Bay City, Michigan

Bay City, Michigan
Bay City
Location of Bay City, Michigan
Coordinates: 43°35′42.18″N 83°53′19.1″W / 43.59505°N 83.888639°W / 43.59505; -83.888639
Country United States
State Michigan
County Bay
Settled 1837
Incorporation 1865
 – Type Commission-Manager
 – Mayor Christopher Shannon
 – City Manager Robert V. Belleman
 – City 11.3 sq mi (29.3 km2)
 – Land 10.4 sq mi (27.0 km2)
 – Water 0.9 sq mi (2.4 km2)
 – Urban 39.78 sq mi (103.034 km2)
Elevation 585 ft (178.3 m)
Population (2010)
 – City 34,932
 – Density 3,537.1/sq mi (1,365.5/km2)
 – Urban 74,048
 – Metro 108,390
Time zone EST (UTC-5)
 – Summer (DST) EDT (UTC-4)
ZIP code 48706-48710
Area code(s) 989
FIPS code 26-06020[1]
GNIS feature ID 0620777[2]
Historical populations
Census Pop.
1950 52,523
1960 53,604 2.1%
1970 49,449 −7.8%
1980 41,593 −15.9%
1990 38,936 −6.4%
2000 36,817 −5.4%
2010 34,932 −5.1%

Bay City is a city in the U.S. state of Michigan located near the base of the Saginaw Bay on Lake Huron. As of the 2010 census, the city's population was 34,932, and is the principal city of the Bay City Metropolitan Statistical Area, which is included in the Saginaw-Bay City-Saginaw Township North Combined Statistical Area. The city, along with nearby Midland and Saginaw, form the "Tri-Cities" region, which has more recently been called the "Great Lakes Bay" region.

The city is geographically divided by the Saginaw River, and travel between the east and west sides of the city is made possible by four modern drawbridges which allow large ships to travel easily down the river. The city is served by MBS International Airport, located in nearby Freeland, and James Clements Municipal Airport.



Leon Tromble is regarded as the first settler within the limits of Bay County, in an area which would become Bay City. In 1831, he built a log cabin on the east bank of the Saginaw river. Bay City was first established in 1837, and was incorporated as a city in 1865. In 1834 John B. Trudell built a log-cabin near the present corner of Seventeenth and Broadway. Trudell later purchased land that extended from his residence north along the river to what later became the location for the Industrial Brownhoist, making him the first permanent resident of what has become Bay County.[3] Bay City became the largest community in the county and the location of the county seat of government. Most of the county's agencies and associations are located here. The city shares common borders with Essexville and the townships of Bangor, Frankenlust, Hampton, Merritt, Monitor, and Portsmouth.

Bay City was originally known as "Lower Saginaw," and fell within the boundaries of Saginaw County until Bay County was organized in 1857. It was at this time that the name was changed to Bay City. While Saginaw had the first white settlement in this area in 1819, larger ships had difficulty navigating the shallower water near the Saginaw settlement. Due to this fact, many of the early pioneers moved to Lower Saginaw as it became clear its deeper waters made it a better location for the growth of industry which relied on shipping. By 1860, Lower Saginaw had become a bustling community of about 2,000 people with several mills and many small businesses in operation. In 1865, the village of Bay City was incorporated as a city. Rapid economic growth took place during this time period, with lumbering, milling, and shipbuilding creating many jobs. The early industrialists in the area used the Saginaw River as a convenient means to float lumber to the mills and factories and as a consequence amass large fortunes. Many of the mansions built during this era are registered as historical landmarks by the state and federal government.

In 1873, Charles C. Fitzhugh, Jr., a Bay City pioneer, and his wife, Jane, purchased land and built a home on property bounded by Washington, Saginaw, Ninth and Tenth Streets, which later became the location for City Hall. Fitzhugh dealt on a large scale in wild lands and farms, being an agent for over 25,000 acres (100 km2) of land in Bay County. During this time, Washington Avenue was primarily developed with residential homes. Businesses were concentrated along Water Street near the Saginaw River. As time went on, businesses started to expand along Washington Avenue. In 1891, the Fitzhughs sold the land to the City of Bay City for $8,500 "to be used for the erection of a City Hall and offices and for no other purposes whatever."

Until 1905, the City of Bay City was limited to the east bank of the Saginaw River. Previous to that date, the city occupying the west bank of the Saginaw River was a separate city known as West Bay City. The unified Bay City celebrated its centennial in 2005.

