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Saginaw is a city in the U.S. state of Michiganmarker and the seat of Saginaw Countymarker. Once two independent cities, the consolidated City of Saginaw was once a thriving lumber town and manufacturing center. Saginaw and Saginaw County lie in the Flint/Tri-Cities region of Michigan. The city is adjacent to Saginaw Charter Townshipmarker and considered part of the Tri-Cities area, along with Bay Citymarker and Midlandmarker. As of the 2000 census, the city had a total population of 61,799. The 2008 census estimate places the population at 55,620.


The site of what is presently the City of Saginaw was originally inhabited by Native Americans. The Sauk lived in the area and were driven from the area by Ojibwe . The name Saginaw is believed to mean "where the Sauk were" in the Ojibwe language. French missionaries and traders first appeared in the area during the late 1600s. The first permanent settlement by those other than Native Americans was in 1815 when Louis Campau established a trading post on the west bank of the Saginaw River. Shortly thereafter the United States established Fort Saginaw.

During Michigan's territorial period, a county and township government were organized at Saginaw. Growth of the settlement was fueled rapidly during the 1800s by the lumber industry. Saginaw was the site of numerous sawmills and served as a port for Great Lakes vessels. What is now the City of Saginaw resulted from the consolidation of the cities of East Saginaw and Saginaw (West Side) in 1889.

During the 1900s, Saginaw's economy was dominated by manufacturing related to the automotive industry. Immigration from other areas, particularly the American south, swelled the population. This population growth particularly expanded the presence of African-Americans in Saginaw. The politics of the city became dominated with issues of race relations. The manufacturing presence in Saginaw declined in the latter half of the 20th century and the population diminished as well. Saginaw has faced increasing social problems relating to poverty as a result of its high rate of unemployment. Crime has been a major area of concern for the community in recent years.



According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 18.2 square miles (47.1 km²), of which, 17.4 square miles (45.2 km²) of it is land and 0.7 square miles (1.9 km²) of it (3.96%) is water. Saginaw lies on the Saginaw River, inland from the Saginaw Baymarker, an arm of Lake Huronmarker.



[[Image:Saginaw-Bay City-Saginaw Township North CSA.png|thumb|right|250px|Location of the Saginaw-Bay City-Saginaw Township North CSA and its components:]]

Saginaw is the largest principal city of the Saginaw-Bay City-Saginaw Township North CSAmarker, a Combined Statistical Area that includes the Saginaw-Saginaw Township Northmarker (Saginaw County) and Bay Citymarker (Bay Countymarker) metropolitan areas, which had a combined population of 320,196 at the 2000 census.

As of the census of 2000, there were 61,799 people, 23,182 households, and 15,114 families residing in the city. The population density was 3,542.9 people per square mile (1,368.2/km²). There were 25,639 housing units at an average density of 1,469.9/sq mi (567.6/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 47.02% White, 43.26% African American, 0.49% Native American, 0.33% Asian, 0.02% Pacific Islander, 5.86% from other races, and 3.03% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 11.75% of the population.

There were 23,182 households out of which 35.4% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 32.9% were married couples living together, 27.3% had a female householder with no husband present, and 34.8% were non-families. 29.5% of all households were made up of individuals and 9.9% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.60 and the average family size was 3.23.

In the city the population was spread out with 31.6% under the age of 18, 9.9% from 18 to 24, 28.3% from 25 to 44, 18.7% from 45 to 64, and 11.4% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 31 years. For every 100 females there were 87.2 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 81.0 males.

The median income for a household in the city was $26,485, and the median income for a family was $29,945. Males had a median income of $31,614 versus $22,714 for females. The per capita income for the city was $13,816. About 24.7% of families and 28.5% of the population were below the poverty line, including 40.2% of those under age 18 and 16.3% of those age 65 or over.

Law and government


Saginaw is classified as a Home Rule City under the Michigan Home Rule Cities Act which permits cities to exercise "Home Rule" powers, among which is the power to frame and adopt its own City Charter which serves as the fundamental law of the city, in a manner similar to a Constitution for a national or state government. The present Charter was adopted in 1935 and took effect on January 6, 1936. Pursuant to the City Charter, Saginaw is governed by a nine member elected at-large Council. The term of office for a member of the City Council is four years commencing with the first meeting following a regular municipal election. The terms of Council members are staggered so that the entire Council is not subject to re-election at the same time; alternatively either four or five members are elected in each odd-numbered year.


