Bay Cities history resurfaces along the Saginaw River
Thu, 21 Feb 2013 23:42:29 GMT —
Some hidden treasures are kept deep below earthâ??s surface never to be seen again. However, in Bay City low water levels are revealing a piece of the past once forgotten and as NBC 25's Josh Marshall reports is being remembered.
1870 Bay City, James Davidson is entering the shipbuilding business as an independent builder.
Starting small and eventually creating some of what the Bay City historical society calls the worldâ??s biggest wooden ships.
Davidson used Bay City to connect to the rest of the world.
"You go out the river and you can get out into the bay you can pretty much go anywhere you want to in the world from that destination and that's how Bay City got its name," said Bay City Historical Societies Chief Historian Ron Bloomfield.
But Davidsonâ??s business crumbled before the great depression. Davidson was forced to halt operations and close the yard. Leaving behind what's known as 'Davisonâ??s Graveyard.'
"What happened, it looks like the scene of a big accident or something. I have heard several people say it's one of the only places you can see a ship wreck above ground," said Ron Bloomfield.
In the early 1900's the ships remained untouched for the most part.
"People have talked about having jumped off those ships into the river, it was deeper at the time obviously," said Bloomfield.
Over the years Davidsonâ??s fleet fell into disrepair. His ships were vandalized bulldozed and burned down.
"Up goes the ship obviously it's going to burn. There is a lot of dry wood there so it burns to the waterline," said Bloomfield.
Leaving behind only remnants of what the historical society calls the biggest wooden ships to ever navigate the great lakes.
"You can see the outlines of the hulls and they haven't been dredged. I think that's significant, it shows us that they are being preserved, that nature is actually preserving these ships,â?? said Bloomfield.
Ships that were once dry-docked.
Theyâ??re now entombed seemingly forever at veterans memorial park.
And people still find parts of the past washed up along the Saginaw River.
"With families with people, oh yeah my father, my grandfather, my great grandfather worked for Davidson. May have had an actual hand in putting that spike in or cut that particular piece of wood. That's a really neat connection," said Bloomfield.
Historian Ron Bloomfield says the cost of preserving what's left makes these relics almost impossible to move and restore.
But with a changing tide you can catch a glimpse of history along the Saginaw River.