Welcome to the Center Avenue Historic District, an architectural legacy created by the Bay City lumbermen, ship builders and industrialists who made their fortunes here in the mid 1800’s.
The District was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1982 and expanded in 2011. It includes an impressive collection of more than 875 structures in a wide array of styles including Gothic Revival, Second Empire, Greek revival, Italianate, Queen Anne, Richardson Romanesque, Tudor Revival, Georgian Revival, Arts & Crafts and Stick styles. Of particular note is the presence of many “Kit homes” designed, built and displayed here by the Aladdin and Lewis & Liberty companies which pioneered the manufacture of kit homes from their base of operations in Bay City.
The Center Avenue Neighborhood Association was born from a need to preserve this rich legacy for future generations. Membership is available to all individuals and organizations who share our interest in protecting the historic character of the Center Avenue Historic District and the greater Bay City community (to learn about membership benefits, including the Interpretive Signage Program and the Historic Structure Plaque Program, please click here or on the “Become a Member” link at the top of this page). In addition, historic preservation grants and awards are also available, including a Trades Scholarship. For more details, including examples, please click on “History of CANA,” above.
We invite you to stroll the neighborhood and imagine what it was like to live here when guests were delivered in horse-drawn carriages and entertained in third-floor ballrooms. Learn more about the characters who built their homes in the District and the distinctive character they created in Bay City’s most significant historic resource. There is a link to our walking tour brochure on the upper-left-hand side of this page; also, the Bay County Historical Society has a virtual tour of 51 properties within the district, using Google earth as the interactive “map” (you will need to download Google earth if you do not have it already). Using the “street view” option (person icon at right), you can travel down Center Avenue as if you were actually at street level and you have 360-degree control: www.bchsmuseum.org/id47.html. Last, you can see a map of the historic district by clicking on our link at the top of this page, or you can view the City of Bay City’s maps and see their list of addresses within the district at: http://www.baycitymi.org/355/Historic-Preservation.