Higher education

The City of Saginaw is served by Delta Collegemarker and Saginaw Valley State University, which are located in nearby University Centermarker, Michiganmarker and a campus of Davenport University, located in Kochville Township. Central Michigan Universitymarker maintains an off-campus center inside the city that offers numerous degree programs.

Primary and secondary schools

The City of Saginaw is served by the Saginaw Public School District (SPSD). The district operates 14 elementary schools, 2 combined elementary/middle schools; Arthur Eddy Academy K-8, and Zilwaukee K-8, 2 middle schools; Central Middle School and Willie E. Thompson Middle School, and 4 high schools. The district is governed by a seven member elected board of education. The board selects a superintendent for the district. The current superintendent is Dr. Tom Barris. The three public high schools in Saginaw are Arthur Hill High Schoolmarker, Saginaw High School, and the Saginaw Arts and Sciences Academymarker. Michigan Lutheran Seminary is the lone private high school in the city. Charter schools in the city are North Saginaw Charter Academy and Saginaw Prep schools.


The water treatment facility in Saginaw was constructed in 1929.


The City of Saginaw gets its electricity and natural gas from Consumers Energy.

Municipal water supply

In 1929, the city opened its consolidated water works plant which replaced two separate plants that were on each side of the Saginaw river. This plant treated water brought in from the Saginaw river and piped it out to the residents as well as corner pumps for people that did not have direct connections to the system. Currently, the City of Saginaw jointly owns with the City of Midland the Saginaw-Midland Municipal Water Supply Corporation. Incorporated in 1946, this water treatment system has supplied drinking and industrial water to both cities and many surrounding areas within the county. Due to brackish water being in the aquifers below both cities, a long pipeline was constructed in 1948 to supply water from Lake Huronmarker at White Stone Point, north of Au Gresmarker to water treatment plants in Saginaw and Midland with a second pipe added by 1996. This system has played a role in the decline of the city. The City of Saginaw, in order to provide obtain new sources of revenue, sold water to areas outside of the city (especially to the Saginaw Charter Townshipmarker). This caused numerous businesses inside the city to leave for the surrounding areas and development in the city to stagnate. The City of Midland, however, adopted a policy of "No Annexation, No Water" which has led to the growth of the city as well as the surrounding areas.


A map of Saginaw's Houghton-Jones neighborhood.
Despite its size, The City of Saginaw consists of many neighborhoods, including:

  • Downtown
  • Old Town
  • Southwest Village
  • Northmoor
  • Heritage Square
  • Cathedral District
  • Houghton Jones Neighborhood
  • South East Side
  • Triangle Parks
  • St. Stephen's Area
  • Brockway-Carmen Park
  • Butman-Fish Neighborhood
  • Redeemer Area
  • Saginaw High Neighborhood
  • Northeast Side
  • Covenant Neighborhood
  • The Sandhill
  • The Woods


Saginaw is served primarily by two airports; MBS International Airportmarker, located in nearby Freelandmarker, and Bishop International Airportmarker, located in Flintmarker. Saginaw is also served by three smaller airports; Harry W. Browne Airport in adjacent Buena Vista Townshipmarker, James Clements Municipal Airportmarker in Bay Citymarker, and Jack Barstow Municipal Airport in Midlandmarker. In addition to the airports, Interstate 75 serves as the main arterial route for the Saginaw area while Interstate 675 provides direct access to the center of the city from Interstate 75. Interstate 69 is a nearby east-west corridor providing access to the rest of the Midwestern United States and Canadamarker. The Saginaw River runs through the middle of the city and provides access to Saginaw Baymarker and the rest of the Great Lakesmarker via docks on the northern side of the city. Historically, ships were able to move all along the length of the river inside the city but fixed bridges being built over the river closed access south of the northern docks. In the city and surrounding areas, mass transit is provided by bus under the authority of the Saginaw Transit Authority Regional Services (STARS) system. The STARS system connects to Bay City's Bus system at Saginaw Valley State University.

