Bay City 1908

Postcard of Bay City in 1908
Bay City Street Scene – Postcard showing Midland Street on the west side of Bay City in about 1908.

At the base of Michigan’s Thumb is Bay City. Ideally suited along the Saginaw river leading into Saginaw Bay it was a lumber and industrial city well before Detroit became the Motor City. This is a series of images of Bay City in 1908.

Bay City Was Becoming the Speed Boat Capital of the World

In 1908 Bay City was becoming a force in the emerging area of motorized boats. About a dozen companies where making knockdown kits of boat patterns. Kits would contain shippable boat patterns, knock-down frames, and complete boats, to all points of the globe. Some companies equipped the kits with a locally made engine.

Bay City Club 1908
Postcard of the Bay City Club 1908

Bay City’s close proximity to the extensive pine and oak forests supplied the principal woods for small boat manufacturing. Bay City was on its way to becoming one of the leading boat manufacturing cities in the world.

Postcard – Union Depot Bay City 1908

Needless to say where ever there is a collection of boats there has to be racing. Bay City was producing some of the fastest motor boats of the day. Speed boats such as the Arrow, Secret, and General where seeing speeds close to 30 mph with their 15 to 20 horsepower engines.

Bay City’s State Theater

The Bay City State Theater was built in 1908. The stage becomes a local favorite for the entertainment of the day. The State Theatre was known as the Bijou. It offered both vaudeville acts and after-hours burlesque shows in downtown Bay City. In August 1920 the theatre’s name was changed to the Orpheum.

The theater was renovated in 1930 to resemble a Mayan Temple by renowned architect C. Howard Crane. Crain also developed the Fox Theatre in Detroit. The theatre is a grand example of art deco architecture which radiates a warm and intimate character with seating on the main floor as well as a second-floor balcony.


Related Reading

Route Map of the Pere Marquette Railway for Michigan’s Summer Resorts 1913 – Pere Marquette Railroad. Passenger Dept. (1913). Michigan summer resorts: including the Michigan east coast resorts: a guide to the summering places in the lake and river region of the state of Michigan

Draken Harald Hårfagre – Bay City Michigan 2016 – The Draken Harald Hårfagre visited the Great Lakes in 2016. The Vikings were accomplished navigators, artisans, traders and storytellers, but their greatest contribution was seafaring and the the ships they built. The ship has a traditional dragon’s head and tail and is richly ornamented with patterns found in excavations.