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Bay City, Michigan

Bay City
Westside Business District, 2007
Westside Business District, 2007
Location of Bay City, Michigan
Location of Bay City, Michigan
Country  United States
State  Michigan
County Bay
Settled 1837
Incorporation 1865
 • Type Commission-Manager
 • Mayor Christopher Shannon
 • City Manager Richard Finn
 • City 29.03 km2 (11.21 sq mi)
 • Land 26.34 km2 (10.17 sq mi)
 • Water 2.69 km2 (1.04 sq mi)
 • Urban 103.034 km2 (39.78 sq mi)
Elevation 178.3 m (585 ft)
Population (2010)[2]
 • City 34,932
 • Estimate (2012[3]) 34,521
 • Density 1,326.2/km2 (3,434.8/sq mi)
 • Urban 70,585 (US: 390th)
 • Metro 107,110 (US: 335th)
Time zone EST (UTC-5)
 • Summer (DST) EDT (UTC-4)
ZIP code 48706-48710
Area code(s) 989
FIPS code 26-06020
GNIS feature ID 0620777[4]

Bay City is a city in Bay County, 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; Liberty Bridge, Veterans Memorial Bridge, Independence Bridge, and Lafayette Avenue Bridge, 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.


  • Neighborhood 1
  • History 2
    • Notable events 2.1
  • Geography 3
  • Climate 4
  • Transportation 5
    • Major highways 5.1
    • Bridges 5.2
  • Demographics 6
    • 2010 census 6.1
    • 2000 census 6.2
  • Government 7
    • Representatives 7.1
  • Economy 8
    • Top employers 8.1
  • Culture 9
    • In popular culture 9.1
  • Legend and folklore 10
  • Education 11
    • Primary/secondary education 11.1
    • Colleges 11.2
  • Business districts 12
  • Sites of interest 13
  • Media 14
  • Notable people 15
  • Sister cities 16
  • References 17
  • External links 18


  • West Bay City is a section of the city on the West side of the Saginaw River that was a former city.[5][6]
  • Brooks is located at the intersection of the Huron and Eastern Railway and Hotchkiss Road and Euclid Avenue where the borders of the City, Frankenlust Township and Monitor Township meet.[7]


Bay City Street Map, 1898

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.[8] 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

  • City of Bay City, Michigan
  • Bay City Convention & Visitors Bureau
  • Bay Area Chamber of Commerce – Bay City
  • Bay City, Michigan at DMOZ

External links

  1. ^ a b "US Gazetteer files 2010".  
  2. ^ a b "American FactFinder".  
  3. ^ "Population Estimates".  
  4. ^ "US Board on Geographic Names".  
  5. ^ a b Romig, Walter, L.H.D. Michigan Place Names. Detroit, MI: Wayne State University Press, 1986. 673 pages.
  6. ^ U.S. Geological Survey Geographic Names Information System: West Bay City, Michigan & GNIS in Google Map
  7. ^ Bay County (PDF) (Map). Map by Counties. Lansing, Michigan: State of Michigan. August 5, 2010. p. 1. Retrieved July 21, 2013. 
  8. ^ Bay County Past and Present (Centennial Edition, 1957), p. 49
  9. ^ a b U.S. Geological Survey Geographic Names Information System: Bay City Post Office, Michigan & GNIS in Google Map
    Citation: directoriesUSA. Michigan Business Directory, 2007/2008. 2007/2008. December 12, 2007.
    Variant Name Hampton Post Office Citation: Ellis, David M. Michigan Postal History, The Post Offices 1805–1986. December 12, 1993.
  10. ^ "USS Edson's Bay County arrival draws visitors from near and far for first tours". Bay City Times. August 7, 2012. 
  11. ^ [3] Archived June 18, 2010 at the Wayback Machine
  12. ^ Gemini Calls on Riverside Park
  13. ^ [4] Archived March 14, 2012 at the Wayback Machine
  14. ^ "WWII vet frozen to death leaves estate to hospital -". CNN. February 4, 2009. Retrieved April 26, 2010. 
  15. ^ Murphy, Shannon (October 14, 2010), "City Hall damage", The Bay City Times: A1, A2 
  16. ^ Murphy, Shannon (November 4, 2010), "Fire cause found", The Bay City Times: A1, A2 
  17. ^ Climate Summary for Bay City, Michigan
  18. ^ "Annual Estimates of the Resident Population for Incorporated Places: April 1, 2010 to July 1, 2014". Retrieved June 4, 2015. 
  19. ^ City of Bay City CAFR
  20. ^ Flags of the World, Bay City, Michigan.
  21. ^ The Bay City Times, October 9, 2014:
  22. ^ Madonna: The Jane Pauley Interview, July 30, 1987, NBC Television
  23. ^ Payne, Amy L. (February 9, 2009). "Debate brews over Madonna coffee name".  
  24. ^ – The Truth About Folk Heroes
  25. ^ "Buildings Directory" (PDF). Bay City Public Schools. December 2, 2013. 
  26. ^ Downtown Bay City
  27. ^ Appledore Tall Ships – BaySail
  28. ^ Studio23
  29. ^ PlanetariumHome Page Test
  30. ^
  31. ^ Bay County Historical Society
  32. ^ "Singer of the Week: Madonna". (IGN Entertainment, Inc.). Archived from the original on June 13, 2006. Retrieved June 1, 2006. 
  33. ^ Jerry Leahy NFL Football Statistics –
  34. ^ Halverson, Kathy (May 5, 2001). "The List Murders Stun Westfield In 1971". The Westfield Leader (archived at Retrieved June 1, 2006. 
  35. ^ Kohut, Alex (November 11, 2010). "Renowned Trick Shot Pool Player Headlining Saturday Bay County Toys for Tots Fundraiser". Bay City Times. 
  36. ^ Michigan State University's Trenton Robinson poised to become first player from Bay City taken in NFL Draft since 1973 |
  37. ^ "All-Time Players". Retrieved February 21, 2010. 