Major highways

I-75 passes along the eastern side of the city through Buena Vista Charter Townshipmarker.
I-675 provides a short freeway loop through downtown Saginaw and back to I-75 through Saginaw Charter Townshipmarker.
M-13 runs from I-69 through downtown Saginaw and north to Standishmarker.
M-46 is a cross-peninsular road, running across the mitten and the thumb – from Port Sanilacmarker on the Lake Huronmarker shore, through Saginaw, and then on to Muskegonmarker on the Lake Michiganmarker shore. This east-west surface route nearly bisects the Lower Peninsula of Michigan latitudinally.
M-47 passes through the western suburbs and provides a direct connection to MBS International Airportmarker.
M-52 runs from the Ohiomarker border through Adrianmarker and Owossomarker before ending at M-46, in the western suburbs of Saginaw. M-52 also provides an alternate connection to Lansingmarker, Michigan's state capitol.
M-58 runs from M-47 to I-675.
M-81 runs east from M-13 to Caromarker and Cass Citymarker and ends at M-53 in Sanilac Countymarker.
M-84 runs from downtown Bay Citymarker to M-58 in Saginaw.

Culture and entertainment

The city's main entertainment can be found in the downtown area, where places such as the Children's Zoo, The Dow Event Centermarker and the restored Temple Theatre offer live entertainment. The Dow Event Center is also home to the city's junior ice hockey team, the Saginaw Spirit of the Ontario Hockey League as well as The Saginaw Sting, an indoor football team. The downtown area, which contains a number of office buildings from the late 1800s and early 1900s, is located near the Saginaw Club, a local businessmen's club founded in 1889, and the Saginaw Center, an educational complex run by Delta Collegemarker. Once vibrant, the downtown area has been in decline in recent years and presently struggles with blight. Downtown is not to be confused with the Old Town/West Side City area located on the other side of the river and about one mile (1.6 km) south. Old Town houses many popular bars, locally owned restaurants, and arts organizations.


The Saginaw area is home to two professional sports teams as well as one NCAA Division-II school that has various sports programs. The Saginaw Spirit is an Ontario Hockey League team that became nationally known when television personality Stephen Colbert promoted the team on his show, The Colbert Report. The Saginaw Sting is an indoor football team that formed in 2007 to play in Saginaw beginning in the 2008 season. At the collegiate level, Saginaw Valley State University competes in numerous sports such as American Football, Basketball, and Volleyball.

Team Sport League Year founded Venue
Saginaw Spirit Ice hockey Ontario Hockey League 2001 Dow Event Centermarker
Saginaw Sting Indoor football Continental Indoor Football League 2008 Dow Event Centermarker
Saginaw Valley State University Various Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference 1963 SVSU Campus

Shopping Areas

The area's main shopping district is located along Bay Rd. and Tittabawassee Road north of town, where several big box stores can be found. Also in the same area is Fashion Square Mallmarker, a regional shopping mall anchored by JCPenney, Macy'smarker, and Sears. There are also many restaurants in this part of town, primarily regional chains. Out-lying shopping exists for Saginaw Township residents along State Street, which is a main corridor through the township district. There are smaller businesses, consisting mostly of grocery stores, convenience stores, gas stations and other service style businesses.


Television stations

Saginaw is part of Nielsen's Flint-Saginaw-Bay City-Midland Designated Market Area which is the 66th largest market in the United States for Television Viewers. Saginaw is the home of CBS affiliate WNEMmarker which maintains its studios and offices inside the City though its license is for Bay City, MI. ABC affiliate WJRTmarker maintains its offices and newsrooms in Saginaw while its studios are in its community of license, Flintmarker. Only NBC affiliate WEYImarker and Christian station WAQPmarker have the City of Saginaw as their city of record but both maintain their facilities outside of the city. Charter Communications operates a cable television network servicing the City of Saginaw under a franchise agreement.

