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Bay City, MI (Part 2)

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Welcome to part II of the Bay City tour. In this thread, Bay City's East Side (downtown) will be explored. This side is noted for its many historic homes and Antique Stores. I would like to apologize ahead of time for the loading time of the pictures if they take awhile.

Let's begin on a side street off Washington that I forgot the name of.



Bay City Central High School "Home of the Wolves"


More of that Street


A church on Washington near the riverfront.

Below are more buildings along Washington. Many of them are being restored with the upper levels as apartments.





Mill End Shops near the Riverfront.


Water Street Lofts. As mentioned in the other thread, this building was once a warehouse, likely to face demolition during Bay City's dimmer days.


Some stores along Water St.


New Rowhouses




Okay I won't!


The beautiful post office.


Some retail shops along Washington


The State Theatre. When I didn't see anything on the marquee, I thought it was closed, but apparently it is not. They just hadn't put anything back up on it after the last showing.


Fifth Street Financial and its neighbors.


Bay City County Building


The Masonic


A church along the historic M-25 Route



An apartment building


I liked the chimney on this house


An old house, probably an office today


The Zilwaukee Bridge. This span carries I-75/US-23 over the Saginaw River. It is one route linking Bay City and Saginaw, which will be explored in the future.

More info on the Zilwaukee Bridge:

This bridge is perhaps the highest point in the Tri-Cities Area (Bay City, Saginaw, Midland). It is made of cast concrete sections that were loaded into place by a large crane. The bridge was originally dubbed "The highway to disaster" After unexpected weather conditions caused a portion to shift and expand. The expanded section crushed the expansion joint causing a section to collapse. In the process, it caused one of the bridge piers to slant. After a long period of stopped construction, the bridge was later finished. However, even today the bridge continues to have problems with detioration of the "glue" that helps keep the sections in place, and expansion joints aligned. None of this is serious enough to cause structural problems, and I cross the bridge every day to get to my summer job without any worries.


Saginaw, MI

Flint, MI

Detroit, MI

Calumet, MI

Ann Arbor, MI (My new hometown :) )

Also featured will be an in-depth tour of the Detroit Lion's new stadium, Ford Field. I will take you on a tour through the grand atrium to the club level suites, through the lockerooms, and onto the field!

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Well, Bay City isn't a place I visit too frequently, but I will tell you as much as I know. The city's population is somewhere close to 35,000. Like most of Michigan's cities, there was a higher population in years past. There was a lot of small industry throughout Bay County, and during the 80's most of that pulled out. My best guess is that the city can only be growing at this point, or at least the once declining population has plateaued. I driven deep into the city's neighborhoods and they look just as nice as the downtown, and there doesn't seem to be any abandoned homes anywhere. With the new construction going on, I can only see the city's growth. Everytime I come to Bay City, there is always something going on. My favorite event is their annual "Pig Gig." Restaurant owners across the U.S. and Canada compete to cook up their best ribs. There are also bands playing all week long, as well as other activities.

Unlike most Michigan river cities, Bay City uses their riverfront quite well. Nearly all the riverfront within the city limits is filled with parks, marinas, homes, and condominums. Development for such uses has helped remove some of the abandoned factories that have decayed for decades. Close to the mouth of the river, industry booms. Many people don't realize that Bay City is actually 2 miles upstream from the Saginaw Bay. Much of the industrial areas and private property near the mouth of the river makes it nearly impossible to see the Bay. Hopefully, more redevelopment will occur creating more public space.

For those of you unfamiliar with Michigan, Bay City is in a collective area simply called the "Tri Cities." The other two are Saginaw (67,000) and Midland (45,000). While Midland continues to grow population and Bay City shows positive signs of renewal, Saginaw appears to be the least sucessful. Having lived nearby most of my life. I have experienced its decline during the 80's and 90's. City blocks once filled to capacity with stores and residences are now empty grass lots. The city desperately tried to fix its situation through countless urban renewal plans, but many of them failed. If it wasn't the lack of business that sentenced buildings to the wrecking ball, it was the lack of decent fire protection that has caused many of Saginaw's histroical buildings to burn to the ground. In my next tour, I will try to show you of what Saginaw once looked like, and what it looks like today. Believe me, it is nearly impossible to tell the Saginaw from the 50's to the Saginaw of 2004. I wish Saginaw would get its act together like Bay City and Midland did to preserve its history and improve in the future.

