January 2004 - Edition No. 13

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Featured History

Uptown At River's Edge (UARE).

This month we are featuring the history of a property and a development project that is known as, "Uptown At River's Edge." The property is located at the south end of Bay City's east side business district.

Shown is our history graphic is the UARE project areas (green) along the Saginaw River (blue). Surrounding the area are historic images of businesses that once operated there. The Industrial Works began operations in 1873 servicing machinery of lumber mills, it then switched to manufacturiing locomotive cranes which were used around the world. They had several mammoth buildings (building at bottom of graphic. Image above them is an inside view of one of the buildings.). These historic buildings still exist on the property.

Another historical structure on the property is the Bay City Traction and Electric building (top left) built in 1885 to service electric trolley cars. This building is in the American Historic Engineering records of the Library of Congress.

The city has hired consultants to assist them in defining a plan that will best revitalize this area and recapture the water front for public use and new commercial uses. The consultants are expected to turn in their report sometime in early 2004.

We've written an article on the subject and have taken the liberty to share our dream of what we would like Uptown At River's Edge become.

  • Dreams of An Uptown At Rivier's Edge
  • Bay-Journal Commentary

    (Editorial comments and whimsical thoughts of limited interest and value.)

    January 1 - Introductory Comments

    Happy New Year to each of you! We hope your holidays were special and that the new year will exceed your expectations.

    Looking at the December issue of the Bay-Journal Monthly, you'd think it was a slow month. The fewer than normal amount of postings is decieving, it actually was our busiest month work wise. A big project was decorating the website for Christmas. We added a major new section devoted to this special holiday -- it'll be open 24/7 all year whenever. So, whenever you want to you can visit our Christmas Remembered section. You'll find the Christmas Remembered section in the {Family Center}.

    A major addition that we added to the website is the new "Focus Forum." This is a hosted message board and from what we can tell at this early date it is considerably improvement over the old one. A feature that we were looking for in a new board was the capability of allowing visitors to post comments without having to become a member, and this the new board has this. There has been only been a few posts so far. If you haven't tried the new, please do so and let us know what you think about it. We'd like this to be your place to interact with fellow community members. {Bay-Journal Focus Forums}

    December was also a slow month for news highlights. At least for community news that we typically post mainly for our out of town visitors.

    We have some new additions to the website lined up for January which we'll try to get completed and onlinie as quickly as possible.

    January 3 - Traveling Robotic Geologist Invades Mars! (NASA)
    Click to enlarge.

    Mars Rover

    Mars Photo

    At 11:35 pm EST, January 3, 2004, NASA scientist added another historical benchmark to their exploration of Mars when the Spirit rover hit its mark at the Gosev Crater with precision.

    Encapsulated with a series of inflatable bags to cushion its impact, the Spirit rover rebounded several time like a rubber ball after hitting the surface of Mars before gravity finally put it to rest. The bags deflated and it's protective space shell pealed open exposing rover to the Martian environment. It promptly began sending greeting photos, visually announcing its arrival, to its creators back home on Earth.

    The first spacecraft to successfully set foot on another planet and conduct science was the Viking 1 lander which arrived at Chryse Planitia, Mars on July 20, 1976. The rover Spirit is the latest in series of NASA robots that have done so since. Such amazing feats of science have become so common they seldom get the attention they deserve from the public. None the less, each represents a dramatic movement forward in our knowledge of our corner of the universe. And, each moves us closer to better understanding our place in it.

    The NASA website provides extensive information on the Mars missions, and many other amazing programs. Besides being very informative, it is well done with entertaining educational presentations for adults and kids about our universe.

  • [NASA Home Page]
  • [NASA : Mars Exploration Rover Mission]
  • [NASA JPL: Mars Missions Past, Present & Future]

    January 7 - A New Years Resolution. (by Marvin Kusmierz)

    A question that constantly goes through my mind is how to get you and other visitors involved in Bay-Journal. When Bay-Journal went online in April 2002, I set some goals and all have been met or exceed except for viewer participation. The goals and performance results are:

      1. To achieve 50,000 visits annually. B-J has been visited over 120,000 times during the past 20 months. That's an average of 6,000 per month or 72,000 per year. Expectations have been exceeded by nearly 50%. I don't know how many people the total represents. A rough guess would be 3 visits per person, or 24,000 individuals.