Television stations in the Saginaw, Michigan area (Ascending order)
Channel Call letters Description Comments
5 WNEM-TVmarker CBS affiliate Licensed to Bay City; studios in Saginaw
12 WJRT-TVmarker ABC O&O affiliate Based and licensed in Flint
19 WDCQ-TVmarker PBS member station Licensed to Bad Axemarker; studios at Delta Collegemarker in University Centermarker
25 WEYI-TVmarker NBC affiliate Licensed to Saginaw; studios in Cliomarker
46 WBSFmarker CW affiliate Licensed to Bay City; studios in Cliomarker
49 WAQPmarker TCT O&O affiliate Based and licensed in Saginaw
66 WSMHmarker Fox affiliate Based and licensed in Flint

Radio stations

Radio stations licensed within the immediate Saginaw area (Saginaw County) are listed. Many locations in the City of Saginaw also receive stations from Bay City, Midland, and Flint.

AM radio stations
Frequency Call sign Name Format Owner City
790 AM WSGWmarker Newsradio 790 News/Talk NextMedia Group Saginaw, Michiganmarker
1250 AM WNEMmarker WNEM 1250 AM News/Talk Meredith Corporation Saginaw, Michiganmarker
1400 AM WSAMmarker The Bay Soft adult contemporary MacDonald Broadcasting Saginaw, Michiganmarker

FM radio stations
Frequency Call sign Name Format Owner City
90.9 FM WTRK Air 1 Contemporary Christian Educational Media Foundation Saginaw, Michiganmarker
93.3 FM WKQZmarker The Rock Station, Z93 Modern rock Citadel Broadcasting Saginaw, Michiganmarker
93.7 FM WRCLmarker Club 93.7 Rhythmic contemporary Regent Communications Saginaw, Michiganmarker
94.5 FM WCENmarker 94.5 The Moose Country music NextMedia Group Saginaw, Michiganmarker
96.1 FM WHNNmarker Oldies 96 Oldies Citadel Broadcasting Saginaw, Michiganmarker
97.3 FM WMJOmarker 97.3 Joe FM Classic hits/Hot AC MacDonald Broadcasting Saginaw, Michiganmarker
98.1 FM WKCQmarker 98FM KCQ Country music MacDonald Broadcasting Saginaw, Michiganmarker
100.5 FM WTKQmarker FM Talk 100.5 News/Talk NextMedia Group Saginaw, Michiganmarker
102.5 FM WIOGmarker The Hit Music Channel Contemporary hits Citadel Broadcasting Saginaw, Michiganmarker
104.1 FM WSAMmarker The Bay Soft adult contemporary MacDonald Broadcasting Bridgeportmarker, Michiganmarker
104.5 FM WILZmarker Wheelz 104.5 Classic rock Citadel Broadcasting Saginaw, Michiganmarker
106.3 FM WGERmarker The New Mix 106.3 Hot Adult contemporary NextMedia Group Saginaw, Michiganmarker
107.1 FM WTLZmarker Hot 107.1 Urban adult contemporary NextMedia Group Saginaw, Michiganmarker


  • The Saginaw News — Thursday, Friday, Sunday
  • Review Magazine — biweekly
  • The Saginaw Press — weekly

Saginaw in popular culture and literature

  • Stevie Wonder was born in Saginaw, Michigan in 1950 as the third of six children to Calvin Judkins and Lula Mae Hardaway Morris.
  • Saginaw is referred to in the Simon & Garfunkel song "America", which is about hitchhiking across the USA. It was noted: "It took me four days to hitchhike from Saginaw, I've gone to look for America."
  • Bill Anderson and Don Wayne wrote a song entitled "Saginaw Michigan" that has been covered by a dozen artists. Cowboy singer Lefty Frizzell was the first to perform it, with his version reaching number one on the country charts. Also popularly, it was performed by Johnny Cash.
  • Saginaw was also referred to as "dreadful" by the bold character Miss Ferenczi in the short story "Gryphon" by Charles Baxter.
  • Saginaw served as the destination point for the Seinfeld characters Kramer and Newman during an episode where the pair hatched a scheme to transport bottles and cans via a United States Postal Service mail truck from New Yorkmarker to Michiganmarker to earn 10¢ per recycled item, as opposed to New York's 5¢.

Notable natives

See also: :Category:People from Saginaw, Michigan

Sister cities

See also


External links

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