Great Lake Trip – Day 11 – Michigan

2017-05-08 | Travel

Bay City, Michigan

Heading south to our next destination, we stopped on the way to explore the town of Alpena, Michigan. Our first stop was at the Alpena Convention & Visitors Bureau at 235 W. Chisholm St. The friendly lady there supplied us with a map of this small town. We asked her about points of interest and she directed us to the The Great Lakes Maritime Heritage Center museum.

Exterior of the Great Lakes Maritime Heritage Center museum

The glass-bottomed boat tours had not begun yet, but they sure looked interesting. They take you over several shipwrecks in Thunder Bay.

Glass Bottom Boats tours at Alpena Mischigan

This is a photo inside the museum. We are on a mezzanine looking down on the main floor. The Western Hope is a realistic model that you can walk through. Part of the ship is above “water” and the other portion that you enter is under “water”, showing you what a sinking ship looks like.

The displays and artefacts recall the Century of Shipwrecks, from 1825 to 1925. Over 200 boats sank in Thunder Bay alone during that period. They were lost due to storms, fog, running aground, and colliding with each other. Historians estimate that as few as 6,000 ships, or as many as 25,000 ships, were lost during this period.

Boat displays inside the Great Lakes Maritime Heritage Center museum

Below is a restored anchor windlass, enabling two men to raise a heavy anchor.

Anchor raising device

Although there was plenty of iron nuggets and other freight being shipped on the Great Lakes, there was also a healthy amount of pleasure boats. These cruises took people away from the dirty cities to the fresh clean air of the Lakes.

The museum tells the stories of hundreds of shipwrecks, has artefacts from sunken cruise ships, and also shows some videos of the shipwrecks.  This is one of the best museums we visited, and the price was nada – free.

photo of pleasure cruises on the Great Lakes early 1900's

A loading diagram of a freighter’s cargo.

A loading diagram of a freighter's cargo

Leaving Alpena, we head southward towards Bay City. Bay City, like so many cities we visited, had a wealth of walkways. This one is beside the Saginaw River that flows through the city. It is called the Riverwalk and has a long pier that extends out into the river called, oddly enough, the Riverwalk Pier.

Riverwalk Pier at Bay City MI

panorama of Riverwalk Pier at Bay City MI

Riverwalk Pier at Bay City MI

A side view of the Riverwalk Pier.

Riverwalk Pier at Bay City MI

My wife did some research and learned that there were many historical homes on Center Avenue. Once we located the street we parked the car and walked, taking photos as we went. Center Avenue is a 5-lane highway now and it is a major artery into and out of the city.

Historic homes in Bay City Michigan

The homes here were quite unique. Most are painted very colorfully. Some are brick and stone. These homes were owned by the rich and famous of the city and were built to last.

Brick Queen Anne Historic home in Bay City Michigan

This is an unusual Queen Anne, in that it is brick instead of frame. This home was owned by one of the Clements brothers, Henry.

detail of Brick Queen Anne Historic home in Bay City Michigan

Plaque of Henry Clements home Bay City MI

Another Historic home in Bay City Michigan

Plaque of Louis Groeschel House Bay City MI

This is the home of the other Clements brother, Williams. Note the variety of windows on this home.

You can pick up a walking brochure for this neighbourhood here, as well as get additional information about this historic district.

William Clements House Bay City

Plaque of William Clements House Bay City

We were impressed by the size and structure of the City Hall Building.

Exterior of City Hall Building Bay City, MI

We only stayed one night in Bay City. It was a good town to tour for one day. Tomorrow we are off for a three-day stay in Ann Arbor, Michigan, just west of Dearborn and Detroit. We are looking forward to visiting The Henry Ford Museum and Greenfield Village. This turned out to be one of the highlights of our trip.