^ Introduction - Bay-Journal Commentary by Marvin Kusmierz, Editor.
With the closing of May, the number of visits to Bay-Journal so far in 2005 has reached 165,000, which surpasses the total visits of 162,000 for all of 2004, and there are still seven months to go. The growth of Bay-Journal has been skyrocking. In 2003, our first year, the average number of visits for nine months was 4,600, in 2004 the average jumped to 13,500 monthly, and for the first five months of 2005, it is 33,000. If the average holds for the balance of 2005, the website will have nearly 400,000 visits. Thatís huge for a website that focuses on local history.
Updates during May.
During May I spent quite a bit of my time attempting to finish some the Pictorials. A number of the Pictorials have only a few photos, which I planned on adding to over time. But, as things go, and I never returned finish the work started on them. Instead, I worked on other parts of the website filling in history content.
The Pictorial on cemeteries is intended to include images of every cemetery in Bay County. During May photos have been added for St. Paul Lutheran cemetery (Frankenlust), Fremont cemetery (Monitor), and Heavenly Rest and Calvary cemeteries in Kawkawlin. Green Ridge in Bay City will be added soon.
I have also made it a point to community pages by including a photo of city/township government buildings. Photos are now on the pages on the cities of Bay City, Essexville and Auburn. And, images of the township halls for Beaver, Kawkawlin, Portsmouth, Frankenlust and Williams have been added. I hope to drive to the more distant townships during the summer to get a photo of their township hall.
Most of the photos for the cemeteries and government buildings were taken during the last week of May, and traveling to their destination gave me a good opportunity to see some of Bay Countyís country side. It has been many years since I have wandered out into the farmlands, and I was amazed at just how beautiful is the geography of our county. It may be very flat, and covered with new homesteads, but there are still many places where nature thrives uninterupted. The Kawkawlin River stretches far inland, and I crisscrossed it a number of times and was able to get a lovely viewed representing what it must have looked like to the early pioneers before the river was spanned by bridges and accommodate travel through the country side.
Rev. Sievers' letters beginning in 1848.
This month the Letters of Rev. Ferdinand Sievers have been added to the website, there are eight, in the first two written in 1848, he makes mention of the country side and the challenges it presented in for the settlers in moving their goods from Saginaw to the Frankenlust settlement site. Whether or not you are a history buff, I think youíll enjoy reading these letters which were contributed by Kathy (Stroemer) Czuba.
The road zigzags sharply to the south then east heading directly to the edge of the Saginaw River from where you can see the south edge of the Middle Grounds. Along the way are large areas of lowland and swamps which were pretty dry from the low water levels. It wasnít difficult to image just how treacherous of an ordeal it was for the Frankenlust settlers to make their way throught this area. If you enjoy nature or venturing out into the country side, this drive is a must. It only a few minutes from either Bay City or Saginaw. Be sure to read the letters by Rev. Sievers before making the trip there.
The following are stories from local newspapers regarding this past Memorial Day: