A Thriving Community
Building on a Strong Foundation
... for a Strong Future
In the latter part of the 19th Century and the early part of the 20th Century, Bay City developed into a picturesque riverfront city of historic homes and shops. Now it is a city loaded with hisory — from Native Americans and immigrant settlers to lumbering, ship building, archaeology, agriculture and commerce.
Bay City, nestled in the Saginaw Valley among extensive wooded land near a waterway for transport of lumber, was easily crowned the "Lumber Capitol of the World" in 1844. In the following years, lumbering became a boom industry and more than 50 mills were active in the Bay City area. By 1888, over four billion feet of lumber had been cut, enough to circle the globe with a walkway of two-inch planks, four feet in width. Bay City's many stately mansions were built by "lumber barons" during the 1880s. Architectural styles from 1830 to 1940 in Bay City's more than 1,000 historical buildings within the city limits are among the best maintained and most varied in the state. It was in 1850 that the salt basin, which underlies the area, was tapped and this too progressed as the lumber business had done.
The lumber industry also promoted boat construction in Bay City—an industry still thriving today. Over the years, Bay City has produced variety of crafts — from U.S. Naval vessels to luxury yachts. In recent years Bay City has become the home of both wind and power boat champions and is known nationally for its annual River Roar Boat Races.
Situated near the mouth of the Saginaw River, which joins the Saginaw Bay downstream and hence Lake Huron and the Great Lakes Waterway, Bay City is still one of the top ranked ports on the Great Lakes. the Bay City Port area handles a tremendous amount of commercial seaway shipping—more waterborne tonnage is handled here than at any of the 31 other Michigan port cities, excluding Detroit. There are a score of terminal facilities along the river banks, and three turning basins provide ample ship maneuverability. During the shipping season you will see large great lake freighters and pleasure boats traveling on this river.
The lumber era losing steam and the industrial and manufacturing era beginning, Bay City grabbed the chance to further diversify its commeercial interests. In was only natural that machine shops were built which in time began turning out mammoth railroad and industrial cranes that where used the world over.
When the automobile arrived, Bay City moved toward the future again. A plant that had been internationally famous for making bicycles began producing automobile parts. Today this factory is still an important facility producing parts for the General Motors Corporation parts facility. Bay City continues to demonstrate its diversified industrial abilities—our products include power shovels (we built one of the largest in the world), cement, electric furnaces, prefabricated homes, electric welding machines, women's sleepwear, and award winning textile production. The Dow Chemical Company recently to add plastic-lined pipes and Ziploc bags to the lengthy honor roll of fine Bay County products.
A river valley in which Bay City is located is typically rich agriculturally. No exception here! Sugar beets and beans are the area's main cash crops. We can boast about having the largest sugar refinery East of the Mississippi. Farmer's markets and roadside stands sell an abundance of fresh produce to area residents at reasonable prices.
Bay City is now also an important center of tourism, with an abundance of activities and events year-round. Bay City is an ideal community—full of opportunities for those who want to live, work and play. We have the elements "big city living" with the friendly feel of a small town. Serious shoppers or sidewalk browsers find much to interest them in Downtown Bay City’s wide array of unique shops and stores. Enjoy a cup of espresso and people watch at a sidewalk café or savor a gourmet meal. For art lovers, Downtown Bay City is home to art studios and artisan cooperatives that feature a wide diversity of works. Bay City has built upon it's history, heritage and culture—creating a place moving toward the future at a comfortable, friendly pace.