History of Charity Island

By
Real Estate Agent with Coldwell Banker-Shooltz Realty

Charity Island is the largest island in Saginaw Bay, in the Michigan waters of Lake Huron. The island is 222 acres and has about 3 miles of shoreline.

The island was named by lake mariners for its location, placed "through the charity of God" at the entrance to Saginaw Bay midway between the City of AuGres, Michigan and "The Thumb".

The island was offered for sale in 1987 for $750,000. 10 years later, in 1997, more than 80% of the island was acquired by the U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service as an addition to the Michigan Islands National Wildlife Refuge system. The island is largely forested, largely with mixed hardwoods. The humid ecoclimate is friendly to a diverse herbarium, including some rare plant species.

The island is best known among mariners for its former lighthouse. Charity Island Light was constructed in 1857. It operated in 1857-1930 and was then replaced by the Gravelly Shoal Light.

Geologically, the island contains pockets of chert that are believed to have been quarried by Native Americans. Offshore, the gravel reefs to the south creates a shallow-water channel separating Charity Island from its small neighbor, Little Charity Island. The area between the 2 islands is a favorite spot for fishing. On the northeast end of the island, a small bay is lined with limestone bedrock, offering good holding ground as a place to anchor during storms. The harbor of refuge is accessible by small boat, though access is controlled by the U. S. Fish and wildlife service.

The island also contains an 11-acre pond, literally a "lake within a lake", fed by springs.

references: G.N.U., Wikipedia

 

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