County building:
515 Center Avenue
Bay City, MI 48708
Special Messenger {History Timeline}

Townships & Year Organized.

Bay County - Cities & Townships.

The Communities section contains information and history specific to the cities and townships of Bay County. The county's general history is located under "History". Histories specific topeople, places, businesses, etc., are located in the "Heritage Library".

Bay County was organized in 1857, twenty-five years after the first permanent white settler, Leon Trombley, erected a log-cabin along the Saginaw River just south of present Fourth Street in Bay City, which is also the governmental seat of Bay County.

Geograhic area at time of organization:

Created from portions of Midland County, Saginaw County, and all of Arenac County. The new County consisted of only two townships, Williams and Hampton; and two villages, Lower Saginaw and Portsmouth, both located on the east side of the Saginaw River.

In 1871 a strip of land was added to Portsmouth Township from the upper portion of Saginaw County, this consisted of sections 19 to 36, of the southern half of township 13 north, range 5 east.

In 1881 land was detached from the upper portion of Kochville Township of Saginaw County and add to Bay City when Frankenlust Township was organized.

About Arenac County: Arenac was organized as a township in 1859 at which time it included present Arenac County, the present townships of Pinconning, Mt. Forest and Gibson. In 1883 Arenac County was organized and detached from Bay County.

Bay County's geographical location has historically been an ideal location for nourishing life because of it's natural resources fed by the fresh waters of the Saginaw Bay. The county is the entry point for the Saginaw and Kawkawlin rivers, both with many tributaries that flow through county's boundaries, and beyond out into the heartland of Michigan.

Ship passing park in Essexville - Veterans Memorial Park in Bay City

The Saginaw River is the largest of Michigan's rivers and traversed frequently by lake freighters to ports in Essexville, Bay city and Saginaw. The tributaries of the Saginaw River stretch hundreds of mines throughout the heart of mid-Michigan. The vast river system was the center of Michigan's lumbering boom era during the later half of the 18th Century. Hundreds of sawmills and wood related industries populated its shorelines to harvest millions of logs to meet the demand for lumber products as the nation expanded westward. Today the Saginaw River continues to be an important asset to local commerce, and equally as important is its role as a recreational source for the general public to enjoy.

A few miles to the north the peaceful Kawkawlin River serves a large residential harbor community. Its river banks are densely populated with homes and docks. The largest concentration being nearing the near the river's entry point off the bay, and is a scenic drive by many during the summer months.

The shoreline of the Saginaw Bay is a mix of government and privately owned property. The sandy coastline is spotted by areas of natural swamp and marshland ideal for fish, birds and animals.

The county sits in an imperceptible lowland with a rich soil ideal for growing a large variety of plant products. Many heritage farms continue to till the soil. Many small ancestral farming communities are scattered around the county, such as, Fisherville, Bentley, Crump, Munger, Willard and others. Many hold annual celebrations with festivals named after a favorite produce, corn, pickle, potatoe, etc.

The landscape has changed considerably since the time of Leon's settled in here. The dense forests were cleared by lumberjacks giving rise to a farming industry, other industries have come and gone being replaced by new ones, and frieghters hauling goods in and out have replaced the canoes and sailing vessels that were once the dominate form river traffic. But, what hasn't changed is the essence of the Saginaw Bay and the quality of life that it provides.

Bay County celebrated its 150th Anniversary in 2007 with ceremonies held in Bay City, the county seat. Weekend activities included a parade, refreshments, historical presentations and speeches in front the the county government building. The following video captures a portion of these activities:

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    Communities Menu
    Bay City
    Bangor Twsp.
    Beaver Twsp.-Willard
    Frankenlust Twsp.
    Fraser Twsp.
    Garfield Twsp - Crump
    Gibson Twsp.
    Hampton - Essexville
    Kawkawlin Twsp.
    Merritt Twsp.
    Monitor Twsp.
    Mount Forest Twsp.
    Pinconning Twsp.
    Portsmouth Twsp.
    Williams Twsp.- Auburn
    U.S. Census 2010 (2000)
    County population:
    107,771 (110,157)
    Bangor: 14,641 (15,547)
    Beaver: 2,885 (2,806)
    Frankenlust: 3,562 (2,530)
    Fraser: 3,192 (3,375)
    Garfield: 1,743 (1,775)
    Gibson: 1,210 (1,245)
    Hampton: 9,652 (9,902)
    Kawkawlin: 4,848 (5,104)
    Merritt: 1,441 (1,510)
    Monitor: 10,734 (10,037)
    Mt. Forest: 1,392 (1,405)
    Pinconning: 2,431 (2,608)
    Portsmouth: 3,306 (3,619)
    Williams: 4,772 (4,492)
    Auburn: 2,067 (2,011)
    Bay City: 34,932 (36,817)
    Essexville: 3,478 (3,766)
    Midland:157 (222)
    Pinconning: 1,307 (1,386)