Day 67, Thursday, September 20, 2018
Bay City, Michigan
The Historical Museum of Bay County is operated by the non-profit Bay County Historical Society, and is located in Bay City, Michigan. My Dad grew up in Bay County, living in Munger, a tiny little town that is no longer incorporated. He attended high school in Bay City because the Catholic School in Munger didn’t go past 8th grade.
The Bay County Historical Society was first created in 1919, and is located within the former National Guard Armory building, that was built in 1910. The building itself is a beautiful historic structure.
But Mom and I had a different interest in visiting the museum that day. My grandfather, served in World War I in the Ambulance Corps. Yes, you read that correctly. World War ONE. You see, my grandfather was already well into middle age when he married my grandmother at the age of 48; he was born in 1887. And when he was serving, they were still using horse and mule drawn ambulances. My grandfather, having grown up on a farm that used horse drawn plows, would have been a hot commodity on a horse drawn ambulance crew.
The Historical Museum of Bay County happens to have a World War I ambulance among their collection that was from my grandfather’s unit. It was so cool to see! This ambulance is a motorized one, and we aren’t sure if my grandfather ever used it, as the end of the war was a period of transition from horse drawn to motorized vehicles. So it might not have been an ambulance that my grandfather used, but wouldn’t that be neat if it was!
Either way, it felt like a step back in time to experience just a tiny bit of what my grandfather would have experienced when he was in the War. He also was stationed in France for nine months after the Armistice, as the wounded were still being treated and evacuated back to their home countries. There was a lot of work to do for a soldier in the Ambulance Corps even after the war ended.
We checked out the other exhibits at the museum, including Bay County’s history in the logging industry, historic nursing uniforms and the history of the fire service. We only had a limited amount of time, and there was way more that we didn’t get to! It was a worthwhile stop, and there is no charge to see it!
I never met my grandfather, as he died in 1960, long before I was born, and I never got to hear any of his stories. It was nice to have some small connection to him.