Saginaw, Michigan

Saginaw, Michigan
—  City  —
Saginaw is located in Michigan
Location of Saginaw within Saginaw County, Michigan
Coordinates: 43°25′10″N 83°56′58″W / 43.41944°N 83.94944°W / 43.41944; -83.94944Coordinates: 43°25′10″N 83°56′58″W / 43.41944°N 83.94944°W / 43.41944; -83.94944
Country United States
State Michigan
County Saginaw
Settled 1819
Incorporated 1857
 – Type Council-Manager
 – Mayor Greg Branch
 – City Manager Darnell Earley
 – City 18.2 sq mi (47.1 km2)
 – Land 17.4 sq mi (45.2 km2)
 – Water 0.7 sq mi (1.9 km2)
Elevation[1] 584 ft (178 m)
Population (2010)
 – City 51,508
 – Density 3,542.9/sq mi (1,367/km2)
 – Urban 140,985
 – Metro 206,300
Time zone EST (UTC-5)
 – Summer (DST) EDT (UTC-4)
ZIP Code 48601, 48602, 48605, 48607
Area code(s) 989
FIPS code 26-70520[2]
GNIS feature ID 1627020[3]

Saginaw is a city in the U.S. state of Michigan and the seat of Saginaw County.[4] The city of Saginaw was once a thriving lumber town and manufacturing center.[5] Saginaw and Saginaw County lie in the Flint/Tri-Cities region of Michigan. It is located adjacent to Saginaw Charter Township and considered part of the Tri-Cities area, along with Bay City and Midland.



The site of what is presently the city of Saginaw was originally inhabited by Native Americans. The Sauk lived in the area and were driven from the area by Ojibwe (Chippewa). The name Saginaw is believed to mean "where the Sauk were" in the Ojibwe language. French missionaries and traders first appeared in the area during the late 17th century. The first permanent settlement by those other than Native Americans was in 1815 when Louis Campau established a trading post on the west bank of the Saginaw River. Shortly thereafter the United States established Fort Saginaw.

During Michigan's territorial period, a county and township government were organized at Saginaw. Growth of the settlement was fueled rapidly during the 19th century by the lumber industry. Saginaw was the site of numerous sawmills and served as a port for Great Lakes vessels. What is now the city of Saginaw resulted from the consolidation of the cities of East Saginaw and Saginaw City (West Side) in 1889.

During the 20th century, Saginaw's economy was dominated by manufacturing related to the automotive industry; most notably, manual transmission assemblies, steering gear boxes and power steering pumps. Migration from other areas, particularly the American south, swelled the population. This population growth particularly expanded the presence of African-Americans in Saginaw. The politics of the city became dominated with issues of race relations. The manufacturing presence in Saginaw declined in the latter half of the 20th century and the population diminished as well. Saginaw has faced increasing social problems relating to poverty as a result of its high rate of unemployment. Crime has been a major area of concern for the community in recent years.



According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 18.2 square miles (47 km2), of which, 17.4 square miles (45 km2) of it is land and 0.7 square miles (1.8 km2) of it (3.96%) is water. Saginaw lies on the Saginaw River, 15 miles (24 km) inland from the Saginaw Bay, an arm of Lake Huron.


Climate data for Saginaw, Michigan
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Average high °F (°C) 32
Average low °F (°C) 18
Precipitation inches (mm) 2.2
Source: Weatherbase[6]


Historical populations
Census Pop.
1890 46,322
1900 42,345 −8.6%
1910 50,510 19.3%
1920 61,903 22.6%
1930 80,715 30.4%
1940 82,794 2.6%
1950 92,918 12.2%
1960 98,265 5.8%
1970 91,849 −6.5%
1980 77,508 −15.6%
1990 69,512 −10.3%
2000 61,799 −11.1%
2010 51,508 −16.7%
Location of the Saginaw-Bay City-Saginaw Township North CSA and its components:
  Saginaw-Saginaw Township North Metropolitan Statistical Area
  Bay City Metropolitan Statistical Area

Saginaw is the largest principal city of the Saginaw-Bay City-Saginaw Township North CSA, a Combined Statistical Area that includes the Saginaw-Saginaw Township North (Saginaw County) and Bay City (Bay County) metropolitan areas,[7][8] which had a combined population of 320,196 at the 2000 census.[2]

As of the census[2] of 2000, there were 61,799 people, 23,182 households, and 15,114 families residing in the city. The population density was 3,542.9 people per square mile (1,368.2/km²). There were 25,639 housing units at an average density of 1,469.9 per square mile (567.6/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 47.02% White, 43.26% African American, 0.49% Native American, 0.33% Asian, 0.02% Pacific Islander, 5.86% from other races, and 3.03% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 11.75% of the population.

