Thumb National Bank; Bay City, Michigan
Posted by: Groundspeak Premium Member boatchick
N 43° 35.845 W 083° 52.967
17T E 267313 N 4831199
Quick Description: Bay County, Michigan has a long history of library service. The onetime Bay City Carnegie Library is now in use as a bank.
Location: Michigan, United States
Date Posted: 11/11/2009 5:41:10 PM
Waymark Code: WM7N4N
Published By: Groundspeak Premium Member Jake39
Views: 5

Long Description:
A citizen’s group was incorporated in 1869 to start the first library in Bay City. As in many towns, the library collection was housed where space could be found, and was moved several times. Neighboring West Bay City was able to build a dedicated library building in 1884 with a donation from Henry W. Sage. The towns of Bay City and West Bay City merged in 1906, but the Sage Library remained separate from the Bay City Library until 1974. George Bobinski notes in Carnegie Libraries that Bay City was initially denied a grant because the Carnegie Corporation felt that existing facilities were adequate for the needs of the city. Presumably, both the Sage and Bay City Libraries (whose collections were housed at City Hall at this time) were considered by the Corporation when this assessment was made.

Bay City’s continued efforts to secure Carnegie funding were rewarded in 1916 with a grant of $35,000. The city contributed an additional $31,000, and a Center Avenue lot was donated by local citizens William Clements, C. R. Wells, and James Davidson. World War One put the library project on hold, and some renegotiation was necessary after the war. Finally, on September 6, 1922, the Bay City Public Library was opened in the Carnegie building. The red brick building was designed by New York City architect Edward Tilton. Tilton designed a number of other Carnegie libraries but is perhaps best known for his work on the Immigration Station at Ellis Island. The new Bay City library was made of red brick with limestone trim, and the interior featured columns and a skylight.

A county library system was formed in 1974, incorporating both the Bay City and Sage Libraries. The Carnegie building remained in service as the Bay City Branch Library until December of 2005. Thumb National Bank purchased the historic building for $323,000 and spent an additional $1.5 million on renovation for use as a bank branch and offices. The historic character of the exterior has been preserved, as were some of the interior features. The skylight, which at some point had been covered, was restored.

References:
Bobinski, George. Carnegie Libraries
Email correspondence with the Reference Department of the Alice and Jack Wirt Public Library, Bay City, Michigan. Thanks for your assistance!!

Address of Library Building:
708 Center Avenue
Bay City, Michigan USA
48708


Current Use of Building: bank

Year Built (optional): 1922

Website about building: Not listed

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