During the latter half of the 19th century Bay City was the home of several now-closed industries including many sawmills and shipbuilders. The Defoe Shipbuilding Company, which ceased operations December 31, 1975 built destroyer escorts, guided missile destroyers, and patrol craft for the United States Navy. To maintain this strong Naval heritage, the Saginaw Valley Naval Ship Museum is working through the Naval Sea Systems Command to bring the USS Edson (DD-946) to Bay City as a museum ship; the Navy is expected to make a decision in the Spring of 2008. Another important part of the city's industrial history is Industrial Brownhoist, which was well-known for its construction of large industrial cranes.

Notable events in city history

In September 1990, The tankship MV Jupiter was unloading gasoline at the Total Petroleum Terminal. A passing cargo ship, the Buffalo, moving at excessive speed, created a wake that caused the Jupiter to break free of its berth. A fire and explosion ensued, and one man drowned. There was considerable legal action taken, ultimately resulting in an adjudication that was subsequently appealed by the owners of the Buffalo. The findings of the Court of Appeals upheld the original decision, which assigned 50% of the responsibility to the Buffalo (for her excessive speed), 25% to the dock operator (for rotten wood pilings) and 25% to the Jupiter (for improper procedures in unloading her cargo).[4][5]

In January 2009, Bay City's wholly owned municipal power company, Bay City Electric Light and Power, installed a "limiter" device to restrict the receipt of power to the home of Marvin Schur, a 93-year-old customer who had failed to pay an outstanding bill in excess of $1,000. The Bay City Electric Light and Power policy was to install the limiter, and to notify the customer by trying to collect the amount due. City employees failed to knock on the door, and it was later found that Schur had a check already made out and had failed to mail it. Schur died from hypothermia in his home a few days later.[6] The day following his death, Bay City Electric Light and Power removed the limiters from all households. It was later learned that Schur had willed his estate, estimated by family to be in excess of $500,000, to Bay Regional Medical Center.[7]

On October 12, 2010 the historic 113 year old City Hall sustained significant damage as the result of an attic fire which caused the sprinkler system to run for nearly two hours. Most of the damage to the building was water damage from the sprinkler system and water used to fight the fire. The fire started in the midst of a $1.6 million roofing project. After an investigation, it was determined that a worker was using a grinder to cut off bolts in the area where the fire started, and sparks from the work started the blaze. Fire crews were on the scene for nearly five hours fighting the hard-to-access fire.[8] [9]


According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 11.3 square miles (29 km2), of which, 10.4 square miles (27 km2) of it is land and 0.9 square miles (2.3 km2) of it (8.12%) is water. Despite declining population, Bay City remains (by a narrow margin over Port Huron) as the largest city by population on or near Lake Huron, much smaller than the largest cities on the other four Great Lakes: (Chicago, Toronto, Cleveland, and Thunder Bay).

Bay City along with Saginaw, and Midland make up the Tri-Cities Area, a sub-region of Flint/Tri-Cities. Sometimes, Bay City can be seen as in the greater Thumb of Michigan Area, which is also a sub-region of the Flint/Tri-Cities.

Major highways


Four modern bascule bridges allow transportation across the Saginaw River, which separates the East and West sides of Bay City. Lafayette Avenue Bridge, opened in 1938, carries M-13 and M-84 over the river. The Veterans Memorial Bridge, opened in 1957, carries M-25 over the river. Independence Bridge, opened in 1973, carries Truman Parkway over the river, replacing the earlier Belinda Street Bridge (built in 1893). Liberty Bridge, opened in 1990, connects Vermont Street (on the west side of the river) and Woodside Avenue (on the east side).


As of the census[1] of 2000, there were 36,817 people, 15,208 households, and 9,322 families residing in the city. The population density was 3,537.1 per square mile (1,365.5/km²). There were 16,259 housing units at an average density of 1,562.0 per square mile (603.0/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 91.19% White, 2.72% Black, 0.74% Native American, 0.53% Asian, 0.01% Pacific Islander, 2.47% from other races, and 2.33% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 6.72% of the population.

There were 15,208 households out of which 30.2% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 42.4% were married couples living together, 14.7% had a female householder with no husband present, and 38.7% were non-families. 32.9% of all households were made up of individuals and 12.8% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.38 and the average family size was 3.04.

In the city the population was spread out with 25.5% under the age of 18, 9.4% from 18 to 24, 30.5% from 25 to 44, 20.5% from 45 to 64, and 14.1% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 35 years. For every 100 females there were 92.9 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 88.6 males.

The median income for a household in the city was $30,425, and the median income for a family was $38,252. Males had a median income of $32,094 versus $21,494 for females. The per capita income for the city was $16,550. About 10.3% of families and 14.6% of the population were below the poverty line, including 19.1% of those under age 18 and 10.5% of those age 65 or over.