There were 23,182 households out of which 35.4% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 32.9% were married couples living together, 27.3% had a female householder with no husband present, and 34.8% were non-families. 29.5% of all households were made up of individuals and 9.9% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.60 and the average family size was 3.23.

In the city the population was spread out with 31.6% under the age of 18, 9.9% from 18 to 24, 28.3% from 25 to 44, 18.7% from 45 to 64, and 11.4% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 31 years. For every 100 females there were 87.2 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 81.0 males.

The median income for a household in the city was $26,485, and the median income for a family was $29,945. Males had a median income of $31,614 versus $22,714 for females. The per capita income for the city was $13,816. About 24.7% of families and 28.5% of the population were below the poverty line, including 40.2% of those under age 18 and 16.3% of those age 65 or over.

As of the 2010 census Saginaw had a population of 51,508. The racial and ethnic composition of the population was 37.5% non-Hispanic white, 44.9% non-Hispanic black, 0.5% Native American, 0.3% Asian, 0.1% non-Hispanic reporting some other race, 4.4% reporting two or more races and 14.3% Hispanic or Latino.[9]

Law and government


Saginaw is classified as a Home Rule City under the Michigan Home Rule Cities Act which permits cities to exercise "Home Rule" powers, among which is the power to frame and adopt its own City Charter which serves as the fundamental law of the city, in a manner similar to a Constitution for a national or state government. The present Charter was adopted in 1935 and took effect on January 6, 1936. Pursuant to the City Charter, Saginaw is governed by a nine member elected at-large Council. The term of office for a member of the City Council is four years commencing with the first meeting following a regular municipal election. The terms of Council members are staggered so that the entire Council is not subject to re-election at the same time; alternatively either four or five members are elected in each odd-numbered year.


Higher education

The City of Saginaw is served by Delta College and Saginaw Valley State University, which are located in nearby University Center, Michigan and a campus of Davenport University, located in Kochville Township. Central Michigan University maintains an off-campus center inside the city that offers numerous degree programs.

Primary and secondary schools

The City of Saginaw is served by the Saginaw Public School District (SPSD). The district operates 14 elementary schools, 2 combined elementary/middle schools; Arthur Eddy Academy K-8, and Zilwaukee K-8, 2 middle schools; Reuben Daniels Middle School and Willie E. Thompson Middle School, and 3 high schools. The district is governed by a seven member elected board of education. The board selects a superintendent for the district. The current superintendent is Dr. Carlton Jenkins.[10] The three public high schools in Saginaw are Arthur Hill High School, Saginaw High School, and the Saginaw Arts and Sciences Academy. Michigan Lutheran Seminary is the lone private high school in the city. Charter schools in the city are North Saginaw Charter Academy, Saginaw Prep schools, and the International Academy of Saginaw.


The water treatment facility in Saginaw was constructed in 1929.


The City of Saginaw gets its electricity and natural gas from Consumers Energy.

Municipal water supply

In 1929, the city opened its consolidated water works plant which replaced two separate plants that were on each side of the Saginaw river. This plant treated water brought in from the Saginaw river and piped it out to the residents as well as corner pumps for people that did not have direct connections to the system.[11] Currently, the City of Saginaw jointly owns with the City of Midland the Saginaw-Midland Municipal Water Supply Corporation. Incorporated in 1946, this water treatment system has supplied drinking and industrial water to both cities and many surrounding areas within the county.[12] Due to brackish water being in the aquifers below both cities, a 65-mile (105 km) long pipeline was constructed in 1948 to supply water from Lake Huron at White Stone Point, north of Au Gres to water treatment plants in Saginaw and Midland[11] with a second pipe added by 1996. This system has played a role in the decline of the city. The City of Saginaw, in order to obtain new sources of revenue, sold water to areas outside of the city (especially to the Saginaw Charter Township). This caused numerous businesses inside the city to leave for the surrounding areas and development in the city to stagnate. The City of Midland, however, adopted a policy of "No Annexation, No Water" which has led to the growth of the city as well as the surrounding areas.[12]


