A Past as Vibrant as the Changing Colors of the Seasons
Founded in the 1880s, Bay City was a thriving river town with two general stores, a pickle factory, blacksmith shop, grain elevators, sand mine, saw mill, shingle mill, and a steamboat wharf. The Bay City depot was an express stop between Chicago and St. Paul due to the large amount of fish shipped on trains in those days.
While many of these features have now faded into the past, the village still offers a spectacular view of Lake Pepin and the Mississippi River. The nearby village park offers picnicking, swimming, camping and great fishing in the bays – both in summer and winter!
Nature lovers will love Bay City. A drive through the hillsides surrounding the village on Highway 35 reveals picturesque views of the majestic hardwoods populating the area.
Bay City is home to a number of shopping options, including antiques and hardware. Taverns and restaurants are also available for those in need of a break or a delicious meal.
Rich in history, Bay City is home to the original Conlin Log Home, donated to the Pierce County Historical Association and moved to Bay City in 1998. Conlin, an Irish immigrant who settled in the area, built the 18- x 26-foot structure out of native elm logs in 1856.
The area’s history center is in a renovated church building next to the Conlin Home. The Pierce County Historical Association’s River Bluffs History Center offers a variety of activities. Bay City has enjoyed a colorful past as vibrant as the changing colors of the seasons. While the train station, huge wharf and dance halls are gone, travelers are treated to the same incredible views of Lake Pepin as generations before them enjoyed.
Bay City hosts the annual Bay City Fest each June, which features a parade, street dance and lots of great food.
- Bay City was once known as the Village of Saratoga (in 1886)
- The village is known as a focal point for soil conservation and pollution standards set in the 1960s
- Don’t miss the Conlin Log Home and the Pierce County Historical Society’s River Bluffs History Center!
- Many of the buildings from Bay City’s past also are now history, but the old jail, school house and grain elevator still stand, as do many of the earlier homes along Bay City’s quiet tree-lined streets.
- Visit Flat Pennies Caboose – the new Mississippi Valley Partners Visitor Center!