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
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
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