Bay City has a Commission-Manager form of government. The Mayor, who is elected to a four-year term, is the presiding officer of the City Commission and has the power to appoint some board and commission members, with the approval of the City Commission. The Mayor of Bay City is Christopher Shannon, who has served in that capacity since December 2010. Shannon replaced Charles M. Brunner, who has resigned Nov. 30 to prepare for his 96th District State House seat he takes in January. The City Commission has nine members, one from each of the city's nine wards. City Commissioners serve four-year terms. The terms of the Commissioners are staggered; the even-numbered wards are elected together (in years 1999, 2003, 2007, etc.), and the odd-numbered wards are elected together (in years 2001, 2005, 2009, etc.). City operations are managed by the City Manager, who is chosen by the City Commission.


The City of Bay City is located in the following districts:

  • 5th U.S. Congressional District - Representative Dale Kildee (D)
  • 96th State House District - State Rep. Charles Brunner (D)
  • 31st State Senate District – State Sen. Mike Green (R)


Bay City's Firework Festival - 2005

Bay City is well known in Mid-Michigan for its numerous festivals and celebrations which take place during the summer months. Among them are the River Roar, St. Stan's Polish Festival, the Independence Day Fireworks Festival, the Pig Gig Rib Roast, and the River of Time living history reenactment. Many of these events take place along one or more banks of the Saginaw River, often in Wenonah Park on the east bank or the larger Veterans Memorial Park on the west bank.

The Bay County Historical Museum, located on Washington Avenue, is the designated repository for the records of the Patrol Craft Sailors Association and also contains numerous displays on local and regional history. Over the past several years, the museum has expanded significantly. It is housed in the former armory building on Washington Avenue, adjacent to the historic City Hall.

The Bay County Library System includes two public libraries located in Bay City.

The Scottish band the Bay City Rollers were named after this city based on the results of a dart thrown randomly at a map.

Madonna was born here and once referred to Bay City as "a stinky, little town in Northern Michigan," on national television.[10][11]

The official Bay City flag is blue with a logo on it. It has been changed from the original design.[12]

Legend and folklore

It is the contention of many local residents that the fictional lumberjack, Paul Bunyan, was based on an infamous lumberjack Fabian "Saginaw Joe" Fournier, a lumberjack who frequented the Bay City waterfront.[13]


The Sage library

Schools serving the Bay City area

Bay City Public Schools operates nine elementary schools, two middle schools, and three high schools.

Bangor Township Schools operates three elementary schools, one middle school, and one high school.

Essexville Hampton Public Schools operates three elementary schools, one junior high schools, and one high school.

Bay Area Catholic Schools operates four elementary schools, one middle school, and one high school.

  • All Saints Central High School

Bay-Arenac Community High School operates a charter alternative secondary school.

  • Bay-Arenac Community High School

Mosaica Education Inc. operates a charter school, Bay County Public School Academy, serving grades kindergarten through 8th grade.

Colleges serving the Bay City area

Business districts

  • Banks Business District - Runs along Marquette Avenue from Ohio Street north to Harry S. Truman Parkway
  • Broadway Avenue Business District - Extending from Lafayette Avenue south to McGraw Avenue
  • Columbus Avenue Business District - From Washington Ave to Bay Medical Center Hospital
  • Downtown Bay City - Between Madison Avenue and the Saginaw River.[14]
  • Johnson Street Business District - From Center Ave to Woodside St.
  • Lafayette/Salzburg/Kosciuszko Business District - Extends along Salzburg east to Kosciuszko (Lafayette turns into Kosciuszko).
  • The Midland Street Historic District - Located on the West side of the city near the banks of the river. Home to very popular bars in the city.
  • Industrial Districts - Morton Street, Harrison Street, Woodside Avenue, and the Marquette Industrial Center. Home to companies such as: General Motors Powertrain, SC Johnson & Son, Carbone of America/Ultra Carbon Division, Kerkau Manufacturing, Gougeon, and York Electric
  • Bay City Mall area (not located within the city limits, but in the adjoining township of Bangor Township) - Wilder Road at State Street Road. Includes Bay City Mall (JCPenney, Sears, Target, Younkers); other stores in area include Wal-Mart and The Home Depot
  • Water Street - home to Michigan's largest antique district

Sites of interest

Bay City, looking East from Veterans Memorial Park
  • Appledore Tall Ships[15]
  • The Arts Center/Studio 23[16]
  • State Theatre
  • Delta College Planetarium & Learning Center[17]
  • Bay County Civic Arena[18]
  • The Bay County Historical Museum[19]
  • Bay City State Recreation Area
  • Bay City's Antique Toy and Firetruck Museum[20]
  • Trombley House (oldest existing building in the county)[citation needed]
  • Center Avenue Historic District[citation needed]


The city's main newspaper is the Bay City Times.