The City of Saginaw consists of many diverse neighborhoods,[13] including:

  • Downtown
  • Old Town [14][15]
  • Southwest Village [13]
  • Northmoor [16]
  • Heritage Square [17]
  • Cathedral District [18]
  • Houghton Jones Neighborhood [19]
  • South East Side [13]
  • Triangle Parks [13]
  • St. Stephen's Area [13]
  • Brockway-Carmen Park [13]
  • Butman-Fish Neighborhood [13]
  • Redeemer Area [13]
  • Saginaw High Neighborhood [13]
  • Northeast Side [20]
  • Covenant Neighborhood [21]
  • The Sandhill
  • The Woods


Saginaw is served primarily by two airports: MBS International Airport, located in nearby Freeland, and Bishop International Airport, located in Flint. Saginaw is also served by three smaller airports: Harry W. Browne Airport in adjacent Buena Vista Township, James Clements Municipal Airport in Bay City, and Jack Barstow Municipal Airport in Midland. In addition to the airports, Interstate 75 serves as the main arterial route for the Saginaw area while Interstate 675 provides direct access to the center of the city from Interstate 75. Interstate 69 is a nearby east-west corridor providing access to the rest of the Midwestern United States and Canada. The Saginaw River runs through the middle of the city and provides access to Saginaw Bay and the rest of the Great Lakes via docks on the northern side of the city. Historically, ships were able to move all along the length of the river inside the city but fixed bridges being built over the river closed access south of the northern docks. In the city and surrounding areas, mass transit is provided by bus under the authority of the Saginaw Transit Authority Regional Services (STARS) system.[22] The STARS system connects to Bay City's Bus system at Saginaw Valley State University.

Major highways

I-75 passes along the eastern side of the city through Buena Vista Charter Township.
I-675 provides a short freeway loop through downtown Saginaw and back to I-75 through Saginaw Charter Township.
M-13 runs from I-69 through downtown Saginaw and north to Standish.
M-46 is a cross-peninsular road, running across the mitten and the thumb – from Port Sanilac on the Lake Huron shore, through Saginaw, and then on to Muskegon on the Lake Michigan shore.[23] This east-west surface route nearly bisects the Lower Peninsula of Michigan latitudinally.
M-47 passes through the western suburbs and provides a direct connection to MBS International Airport.
M-52 runs from the Ohio border through Adrian and Owosso before ending at M-46, in the western suburbs of Saginaw. M-52 also provides an alternate connection to Lansing, Michigan's state capitol.
M-58 runs from M-47 to I-675.
M-81 runs east from M-13 to Caro and Cass City and ends at M-53 in Sanilac County.
M-84 runs from downtown Bay City to M-58 in Saginaw.

Culture and entertainment

The city's main entertainment can be found in the downtown area, where places such as the Children's Zoo, The Dow Event Center and the restored Temple Theatre offer live entertainment. The Dow Event Center is also home to the city's junior ice hockey team, the Saginaw Spirit of the Ontario Hockey League as well as The Saginaw Sting, an indoor football team. The downtown area, which contains a number of office buildings from the late 19th century and early 20th century, is located near the Saginaw Club, a local businessmen's club founded in 1889, and the Saginaw Center, an educational complex run by Delta College. Once vibrant, the downtown area has been in decline in recent years and presently struggles with blight. Downtown is not to be confused with the Old Town/West Side City area located on the other side of the river and about one mile (1.6 km) south. Old Town houses many popular bars, locally owned restaurants, and arts organizations.


The Saginaw area is home to two professional sports teams as well as one NCAA Division-II school that has various sports programs. The Saginaw Spirit is an Ontario Hockey League team that became nationally known when television personality Stephen Colbert promoted the team on his show, The Colbert Report.[24] The Saginaw Sting is an indoor football team that formed in 2007 to play in Saginaw beginning in the 2008 season.[25] At the collegiate level, Saginaw Valley State University competes in numerous sports such as American Football, Basketball, and Volleyball.[26]

Team Sport League Year founded Venue
Saginaw Spirit Ice hockey Ontario Hockey League 2002 Dow Event Center
Saginaw Sting Indoor football Continental Indoor Football League 2008 Dow Event Center
Saginaw Valley State University Various Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference 1963 SVSU Campus

Shopping Areas

The area's main shopping district is located in neighboring Saginaw Township along Bay Rd. and Tittabawassee Road north of town, where several big box stores can be found. Also in the same area is Fashion Square Mall, a regional shopping mall anchored by JCPenney, Macy's, and Sears. There are also many restaurants in this part of town, primarily regional chains.