      2. Exceed 1,000 pages of history content in three years. Currently there are over 550 history pages with 14 months to go.

      3. 80% of content would come from viewers. Currently 49 individual have made contributors that range from a reference book to written articles on history. A rough estimate of their contribution to overall content would be 10%.

    My new years resolution for 2004 is to get more of you involved in Bay-Journal. Frankly, at this time I'm not sure how to do this. Last year I increased the number of "Help Us If You Can!" graphics, added a new forum board, added the Bay-Journal Monthly mailing list and many new pages to the Information Center. All aimed at making Bay-Journal a useful resource for local contemporary information and history. And, I seldom pass up the opportunity to ask when I meet people face to face that share an interest in history.

    If you have any suggestions on what I can do to sway you and others to become more involved, please let me know.
    HELP US if you can!

    January 10 - "Historic Saginaw Bay Ice Fishing" (new article)

    Capt. Dan Manyen of Walleye Express has called upon his many years of fishing to write an article about ice fishing on the Saginaw Bay. A winter sport that only the hardiest of fishermen are willing do endure. Ice fishing has been a part of the Saginaw Bay experience dating back to the Indains. It was a little more serious then since their livelyhood depended confronting sub-freezing weather to get to the fish hiding belong the thick layer of ice.

    Capt. Dan takes readers on walk through "hard water fishing" (ice fishing) describing just how much has been changed over the years. By the end of his article ice fishing looks a little more appealing to those us who remember spending an hour chopping a hole only to have it freeze over in half the time. He'll decribe the modern day electronics, augers, and equipment that makes ice fishing an enjoyable experience even if you don't catch that big one.

  • {Bay-Journal Monthly/Articles/Historic Saginaw Bay Ice Fishing}
  • {Walleye Express Personals Page}

  • Featured Websites

    (Featured local and regional websites. Visit the for more websites.)

    Auburn Chamber of Commerce (Auburn) [Website]

    Auburn may be the smallest city in Bay County, but it would be hard to tell from their website. It's well done, pleasant in appearance and full of useful information about the community. Topics of interest include Meeting News, History, Statistics, Government Agencys, Service Organizations, Churches, Events, Parks & Recreation, Education Institutions, Businesses, Chamber of Commerce, Photo Alblum and Links.

    Some may not know that Auburn was orinally a village called, "Skinnerville", named after Mr. Skinner who was Assistant Postmaster General in Lansing. It was later renamed "Auburn" by Postmaster Ira Swart who came from Auburn, New York.

    The Auburn Chamber of Commerce sponsors 15 or more events, and has over 80 members.

    Brooklyn Boyz Italian Deli (Bay City) [Website]

    If you love Italian food, you'll love the choices available on the Brooklyn Boyz Italian Delie website. There you'll find special pages for New York Style Pizzas, Calzones, Hot Subs, Cold Subs, Specialy Subs, Salads, Soups, Stromboli and Ciabatta. They also have a section with Pictures and Italy Links.

    A nice feature of their website are the Italian photos on move of the food menus. Its like a little tour of Italy while you make your choice before scurring over to 110 North Linn Street to pick up your order.

    Highlighted Local/Regional News

    (Bits of news about the Saginaw Bay area for our out of town viewers. For more extensive local news we recommend MLive.com (Bay City Times newspaper) or MyBayCity.com (local articles).)

    January 1 - Jennison Condo Developers Look for Tax Help. (Bay City)

  • (Source: Article by James Briggs, Bay City Times, Dec 30, 2003)

    It was announced earlier that local developers, Paul Rowley and William Gregory, are planning to turn the old Jennison warehouse house building into riverside condos. Preliminary plans call for an investment on their part of $15 million to create 28 condos ranging in price from $300,000 to $600,000.

    To help get the project off the ground, they've approached the city requesting the to make the area an Obsolete Rehabilitation District. This designation essentially freezes taxes allowing tax relief on improvements made to the property for up to seven years. On the surface it seems like a win - win proposition. However, there is at least one hurdle that needs to be cleared -- the property is presently under the Water Street Tax Increment Finance Authority (WSTIFA). Unless the property is removed from this authority, the city stands to loose new tax revenue from improvements made to the property. Under the WSTIFA program, increased taxes on properties in the WSTIFA area are returned to the authority.

