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Time Line: (Dominant railway names used)

  • MC and PM arrive in 1867
  • MC line built north from Wenona in 1871
  • MC line from Detroit in 1873
  • MC line built to Midland in 1889
  • GTW line from Durand in 1890
  • D&M arrives from Tawas and Alpena 1896
  • DBC&W built east from town in 1910

Bay City was founded around 1837.  Within a few years, lumber interests purchased land in the area, which was originally known as the Village of Lower Saginaw.  In 1857, the village was named Bay City by the state legislature.  It was incorporated as a village in 1859 and a city in 1865. The area known as West Bay City, on the west side of the Saginaw River, was platted into a village in 1851, and was named Banks in 1864.  Banks was incorporated as a village in 1871 and villages named Salzburg and Wenona were platted nearby.  In 1877, the legislature consolidated Banks, Salzburg and Wenona into West Bay City, and in 1905 that West Bay City was annexed by and combined with the City of Bay City.  [MPN]

Railroads entered Bay City around 1867, with the arrival of the predecessor lines of the Michigan Central (from Jackson via Saginaw) and the Pere Marquette (from Flint via Saginaw).  The MC line was constructed through West Bay City and continued north to Mackinaw City.  The PM line was on the east side of the river and went into downtown Bay City, where it terminated.  Other lines later arriving in town from the south were the MC line from Detroit, arriving in 1873, and the Grand Trunk Western (from Durand via Saginaw) in 1890.  Building out from Bay City were the MC north towards Mackinaw in 1871, the MC to Midland in 1889, the Detroit & Mackinac to Alpena in 1896, and the Detroit Bay City & Western (to Port Huron) in 1910.  Other terminal railroads were built in and around Bay City between 1890 and 1910, including the Hecla Belt Line (MC) and the Huron and Western (PM) which were industrial lines north of town, and several "belt line" railroads (PM/MC) built east and south of the core city.

c.  Dale J. Berry, all rights reserved