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Saganing Eagle's Landing Casino, Eagle Bay Marina, Rising Out of Snow & Ice

Trains from Downstate, Cruise Ships on Lake Huron to Boost Patronage?

December 23, 2007       Leave a Comment
By: Dave Rogers

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Envision trains out of Detroit and southeast Michigan hauling hundreds of casino patrons to the Eagle's Landing Casino in Arenac County.

How about Great Lakes cruise ships docking, or anchoring, in Saginaw Bay and yachts ferrying eager customers to the Eagle Bay Marina, thence to be trollied to the casino.

Marinas are being prepared for Summer boats that will visit.
(MyBayCity Photo by Kevin Leahy)

Construction continues at a dock that will service the casino.
(MyBayCity Photo by Kevin Leahy)

It's a dramatic story of a marketing and sales vision that is emerging from reported Chippewa plans, and northern Bay and Arenac County officials are more than steamed up about the prospects of economic stimulus.

The latest rumors are that the tracks that run near the casino will be employed to run special trains from downstate, bringing back memories of how railroad companies promoted attractions like the Wenona Beach amusement park beginning in the late 1800s.

The new Saginaw Chippewa Indian Tribe casino at Saganing in Arenac County is rising out of the ice and snow, apparently heading for a Valentine's Day opening after a delay.

Word is, however, the slots and tables are in and a secret showing may be in store for a few special guests before long.

Although no formal announcement has yet been made, the Eagle's Landing Casino is hiring and training about 300 employees, some of whom will move from the Soaring Eagle Casino and Resort at Mt. Pleasant.

Development at the Saganing Casino is springing to life in the middle of the winter environment.
(MyBayCity Photo by Kevin Leahy)

It's a rags to riches story over 35 years since a handful of tribal members were starving at Saganing, huddled around pot-bellied stoves and living in shacks.

A Bay City Times reporter and photographer found the Chippewa at Saganing in 1972, estranged from the rest of the tribe at Mt. Pleasant, under urging by former the late Chief Jack York, of Bay City.

An article and dramatic photos that ran in Booth Newspapers statewide alerted humanitarian groups who descended on Saganing at Thanksgiving with food, clothing, bedding and other necessaries. The federal government, responding to the publicity, shipped in mobile homes to improve living conditions.

That was pretty much the last we heard from the tribe at Saganing until recently when the news of a casino broke.

There will be no need for charity at Saganing when the dollars begin to flow from casino patrons who will flock to try their luck on the shore of Saginaw Bay. Eagle's Landing is said to be the only, or one of a few, casinos on a major body of water in the country.

And, who knows, it may be one of the few to be served by passenger trains.

Our reporter-photographer Kevin Leahy recently visited the new casino site and got these on-the-scene photos that reveal a development springing to life from the winter environment.

Winter Construction - Construction continues with an opening date of February 1, 2008 announced.
(MyBayCity Photo by Kevin Leahy)

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Dave Rogers

Dave Rogers is a former editorial writer for the Bay City Times and a widely read,
respected journalist/writer in and around Bay City.
(Contact Dave Via Email at

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