September 2003 - Edition No. 9

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Featured Local HistoryTo top of page.

Bay County Veterans and Civil Servants:

Last month we added a Service Memorial section dedicated to the memory of these individuals. The memorial board has over 500 individuals who lost their life in service, this includes military veterans, police officers and fire specialists. We are featuring their history during the month of September to draw further attention to who they are.

The Service Memorial proved to be quite a project as there was no master listing of names and details about each to be found. The project may never have been completed except for the help of few knowledgeable individuals who did most of the research on this history from books and old new paper articles. We deeply appreciate their contribution that made it all possible.

Along with the names in the memorial list we've included what information we could find about that individual, their life period, where they died, branch of service, their parents and other relationships. Many are incomplete and in need of assistance from someone who knows to share it with us. We'd like to see each name personalized by including their final resting place, the school they attended, where they worked and so forth.
- Service Memorial

Bay-Journal CommentaryTo top of page.

Editorial comments and whimsical thoughts of limited interest and value.

September 1 - August Was A Good Month. by Marv Kusmierz.

August was a busy month. We had quite a few new pages and up dates added to the website. The total number of pages now stands at 526. We've had several new people step forward with contributions and a few we've spoken with that indicated they have some history they will soon being sharing with us.

The 1872 panoramic view of Bay City has drawn a considerable interest from viewers. It is a unique view of what Bay City looked like as it was a developing community. We plan on adding street to the photos which will make it easier to reference an area in relationship to what it looks like today. And, we're working on identifying buildings and places like the Forest Hotel which was located on the south west corner of Washington and Sixth street which is now occupied by the Independence Bank.

September 9 - Looks Like An Early Fall

Here it is September already and I haven't made a dent into the work list I prepared during the Spring (two years ago). It has been a busy Summer for the website which has grown considerable in content at the expense of my to do list. I have no complaints, as I have avoid the the work planned in favor of the more enjoyable pleasure of putting local history online.

I just noticed a week or so ago, that many of the yard plants are wilting away and their leaves are starting to change color. The lack of rain has left the grass so dry and hard one that if I closed my eyes I would have difficulty telling whether or not I was walking on grass or pavement. I ran the hose for a day on the shrubs as I feared some were in the processing of quitting and I had invest too much time and money in their growth to let them pass on.

So, it looks like my list will remain in contact until next Summer when I will attended to the much needed work around the house (maybe).

September 10 - River of Time XIII

Hundreds of actors will be making the pilgrimage to Bay City this month for the River of Time encampment in Veterans Memorial Park that begins on September 27th. Thousands of visitors will joined them in what is one of the most enjoyable family experiences. Actors will take on the charactors of different time periods as they pitch their tents, ready their fire pits and set up their wares. For two days, visitors will be able to stroll amoung them and get in touch with what life was like long ago for their ancestors. The park will take on the atmosphere of a village. You'll hear the clanging sounds of the blacksmiths they bang away shaping pieces of hot iron into usable tools. And, the twanging melodies of string instruments as pioneer families entertain themselves to the delight of all within hearing distance. As night sets in the fire pits offer some warmth to the cool evening air and become destinations to gather in the dark. Flickering candles inside tents turn their canvas walls into large lighted globe displays as shadows from its inhabitants are cast off the walls. (Images of previous River of Time events are available in Pictorial/Veterans Memorial Park.)

The River of Time is a free event. You'll find no fences blocking your entrance and parking is free. It's a gift from this community and the actors. Everyone is welcome to join them in celebrating the life and times of our ancestors. The present is courtesy of the Bay County Historical Society, a group of individuals dedicated to preserving our local history.
- BCHS/River of Time

September 12 - News Bites 130 Years Ago.

In doing some research using the micro film for the 1872 Bay City Daily Journal, I found myself totally distracted by news bites from back then and I thought I would share some here with you:

June 26, 1872:

    "A drunken man by the name of Conrad Roberts, fell yesterday near the corner of Third and Water streets, and broke his left arm in two places."