Primary shopping areas inside the city of Saginaw include Old Town and downtown.


Television stations

Saginaw is part of Nielsen's Flint-Saginaw-Bay City-Midland Designated Market Area which is the 66th largest market in the United States for Television Viewers.[27] Saginaw is the home of CBS affiliate WNEM which maintains its studios and offices inside the City though its license is for Bay City, MI.[28] ABC affiliate WJRT maintains its offices and newsrooms in Saginaw while its studios are in its community of license, Flint.[29] Only NBC affiliate WEYI and Christian station WAQP have the City of Saginaw as their city of record but both maintain their facilities outside of the city.[30][31] Charter Communications operates a cable television network servicing the City of Saginaw under a franchise agreement.

Television stations in the Saginaw, Michigan area (Ascending order)
Channel Call letters Description Comments
5 WNEM-TV CBS affiliate Licensed to Bay City; studios in Saginaw
12 WJRT-TV ABC affiliate Based and licensed in Flint
19 WDCQ-TV PBS member station Licensed to Bad Axe; studios at Delta College in University Center
25 WEYI-TV NBC affiliate Licensed to Saginaw; studios in Clio
42 W46CR 3ABN affiliate Based and licensed in Saginaw
46 WBSF CW affiliate Licensed to Bay City; studios in Clio
49 WAQP TCT O&O affiliate Based and licensed in Saginaw
66 WSMH Fox affiliate Based and licensed in Flint

Radio stations

Radio stations licensed within the immediate Saginaw area (Saginaw County) are listed. Many locations in the City of Saginaw also receive stations from Bay City, Midland, Flint, and Lansing.

AM radio stations
Frequency Call sign Name Format Owner City
790 AM WSGW Newsradio 790 News/Talk NextMedia Group Saginaw, Michigan
1250 AM WNEM WNEM 1250 AM News/Talk Meredith Corporation Saginaw, Michigan
1400 AM WSAM The Bay Soft adult contemporary MacDonald Broadcasting Saginaw, Michigan
FM radio stations
Frequency Call sign Name Format Owner City
90.9 FM WTRK Air 1 Contemporary Christian Educational Media Foundation Saginaw, Michigan
93.3 FM WKQZ The Rock Station, Z93 Modern rock Citadel Broadcasting Saginaw, Michigan
93.7 FM WRCL Club 93.7 Rhythmic contemporary Regent Communications Saginaw, Michigan
94.5 FM WCEN 94.5 The Moose Country music NextMedia Group Saginaw, Michigan
96.1 FM WHNN Oldies 96 Oldies Citadel Broadcasting Saginaw, Michigan
97.3 FM WMJO 97.3 Joe FM Classic hits/Hot AC MacDonald Broadcasting Saginaw, Michigan
98.1 FM WKCQ 98FM KCQ Country music MacDonald Broadcasting Saginaw, Michigan
100.5 FM WTKQ FM Talk 100.5 News/Talk NextMedia Group Saginaw, Michigan
102.5 FM WIOG The Hit Music Channel Contemporary hits Citadel Broadcasting Saginaw, Michigan
104.1 FM WSAM The Bay Soft adult contemporary MacDonald Broadcasting Bridgeport, Michigan
104.5 FM WILZ Wheelz 104.5 Classic rock Cumulus Media Saginaw, Michigan
106.3 FM WGER The New Mix 106.3 Adult contemporary music NextMedia Group Saginaw, Michigan
107.1 FM WTLZ KISS 107.1 Urban adult contemporary NextMedia Group Saginaw, Michigan


Museums and gardens

The Andersen Enrichment Center and Lucille E. Andersen Memorial Rose Garden are part of the Saginaw's park system. These locations are used to host private and public events throughout the year. Past events have included, Hollyday Art Fair [32] and a World AIDS Day service[33] The garden includes a fountain with a sculpture by Marshall Fredericks.

