Picture history of Port Huron by Joseph Miskell, published 1937

by Vicki Priest (c) 2019

Upon perusing files at the St. Clair Library earlier this year, I was totally delighted after stumbling upon some original art boards by Joseph T. Miskell (Michigan Room, Picture Files, “P-R” drawer).  They looked like they were made for a children’s picture history of Port Huron.  I found instead that they were published in The Port Huron Times Herald in 1937 as part of the centennial; the artwork looks quite different in the paper.  The beautiful pencil sketching is much less clear, and the square originals were re-sized into rectangles.

Two originals are missing, pages 7 and 13, and in the paper, page 11 is missing (page 10 was printed twice and no correction has been found so far).  Not everything in this history is necessarily accurate, but inaccuracies like that can be amended.  If only pages 7 and 13 could be found, what a neat children’s picture book this would make!  However, since those pages are reproduced in the newspaper, a re-creation of them could be made by the right person.

Joseph Miskell, 1904-1981, was an employee of Mueller Brass for 34 years, first in Port Huron and then in San Francisco, California (The Times Herald, November 24th 1981, page 13).

The boards are very large. The images immediately below are just a couple of examples of portions of pages.  Below them are the pages from The Port Huron Times Herald, screen captured from the digitized paper.

Page 6 story board portion, 1854 fire, by Joseph Miskell (Michigan Room, St. Clair Public Library).

Page 10 story board portion, former (it was destroyed by fire in January 1912) Port Huron & Northwestern Railway depot, by Joseph Miskell (Michigan Room, St. Clair County Public Library).

Miskell history, PHTH July 15, 1937, page 1.

Miskell history, PHTH July 16, 1937, page 11.

Miskell history, PHTH July 17, 1937, page 3.

Miskell history, PHTH July 18, 1937, page 5.

Miskell history, PHTH July 19, 1937, page 12.

Miskell history, PHTH, July 20, 1937, page 13.

Miskell history, PHTH, July 21, 1937, page 2.

Miskell history, PHTH, July 22, 1937, page 2.

Miskell history, PHTH, July 23, 1937, page 11.

Miskell history, PHTH, July 24, 1937, page 6. This page was repeated the next day instead of page 11 of the history.

Miskell history, PHTH, July 26, 1937, page 3.

Miskell history, PHTH, July 27, 1937, page 10.

Miskell history, PHTH, July 28, 1937, page 2.

When images from the original page 11 become available, they will be added to this post.


13 thoughts on “Picture history of Port Huron by Joseph Miskell, published 1937

  1. Thank you for this story. Joseph is my grandfather. He was forced northward from St. Louis, Missouri, during the Great Depression to find work and feed his three sons. He was sponsored in Port Huron by relatives, and worked at a hardware store (now Conner Stteet Pub) assembling cast iron stoves. Eventually, Mueller Brass hired him.
    I will check to see if my pages include any of those you are missing.
    Thanks, again.

    Liked by 1 person

    • So glad you’re around to see this and comment on it! Thank you. The reason I didn’t take whole photos of the boards at the library is that they are so big I couldn’t get a straight-on view. I don’t know if they would have a ladder I could use, or would let me use! Maybe . . . Thanks for the historical information regarding your grandfather. Looking up information about him yesterday, I was confused when I read Egburt London’s obituary. It states that two of his sons were William Miskell and George Miskell. I know that one son was born of Lily (London) and he died in 1944. If you can explain how the Miskells can be sons of London, I’d be grateful (I didn’t see, so far, that there would be a reason for adoption).


      • I can provide a ladder…
        Egburt London was Joseph’s first wife’s second husband (the grandpa I knew growing up). He all-but-legally adopted and raised Lillian Miskell’s boys (Arthur (killed in WWII), William, and George).
        Maybe we could meet sometime for me to help clarify…?

        Liked by 1 person

          • I was born in Port Huron, raised in the Township, left for 40 years, and returned nine years ago. I live in Port Huron Township.


            • That’s neat. I have an idea. Maybe we could meet in the Michigan Room and you could hold up board #11 for me; a pic with the artist’s grandson and an artwork sample would be pretty neat, I think. That’s up to you and how you feel about photos, though.


                • Ok. I was trying to find out if 12:30 or so would be good on Wed or Thu, but the MI Rm librarians weren’t in today, and won’t be on Monday. That room is scheduled to be closed 12-2 everyday, which is . . . annoying . . . but sometimes they’ll let people in anyway. I wanted to do one of those days since I drop my son off to work there at 12:30 (and not keep driving back and forth).


      • As I look through these panels again, I realize how much research this project must have required. In 1937, Joseph was a newcomer to Port Huron (his surviving son says Joseph came here in 1937). Where did Joseph get his information for his drawings?

        Liked by 1 person

      • I looked through my pages, clipped from the Times Herald 1937, and find that pages 10 and 11 have the same drawings and narrative, but different headings.
        No. 10 – The Postoffice, The Fire Department, The Telephone.
        No. 11 – From Ferryboat to Tunnel-Postal Service
        But No. 11 says nothing about Ferryboats or Tunnel.

        Liked by 1 person

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