HOME - Front Page
Heritage \ Writings \

Bay City Dry Docks.
  • Added Oct., 2014.

  • History of Bay County, Michigan, 1883.

    Excerpt from biography of Bernard Witthauer.

    In the Spring of 1878, we find our subject at the head of the business in which he is at present engaged as manager of the Bay City Dry Dock and Shipyard Company.

    Excerpt from Biography of Hubbard H. Church.

    He built the Bay City Dry Dock in 1876, which he operated a short time, and sold out to Judge Campbell.

    History of Bay County, Michigan August H. Gansser, 1905

    Excerpt from biography of Robert J. Campbell.

    In Bay City a part owner of one of the finest dry docks here is our subject.

    Their dock is located at the foot of Atlantic Street on the Saginaw River. It was established in 1872, first as a floating dock. On Mr. Campbell's becoming connected with it, in 1875-75, he made of it a ground dock. It is three hundred and six feet long, fifty-five feet wide at the bottom and eighty feed wide at the top, with sixteen-inch centrifugal pumps which will empty the dock when occupied by a big boat in about two hours.

    The business has continued for the past twelve years without interruption, the firm being composed of Mrs. Margaret Witthauer, as silent partner, and our subject as active partner.

    Bay County Past and Present, George E. Butterfield,

    Page 146.

    The particulars of the Bay City Dry Dock, briefly stated, are as follow:

    Length 400 ft.; extreme width at gate top, 60 ft.; bottom, 55 ft. The width of the dock from coping to coping is 95 ft. The depth of water over sill is 14 ft. to 15 ft. 10 in., according to the depth of water in the river. With the water at a depth of 14 ft. the dock contains 3,539,100 gallons of water. When the gate is close the water is removed by two centrifugal pumps that have a capacity of 22,000 gallons of water each per minute and it takes us a little less than two hours to pump out the dock. The dock is filled by opening four large gate valves, and it requires about one and one-half hours to flood the dock. These gate valves are situated in the gate which is known as a pontoon gate it floats like a boat. It also has valves by which water is admitted to the gate so that it can settle and come to place as desired. The centrifugal pumps are operated by means of a clutch, so that either one or both of the pumps can be operated at the same time. These get their power from a Corliss engine, which has 275 indicated horse power. We also have a drainage purposes only and to safe running the big pumps to remove small amount of water. Our dry dock is busy all of the time repairing and rebuilding ships. With the dry dock of course we have complete saw mill, planing mills and other appliances for the economical repairing and rebuilding of boats.


    Great Lakes Pilot, Vol 1, 1923.

    Dry docks There are two dry docks, as follows:

    The Bay City Dry Dock.
    Length overall, 316 feet; length on blocks, 306 feet; width of gate at top, 62 feet; at bottom, 42 feet; depth over sill, 13-1/2 feet.

    The James Davidson Dock in West Bay City.
    Length over all, 435 feet; length on blocks, 400 feet; width of gate at top, 100 feet; at bottom, 60 feet; depth over sill, 14-1/2 feet.

    Dry Dock Pictures:

    Bay City Dry Dock

    Bay City Floating Dry Dock

    Tug Sarah Smith Winslow

    Additional Notes:

      1880 Detroit Tribune, JUn. 7, 1886.
      The Bay City Dry Dock built and launched the vessel George L. Colwell.

      1881 Directory: Bay City, Mich.
      Bay City Dry Dock Bernard Witthauer magr., office foot 3d.

      1883 Directory Bay City, Mich.
      Bay City Dry-Dock, Bernard Witthauer mgnr, dock e s Saginaw river, northern terminus of street railway, office foot 3rd.
      Witthauer, Bernard M, mngr Bay City Dry Dock, office foot of 3d, res 1601 5th.

      Bay City Dry Dock Employees:
      Depriskey, Peter carpenter (1879)
      Duare, Newell caulker (1879)
      Dufrene, Antoine caulker (1879)
      Duger, Charles ship carpenter (1879)
      Hitchcock, Capt. P.B. - Contracting Agent, bds Wolverton House (1879)
      Leroy, Frank ship carpenter (1879)
      Trahan, Edward foreman (1878)
      Witthauer, Bernard M. - mngr, res. 910 McClellan (1883)

      The History of Cleveland and Its Environs, 1918.
      James Ritchie, of Cleveland, designed and superintended the construction of the Bay City Drydock, 450 feet.

    Subject Notes

    Related Pages:
    Campbell, Robert J.
    Church, Hubbard H.
    Davidson, James.
    Shipbldg. Bay City (1886)
    Witthauer, Bernard
    People Referenced
    Campbell, Robt. J.
    Church, Hubbard H.
    Colwell, Geo. L.
    Davidson, E. James
    Depriskey, Peter
    Duare, Newell
    Dufrene, Antoine
    Duger, Charles
    Hitchcock, Capt. P.B.
    Leroy, Frank
    Trahan, Edward
    Ritchie, James
    Witthauer, Bernard
    Witthauer, Margaret
    Subjects Referenced
    Bay City, MI
    Bay City Dry Dock
    Cleveland, MI
    James Davidson Dock
    Saginaw River, MI
    West Bay City, MI
    Wolverton House
    WRITINGS: History As It Was Written Then.