The City of New Baltimore was incorporated as a Village in 1867 and as a City in 1931. It is located on the north coastline of Lake St. Clair, along the boundary of Macomb and St. Clair Counties. The beautiful town sits on the waterfront and offers a public park, beach, and downtown-shopping district.
French hunters and fur trappers, in 1796, were the first inhabitants of that portion of Macomb County that later became New Baltimore. The French settlers of this era took residence along the waterfront and rivers and later developed farms that had narrow frontage of 400 of 900 feet and extended inland from the water. Generally, the depth of the parcel was determined by how far a man could plow or cultivate in a day.
First Settled Community
The first evidence of a settled community came in the 1845, when a Mt. Clemens' businessman, Alfred Ashley, platted 60 acres of land lying on both sides of Washington Street. This would become known as the Village of Ashley, and on September 20, 1851, he was given a post office called Ashleyville, with him as postmaster.
Mr. Ashley also opened businesses in lumbering, shipping, and real estate. The original Village of Ashley occupied what is now the center part of downtown New Baltimore, extending northwest along Clay, Base and Maria Streets from Anchor Bay. The land was subdivided in the typical gridiron fashion used in most American communities at that time.
Changes in Subdivisions
Over the years, irregularities developed in the gridiron subdivision pattern because of the lack of local controls, conflicts with French claims, and changing land uses, particularly along the waterfront area. This created problems, in both subdivision patterns in general and waterfront use in particular that remain today. This original settlement bore Ashley's name until 1867, when the Village name was changed to New Baltimore.
Access & Transportation
Throughout its history, New Baltimore has been linked to the regional economy by virtue of the City's access to the waterfront and the region's transportation network. In its early years, New Baltimore took advantage of its waterfront location to operate port facilities exporting agriculture and manufacturing products to other communities. The area was known for the manufacturing of barrels, brooms, bricks, coffins, corsets, and creamery products. Lumber products and building materials were shipped by boat from the local mills. Development was heavily oriented to the waterfront, where shipping piers extended a hundred of more feet into the lake.
As automobile transportation increased in importance and travel patterns changed, so did the development of the City. Goods were no longer shipped by water and the waterfront slowly changed. Between 1860 and 1880, New Baltimore changed from a strong manufacturing and exporting community to the most thriving community in Macomb County with many resort activities and well-known commercial establishments.
Businesses & Recreation
The community was thriving and boasted an opera house, hotels, salt baths, summer and winter recreational activities, saloons, a brewery and numerous resort and commercial establishments. New Baltimore was the hub of activity well into the Twentieth Century. The city was in the path of a steam locomotive line that ran between Detroit and Port Huron in the late 1800s.
As technology changed, the City constructed an electric generating plant to accommodate inter-urban passenger trains, which lasted until the mid-1920s. Today, access to the City is provided via I-94, which is located just outside the City limits.
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Updated: 22nd February, 2019 8:36 PM.