The history of Michigan’s Upper Thumb is one of boom and bust. In the late 1800’s the lumber industry created frontier millionaires and whole towns sprung up around mills. New industry such as salt blocks sprang up next utilizing tons of debris from the saw mills as fuel. The Bay Port Hotel was an exception. Using rail as transport, guests could get to the calm waters of Wild Fowl Bay in a 1/2 a day yet still have all the amenities of a big city hotel. The days of frontier resorts would soon end in the early 1900’s as lumbering ended in Michigan. This is a clip found in Caseville’s museum collection.
Pictured here is the famous Bay Port Hotel. It was nestled among the beautiful trees on the shore of Saginaw Bay at Bay Port (1886-1907) This hotel was state of the art in its day. Well planned and built of the finest materials having 117 heated rooms, six excellent cooks, hot and cold baths, bowling alleys, pools tables and an electric lighting system, Casino and barber shop.
The culinary arrangements were second to none in Michigan. The ventilation and lighting system, as well as the fire protection offered guests was the best of its time.
Was it Haunted
About year 1900 despondent young man committed suicide in one of the lower rooms by slashing by slashing his wrists and throat. Before he died the young man succeed in making bloody hand prints over of the beautiful walls of his room. Because it was difficult to cover up the stains this was locked up and not used again.
Not long after the tragic death of the young man, the Bay Port Hotel had the reputation of being haunted. Guests were positive that throughout the nights, they heard voices even claimed to have seen the ghosts of the young man and his betrothed, who had preceded him in death.
The “Cincinnati Club” that rented the entire hotel for some weeks each summer, left and found a new summer home. Sail boats which dotted the bay near the hotel, disappeared. Excursion trains from the big cities discontinued their daily trips to the thriving port. In short the fancy hotel no longer was paying investors.
W.H. Wallace purchased it and sold the contents ‘by auction sale, before tearing down the building in 1907. Today all that remains are the front steps in front of an empty lot.
Images from Caseville Historical Society and Bay Port Chamber of Commerce.