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History of The Bay City Times.
by Marvin Kusmierz (January 2006)

Employees of The Bay City Times - Early 1900s

The Bay City Times has been delivering newspapers to residents of the Bay City area since 1873. However, its name has been changed a few times along the way.

The Bay City Times dates its history to 1873, and the Bay City Tribune, which was founded by an investment group comprised of John Culbert, Edmund Kroencke, Griffin Lewis and Thomas K. Harding. However, the initial edition of a newspaper published as The Bay City Times wasn't on the scene until 1906, which is when Wilbert H. Gustin founded his newspaper business. The Times competed with the Bay City Daily Tribune for a number of years before Gustin purchased the Tribue in 1916. He consolidated the two into one business. In 1927, the newspaper change its name to the Bay City Daily Times, then in 1935, that name was dropped in favor of its original name as The Bay City Times.

When the Tribune came into being the newspaper had its offices on the corner of Fifth Avnue and Saginaw Street. It remained there until 1878. That year the building was destroyed by a fire, which led to its relocation to the north west corner on Saginaw and Adams streets.

In 1873, when the Tribune began publishing its newspaper, they were up against some stiff competition from the Bay City Chronicle which dominated the publishing business at that time. That newpaper was owned by Henry S. Dow, a relative of Henry Dow who founded the Dow Chemical Company. The Chronicle offices were located in the Birney block on Water Street, between Fourth Street and Fifth Avenue. Mr. Dow was also a partner with Mr. Swizer in publishing the Lumberman's Gazzette newspaper. Its offices were located at 109 Center Avenue.

Making matters more difficult for the upstart Tribune was that Mr. Dow's had expanded his coverage earlier that year when he purchased the Bay City Journal newspaper from E. T. Bennett. The owners of the Bay City Tribune apparently had sufficent financing giving them time to penetrate the dominating position that Henry Dow enjoyed in publishin his newspapers. In 1879 they had achieve enough success to buy out Dow's business and taking him on as an employee of the Bay City Tribune.

Several small newspapers cropped up as competitors to the Tribune, however none ever became a serious threat. D. R. Curry took a stab at publishing with his Bay City Growler which was located at 210 Center Avenue, and published a weekly edition. Another was Judge James Birney who started up the Bay City Chronicle that was later operated by his son, Arthur Birney. The Birney paper was purchased by the Bay City Tribune in 1879. One start up that did well was the Bay City Observer, which began publishing its newspaper in 1876.

The Bay City Times building at Adams & Fifth Street.

The Bay City Times newspaper continues to do well as the only daily newspaper in Bay City. Its market includes not only Bay County, but counties to the north of it. The paper does a good job in covering the local news for the communities it serves. It has the lastest publishing technology and equipment, which is located in a new building at the industrial park in Monitor Township. It also provide an internet news service and recently has broken the 24 boundary of its print media to offer breaking new 24/7 on its website.

Of particular interest to this writer, has been the Times' devotion to coverage of historical news and subjects of which many of significant importance to understanding how our communities got to this point in time. Doing so in keeping with a tradition that began early in the life of the Times. This approach to many comtemporary stories provides an enriching experience for the readers while bring depth of knowledge regarding subjects where it is employed.

In 1998, the Times celebrated its 125th anniversary and used this ocassion to publish special edition of the history associated with its newspaper, and in which was included many histories of other subjects on which it was present to report. This edition is available for viewing on micro-film at the Bay City library, and is a most enjoyable reading.

Newspapers are an excellent resource for history buffs and those going family genealogy. I frequently available myself of thousands of news papers that have been micro-film and are available at most your local libraries. There is no other media form that captures such a variety of subjects with varying points of view than newspapers. Review subjects covered in old newspapers offers a perspective that can be most helpful in dealing with the difficulties we cope with in contemporary times, reinforcing hope that we will overcome the challenges we face just as our ancestors did.

The Bay City Times and The Saginaw News newspapers are now published and printed at the Valley Publish building located in Monitor Township's industrial park off Garfield Road, using the latest in publishing technolgies. Each newspaper continues to operate their headquarters out of their own office buildings in Bay City and Saginaw.
Relate Notes & Pages

Griffin Lewis (Bio.)

F. C. Merrill
Business Manager
Early 1900s.

Other Pages:
Civil War News - 1863-64
Dow, Henry S.
Early Bay City Newspapers
People Referenced
Birney, Arthur
Birney, James
Culbert, John
Gustin, Wilbert H.
Harding, Thomas K.
Joslin, Perry
Kroencke, Edmund
Lewis, Griffin
Partridge, Benjam F.(Gen.)
(See Database for other.)
Subjects Referenced
Bay City Daily Times newspaper
Bay City Observer newspaper
Chronicle newspaper
Pioneer Society of MI
Press & Times newspaper
The Bay City Times newspaper
The Press newspaper
(See Database for other.)
Other Resources
  • History listing of Bay County Newspapers (mifamilyhistory.org)
  • Article Sources
  • Book by Leslie Arndt:
    Bay County Story - Footpaths to Freeways.
  • Bay City Times:
    - Special edition, 5 Apr 1998.
  • BAY-JOURNAL: Putting Local History Online -- HELP US IF YOU CAN.