July 13, 2024

Pointe Aux Barques – The Tiniest Township in Michigan

Nestled at the tip of the Thumb on Michigan’s Lower Peninsula, Pointe Aux Barques Township is a quaint civil township in Huron County. As of the 2020 census, it boasts the unique distinction of being the least-populated municipality in the state, with a permanent population of just 15 residents. Despite its small size, this charming township is rich in history and natural beauty.

What’s Special About Pointe Aux Barques Township

For over 100 years, Pointe aux Barques has been a private community. It consists of 900 acres with 66 cottages located just east of Port Austin.

Pointe Aux Barques is notable for its minimal population and compact land area. It is the third smallest township in Michigan by land area, following Novi Township and Royal Oak Charter Township. This tiny community offers a serene escape and a glimpse into a simpler, quieter way of life, making it a fascinating spot for those seeking tranquility and a connection to nature.

The Club at Pointe Aux Barques

Historical Background of Pointe Auz Barques

  • Early Settlement: The area was originally inhabited by Native American tribes, including the Chippewa.
  • European Exploration: French explorers named the region “Point Aux Barques,” meaning “Point of Boats,” due to the boats frequently seen in the area.
  • Lighthouse Establishment: In 1847, the Point Aux Barques Lighthouse was built to guide ships through the treacherous waters of Lake Huron. The lighthouse remains one of the oldest operating lighthouses in the Great Lakes.

Geography and Environment

  • Location: Situated on the tip of Michigan’s Thumb, the township is surrounded by the waters of Lake Huron.
  • Natural Features: The area is known for its rugged shoreline, sandy beaches, and lush forests.
  • Climate: The township experiences a typical Great Lakes climate, with cold winters and mild summers, making it a perfect summer getaway.

Demographics and Size

  • Population: Point Aux Barques has a tiny population. In 2020, there were only 15 permanent residents. This number fluctuates with the seasons as it is a popular spot for summer homes.
  • Area: The township covers a minimal land area, 7.6 square miles, making it the third smallest in the state.
  • Activities: Residents enjoy a clubhouse, private nine-hole golf course, tennis courts, woods, and shoreline at the tip of Michigan’s Thumb.

Video: History of Pointe Aux Barques

The video is a pictorial story of the Pointe Aux Barques resort community. It was established in 1897 and is still going strong today. The private resort community is over a century old, consisting of 66 cottages just east of Port Austin.  It stretches over 900 acres of property at the “tip of the thumb” in Huron County, Michigan.  There is a nine-hole golf course, tennis courts, clubhouse, barn, wooded trails, and shoreline on Lake Huron.

Notable People at Pointe Aux Barques

NBC Radio, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

Pointe Aux Barques, Michigan, despite its small size, has attracted several notable personalities over the years, particularly from the industrial and literary circles.

  1. Edgar Guest:
    • Who: Edgar Guest was a popular poet known as the “People’s Poet.” .Michigan poet, Detroit Free Press reporter, writer, and NBC radio and TV personality
    • Connection: Guest owned a cottage in Pointe Aux Barques, where he often spent time. His presence in the township adds a cultural touch to its history​ (What About Clients?)​.
  2. Harvey Firestone:
    • Who: Founder of the Firestone Tire and Rubber Company.
    • Connection: Firestone, a close associate of Henry Ford and Thomas Edison, was said to have owned two cottages at Pointe Aux Barques and entertained both Henry Ford and Thomas Edison​. Firestone’s Linwood Cottage at Pointe Aux Barques is considered one of the community’s finest.
  3. William L. Clements
    • Who: Engineer at Bay City Industrial Works and founded the Library of American Literature at the University of Michigan.
    • Connection: Clements was an early resident of Pointe Aux Barques and listed in the 1912 directory of cottage owners.

These visits and summer residences by such prominent individuals underscore Pointe Aux Barques’ unique charm and its historical appeal as a serene retreat for influential personalities. The township’s history is enriched by its association with these notable figures, making it an interesting spot for both history enthusiasts and those seeking a peaceful getaway.


Point Aux Barques Township may be small, but it holds a significant place in Michigan’s history and natural landscape. Its charming environment, historical sites, and recreational opportunities make it a hidden gem worth exploring for anyone interested in a peaceful and scenic retreat.

Michaela Nolte

Michaela is a history buff and loves to export historical markers and old buildings and seeks stories about Michigan and Great Lakes history. When she is not writing, you can find her with a good book sipping wine on the beach.

View all posts by Michaela Nolte →
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