Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Wandering Around Downtown Bay City

My mom's doctor had a photography exhibit at Studio 23 in downtown Bay City.  After looking at those pictures for a while, I decided to wander around Bay City for a while to take some of my own pictures.
 Bay City is a fairly old community and as such it has some nice old building.  These are along Water Street.  This particular building caught my eye because the name at the top of it was also the name of my high school.
 I liked the ornateness of these windows.  It's a shame that they are boarded up now, but I do like the looks of the old buildings.
 At time, these buildings housed other buildings but as the city contracted, the need for those businesses was no longer.  Now they are mostly antique shops.
 At one time, the city was going to have a bunch of murals on various buildings. This is one of those.
 And then there are the murals that were used to advertise what was in the stores.  This Champion Spark Plug sign has seen better days though.
 Some of the buildings get restored.  I'm not sure what this one is being used for now but I kind of liked the way the light was hitting it.  It reminds me of an old painting.
 The post office in downtown Bay City was built as part of the Works Progress Administration in the 1930's.  It still retains that look and has been maintained fairly well.  I kind of liked the contrast of the Post Office and the UPS truck though (purely accidental though).
 Looking at the main part of downtown Bay City.  The State Theater is where I saw Return of the Jedi when I was a kid.  On the other side of the street used to be Knepps, that's where I got a few things.
 Another relic of the past is the Fallout Shelter sign.  I'm glad that we never had to use these.  I wonder if the foodstocks in it are still being maintained.
 When I was growing up, this building used to be painted grey.  At that time, it housed Cum Craft which was a hobby store.  It used to be a really good hobby store until I saw some of the hobby stores in this area.  Sadly, I think the owner died and his son didn't want to maintain the business so now it houses a real estate office.
 For the longest time, the Pere Marquette Building stood abandoned.  Then they decided to restore it.  I'm not sure what it houses now but it looks pretty nice.
 I think I've gone into the history of the Pere Marquette before.  It was a railroad that serviced much of Michigan.  It would have covered much of middle Michigan.  I believe there was a line that ran from Bay City to Ludington and there it would catch a ferry.  But with the decline of the railroads, it fell into the C&O Railroad.  Like I said, for a long time this building was boarded up but now it stands almost in its full glory.
 The Bay County Building was also another Works Project Act.  It was one of many projects designed to get people working again.  It's kind of a shame that modern politicians can't take a hand from this and start getting people working on some of the infrastructure projects that are in dire need of being worked on.  I guess they'd rather just give money to people who don't really need it.
 One more shot of the Pere Marquette Building.  I really like how whoever designed this set up the arches for photographs like this.  I'd imagine this would look really nice in the spring or fall.
 Another one of the building murals.  I'd swear that I could do just a series of these some day.
 I just love old architecture.
 The Bay City Times was founded in 1873 and remains one of the oldest newspapers still in circulation.  Like many other newspapers it has seen hard times.  In 2009, it went from being published 7 days a week to 3 days a week.  For the longest time, the paper was printed in this building but now I think this just houses the offices.  One of my favorite photographers comes from this newspaper.
 I'm not sure what these buildings use to be in the past, but now they are art shops and various other buildings.
 Even some of the alleys have character.
 Another pair of buildings on Washington Street. These stand next to the old Knepps building.
 Another row of buildings.  This almost fits the standard Midwestern Town template.
 Another mural.  The Fireworks festival is probably Bay City's biggest attraction now.
 Another old mural.
And one last shot.

At one time, Bay City had over 50,000 residents and a vibrant manufacturing base.  Along the river there used to be Defoe Shipyard and a couple other shipyards.  There was also Brown-Hoist and the Prestolite Plant.  About the only factory still left is the GM Powertrain plant.  It's a shame that so many of our Midwestern towns have been devastated by globalization.

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