Near the Historic Midland Street district in Bay City is the magnificent brick Sage Library. A green Michigan historical marker stands in front of it giving a little history of the building.
Henry W. Sage (1814-1897) founded the village of Wenona (later West Bay City) in 1863. A merchant and philanthropist, he was also a founder of the Sage, McGraw & Company sawmill. In 1881 he donated property, building funds and $10,000 for books to West Bay City for its first public library. The structure was built in 1882-1883 at a cost of nearly $50,000. Charles Babcock of Cornell University designed the French Chateauesque-style building, and the local architectural firm of Pratt & Koeppe superintended the construction. The library was dedicated on January 16, 1884, in a ceremony presided over by Cornell’s Moses Coit Tyler. Michigan Supreme Court judges, congressmen and state officials attended. Offering continuous public library service since 1884, the library was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1980.
What the sign does not tell, is that the historic building is rumored to be haunted. According to the book Haunted Bay City, Michigan the library has had some strange occurrences over the years. Librarians have sometimes heard loud heavy footsteps behind them as they work. After turning around no one is there. When closing up at night all the books are neatly organized and in the morning sometimes a few books are found strewn about as if a storm or something, or someone has moved them in a disorderly manner. Most disturbing is people have seen a little girl in a white dress on the third floor. Legend has it she died over a century ago by contracting smallpox from a book she borrowed from the library.
I am not sure if any of the ghost sightings are true but it is a beautiful old library with a lot of history.
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