You are here

Sage Library (Bay County Library System—Sage Branch)

-A A +A
Bay County Library System—Sage Branch
1882–1884, Leverett A. Pratt and Walter Koeppe; 1983–1984 restoration, Wigen, Tincknell, Meyer and Associates. 100 E. Midland St.

In the early 1860s Henry W. Sage (1814–1897) came to Bay City from Connecticut by way of Ithaca, New York. With his business partner, John McGraw, he established what would become the city's largest lumber mill. Sage lived and worked in West Bay City and was known for his financial and business acumen, as well as his generous philanthropic pursuits, the most lasting of which were the construction of a library (free public library, reading room, and debating room) and a collection of ten thousand books. Sage wanted the library to play a role in producing “a higher intellectual and richer and truer social development in the community.” The library was designed by Pratt and Koeppe, Bay City's best-known architectural firm. Its Ruskinian appearance makes it High Victorian, but some of its major features, such as the round arches and the corbeling, are Romanesque. The polychromatic exterior walls are of red brick, with light yellowish brick and Amherst blue stone trim. They display reverse corbeling, a quatrefoil, a sculpture niche, a polygonal bay, and dormers. The first floor holds classrooms; the second, the reading room with an octagonal bay window and fireplace framed in ceramic tile. The elegant grounds contain a beautiful Victorian fountain depicting Leda and the Swan cast by Mott Foundry of New York. The library remains in full use today as a branch of the Bay County Library System.

Writing Credits

Kathryn Bishop Eckert


What's Nearby


Kathryn Bishop Eckert, "Sage Library (Bay County Library System—Sage Branch)", [Bay City, Michigan], SAH Archipedia, eds. Gabrielle Esperdy and Karen Kingsley, Charlottesville: UVaP, 2012—,

Print Source

Cover: Buildings of Michigan

Buildings of Michigan, Kathryn Bishop Eckert. Charlottesville: University of Virginia Press, 2012, 329-332.

If SAH Archipedia has been useful to you, please consider supporting it.

SAH Archipedia tells the story of the United States through its buildings, landscapes, and cities. This freely available resource empowers the public with authoritative knowledge that deepens their understanding and appreciation of the built environment. But the Society of Architectural Historians, which created SAH Archipedia with University of Virginia Press, needs your support to maintain the high-caliber research, writing, photography, cartography, editing, design, and programming that make SAH Archipedia a trusted online resource available to all who value the history of place, heritage tourism, and learning.