    "We heard yesterday that a man in Saginaw City swallowed six potato bugs on a bet of $10, and still lives. He is probably an old line Democrat preparing to gulp the Baltimore Convention."

    "If the gentleman who by note, requested us to say something about some brute who struck his wife on the street on Friday last, will send us his name, we will mention the matter as requested."

    "Wednesday night several ladies and gentlemen from the country in passing over the bridge discovered the canvass of the ampitheatre, and thought it was the circus, went in and were shown to the private box. At the time the curtain was down, and the chairs on the stage arranged for the first part. They saw these chairs, and thinking them better than where they were sitting, moved into them, and were happily congratulating themselves on the fine seats they had secured and the fine view they would get of the circus, when the orchestra struck up, and the stage manager rang up the curtain. Their surprise can easily be imagined when they found themselves the observed of all, observers, and heard the deafening applause that greeted their debut to a Bay City audience."

August 16, 1872:

    "Mr. Brown, the keeper of the lighthouse at the mouth of the river, who has been sick for the past year, is failing and losing strength rapidly."

    "A small child was wandering around Ninth street, lost, yesterday morning but was found by his ma through the kindness of a gentleman who happened to be passing."

    "As one of the street cars started from the north end of Water street last night, the horse attached to the car commenced to hammer his hind feet on the front end of the car, keeping correct time with the band that was playing close by. His activity created quite an excitement among the lady passengers."

Featured Local WebsitesTo top of page.

Bay Area Chamber of Commerce - 901 Saginaw St., Bay City, MI

The chamber of Commerce has played an important role in our history. It has undergone several names changes from when it was call the Bay City Club located on the battery park section downtown on Jefferson street. It is a story we hope to have on Bay-Journal down the road. The Chamber is the collective will and force of business leaders aimed at helping our community to improve and grow. Unless you are a member, there is a tendency to overlook their importance to the future of our community. But, you can reconcile that by browsing their web site at:
Bay Area Chamber of Commerce

Maier and Associates Financial Group - 5982 West Side Saginaw Road, Bay City, MI

This local business has been helping people with their financial matters since 1984 when it was founded by Wayne Maier. Maier and Associates is located in a new office complex on West Side Saginaw Road near the I-75 freeway. Their website calls attention to their "team approach" where you have the services of different professions. Besides financial consultants, their professional services include accountants and attorneys. A nice feature of thier website are the articles aimed at helping you to get the most out of your hard earned money.
- Maier and Associates

Local News HighlightsTo top of page.

Bits of information on what's happening in Bay County for viewers living elsewhere. For more extensive local online news, visit MLive (Bay City Times articles) or My Bay City (special subject articles).

September 5 - St. Marys Convent Has A Future (Bay City)

St. Mary's convent at 701 E.S. Union Street was built in 1916. It was built to serve as a home for the Sisters of Mercy who assisted the pastor and taught school. The building has a historical association with the Birney family of Bay City who donated the land and money for its existence. It's recent history has seen the well built structure sit idle without a purpose. That will soon end as a private fund raising group is investing $250,000 into restoring the building which will provide 14,000 sq. ft. of office space for the Ramona Group. You can read the complete article by Dave Rogers at:
- Mary's Convent

September 10 - Uptown At River's Edge Gets Help. (Bay City)

The city commission has hired the services of the Urban Land Institute of Washington, D.C. and the Weitzman Group Inc. of New York. The two will form a cooperative effort to assist the city in defining what the Uptown At River's Edge project should be. Unsatisfied with previous proposals, the city decided it was best to avail themselves of profession planning help to get the project moving again.

Uptown At River's Edge is a golden opportunity to reshape what has been a historically industrial area. The major industrial resident was the former Industrial Brownhoist Company which had its beginnings in 1873 and went on to become a world leader in the production of locomotive cranes world. Their old manufacturing buildings still dominate the landscape there and many, including Bay-Journal, have voiced a desire that one or more of these buildings become a part of the revitalized area. (See {Heritage/Business/Industrial Works} for history.)
Industrial Brownhoist Manufacturing Comlex.