Bay City is also part of the Flint-Saginaw-Bay City television market, and the Saginaw-Bay City-Midland radio market.

Notable residents

  • Glenn Wichman - computer game designer
  • Dennis Wirgowski, NFL Player 1970-1973 New England Patriots & Philadelphia Eagles[25]

Sister cities

Bay City has four sister cities, as designated by Sister Cities International:


  1. ^ a b "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2008-01-31. 
  2. ^ "US Board on Geographic Names". United States Geological Survey. 2007-10-25. Retrieved 2008-01-31. 
  3. ^ [Bay County Past and Present (Centennial Edition, 1957), p. 49]
  4. ^
  5. ^ Gemini Calls on Riverside Park
  6. ^
  7. ^ "WWII vet frozen to death leaves estate to hospital -". CNN. 2009-02-04. Retrieved 2010-04-26. 
  8. ^ Murphy, Shannon (October 14, 2010), "City Hall damage", The Bay City Times: A1, A2 
  9. ^ Murphy, Shannon (November 4, 2010), "Fire cause found", The Bay City Times: A1, A2 
  10. ^ [Madonna: The Jane Pauley Interview, July 30, 1987, NBC Television]
  11. ^ Payne, Amy L. (2009-02-09). "Debate brews over Madonna coffee name". The Bay City Times / Retrieved 2010-04-09. 
  12. ^ Flags of the World, Bay City, Michigan.
  13. ^ - The Truth About Folk Heroes
  14. ^
  15. ^
  16. ^
  17. ^
  18. ^
  19. ^
  20. ^
  21. ^ "Singer of the Week: Madonna". (IGN Entertainment, Inc.). Retrieved 2006-06-01. 
  22. ^ "Bay City World War I veteran's legacy is MSU fight song". Bay City Times. Retrieved 2011-11-11. 
  23. ^ Halverson, Kathy (2001-05-05). "The List Murders Stun Westfield In 1971". The Westfield Leader (archived at Retrieved 2006-06-01. 
  24. ^ "Bay City native creates top-grossing video game", The Argus-Press, October 30, 1994,,5342976 
  25. ^ "All-Time Players". Retrieved 21 February 2010. 

External links

Coordinates: 43°35′42″N 83°53′19″W / 43.59505°N 83.888639°W / 43.59505; -83.888639

Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Bay City (Michigan) — Bay City …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Bay City (Michigan) — Pour les articles homonymes, voir Bay City. 43° 35′ 42″ N 83° 53′ 19″ W …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Veterans Memorial Bridge (Bay City, Michigan) — Infobox Bridge bridge name=Veterans Memorial Bridge caption= official name=Veterans Memorial Bridge carries= crosses=Saginaw River locale=Bay City, Michigan maint=Michigan Department of Transportation id= design=Bascule bridge mainspan=… …   Wikipedia

  • State Theatre (Bay City, Michigan) — The State Theatre is a single screen movie theater located in Bay City, Michigan. Built in 1908 during the booming lumbering era in Michigan, the State Theatre was originally known as the Bijou, and was one of the many vaudeville and burlesque… …   Wikipedia

  • West Bay City, Michigan — West Bay City was a city in the U.S. state of Michigan.In 1905, West Bay City merged with Bay City, Michigan …   Wikipedia

  • Liberty Bridge (Bay City, Michigan) — Infobox Bridge bridge name=Liberty Bridge caption= official name=Liberty Bridge carries= crosses=Saginaw River locale=Bay City, Michigan maint= id= design=Bascule bridge mainspan= length= width= height= load= clearance= below= traffic= begin=… …   Wikipedia

  • The Aladdin Company, Bay City Michigan — Infobox Company company name = The Aladdin Company company company type = Defunct company slogan = foundation = 1906 location = Bay City, Michigan key people = W. J. Sovereign, O. E. Sovereign num employees = industry = Mail Order products =… …   Wikipedia

  • Bay County, Michigan — Infobox U.S. County county = Bay County state = Michigan map size = 225 founded = February 17,1857 [ History Of Bay County.htm] seat = Bay City | area total sq mi =631 area land sq mi =444 area water… …   Wikipedia

  • Bay County (Michigan) — Verwaltung US Bundesstaat: Michigan Verwaltungssitz: Bay City Gründung: 1857 Demographie Einwohner: 109.452 …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Bay Shore, Michigan — Bay Shore is a small, unincorporated community located on the boundary between Charlevoix County and Emmet County in the U.S. state of Michigan. It is situated on a ridge overlooking the Little Traverse Bay on Lake Michigan. Bay Shore is on US 31 …   Wikipedia

Share the article and excerpts

Direct link
Do a right-click on the link above
and select “Copy Link”

We are using cookies for the best presentation of our site. Continuing to use this site, you agree with this.