Station: Bay City, MI

Bay City was settled in 1835 as a trading post, but it became a major logging center, and then home to the Industrial Works, a leading manufacturer of cranes including railroad wreck derricks. It was originally called Hampton, and later Lower Saginaw. In 1857 it was renamed Bay City. The village was incorporated in 1859 and it became a city in 1865. West Bay City, on the west side of the river. was consolidated with Wenona, Salzburgh and Banks in 1877 and in 1905, they all became part of the City of Bay City. [MPN]

Historical Information:

Railroads entered Bay City around 1867, with the arrival of the Jackson, Lansing & Saginaw, a predecessor lines of the Michigan Central and the Flint & 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 built 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 Detroit & Bay City railroad (MC), arriving in 1873, and the Cincinnati, Saginaw & Mackinaw (GTW) 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 (towards 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). These were industrial lines north of town. Two "belt line" railroads (PM/MC) were also built east and south of the core city.


Automatic Block Signals. For a number of years the Michigan Central railroad had automatic block signals (ABS) in the Saginaw and Bay City region. ABS was installed on the Bay City and Mackinaw branches starting near Saginaw at the Hoyt (PM) crossing, and continuing through Saginaw, across the river, and north on the Mackinaw Branch all the way to Wenona Yard in North Bay City. This included single track through Saginaw and double track from "double track switch" near Salzburg past West Bay City station to Wenona Yard. There were also multiple interlockers along these routes. [MC ETT 1947].


Time Line:

     Key: F&PM lines - MC lines - GTW lines - D&M line -  DBC&W line

1867 - The Jackson, Lansing & Saginaw (later MC) builds north from Saginaw to Wenona (Bay City west side).

1867 - The Flint & Pere Marquette (later PM) reaches the Bay City from Saginaw.

1871 - The JL&S builds north from Wenona (Bay City west side) to Wells (near Alger). The J&LS is leased to the Michigan Center this same year. The line reaches Gaylord in 1873 and Mackinaw in 1881.

1873 - The Detroit & Bay City railroad (later MC) builds north into Bay City east side.

1879 - The Bay City Street railway is leased to the D&BC (MC).

1879 - The North Water Street spur from N. Water Street through Foss Jct. is leased from the Bay City Street Railway to the D&BC.

1889 - The Bay City & Battle Creek railway (later MC) builds west from Wenona (B.C. & B.C. Jct.) to Midland.

1889 - The Bay City Belt Line railroad (D&BC) builds from Essexville south and 5.9 miles to 27th Street.

1890 - The Toledo, Saginaw & Mackinaw railway (later GTW) builds north from Saginaw to Bay City using a double drawbridge to reach downtown Bay City from the west side of the river. The line also splits at Main Street and goes northeast to North Bay City and Oa-at-ka Beach on Saginaw Bay.

1895 - The F&PM builds the south Bay City spur and the Essexville spur, both part of the Bay City Belt Line railway.

1896 - The Detroit & Mackinac railway builds south from Tawas City to North Bay City. They their own drawbridge and then trackage rights into Bay City depots.

1902 - The Hecla Belt Line railroad (later MC) is built from the Saginaw River (Hecla Portland Cement) through Tower 12 (Wenona) and to coal and marl fields northwest of West Bay City.

1903 - The Huron & Western (PM) is built from North Bay City (north of the D&M bridge) 11 miles west to the coal mines northwest of Bay City. This line crosses the MC at Tower 12, just south of Wenona Yard.

1910 - The Detroit Bay City & Western builds from Bay City southeast towards Port Huron.

Reference - [MRL]. Street railway lines not indicated.


Industrial Facilities:

  • Bay City Wooden Ware Works - 1895
  • Bousfield & Co. wooden ware works - South Water Street spur - 1895
  • Captain James Davidson - ship mill and ship  yard - West Bay City - on the MC - 1895
  • Carpenter & Co. Cincinnati Mills - CS&M line near N Water Street - 1895
  • C. C. Barker - saw mill and salt block - South Water Street spur
  • Crump Manufacturing Co. - planning mill and box facility - south of Davidson ship yard - 1895
  • Davidson Ship Building Company
  • DeFoe Boat & Motor Works
  • Eddy, Avery & Eddy - docks and salt block - south river street spur - 1895
  • Eddy Brothers - saw mil and salt block - N. Water Street - 1895
  • E. Hall 0- saw mill & salt block - N. Water Street - 1895
  • Folsom & Arnold - saw mill and salt block - N. Water Street south of Eddy Brothers - 1895
  • Frank W. Wheeler & Co. Ship Yard - north shore, Washington Street - 1895
  • F. E. Bradley & Co. saw mill and salt block - N. Water Street spur - 1895
  • H. C. Ward lumber yard - 1895
  • Hecla Portland Cement Company (North Bay City)
  • Hitchcock and Bialy Saw Mill - South Water Street spur - 1895
  • H. W. Sage - saw mill and salt block - West Bay City (not running in 1895)
  • Industrial Works (later Industrial Brownhoist), worlds largest manufacturer of large lifting cranes, including railroad wreck outfits.
  • John Welch - saw mill - south of MC drawbridge - 1895
  • Kern Manufacturing Co. - lumber, salt & cooperate - 1895
  • Michigan Pipe Co. - pipe facility. South shore east of MC bridge - 1895
  • Pitts & Co. - saw mill and salt block - south shore of river, east of MC bridge - 1895
  • Russell Brothers & Co. Planning mill and box factory (north Bay City) - 1895
  • Sage and McGraw Sawmill
  • Smalleys and Woodworth - saw mill and salt block - east side on South Water street - 1895
  • South End Lumber and Salt Co. - saw mill and salt block - South Water Street spur - 1895
  • Standard Hoop Co. (North Bay City) - 1895
  • Theo Hine - saw mill and salt block - on CS&M West Bay City in 1895
  • United Carbon Works
  • William Peter - saw mill and salt block - south water street spur - 1895