Utilizing one of these buildings of enormous size that are over a 100 years old and of sound construction would be a major plus in helping to define Bay City as a unique community to visit, live and work. The potential uses for such a building are many. One building might become a business mall with a park like area surrounded by stores, offices and entertainment activies. Another building could house a new farmer's market, and a theater stage facilities and even festival events. The Wenonah Park could then return to public use and its stage facilities could be used solely for "free" entertainment eliminating any need to fence the park off to the general public. The old farmer's market could be converted to a parking lot until a more attractive use for it develops.

These are exciting times in downtown Bay City and I for one am anxious to see the city move wisely and as rapidly as it can to the construction stage.

September 11 - Birney Park Classic Car Show.

The 13th annual showing of classic automobiles at Birney Park on Madison Avenue will take place this weekend. Funds raised at the show are used in making improvements to the park. Birney park once had a marvelous fountain in the center of the park, the park committee hopes has that one day they'll have sufficient funds to see water spouting there again.

September 11 - St. Boniface Church (Bay City)

Driving down Lincoln towards McKinley, you will not miss the activity taking place at the St. Boniface church, tall lifting cranes are stretched towards the face of the building, and workers leaning from the platforms held by the cranes are conditioning the aged bricks. At first look, visions of the recent bell removal at Visitation church ran through my mind, but on further investigation, it could clearly be determined this was not the case at St. Boniface.

September 12 - New City Manager to Relocate. (Bay City)

Robert Belleman, the new city manager, is seeking a home in Bay City, even though he is not required to do so. However, it seems only fitting that since he will affect much that transpires in the city, that he reside within the community so he may experience the consequences of his of his performance.

September 15 - Public-Private Economic Coalition. (county)

A local coalition of public officials and private businesses have been in the process of organizing for some time now. The purpose of the "Bay Area Economic Development Coalition" is to harness the collective resources within the county into one organization with a common goal of being more effective in competing with regions that have already followed this approach. Bay City has yet to join the coalition. The issue for the city isn't whether or not its a good idea, but the fact that the city already has heavily invested in its own econonical development team. Committing to the coalition as proposed now, will add new significant costs to the city at a time when budget concerns make it difficult to support what would otherwise might be a welcomed proposition.

We believe a county wide economic development program is the best approach. What is good for the county is also good for the city, and visa versa. The city has acted in a responsible manner by organizing and investing its own economic team. A sensible and economical solution may be for the new coalition and the city may be to merge into one economic team by taking advantage of Bay City's existing team. The new coalition would then have an experienced based of resources that could be expanded to deal with county wide economic development. Ultimately, a metropolitan approach that eliminates costly duplication of services is the only rational and economic means to prosperity.

September 17 - Flag Disposal Help. (Bay City)

The post office and the American Legion Post No. 18 are have come up with way to help you dispose of your old flag. An old mail box has been painted with the image of the American flag and placed at 700 Adams and Sixth Streets for this purpose. Our national flag is a symbol of our union as a nation, and while there is no law governing its disposal, there are guidelines on how show proper respect for what it stands for. (If you would like to learn more about the history and etiquette related to the U.S. flag , see History/US/Anthem&Flag.)

September 19 - Melvin J. Zahnow Library Reopens (Frankenlust)

The 12 million project of renovating and expanding this library at Saginaw Valley State University is complete. Formal ceremonies were held Thursday for its grand reopening. Attendees were pleased with the results. The new space of 21,000 square feet provides a spacious setting with a lovely seating area in front of a huge windowed wall overlooking the campus. It is bound to become a favorite spot for students and visitors to the library.

