The Huron:  Rivers of Michigan Series

By Kit Lane

Reviewed by Grace Shackman

Kit Lane has saved Huron River enthusiasts a great deal of time by collecting all the facts she can about our river.  The Saugatuck-based author has written more than twenty books on Michigan history including one on John Allen, Ann Arbor’s co-founder, and four on other rivers in the state.

The book starts with an explanation of how the Huron was formed, followed by pre-settlement travelers’ accounts and information on early river communities.  Lane explains why dams were built and discusses the issue of removal.  Her chapter on environmental concerns goes into detail on the founding and work of the Huron River Watershed Council.

Lane includes specific information helpful to river users such as boating conditions, variety of rapids, parks, and trails.  The second half of the book is devoted to a trip down the Huron listing all the public places where people can stop.

In the course of the book Lane answers several questions I’ve always wondered about.  One is whether LaSalle really did use the Huron River when he took a trip across the state in 1680. Lane thinks he did and using a translation of his journal identifies where he stopped.  Another is why the river wasn’t used by early settlers to move their supplies.  The answer is it was too shallow after Rawsonville and the rock bottom didn’t allow deepening. One criticism, in two places she says that Ann Arbor was founded in 1823, when it was 1824, a fact she does get right in her book about John Allen.

Grace Shackman writes history articles for several local publications as well as teaching Washtenaw history and architecture at Washtenaw Community College.

The Huron: Rivers of Michigan Series, is 168 pages, with black and white maps, old postcard views, newly shot photographs, and a full index with bibliography. It retails for $18.50 and is available for purchase locally at the West Side Book Shop, 113 West Liberty, Ann Arbor.

HRWC would like to thank author Kit Lane for sharing her book with us and Grace Shackman for writing this review.