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Great pics again! I am still amazed at how good Bay City looks. Never having been there, I was expecting another city like Flint or Saginaw. Yet Bay City has managed to pull its act together to preserve and restore the historic structures that call the city home. Downtown seems perfectly preserved. One of these days I have to head up that way and check it out myself.

The State Theater remids me a lot of the Guradian Building in Detroit with its colorful tiles. And Bay City Central High School looks like a great old building. Schools like that are hard to come by these days.

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I actually don't have that many more pictures. Bay City is a lot bigger than what is shown however. In the part where I showed area residences, there are hundreds of houses far more beautiful on that same street. I was actually leaving for a Pistons game with friends later that evening so I couldn't take too many more. I would say most of Bay City's areas are in excellent shape. The city is nowhere like Flint or Saginaw. Crime is low, and although I am not from the Bay City area, I would definitely feel safe walking alone at night through its neighborhoods. However, outside the city there is predictable sprawl with shopping malls and other big box shopping. Fortunately, this all was built within very close distance to the downtown, so many of the residents stayed within the city. That is the reason why the downtown is doing well. Someday I might show you some industrial areas of the city. While industry has struggled everywhere else in Michigan, many factories nearby continue to succeed, especially one of GM's plants. There are also many other factories that dot the river on up to the bay. At the mouth of the Bay is Consumers Energy, the main gas and electrical provider of Mid-Michigan.

I will likely be in Bay City one or two more times for special events before I move back to Ann Arbor, but that all depends if my friends would like to join me on my urban exploration.

I hope to have my Saginaw tour coming soon. Many of you may find this one a bit more depressing, but the architecture of that city is amazing.

The Ann Arbor tour is going to take quite a long time to compile. There is never a dull scene in this city and I have over 500 pictures, many of them from football games.

The Ford Field tour will probably come first before all of these since it's already compiled. I used to have an Interactive Flash tour of the Detroit Lion's new stadium on my Detroit Lions page. Somehow, the NFL or the operators of the stadium discovered this and I was asked by the NFL to remove it. The tour featured nearly every portion of the stadium and you could navigate to different rooms via an interactive floorplan, and that is what they did not like about it. Supposively, people were supposed to pay five bucks to see PART of it, and not the entire thing online. Since I can't seem to locate where I put the flash tour, I will just show you the photos. This will come sometime next week.

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I never really realized how cool Bay City was until I took a closer look at the downtown. It's the best place to experience what life in Michigan was kind of like a few decades ago.

[An attempt to post a flash animation was done here, it failed].

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First, let me say great pics. Nice to see pics of my home town. I few things I wanted to clarify a in part I you stated that one street was Columbus, I think this is Midland street - the one with all of the bars. Columbus is actually the street in Part II that you said you couldn't remember.

I noticed you had a pic of the wonderful Bell Bar on Columbus - near the high school (Go Wolves!) . If you get a chance, stop in for a cold one, nice, cheap beer. Have spent much time there.

Recently got married in Bay City and alot of my firends from North Carolina came up. Many were quiet surprised about BC, they didn't think there were still cities like this, with so many mom and pop shops. Many were in the downtown area only.

Thanks again for all of the pics - can't wait to see more of the Tri-cities


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Welcome to the forum, MInative! It's nice to have some more Michiganians around here. :)

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Thanks MInative, I'm glad you like the pictures. The streets are mixed up, I realized it a few days ago when I drove back through, but I had forgotten to change it.

Some other news about Bay City I heard was that there are plans for a minor league baseball team. Discussion on the construction of a downtown stadium are to come soon. This is really great news for BC.

And as for the tri-cities, I just got some photos of downtown Saginaw, but not very many. The photo taking did not turn out like I wanted it to, but I will try to post a few this weekend.

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Ah, Bay City that smelly little town in northern Michigan. :rolleyes:

Yes, that ever-famous quote from our very own Madonna. Gotta love it! :D

I do have a correction to make on one of your picture captions though. That historic building with the clock tower is actually city hall. Its not a church. I can see why you could make that assumption though, as it does have a church-like appearence to it. No big deal. :D

Great pics though and stop back into town again soon. As I mentioned in Part 1, you really have to drive down Center Avenue and check out some of the larger mansions. They are brilliant in historic architectural design.

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