A love of our Past

Publisher’s Note

Marisa Horak Belotti, Publisher


Thanks to Valentine’s Day, thoughts often turn to love and romance in February.

This issue of Great Lakes Bay Magazine is no exception, but we’re adding a twist. Several of the stories throughout the following pages explore our ties to the past, and this edition of the magazine is an open and unapologetic love letter to the Great Lakes Bay Region and its deep, rich history.

It’s difficult not to run into our area’s past when you look around the region. From our early inhabitants of the Sauk and Chippewa tribes in Mount Pleasant and the Saginaw Valley to the growth of the shipbuilding and sawmill industries in and around Bay City, from the long-reaching ties to German heritage in Frankenmuth to the creation of a technology and industrial innovation hub in Midland, the Great Lakes Bay Region has covered a large and important swath in the fabric of Michigan’s storied growth and development.

Among our features this month are:

  • A glance at some of our local businesses that have stood the test of time and trial over the past 100-plus years and continue to serve the cities, townships and villages where they stand today.
  • An exploration of the origins and evolutions of our area’s historic business districts and how they still maintain a sense of tightly knit community in the modern age.
  • A discussion of where current residents and guests can delve into the lives of previous generations through our area’s historical societies and museums.


Take a step back in time with us and recognize who we are now by celebrating the long and winding path that brought us here.

The next steps for the Great Lakes Bay Region will be important ones because they will help shape our communities for our children’s children and beyond. Looking back helps us move forward, and having a healthy understanding of and appreciation for the past helps cast the decisions we make and the directions we take for the future.