Brief History Background:

Bay City in the beginning was known as Lower Saginaw. It was first platted as a village in 1838 by the Saginaw Bay Land Company. The year before this, the village of Portsmouth had been platted just south of Lower Saginaw by Albert Miller. Both were at that time a part of Saginaw County. They became a part of Bay County when it was organized in 1857. It was at this time the village of Lower Saginaw changed its name to Bay City.

The descriptive area of the original plat for Lower Saginaw was Woodside Avenue on the North to Tenth St. on the south, and from the Saginaw River east to Van Buren Street.

The Saginaw Bay Company ran into financial difficulties and its orginal owners sold their shares to James Fraser, James G. Birney and Dr. Daniel Fitzhugh. The original village plat was then revised by them in 1849, which is represented in this history page.

The orignal plat may be viewed on the website
[Lower Saginaw Plat #12287]

The following is was transcribed from the original plat, which may not be precise due to the difficully of reading the handwritteb text:
( "_____" indicates words that could not be determined or guessed at.)

The full simple deed of the land on which Lower Saginaw is laid out calls for as follows.

Beginning on the East bank of the Saginaw River at the North West corner of the John Riley REseservation being near the South West corner of the Nabobash Reservation. Then East by the North line of said John Riley Reservation Thirty five - Eighty two (38.82) __. Then South 3 degrees so far that a line running then North 870 West and then Northerly by the corners of the River to the Place of beginning shall contain two hundred and forty acres (240).

State of Michigan, County of Saginaw. -- Personally appeared before me the undersigned Israel Catlin a justice of the peace of said county James G. Birney, known to me as such and the signer and verifier of the accompanying map or plat of the town of Lower Saginaw and says it was his voluntary act. Given under my Land and seal this 29th day of November 94. 1849.

Israel Catlin(is)

Lower Saginaw is on the East bank of the Saginaw River and about four mile from its mouth. Washington Ave. and Center street are each one hundred feet wide. Madison st. is eighty feet wide. The other streets are 60 ft. wide. The alleys are twenty feet wide. Center street ends where it come west. Even with the Eastern line of square 51 and 70. The fact between its termination and the River are which a warehouse stands is made into two lots called seven & eight. The lots are 50 ft. wide by one hundred feet long except the fractional lots on the north side of the Plat. The Public Square belongs to the village of Lower Saginaw. At a meeting of the March holders of the Saginaw Bay Company held at Lower Saginaw Sept. 12, 1873, it was unanimously resolved that Square number 14 & 15, 103 & 104 be reserved that _____ sale and that whatever there shall be in the village of Lower Saginaw. Authorities competent to accept of a grant for the use of the inhabitants said square be conveyed to them by deed on condition that they be held in perpetuity by them and their lawful successors open at all reachable hour and times for the recreation of the inhabitants of the village and to be used by them for no other purpose whatever. It was also unanimously resolved that the lots purchased nine and ten in each of the following squares ___ twenty seven forty seven, sixty seven eighty seven, and one hundred and seven be granted and that the source be conveyed by deed under the direction of the agent and trustee and with such condition as he may chose to annex to said grant to such religious societies as shall erect such building is for __ ___ __ shall be agreed on by the agent and proper representatves of such societies. No one source is to have more than ___ of said lots. Square numbered 14, before referred to is bounded on the north by First street and the West by Washington Avenue on the South by second st. and on the East by Adams street. Square numbered 15 before referred to is bounded by First street on the North on the West by Adams St. on the South by Second street and the East by Jefferson St. Square numbered 103 is bounded on the North by Ninth St. on West by Monroe St on the South by Tenth St. on the East by Jackson St. Square numbered 104 is bounded on the North by Ninth ST. on the West by Madison St. on the South by Tenth St. and on the East by Monroe St. The plats for churches are all on Washington Ave. and yet undisposed of. The other lots it has preserved are for sale.

James G. Birney
Agent, Trustee of the
Saginaw Bay Company

Registers office Saginaw County -- Revised and recorded Dec 1st, 1849 at 7 o'clock PM.

C. Ganatt

I hereby certify that the Plat is a current copy of the Plat no on record in the Register of Deeds office, being made under the supervision of the Auditor General by tracing the Plat on record and affixing thereto a carefully compared copy of the certificate. Dated the 14th day of July 1911.

Ray E. Warner
Clerk, Aud. Gen. Dept.

Note: The plat documents includes additional revisions done at later dates which are not included in this transcription.