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Harbert Business Assocation
P.O. Box 43
Harbert, MI 49115

email: harbertmail@gmail.com

Harbert.... yesterday and today

Meander the stretch of Red Arrow Highway that is Harbert, and you’ll encounter art galleries, antiques, and charming dining opportunities. Harbert has changed since the days Carl Sandburg roamed its wooded lanes, but has lost none of its appeal. As the Harbert Business Association says, Harbert is “out of the ordinary, not out of the way.”    

Of the Scandinavian families that helped create a thriving resort community here after the turn of the century, one — the Swedish Bakery — still serves the area. Dining options have expanded though, to include Middle Eastern and Italian cuisine and an internet café. Carl Sandburg should have been so lucky.

Experience the Michigan that first attracted tourists. Come explore our wooded lanes, and sample our eclectic delights.

Harbert’s roots trace to the great days of American railroad, specifically to the 1850s Lake Shore and Michigan Southern Railroad route between Detroit and Chicago. Attracted to the land he saw from his train, and finding it affordable, Engineer John Glavin underwent a career switch to become Farmer Glavin and the founder of Harbert.

He was passed over when it came to naming the community; a Chicago industrialist who was instrumental in building the town’s train depot garnered that honor. But Glavin’s career choice pointed the way for the foundling economy. Agriculture, particularly orchards and vineyards that benefit from the moderating effects of nearby Lake Michigan, became the town’s mainstay. You’ll see them here still. A pickle factory also thrived in the community for many years.

The town’s products shipped from Harbert’s depot to markets in Detroit and Chicago, and from the town’s pier to other Great Lakes destinations.

Harbert’s most famous “export,” though, was the writing of author Carl Sandburg. Much of his Pulitzer Prize-winning work on Abraham Lincoln was written during his 15-year residency here. Sandburg and his wife also raised award-winning goats on their Harbert farm and shipped them throughout the country.

That kind of diverse entreprenuership marks Harbert still. Plan a slow day to peruse its shops and sample its food. Then stay the night in a cottage overlooking a water garden, and see if you don’t agree.

Copyright © 2005 Harbert Business Association |