The Michigan-based Saginaw River Marine Historical Society (SRMHS) is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization and has members from Bay City, Saginaw, Midland and beyond! The SRMHS is an all volunteer organization interested in the maritime history of the Saginaw River (and its connecting waters), including the more than 650 commercial vessels that were built on the Saginaw River and around Saginaw Bay (of Lake Huron). At one time there were a half-dozen larger (and many more smaller ones) shipyards turning out schooners, freighters and passenger ships.


The Saginaw River Marine Historical Society has seven monthly presentations (always with a program) a year and they start at 6:30 pm on the third Saturday of each month (unless there is a different location, day, time for a specific presentation). The presentations are at Trinity Episcopal Church, 815 N. Grant (corner of Center Ave. and N. Grant St.) in Bay City, Michigan. Please use the Fifth Street entrance at the back of the church. (Location of the church from Google Maps:

https://goo.gl/maps/4QDDJsVWq6mAvdSL6) NOTE: Our regular presentations are open to the public and there is no charge to attend. Customarily, there are no presentations in May, June, July, August and December. Our annual family picnic is usually on the 3rd Saturday in May.


Saginaw River Marine Historical Society membership is a $15 annual fee for an individual, $30 annual fee for a family, and $300 for a lifetime membership. Membership includes our quarterly newsletter, the "Modoc Whistle." More information, including a SRMHS Membership Application form is at this link: https://tinyurl.com/trnlusg


On the third Saturday of every October (usually at 4:00 pm), the SRMHS holds an Annual Memorial Service in memory of area mariners who lost their lives on the Great Lakes. This short service is held at downtown Bay City's Third Street Waterfall Park, located next to and over the Saginaw River (near St. Laurent Brothers). The public is welcome to attend this service. (Note: 2016 was the last year we had this service on the third Saturday of November.)


The original lighthouse at the mouth of the Saginaw River was named Saginaw Bay Lighthouse, with a tower of 65 feet in height. Saginaw Bay Lighthouse was activated in September 1841 and replaced by the Saginaw River (Front and Rear) Range Lights, that were lit for the first time on September 15, 1876. Saginaw River Rear Range is 59 feet in height, and the tower of the second Saginaw River Front Range Light was steel and was 36 feet in height (tower height is the distance from the base of the structure to the ventilator ball). (The tower of the first Saginaw River Front Range Light was made of wood.) Circa 1963, a new shipping channel with a more direct route to/from Lake Huron was constructed in Saginaw Bay, so the new front and rear range lights made the Saginaw River Range Lights obsolete. Saginaw River Front Range Light was removed from its crib on the west side of the Saginaw River (near the mouth) in the 1960s. The building for the inactive Saginaw River Rear Range Light continued as an active U.S. Coast Guard station until 1980, when they moved to a new facility across the river in Bay County’s Hampton Township (listed as an Essexville, Michigan mailing address).


The Saginaw River Marine Historical Society is involved in the renovation of Saginaw River Rear Range Lighthouse, which is located on Dow Chemical Company property in Bangor Township of Bay County, Michigan. The lighthouse is about 3/4 mile south of the mouth of the Saginaw River and Saginaw Bay (Lake Huron).

The Saginaw River is about 22 miles long. The river is formed by the confluence of the Tittabawassee and Shiawassee Rivers, just west of the southern city limits of Saginaw, Michigan, and it flows northward into the Saginaw Bay of Lake Huron (one of the five "Great Lakes"; the Great Lakes are approximately 20% of the world's freshwater supply), just northeast of Bay City. The slope of the Saginaw River is so small that fluctuations in the elevation of Saginaw Bay caused by strong winds sometimes reverse the current in the river. The Saginaw River is in the Great Lakes Bay Region (see http://www.greatlakesbay.com for more information about the Great Lakes Bay Region).



Mailing Address:

Saginaw River Marine Historical Society

P.O. Box 2051

Dept. Web
Bay City, Michigan 48707-2051

Phone: 989-545-9425