Friday, 29 August 2014

TRAVEL: Bay City

BayCity
Friendship Shell, Wenonah Park

Last week we popped oop north to visit Bay City (the one here in Michigan, not Wisconsin) - Joe had a work conference up there so I tagged along, it's a place we visited before so I was more than happy to entertain myself wandering around. Because I was pleasing myself for eight hours I have many a photograph to break down and share but I thought I'd start with the main downtown area and as ever all the little things. 

If you know anything about my adventures while living here in the US I love exploring and finding the side of America that might get a little overlooked if you're just visiting. For me it's all about the faded painted advertisements on walls, the outside stairwells, the old buildings and street names. I love the architecture of 1800's America when all these small towns and cities were being founded and finding their fortunes be it home or business, and with Bay City being founded in 1837 it's my kind of place.

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Purple building at N. Water St & 3rd, view towards City Hall and museum 

Bay City is located along the base of the Saginaw Bay just before Lake Huron. Originally known as Lower Saginaw it prosperity was founded upon the deep river waters , much deeper than in Saginaw itself, perfect for all the industries that rely on shipping. By the mid 1860's the city was dooming with the sound and life of shipbuilding, saw mills and lumber - the industrialists in charge made their fortunes and built their mansions many of which are now historical landmarks (more of this homes to come in following posts). But like many a city in the Midwest's Rust Belt and just like here in Detroit, by the 1950's onwards such areas struggled to adapt to the changes both economically and socially, the area lost nearly half it's manufacturing jobs and incomes further decreased.

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Garden at 6th St & N. Van Buren St, Trinity Episcopal Church, alleyway along 3rd st. 

Birthplace of singer Madonna, local folklore declares the infamous fictional lumberjack Paul Bunyan was based on Fabian "Joe" Fournier - a fearsome brawler standing 6 foot tall, with the strength of three men and a double row of teeth. You wouldn't want to mess with him on a Friday night would you?! After his murder in 1875 tales and stories began. There are arguments over the origins, of who Paul Bunyan was or may have been, but in 1906 Michigan Oscoda/AuSable Press printed a story about a lumberjack with two sets of teeth - a man echoing the description of Joe Fournier. But who was he really, well who knows but Bay City would like to lay down their claim.

Now Bay City celebrates it's river heritage, street upon street is home to antique malls and it's old buildings still stand proud as their fortunes continue to change.

18 comments:

  1. The purple building is a beauty! I love the style of houses there too. Makes me sort of wish we had them here x

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    1. We went into a couple similar style/age while we were house hunting but they had foundation issues. But yeah, when they have all their features inside still - they are wonderful both inside and out and always have great sized front porches.

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  2. If you are ever there again, there is a spot where you can see the first house in Bay City (the Trombley House). it is located in Veterans Park (kiddy corner across the river from the park where you took a picture of the fountain). But near the Trombley House, you can see a slip from one of the old shipbuilding places. When the wind is blowing the water from the River out into the bay, you can see some hulks from that shipbuilding place.

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    1. Yeah we had a picnic in the Veterans Park the first time we were in the city. I'll have to keep a look out for the house through.

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  3. The purple building is a stunner! :)

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  4. Looks like a fun place to go exploring, I really like the purple building! I usually think that buildings that are purple or pink are ugly, but this one is very pretty!

    Jessica
    the.pyreflies.org

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  5. That purple building is wowsers!

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  6. Two sets of teeth must be really uncomfortable... or really efficient for eating?

    I'll give those people credit, their garden is super colourful, reminds me of something I would have created in The Sims!

    I love the museum, the roof is so bright! I probably wouldn't go inside, but it's a sexay building ;)

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    1. I can't imagine it being very nice having two sets of teeth, I mean double the pain for wisdom teeth?! No thanks!

      I didn't wander inside the museum - although they had some stuff outside - old gardening stuff, a piece of old road and some garden thingy display. I hear it's a worth a stop though. At first we thought the building was a church, what with the big tower and all!

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  7. Absolutely fantastic pictures - was the purple building really that bright?

    Lizzie's Daily Blog

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    1. Yeap really that bright, no editing. Lots of older buildings - businesses and homes are pretty brightly shaded - purples, greens, blues, yellows.

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  8. I love finding those faded signs on the side of walls - I think that must be a British thing!

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  9. Madonna's birthplace, that's kind of cool! I really like the friendship shell, is it mirror like of just really white? xx

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    1. From what i've read, she doesn't speak highly of the place. And yes, it's bright white and the sun was shinning down upon it.

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  10. That purple building is freaking awesome looking. I love these posts of yours that show the sort of unseen side of the US. I know so little about the US that whenever I read these posts I feel like I'm learning something new every time :) Such pretty photos too of course!
    Debi x

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    1. Yey i'm glad! I can't imagine all the work that goes into keeping such buildings so bright, nor the amount of paint to do so!

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  11. That purple building is amazing! I too like to explore the less traveled areas of cities.

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    1. Getting off the tourist trail is a big must for me!

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