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

Sister cities

Notable people

Bay City is also part of the , and the .

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


Bay City, looking East from Veterans Memorial Park

Sites of interest

  • 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.[26]
  • 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 many 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, Younkers); other stores in area include Wal-Mart and The Home Depot
  • Water Street – home to Michigan's largest antique district

Business districts


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

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

Bay Area Catholic Schools operates four 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.

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

Bay City Public Schools operates eight elementary schools, two middle schools, and two high schools.[25]

Primary/secondary education

The Sage library


Many local residents contend that the fictional lumberjack, Paul Bunyan, was based on an infamous lumberjack Fabian "Saginaw Joe" Fournier, a lumberjack who frequented the Bay City waterfront.[24]

Legend and folklore

The entertainer Madonna, who was born in Bay City, referred to her birthplace as "a stinky, little town in Northern Michigan" on national television.[22][23]

The Bay City Rollers, a Scottish band, was named after this city after the band randomly threw a dart at a map.

In popular culture

The Things That Go Bump In The Night Film Festival is held annually in October. The festival presents films produced by local film makers in the horror, thriller and suspense genres. The event aims to provide a platform for local film makers to showcase their appropriately themed short films. The current venue for the festival is the Westown Theater in Bay City, Michigan.[21]

The official Bay City flag is blue with the city logo on it. It has been changed from the original design.[20]

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

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.

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 Bay City Fireworks Festival, 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.

Bay City's Firework Festival – 2005


Michigan Sugar is also based in Bay City.

# Employer # of Employees
1 Bay Regional Medical Center 1,749
2 Bay City Public Schools 921
3 Bay County 525
4 S. C. Johnson & Son 398
5 City of Bay City 345
6 GM Powertrain 325
7 DoubleTree 133
8 Chemical Financial Corporation 128
9 Independent Bank 125
10 F. P. Horak 124

According to Bay City's 2011 Comprehensive Annual Financial Report,[19] the top employers in the city are:

Top employers


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

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


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 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.

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.

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.

As of the census 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.

2000 census

The median age in the city was 35.8 years. 24.9% of residents were under the age of 18; 9.7% were between the ages of 18 and 24; 27.2% were from 25 to 44; 25.8% were from 45 to 64; and 12.3% were 65 years of age or older. The gender makeup of the city was 48.7% male and 51.3% female.

There were 14,436 households of which 31.7% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 37.0% were married couples living together, 16.6% had a female householder with no husband present, 5.6% had a male householder with no wife present, and 40.8% were non-families. 33.7% of all households were made up of individuals and 11.3% 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.

As of the census[2] of 2010, there were 34,932 people, 14,436 households, and 8,546 families residing in the city. The population density was 3,434.8 inhabitants per square mile (1,326.2/km2). There were 15,923 housing units at an average density of 1,565.7 per square mile (604.5/km2). The racial makeup of the city was 89.7% White, 3.5% Black, 0.6% Native American, 0.5% Asian, 1.8% from other races, and 3.9% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 8.5% of the population.

2010 census


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).


Major highways


This climatic region is typified by large seasonal temperature differences, with warm to hot (and often humid) summers and cold (sometimes severely cold) winters. According to the Köppen Climate Classification system, Bay City has a humid continental climate, abbreviated "Dfb" on climate maps.[17]


Bay City, along with Saginaw, and Midland make up the Tri-Cities Area, a sub-region of Flint/Tri-Cities. Bay City is sometimes regarded as being part of the greater Thumb of Michigan Area, which is also a sub-region of the Flint/Tri-Cities.

According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 11.21 square miles (29.03 km2), of which 10.17 square miles (26.34 km2) is land and 1.04 square miles (2.69 km2) is water.[1] Despite declining population, Bay City remains (by a narrow margin over Port Huron) as the largest U.S. 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).


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.[15][16]

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.[13] 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.[14]

In September 1990, the tankship MV Jupiter was unloading gasoline at the Total Petroleum Terminal. A passing cargo ship, MV Buffalo, moving at excessive speed, created a wake that caused 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 Buffalo. The findings of the Court of Appeals upheld the original decision, which assigned 50% of the responsibility to Buffalo (for her excessive speed), 25% to the dock operator (for rotten wood pilings) and 25% to Jupiter (for improper procedures in unloading her cargo).[11][12]

Notable events

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 and the Royal Australian Navy. To maintain this strong Naval heritage, the Saginaw Valley Naval Ship Museum worked through the Naval Sea Systems Command to bring the USS Edson (DD-946) to Bay City as a museum ship. It was finally delivered to its temporary home in Essexville, Michigan on August 7, 2012.[10] Another important part of the city's industrial history is Industrial Brownhoist, which was well known for its construction of large industrial cranes.

Until 1905, the City of Bay City was limited to the east bank of the Saginaw River. when West Bay City was annexed.[5]

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."

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.


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