This month's graphic. Shown is the graphic used in January 2003. We didn't start rotating new graphics for each month until March 2003. See the January issue for information about this graphic.
Commentary by Bay-Journal
This is our second edition of the Bay-Journal Monthly mailing list. We welcome those of you that signed up to the list during February. Feel free to email a copy of this mailing to others that may share your interest in the history of Bay County.
We are new at doing mailing lists -- if you have any problems related to this mailing, please let us know.
During February, a new section on "Theater" was added to the Heritage Library. I really enjoyed doing this section, it brought back many pleasant memories of my younger years at which time many fine motion picture theaters existed in our community. Some of my favorites were the Washington, Regent, Bay, Center Ave. and Roxy in downtown Bay City. All but the Bay which is now the heritage State Theater have disappeared, but my memories of them has not. The Washington Theater is where I had my first date! I can still remember how anxious I was waiting for her arrival. And, I recall many Saturdays that began in the morning at old YMCA located on Washington avenue -- afterwards, it was over to the Roxy Theater across the street to watch featured movies starring the likes of Roy Rogers, Gene Autry, Whip Wilson, The Bowery Boys, Abbot & Costello, Tarzan and so many others. Along with the featured movie came a half dozen cartoons and a weekly serial addition starring Flash Gordon. I could go on and on as each memory springs forth another -- but I won't here.
I encourage you to help make this new section something special for everyone. Contribute an article about a theater's history or share own favorite memories. Maybe you have a picture or a piece of memorabilia? -- Marv Kusmierz, Editor
Do You Like Crosswords?
If you do, you many enjoy our Learning Fun page where we put a few crosswords to challenge your knowledge on local history and other subjects. Further, we challenge to offer up your own crosswords to include on this page. You only have to come up with words and a clue, we'll do the actual puzzle using a special software that'll create it.
Newspapers and History:
The Bay City Times has done an excellent job of featuring the history of our community over the years. Writers like Leslie Arndt, Dick Hardy, Tim Younkman and others have published books on local history which are available at the Bay County Library. While these books can be checked out to be read at home, there are some valuable resources that can only be read at the library -- be sure to at least take a look at them. You'll find old newspaper articles, city directories, early history books and more. The librarian assistants will be glad to help you locate these resources. All of this is free paid by your tax dollars except for making copies of pages. The library also has a website with an online catalog that can be searched for specific references, their website is:
Featured Local History
General Benjamin F. Partridge (1822-1892):
Benjamin becomes a favorite pioneer for many once they are aware of his contributions to our history. He learned about this small community at the foot of the Saginaw Bay that was growing rapidly. Looking for an opportunity to create wealth, he up rooted his family and left Macomb County to begin a new life in Bay City. During the time he lived here, he built a sawmill, became the first supervisor of Portsmouth Township, a County Sheriff, engineered a plank road on Tuscola, served as commissioner of the State Land Office, served in the Civil War and became a general, and he was president of the local G.A.R. post. Benjamin is buried in Elm Lawn Cemetery. You can learn more about this fine gentlemen on his "Featured Page" in Heritage/People. (Note: Partridge wrote a paper on the Pioneer History of Bay County which is published in its entirety in History/Pioneer History.)
Changes and Up Dates to Website
Saginaw River Maps (Maps Library)
Series of 9 Saginaw river maps from 1918. The maps follow the river from its mouth at the Saginaw Bay to south of Bay City. They include names of businesses and other key landmarks of that period.
Westover Block (Heritage/Buildings)
The Westover Block opened in 1868 on the southwest corner of Washington and Center avenues in Bay City. It was built by William Westover who have come to Bay City only three years earlier. The Westover building included an opera house on the third level and a gallery on the fourth floor. It was destroyed by fire in 1886, two years later, the Phoenix building was erected on the same spot.
Township Maps for Bangor and Hampton (Maps Library)
1916 plat maps for Bangor Township and Hampton Townships are now available in the Maps Library. These are large maps showing plats and their owners.
A separate section has been created to handle history related to theater in Bay County. It includes a brief local history of theater, a brief history page on American Theater History with links to websites providing greater details, a page covering movie ads ran in Bay City in 1930 and a history page on the Woods Opera House which was the first building devoted to theater. -- We can use your help in growing this section to add more theater histories, it is a fun subject to research.
Trinity Episcopal Church of Bay City (Heritage/Religion)
Trinity was organized in 1854 becoming the third church in Lower Saginaw (now, Bay City). The present church located on the northwest corner of Center and Grant was completed in 1887 and replace the first church on Washington. A brief history reveals its strong missionary role in Bay County's history.
City Hall of Bay City (Heritage/Buildings)
The City Hall is a registered National and State historical building. It was built at a time when there were high expectations the city to grow from 35,000 then to over 100,000 in the future. This future has not been realized yet and in fact, Bay City population has erode to about what it was over a hundred years ago. None the less, City Hall stands ready as a gem prepared for when that day does come. This pictorial gives some of the early history of this building and views of its exterior and ornate inside stairway.
Bay City 1893-94 Directory (Heritage/Buildings)
Some of you may find this page helpful, it is an alphabetical listing of Buildings, Blocks, Halls, Parks, etc. from the directory reference above. Many of the building names like Shearer, Phoenix and others are familiar. However, may be new to you, at least they were to me. An example is the the G.A.R. Hall at 702-704 Washington avenue, the initials stand Grand Army of the Republic which was a Civil War group. You find the "old" City Hall listed on the east side of Saginaw street between Fifth and Center avenues. And, my Polish friends may know that was once located at 108 Washington! Or, others may remember that the Public Library building on the south west corner of Adams and Sixth. Six public parks are listed and only four of them are in existence today.
Moulthrop-Clift, Inc. (Heritage/Businesses)
In 1992, the Historical Society of Michigan honored them with a plaque as a Michigan Centennial Business. They are among a rare few local businesses still operating for more than 100 years. Read the history which begins 1867 with John Drake, a local insurance agent.