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.
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