Here’s a triple-threat you can check out all in the same day: Pearl Beach, the Colony Tower, and Harsen’s Island.

First up is the community of Pearl Beach, located in St. Clair County. It was settled way back in 1796 by the French, who claimed a dozen chunks of private land. It wasn’t until 1898 when a post office was finally implemented, calling itself ‘Pearlbeach’.

In 1926, a developer from Detroit made the short trip to Pearl Beach in order to put together an “exclusive residential subdivision”, or as some may call it, “a neighborhood for the rich snoots and snobs”. It was given a name that boasted exclusivity: “The Colony”, and was wooing the professionals from Detroit and beyond to come here and build their own palatial estate. By 1929, out of 147 lots, only three were used for residences, thanks to the Great Depression.

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A water tower was constructed to serve the community, that was structured to resemble a lighthouse, complete with a beacon. Even so, the Depression took its toll and any further development of “The Colony” was squelched. The area became known as The Colony Tower Complex, is now listed on the National Register of Historic Places and is a Michigan Historic Site. Over the year, more residents did arrive, but not necessarily the snoots they originally hoped for.

Third is Harsen’s Island, named after its first Euro-American settler, Jacob Harsen, who arrived here from New York in 1779. Harsen bought (some say “cheated” or “swindled”) the island from the local Native Americans in 1783 and dubbed his new island paradise "Jacob Island" in 1809. The island post office was given the moniker ‘Sans Souci’, and finally changed to ‘Harsens Island’ in 1960.

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