    Base on the figures being discussed, the condo project will generate tax bearing assets of up to $16 million, substanitally more in tax revenue than what is collected today. Whatever agreements are reached, all will benefit from these improvement to north end of town. It is the equivalent of a new sub-division using only a fraction of land that it would take to build otherwise.

    (Update January 12)

    After a week of concern, it looks like things are in place for the new condo project to move forward.

    Last week, the city commission passed a resolution to provide tax relief by a vote of 5 to 4, however it was vetoed by the mayor even though he is for the project. The concern hinged around the Downtown Development Authority (DDA) removing the property from the WSTIFA first that assured the city and developer clear sailing of planned tax abatements. The DDA has since met and cleared this hurdle.

    January 1 - Tom Niemann Recognized. (Bangor Township)

  • (Source: Article by Patti Brandt, Bay City Times, Jan 1, 2003)

    Each year the Bay City Times recognizes a member of the community with their "Dick Hardy Community Improvement Award." The honoree is picked from a list submitted by readers of the paper. The award is given in memory of Dick Hardy, former employee of the paper who deeply involved himself in the community where he lived.

    Tom Niemann was chosen to get the award for 2003. Tom is Executive Director of the Bay Arts Council. Accompaning the awared is a $500 donation to his favorite non-profit association or charity. Leed Bird, Ronald Kohn and Walter Rummel were given honorable mention.

    January 12 - Tallships Celebration 2006 (Bay City)

    Plans are already underway for the third Tallship Celebration in Bay City to be held in 2006. The previous celebrations were held in 2001 and 2003, only two years apart -- this time we'll have to wait three years. But, we're not complaining. There are many ports that haven't been as fortunate as Bay City given the size of the community, and it will give an extra year to prepare for what will be a budget of about $500,000.

    The event has boom to this community which takes great pride in it's water front. And, maybe by 2006, the Uptown At River's Edge project will have made some dramatic changes to the landscape at the south end of town along the river. Last year the event drew over 50,000 to Bay City's water front for a delightful weekend of unusual activities. The Bay-Metro Transit System was kept busy moving people from one end of the city to the other and across the river. The streets were alive with groups of people wandering from store to store and there was even street corner musicians putting smiles on all within hearing distance. If you missed the event then you won't understand just how beautiful it was. However, we have a slide video of it that'll give you some idea of what you missed.

  • Go to {Pictorials Library} and select link at bottom of page.

    January 15 - Bus Stop Now Playing (Bay City)

    Bus Stop opens today at the Bay City Players theater on Columbus Avenue. The live performance will show throght Sunday January 16, and then on January 23-24. Ticket prices are $13 for adults and $11 for seniors and students.

    "Bus Stop" was written in 1955 by William Inge who also wrote "Comeback, Little Shebas" (1950), "Picnic" (1952), "The Dark at the Top of the Stairs" (1957), and "Splender in the Grass"(1961)."Picnic" earned a Pulitzer Prize in drama. His screenplay "Splender in the Grass" won an Oscar for the Best Original Story and Screenplay.

    "Bus Stop" is a romantic comedy that is set it the 1950s. It gives a glimpse of the American past as it explores the human condition. The story centers around a group of bus passengers stranded by a snow storm in a Midwestern diner. The play opened on Broadway in 1955 and was restaged on film in 1956 starring Marilyn Monroe.

  • Bay City Players: 1214 Columbus Ave., Bay City - Phone: (989) 893-5555

    January 21 - Michigan Central Railroad Depot (Standish, Arenac Co.)

    Leader from communities within Arenac County will be meeting today to discuss the future of the Michigan Central Railroad Depot in Standish. The meeting was set up by the Standish Depot Preservation Committee (SDPC) led by Ruth J. Caldwell. The committee was formed to acquire the privately owned building so that it can be preserved as a historial marker of the county's history. The price of the property is $195,000 and $17,000 has been raised so far by the committe.

    In addition to preserving the historical building, the SDPC visualized it becoming a tourist center and attraction for visitors. The state has plans to designate US-23 from Standish to Mackinaw City as a heritage route which fits well with the SDPC plans.

    The SDPC has already acquired a caboose from the Detroit and Mackinaw Railroad to feature at the depot which was opened in 1887 by the Michigan Central Railroad. The building is a well designed and well built structure made of large stone. It is a fine example of a time when when railroads were the dominate means of transportation from one community to the next.

