Since I was a tot, summer has always meant one thing- going "up north". That's it, that's all. Now that I live in Chicago, I realize that the term "up north" has plenty of connotations for different people. Many go up north to Wisconsin or to the lower part of Michigan for weekends or weeks away. For me, though, it means one thing- Bay View, Michigan. Bay View is a National Historic Landmark Community in northern Michigan surrounded by Petoskey, MI a small, year round town where my family is from. Bay View was founded in 1875 by Michigan Methodists as a camp meeting "for intellectual and scientific culture and the promotion of the cause of religion and morality." They chose Bay View as the site because of its salubrious summer climate, its beautiful location on the shores of Little Traverse Bay, and its availability by railroad and lake steamer. The following year ground was cleared and tents put up to house the several hundred people who came for six days of religious talks and sermons delivered from the "preaching stand," which was the first building erected on the grounds. It is now a part of the Bay View Historical Museum. By 1877, streets, parks, and public areas had been platted and twenty simple cottages had been built. Ten years later there were 125 cottages, a hotel and a chapel. The religious program expanded and grew into a Summer Assembly of eight weeks. Chautauqua-type literary and scientific circles were formed. Cottage
Although Methodist in origin and still associated with the United Methodist Church, Bay View has always been ecumenical in spirit. From its beginning, the Association has welcomed persons of any denominational affiliation who have desired to assist in perpetuating the Association's principles and purpose. "The Mission of the Bay View Association is to be an institution in which Christian values and traditions are central; to enrich the human experience for individuals and families within Bay View and the surrounding community through a seasonal program of religious, educational, cultural and recreational opportunities; and to provide a Christian perspective in a changing world." The chapel-communion and private ceremonies are held here. Church is held in the auditorium.
Education has always been important in Bay View. A so-called "university" was begun in 1886 with many departments. The School of Music was the forerunner of the Conservatory which brings students from many parts of the country. Albion College conducted a summer school on the grounds from 1917 to 1969. A recently-introduced series of seminars offering training in a variety of skills varying from knitting and needlepoint to Spanish and bridge, together with the daily "Religion and Life Hour Forum" carry on the long tradition of adult education.
Recreation and sports have not been forgotten at Bay View. Tennis, swimming and sailing are enjoyed by all ages. An active program of clubs, games, athletics, crafts, camping, hiking and music for children of all ages is carried on under full-time leadership each weekday morning. A social program for Junior and Senior High young people under trained leadership, is centered in the "Rec Club" building on the beach. The Campus Club, a separate member organization, has its own building and provides indoor games and the outdoor sports of shuffleboard, croquet and bowling on the green. The Woman's Council has been in existence for over 50 years and also has its own building, where weekly meetings are held with programs and social hours. The Garden Club has added and keeps adding much to the beauty of the public grounds of Bay View by planting and maintaining flower beds, ornamental boxes, and hanging baskets.
The residency period for cottagers is May through October. The business of the Association is cared for by a nine-member Board of Trustees, three of whom are elected annually and one of whom serves as President. The year-round staff includes the President, Executive Director, Business and Superintendent’s Office staff and Security. The community is comprised of more than 440 cottages, most of which were built during the first 25 years, and over 30 public buildings. The cottages are Victorian in style and any changes made to the interior or exterior of the home must be brought before the Historical Preservation Board before they can be done.
All information on this page taken from the Bay View Website. This is all the historical information. Tomorrow I will tell you about my own personal experience.