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Situated near the base of Saginaw Bay on Lake Huron, just west of the Thumb region of Michigan's Lower Peninsula, Bay City is divided into east and west sides by the Saginaw River. Both sides of the city are connected by four bascule-type drawbridges, which allow large ships to pass down the river.

The bridges are Liberty Bridge, Veterans Memorial Bridge, Independence Bridge, and Lafayette Avenue Bridge.

The primary route through the city is BR 75, M-13, M-15, and M-25, while I-75, US-10, US-23, M-47, and Conn M-13 are nearby. Bay City is adjacent to Essexville, to the east. The city of Auburn is 9.7 miles to the west, while Midland is 20.7 miles to the west. Zilwaukee is 12.1 miles south, while Saginaw is 17.4 miles, only a few miles further to the south.

Leon Trombley came to the region in 1831, building a log cabin on the east bank of the Saginaw River, becoming the first settler in the area that was later to become the City of Bay City, Michigan. In 1834, John B. Trudell built a log cabin near where 17th and Broadway is now, later acquiring additional land extending his residence north along the river. Joseph and Mader Trombley opened a trading post in 1835, building a house in 1837. In 1836, James Fraser, a lumberman from Detroit, acquired 240 acres of the John Riley Reserve. Through the Saginaw Bay Company, which he owned, Fraser platted the village, which was first known as Lower Saginaw, for its proximity to the lower shore of Saginaw Bay.

On June 4, 1846, a post office was established, and named Hampton, after the township, with Thomas Rogers as the first postmaster.

In 1857, when Bay County was organized, the community fell within its boundaries. The post office briefly changed its name to Lower Saginaw. However, the townspeople objected to the word Lower, so the town was named Bay City, and the post office took that name on March 22, 1858. Bay City was incorporated as a village in 1859, and as a city in 1865.

Although the first European-American settlement in the area was Saginaw in 1819, larger ships had difficulty navigating the river near Saginaw, as the depth of the river was shallower there. Because of this, several businesses moved from Saginaw to Lower Saginaw, which later became Bay City. Wood products, mills, and shipbuilding were prominent industries in the latter part of the 19th century.

Until 1905, Bay City was situated east of the Saginaw River, while the west side was a separate municipality known as West Bay City. In 1905, West Bay City was annexed to Bay City. Today, West Bay City is acknowledged as a distinct neighborhood within Bay City.

The focus of this category is on the Bay City, Michigan. Appropriate resources include websites representing the municipal government or any of its agencies or programs, as well as local businesses, industries, schools, places of worship, organizations, attractions, and events.

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