    We wish the SDPC much success with their worthy goal to save this precious object of the past for future generations. Also, we hope the project will include written history and displays related to its importance in the growth of Arenac County. The link below shows several new and old photos the depot.

  • [Pictures of Depot] (www.michiganrailroads.com)

  • Changes & Additions to Bay-Journal

    (Current month's updates to Bay-Journal. See "archives" for previous updates.)

    January 1 - Article: "Dreams Of An Uptown At River's Edge." (new)

    The is the article referenced in the "Feature History Graphic" section at top of page.

    January 6- Fire Department Pictorial (update)

    Added photos of 1928 American LaFrance and 1973 American LaFrance Pioneer fire trucks courtesy of John Kustuch of Essexville Fire Department.

    January 10 - Biography of Henry W. Sage (new)

    Henry Sage is well known to local history buffs for his contributions to this area. Henry like many others was drawn here to tap into fortune to made in lumbering. He had plenty of experience having previously earned his fortune from the forests of New York, Canada and Wisconsin. This wealth allowed him and his partner John McGraw to build what was considered the largest sawmill in the world at the time. They chose the wilderness land along the west bank of the Saginaw River opposite Bay City, an area once owned by James G. Birney for grazing his cattle. The mill included a company town with living quarters and a store for the mill's workers. It became the Village of Wenona, then West Bay City after merging with the small communities of Banks and Salzburg.

    Along with the biography regarding Sage's contributions to this area, we received permission from Tompkins County, New York, NYGenWeb to reprint two articles written in 1894 about Henry W. Sage's early life and his many contributions to the growth of Cornell University.

  • {Heritage/People/Sage, Henry W.}

    January 10 - Article: "Historic Saginaw Bay Ice Fishing." (new)

    See "Commentary" section on this page for comments and link.

    January 12 - Walleye Express (new)

    We welcome Capt. Dan Manyen to our Personals pages. Capt. Dan is owner of Walleye Express a charter fishing service available year round. If you would like to go first class with the lastest electronic gear, give Capt. Dan a call.

  • Personals/Walleye Express

    January 18 - Lumbering - Newspaper Accounts (new)

    Three newspaper accounts from the Bay City Tribune of 1887 contributed by Alan Flood. One covers salt manufacturing which many of the lumbering companies also were involved in.

  • Heritage/Writings/Newspaper Accounts/Lumbering

    January 19 - Description of Wenonah Hotel - Newspaper Accounts (new)

    More contributions by Alan Flood. This time it is a series of six articles on the Wenonah Hotel that appeared in the Nov 9, 1908 issue of the Bay City Tribune.

  • Heritage/Writings/Newspaper Accounts/Buildings/Wenonah Hotel

    January 26 - Kidz Only (new section)

    We've added a major new section for kids. Our goal is to provide them with some "learning fun". Our kid's guide, Bubbles, is in charge of the new section which has four rooms - Our History, Learning Fun, Fun Things, and Show & Tell. Each of the rooms has activities specific to them. And, there is room to grow by adding additional activities to each.

    If you have a child, we hope you'll take some time to view the new section to see whether or not it'll fit in with your child's learning activities. We also welcome your comments or suggestions on how we may improve its content.

  • Information/Family Center/Kid's Only

    January 27 - Bay County 1860 Businesses Listing (new)

    Extracted from the 1860 Michigan Gazetteer of Businesses Directory. List companies/people by type of business.

  • Heritage/Places/Bay Co., 1860 Business List.

    January 28 - Gen. David B. Birney (new)

    We've added a page on Gen. David B. Birney, the fifth child of James G. and Agatha (McDowell) Birney. In 1864, the Bay City Journal carried an article written in the N.Y. Herald regarding the passing of Gen. Birney and this is the basis for the new page on him.
    {Heritage/People/Birney, David Bell}

    January 29 Project Gutenberg (new)

    We've added a new page to the U.S. History section which takes advantage of and draws attention to Project Gutenberg. If you are not familiar with this website and enjoy history, you'll appreciate what they are about. They offer thousands of free literature that is in the public domain in the form of Ebooks. Their library collection of Ebooks is very broad covering many countries on a variety of topcs. We've chosen a few which can be read from our new Project Gutenberg page. You'll want to visit their website and find your own literary treasures.

  • {History/US History/Project Gutenberg}

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