September 22 - New Nature Park (Bay City)

Folks driving along South Euclid Avenue may notice a new sign that reads, "Euclid Linear Park", which is located on spacious natural field near Keit's Garden Center. It marks the opening of the county's newest park and it's a beauty. There are no ballfields or a other recreational areas -- it is a park in the purest sense -- a natural wetland park. The only thing that isn't natural in the park is the new walkway that has been extended through the park to allow visitors to peer more closely at the natural beauty within. What makes it quite different from other wetland parks is that its sits on about 18 acres within in the hustle and bustle of businesses and residential homes along its boundary. But, as you walk deeper inside the park, the scenery clearly becomes one owned by nature, and the sounds of the hustle and bustle fade away. It is the closest one will come to understanding what the first white settlers saw when they wandered into this area during the mid-1800s. It is a wonderful gift to this and future generations -- hopefully, it'll be respected and remain completely natural without trashers abusing it's sanctity. Bay County government is to be congratulated for its wisdom in preserving an important natural treasure of our community's history.
- (A report prepared in 1998 by the Michigan Department of Community Health gives some background and a discription of this property which may be seen at: {View Map of Property} - {View Report on Keit Property})
- (A dedication ceremony is planned for September 26, 2003 - for details, see {Bay County Government Website])

September 23 - You Can Make A Difference In A Soldier's Life. (Bay City)

In yesterdays newspaper is an article written by James Briggs of the Bay City Times about Billie and Howard Van Dusen. They have two sons, Curtis Sherwood and Jeff Van Dusen, and both are stationed in Irag. The Van Dusens have been in constant touch with their sons, and as a result have learned of how important it is to the troops in Irag to hear from family and friends. They also learned that many soldiers, for one reason or another, are without this kind of personal support from back home. The Van Dusens are doing what they can to change that. Billie has joined teamed up with the American Ladies Auxiliary Post No. 22 in Bay City with the goal of raising funds to send Christmas gifts to all the soldiers in the companies that their sons are a part of.

You can help make a difference in a young soldier's life!
Many are away from home for the first time and are facing huge responsibilities as defenders of what this nation stands for. I can tell you from my own experience that the most important personal event for a soldier is "mail call!" Whether it's a letter from mom, dad, a brother or sister, or a neighbor -- it is a reminder that someone from home cares about what they are doing. It's the fuel that helps a soldier to get through difficult times. We're counting on them and they need to know they can count on us. You can "make a soldiers day" by:

    -- Contacting Pat Michalski, president of Post No. 22, at 667-3249 and donating to this project.

    -- Making a direct donation. On each weekend during October, thanks to the Bay City Kroger store there will be table set up at the store where you can make a donation.

    -- Sending a personal letter or postcard to a soldier as a family member, a friend, a neighbor or a member of their church.

It will not only brighten a soldiers day, it's a "gift of caring" that will help fuel your own soul.

September 25 Smithsonian Magazine Aborts Visit Here!

It was reported in today's Bay City Times that the Smithsonian Magazine will not be covering the "River of Time" event that begins this Saturday. This community stood up with great pride When it was announced early that the magazine planned on covering the event in order to develop material for article that would be featured in a future issue of the magazine. There was no explanation for the change other than it was an "editorial descision." This is a huge disappointment! Being published in the Smithsonian Magazine would have brought some notoriety before a world viewership of the tremendous strides this community has made in nurturing its history back to life.

Changes and Up Dates to WebsiteTo top of page.

September 1 - Bangor Township 1926 Plat Map (up date)

This is an excellent history map showing Bangor Township properties and their owners in 1916. We've added a names database that makes it easy to find a specific name and we've added a new grid reference to help locate these properties. We've also include reference to some of the other features on the map such as the Old Kawkawlin Stone road and the Indian Town Drain.
{Bangor Township 1916 Plat Map}

September 1 - Union Block Fire of 1890 (new page)

The Union Block of Bay City was located on Water street at the foot of Center. Today, a portion of the Wenonah occupies that property. Contributor Alan Flood came up with an 1890 Tribune article about a fire that did extensive damage to the building and the businesses that operated in this building.
- {Union Block 1890 Fire}

