Located on the shores of Thunder Bay off Lake Huron in Northern Michigan's Lower Peninsula, the Port of Alpena is the seat of Alpena County. The Port of Alpena is about 136 nautical miles (247 kilometers or 154 miles by air) north-northwest of Port Huron. The Port of Alpena is almost 190 nautical miles (309 kilometers or 192 miles by air) northeast of Detroit.
The 2010 US Census reported a population of almost 10.5 thousand people in the Port of Alpena, but that number rises sharply during the summer. The Port of Alpena is the biggest city in a less settled region in Northeast Michigan. The Port of Alpena is a cultural and commercial hub for the region. The largest employer in the Port of Alpena is the Alpena Regional Medical Center. Today's industrial sector in the Port of Alpena includes manufacturing of cement, wood, and heavy machinery.
Fisherman W.F. Cullings settled in Thunder Bay in 1835. In 1856, the village was laid out by a group from Detroit. They named the new town Fremont, but because there was already a Fremont in Michigan, the post office was called Alpena. The first postmaster took his position in 1857. In 1859, the future Port of Alpena was renamed Thunder Bay for a very brief time. The Port of Alpena was incorporated in 1871.
The Port of Alpena's old town section has a lot of buildings from the turn of the 20th Century that are well-preserved and -maintained. The downtown Port of Alpena is home to the city's marina and to many specialty shops, art galleries, and flea markets. The Port of Alpena's marina brings many visiting boaters to the city. There are many shipwrecks in the Thunder Bay Underwater Preserve that lure scuba divers from across the United States.
Tourism is an important element of the Port of Alpena economy, but the city also has a productive industrial base. The LeFarge Company cement plant is located there as well as Besser Block Company. Decorative Panels International manufactures drywall board in the Port of Alpena.