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Situated in the northwest portion of Saginaw County, the City of Saginaw, Michigan serves as the county seat.

A portion of the city in the northeast that extends northward is across the Saginaw River from Zilwaukee, and the city is bordered by six townships: Carrollton Township, Saginaw Charter Township, James Township, Spaulding Township, Bridgeport Charter Township, and Buena Vista Charter Township. Saginaw is the larger municipality of the Saginaw-Midland-Bay City Tri-Cities region.

The confluence of the Shiawassee River and the Tittabawassee River, forming the Saginaw River, is at the northern edge of the Shiawassee National Wildlife Refuge, within the city limits.

At the area of confluence is Green Point, an island affiliated with the wildlife refuge, on which is the Green Point Environmental Learning Center. A boardwalk and study pier are available, and it includes nature trails for hiking.

Saginaw is made up of several neighborhoods with unique characteristics, including Downtown, Old Town, Southwest Village, Northmoor, Heritage Square, Cathedral District, Houghton Jones Neighborhood, South East Side, Triangle Parks, St. Stephen's Area, Brockway-Carmen Park, Butman-Fish Neighborhood, Redeemer Area, Saginaw High Neighborhood, Northeast Side, Covenant Neighborhood, Northwest Neighborhood, Sheridan Park, and The Woods.

The city maintains thirty-two parks, ranging from small neighborhood parks to regional parks, most of which are along or near the eastern banks of the Saginaw River. The most commonly visited parks include Hoyt Park, Ojibway Island, Frank N. Andersen Celebration Park, Riverwalk Paths, Bliss Park, Japanese Garden, Deindorfer Woods, and Otto Roeser.

The chief routes to and from the city include I-75, which does not enter the city but passes along its eastern side through Buena Vista Charter Township, and I-675, which serves as a loop through downtown Saginaw, and back to I-75 in Saginaw Charter Township. M-13 runs from I-69 through downtown, then north to Standish. M-46 runs from the Mitten to the Thumb of Michigan's Lower Peninsula, from Port Sanilac and the Lake Huron Shore, through Saginaw, then on to Muskegon on the Lake Michigan shore. M-47 passes through the western part of the city, connecting with MBS International Airport. M-52 runs from the Ohio border to Saginaw, ending at its junction with M-46. M-58 runs from M-47 to I-675, M-81 runs from Caro to its junction with M-53 in Sanilac County, and M-84 runs from Bay City to Mi-58 in Saginaw.

Cities and villages within twenty-five miles of Saginaw include Zilwaukee, Reese, Bay City, Frankenmuth, St. Charles, Essexville, Birch Run, Auburn, Vassar, Montrose, Merrill, New Lothrop, Clio, and Midland.

Saginaw first appeared on a census roll in 1860 with a population of 1,699. By 1890, it had grown to 46,322 residents. With the decline in the lumber industry, there was a slight decrease in 1900, but the city began growing again to a peak population of 98,265 in 1960. Since then, it has declined each decade. Its population at the time of the 2020 census was 44,202.

Early residents of the Saginaw area were the Anishnabeg, which included the Ojibwa who were there when French missionaries and fur traders first came to the region in the late 1600s. Louis Campau established a trading post along the west bank of the Saginaw River in 1816. The small settlement that arose was known as Sagina by 1820. In 1822, the United States government established Fort Saginaw. A post office was established, originally spelled Saganaw, on October 10, 1831, with Colonel David Standard as postmaster.

In 1836, Norman Little, an agent for Alfred M. Hoyt, purchased the military reservation, which included the 1823 Campau Sagina plat, as well as the 1835 Dexter plat. In 1850, he began developing East Saginaw across the river, which was incorporated as a city in 1857, consolidated with South Saginaw in 1873, and with Saginaw City in 1889. The Village of Sagina had already been added to the City of East Saginaw before this time.

Its early economy was based on the lumber industry but, around 1850, German immigrants moved into the area to establish farms and other agricultural businesses. After a depression in the 1890s, the city began growing again due to new industries that came about as part of the Industrial Revolution.

During the past several decades, the city's industries and population. have declined. Like much of the Lower Peninsula, Saginaw has been hit with an economic downtown, as well as trends toward smaller families and migration to rural areas and smaller communities. Nevertheless, Saginaw has maintained an industrial base. As compared to several other mid-sized Michigan communities, Saginaw has attracted new industries and retained manufacturing jobs.

The focus of this portion of our guide is on the City of Saginaw, Michigan.


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