, tax assessments, obituaries, and other material genealogists might fins useful.

Museum volunteers are available to help in accessing the materials.

308 S. Fourth St. St. Clair, Michigan 48079

810-329-6888

Operated by volunteers serving the St. Clair Historical Commission and the City of St. Clair, Michigan.

OPEN:

Tuesdays 9:30 a.m. to noon throughout the year (except holidays)

Satuday & Sunday 1:30-4:30 p.m. May thru October (except holidays)

Group tours may be arranged by calling the Museum at 810-329-6888.

The Museum has no admission fee but donations are gratefully accepted.

The Museum also sponsors programs of historical interest.

Please call 810-329-6888 for upcoming program information.