The Saginaw Art Museum hosts temporary exhibitions and permanent collections. The museum also houses The John and Michele Bueker Research Library and Archives of Michigan Art. The museum originated as the home of C.L. Ring who commissioned Charles A. Platt to design the house and gardens. The museum opened to the public in 1948. The museum is a Smithsonian Institution affiliate.[34]

When it comes to the historical aspects of Saginaw, no place shows it off as well as the Castle Museum of Saginaw County History. The museum is housed in a former post office which was built to resemble a castle, and honors the French heritage of the area. With over 100,000 artifacts in their collection, the Historical Society of Saginaw County displays items from their collection as well as traveling exhibits.[35]

Saginaw in popular culture and literature

  • Saginaw is referred to in the Simon & Garfunkel song "America", which is about traveling across the USA. It was noted: "It took me four days to hitchhike from Saginaw, I've gone to look for America."[36]
  • Bill Anderson and Don Wayne wrote a song entitled "Saginaw, Michigan" that has been covered by a dozen artists.[37] Cowboy singer Lefty Frizzell was the first to perform it, with his version reaching number one on the country charts.[38][39] Also popularly, it was performed by Johnny Cash. The song mis-situates the city on Saginaw Bay, about 15 miles to the north.
  • Saginaw was also referred to as "dreadful" by the bold character Miss Ferenczi in the short story "Gryphon" by Charles Baxter.
  • Saginaw served as the destination point for the Seinfeld characters Kramer and Newman during an episode where the pair hatched a scheme to transport bottles and cans via a United States Postal Service mail truck from New York to Michigan to earn 10¢ per recycled item, as opposed to New York's 5¢.

Notable natives

See also: Category:People from Saginaw, Michigan

Sister cities

See also


  1. ^ "USGS Detail on Saginaw, MI". Retrieved 2007-11-26. 
  2. ^ a b c "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2008-01-31. 
  3. ^ U.S. Geological Survey Geographic Names Information System: Saginaw, Michigan
  4. ^ "About Saginaw County, MI". National Association of Counties. Archived from the original on 2007-10-18. Retrieved 2007-11-26. 
  5. ^ "A Brief History of Lumbering in Michigan". Michigan Center for History Studies. Retrieved 2007-11-27. 
  6. ^ "Weatherbase: Historical Weather for Saginaw, Michigan, United States of America". Retrieved November 26, 2007. 
  7. ^ Metropolitan Statistical Areas and Components, Office of Management and Budget, 2007-05-11. Accessed 2008-08-01.
  8. ^ Combined Statistical Areas and Component Core Based Statistical Areas, Office of Management and Budget, 2007-05-11. Accessed 2008-08-01.
  9. ^ 2010 census figures for Saginaw
  10. ^ "Our Schools". Retrieved 2007-11-26. 
  11. ^ a b "Saginaw 2001 Water Report" (PDF). Retrieved 2007-11-27. 
  12. ^ a b "Planning & Community Development". Retrieved 2007-11-27. 
  13. ^ a b c d e f g h i Neighborhood Associations
  14. ^ Old Town Saginaw,
  15. ^
  16. ^
  17. ^
  18. ^
  19. ^ Houghton
  20. ^
  21. ^
  22. ^ Engel, Justin. "STARS tax rides to victory". The Saginaw News. Retrieved 2007-11-26. 
  23. ^ M-46 Endpoint Photos.
  24. ^ Sunaya Sapurji (2007-02-01). "The Steagle has landed". Toronto Star. Retrieved 2007-11-26. 
  25. ^ "Saginaw feels the Sting". WEYI-TV. Retrieved 2007-11-26. 
  26. ^ "Athletics home". Retrieved 2007-11-26. 
  27. ^ "Sampling the Population". Retrieved 2007-11-26. 
  28. ^ "Station Details - WNEM". Retrieved 2007-11-27. 
  29. ^ "Station Details - WJRT". Retrieved 2007-11-27. 
  30. ^ "Station Details - WEYI". Retrieved 2007-11-27. 
  31. ^ "Station Details - WAQP". Retrieved 2007-11-27. 
  32. ^ "Hollyday Art Fair at the Anderson Enrichment Center". Retrieved 2009-12-14. 
  33. ^ "World Aids Day event is Tuesday". Retrieved 2009-12-14. 
  34. ^ "Smithsonian Affiliations". Retrieved 2009-12-24. 
  35. ^
  36. ^ "Simon and Garfunkel "America" lyrics". Retrieved 2008-02-13. 
  37. ^ Second Hand songs, origins and covers of "Saginaw Michigan".
  38. ^ "Left Frizzell, Saginaw Michigan lyrics.". Retrieved 2008-02-13. 
  39. ^ Youtube, Lefty Frizzell performing "Saginaw Michigan.

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