Arrive to Big Charity Island in Saginaw Bay with the Charity Island Dinner Cruise operators. Enjoy a fine dinner, including opportunity to enjoy a taste of Great Lakes perch, and exploration of a historic lighthouse and island coastal beachfront. The ride out, aboard the Northstar, offers an experience on a historic commercial fishing vessel retrofitted for this dinner cruise.
Big Charity Island (along with Little Charity Island) is itself rich in fisheries history and heritage. The Gillingham Fish Company leased the fishing rights of Charity Island from the Federal government from the 1800's until 1925 when they purchased most of the Island except for the Lighthouse tower in 1925. During these days there were fishing huts on the south end of the island and the company built a crib wall off shore to keep the boats protected. The remains of this wall are still visible from the air today.
Little Charity Had up to 4 fishing boats and four crew that stayed on the island all season as did Big Charity Island. On Little Charity there were 2 buildings on it for over 50 years. One building contained nets, wooden barrels and salt. The fish brought to the islands were packed in salt in the wooden barrels, and every few days the tender boats brought out fresh salt and barrels trading them for fish laden barrels to take back to Bay Port, Mich. where they were put on trains and shipped as far east as New York and as far south as the mining communities in Tennessee and Kentucky. Lake Huron fish were an important source of protein for these mining families because the salting process eliminated the need for refrigeration.
What you can do here
Boat Rides, Eat Fish, Gift Shop or Fisheries Items for Purchase, School or Group Tours, View Exhibits