BAD AXE AT A GLANCE:
With attractions like the Pioneer Log Cabin Village in the city park, to the Huron Community Fair, a week-long celebration in August, there's always something happening in the heart of the Thumb.
Bad Axe got its unique name from Capt. Rudolph Pabst, a surveyor who mapped several trails between Harbor Beach and Sebewaing. Those trails would later become M-53 and M-142, which intersect Huron County vertically and horizontally, respectively.
The intersection where they meet was dubbed “Bad Axe” and the name took. Pabst, the story goes, established headquarters at an abandoned hunter’s camp where he found a broken axe.
Bad Axe became the county seat of Huron County in 1873 and was incorporated as a village in 1885. Twenty years later, in 1905, it achieved city status.
Bad Axe usually hosts the Huron Community Fair the first full week of August, but this year sees the fair open up the second week in August. Of course, many other summer events mark the town's calendar.
Classic car buffs enjoy the city's summer cruising tradition, which has achieved state-wide acclaim. The third weekend in June features the Cruise Night and Car Show, where antique and classic car buffs gather.
Log Cabin Day is at the end of June in conjunction with a statewide celebration. Bad Axe's Pioneer Log Cabin Village is open Sundays during the summer. This unique outdoor area features a log cabin home, blacksmith shop, chapel, general store, barn and one-room school house. All the buildings are fully furnished to show what 19th century pioneer life was like. The chappel is available for weddings.
July is full of activities and includes events such as Sidewalk Sales, and a 3 on 3 basketball tournament.
Crowds also gather the Saturday after Thanksgiving to enjoy the annual Christmas Parade. Floats, horses, bands and of course Santa Claus are a joy for eyes young and old. And Santa, along with two little helpers, flip the switch to light the downtown area with festive Christmas lights.
To really learn about how Huron County has grown over the years, all one has to do is take a trip to the Bad Axe Historical Society Museum, located on the second floor of the former Bad Axe City Hall on South Hanselman Street.
Residents Cliff and the late Ruth Willet spearheaded an effort to help preserve the area's history by collecting its memories. The historical society has produced a video history of Bad Axe, from the early days as a lumber camp to its role in the 21st century and beyond.
The Willets, with the help of other society members, have procured hundreds of photographs and items of historical significance. From World War I era uniforms to turn-of-the-century furnishings, the museum helps both the young and the old see just how far we've come in a few short decades.
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