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Bay City is a city in the U.S. state of Michiganmarker located near the base of the Saginaw Baymarker on Lake Huronmarker. As of the 2000 census, the city's population was 36,817, with the 2008 census estimate placing the population at 33,874. It is the county seat of Bay Countymarker and is the principal city of the Bay City Metropolitan Statistical Area, which is included in the Saginawmarker-Bay City-Saginaw Township Northmarker Combined Statistical Area. The city, along with nearby Midlandmarker and Saginawmarker, form the "Tri-Cities" 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 easily travel down the river. The city is served by MBS International Airportmarker, located in nearby Freelandmarker, and James Clements Municipal Airportmarker.

History

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. 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 Essexvillemarker and the townships of Bangormarker, Frankenlustmarker, Hamptonmarker, Merrittmarker, Monitormarker, and Portsmouthmarker.

Bay City was originally known as "Lower Saginaw," and fell within the boundaries of Saginaw Countymarker until Bay County was organized in 1857. It was at this time that the name was changed to Bay City. While Saginawmarker 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 (101 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 Fitzhugh’s 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 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).

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. 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.

Geography

According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 11.3 square miles (29.3 km²), of which, 10.4 square miles (27.0 km²) of it is land and 0.9 square miles (2.4 km²) of it (8.12%) is water.

Bay City along with Saginawmarker, and Midlandmarker 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



Bridges

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

Demographics

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/sq mi (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.

Government

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 Charles M. Brunner, who has served in that capacity since the 2007 election. 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.

Representatives

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. Jeff Mayes (D)
  • 31st State Senate District – State Sen. Jim Barcia (D)


Culture

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

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

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.

Education



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.

Bay-Arenac Community High School operates a charter alternative secondary 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 - Home to the Bay City Players
  • Downtown Bay City - Between Madison Avenue and the Saginaw River.
  • Johnson Street Business District - Fresh vegetable markets, and home to the best wine in the State of Michigan.
  • Lafayette/Salzburg/Kosciuszko Business District - Extends along Salzburg east to Kosciuszko (Lafayette turns into Kosciuszko).
  • The ASci Corporation
  • 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-Martmarker and The Home Depot
  • Water Street - home to Michigan's largest antique district


Sites of Interest

Bay City, looking East from Veterans Memorial Park


Media

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

Bay City is also part of the , and the .

Notable Bay City people





Sister cities



References

  1. [1]About Bay County
  2. [Bay County Past and Present (Centennial Edition, 1957), p. 49]
  3. http://www.ntsb.gov/Recs/letters/1991/M91_45.pdf
  4. Gemini Calls on Riverside Park
  5. http://www.wnem.com/news/18566890/detail.html#-
  6. http://www.cnn.com/2009/US/02/04/freezing.death.folo/index.html
  7. Flags of the World, Bay City, Michigan.
  8. Ancestry.com - The Truth About Folk Heroes
  9. http://downtownbaycity.com
  10. http://www.baysailbaycity.org/
  11. http://www.studio23baycity.org/
  12. http://www.delta.edu/planet/
  13. http://www.co.bay.mi.us/bay/home.nsf/Public/Bay_County_Civic_Arena.htm/
  14. http://www.bchsmuseum.org/
  15. http://www.antiquetoyandfirehousemuseum.org/
  16. (born in Bay City, grew up in Rochester, Michigan)


External links




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