September 3 - 1892 Book Index to Saginaw & Bay Counties (new page)

We've added a book index to "Portrait & Biographical Record of Saginaw & Bay Counties, MI" published in 1892 by Chicago Biographical Publishing Co. The index was contributed by Carolyn Gornowicz in hopes it might help some others. Book indexes are useful references when researching history or family genealogy. Reviewing book indexes online before heading for the library will save you time and make the job of finding what you are looking for easier.
- {Heriage/Places/1892 Book Index}

September 3 - Davidson Ships Built Database (new page)

We recently added the history of the Davidson Shipbuilding Co. of West Bay City and now we've added a database on the vessels they built. The database was contributed by Per Bro, previously he contributed the database for Defoe Ship Building Co.
- {Davidson Shipbuilding - Vessels Built}

September 4 - Death of William Skelton (new page)

We've added an 1883 article from the Bay City Tribune on the death of William Skelton of Williams Township. William settled there in 1850 when it was still a wilderness and took up farming.
- {Heritage/Writings/Skelton}

September 5 - Get Your Daily Horoscope! (new page)

We all enjoy checking in with the stars every now and then to see what they have in store for us. We found this "content provided" and we like what we saw, so we've added the "Daily Horoscope" page to the Family Center. I had a great one today!
- {Information/Family Center/Horoscope}

September 8 - Tourist Center Up Dated (up date)

We've revamped the the Tourist Center page. A database table has been added to location tourist attractions and we've added many new one to the list. The overall look of the page has been changed reducing the overall size of the page.
- {Information/Tourist Center}

1890 - Elm Lawn Cemetery

September 9 - Desecrating Cemeteries! Why? (new article)

A recent visit to Elm Lawn cemetery in Bay City was the motivation for this article written by myself, Marvin Kusmierz. I was there because I was in search of some information to complete a couple of biographical sketches that I was working on. The night before the cemetery was vandalized and a considerable amount of damage was done to grave sites. While I was there I had the opportunity to speak with a couple of the employees of the cemetery, both expressed their common concern about what had happened and a sense of hopelessness to do anything about stopping or at least minimizing such senseless acts in the future. It is a problem that has endured for many generations and gave me cause to ponder "why?"
- {Desecrating Cemeteries! Why?}

September 12 - 1935 Earth Quake Shocks Bay Cityans! (new page)

The scientist back in 1935 said it wasn't possible, but it happened, scaring many Bay Cityans who felt the effects of two tremors that ran accross 17 states from Montana to the eastern coast.
- {Heritage/Writings/1935 Earth Quake}

September 14 - Diary of 1882 (new page)

In 1883, the Bay City Tribune, prepared a review of the news for 1882. It is interesting to observe what made the news in those days when lumbering, and horse and buggies dominated the scene.
- Heritage/Writings/Diary of 1882

September 16 - Immanuel Lutheran Church History (new page)

Helped by Rev. Sievers of St. Paul Lutheran Church in Frankenlust Township, a small group of German Lutheran immigrates were finally able to organize their own church in 1861. Having only modest financial means, they used funds advanced by Rev. Sievers to purchase a house on the northeast corner of Madison and Sixth in Bay City. This serve as their church for the many years until there wasn't sufficient property to expand it further. (History materials contributed by Gladys and Clarence Stroemer.)
- Heritage/Religion/Immanuel Lutheran Church

September 17 - WWI Alien Registration Card (new page)

When WWI broke out, President Woodrow Wilson issued a proclamation severly restricting the rights of Germans who were not naturalized citizens. We have an an example of the card all were required to carry with them during the war years.
- Hertiage/Writings/Alien Registration Card, WWI

September 20 - Lumbering Crossword Puzzle

For those who enjoy doing crossword puzzles, we've added a new on Lumbering to the Family Center. If you having been to the Family Center area of Bay-Journal, there ware a number of activities there that you may enjoy.
- Information/Family Center/Crosswords

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