First Merged City Government Appointed City Hall Janitors, Set Clocks
100th Anniversary Fete Launched by Bay City Times Article by Tim Younkman
April 10, 2005
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By: Dave Rogers
Setting clocks & hiring janitors was first on the agenda
The first Bay City government after the merger of east and west sides in 1905 had to attend to two important items of business:
1. Appointing the janitor and assistant janitor at City Hall.
2. Designating the use of Central Standard Time in the new Bay City and ordering city clock custodians to set the clocks according to that time.
City Clerk Dana Muscott searched through dusty files and found the address of Mayor Gustave Hine given at that first meeting, April 10, 1905. The first meeting, including the speech, was re-enacted by Central High drama students directed by Pam Barnes.
One detail was strikingly different Sunday: female "aldermen" were seated at the meeting, a wise step directed toward today's political correctness.
And, the students were in formal, Victorian period attire, the ladies complete with flowered and feathered hats and the men looking like Charles Dickens with high top hats and pinched Beau Brummel suits.
Opening speeches at the center of Liberty Bridge, introduced by City Manager Robert Belleman and Clerk Muscott, were climaxed by ceremonial handshakes between today's east and west side city commissioners. The Central High Resounding Harmony choir sang the city song, heard by the throng of about 100, or anybody in town, for the first time.
West side commissisoners Kathy Newsham, Marie Kurzer and Charles Brunner clasped hands with east siders Chris Hennessey, Kurt Legner, John Davidson and M.J. Gorney, along with Mayor Robert Katt.
Eric Jylha, reporter and weather forecaster for WNEM-TV, Channel 5, described the tortuous trail to merger that started in 1871 and took more than 30 years to achieve.
The battle between opposing sides ended in the office of Governor Fred M. Warner, who vetoed the last repeal legislation that had been slid through by Saginaw when a Bay City senator was sick with smallpox, putting the new unified Bay City on the map by default. Mayor Hine, a Democrat, presided over a City Council with 21 Republicans and 13 Democrats.
The aldermen were seated, heard Hine's address and proceeded to govern the new city, immediately transferring financial recordsand cash deposited in the Lumberman's State Bank, corner of Midland and Linn streets, from West Bay City. With 41,000 people in 17 wards, unified Bay City was second only to Detroit in population amopng Michigan cities, said Mr. Jylha.
Mr. Belleman explained that Tim Younkman, reporter for The Bay City Times, brought the upcoming anniversary to his attention. A committee put the observance together, he said.
Lt. Gov. John Cherry, U.S. Rep. Dale Kildee, State Sen. James Barcia, State Rep. Jeff Mayes, County Executive Tom Hickner and Mayor Robert Katt were among speakers. Rep. Kildee read a proclamation printed in the Congressional Record last Wednesday in honor of the combined city's centennial.
"Bay City as we know it today almost never was," commented Lt. Gov. Cherry. "There were twists, turns and intrigue, but the outcome shows that government does have the power to makepositive change. Communities thrive when leaders work together." ###
History Article 753
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 email@example.com)
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