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Souvenir of Saginaw:
A Self-Guided Tour

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“The Beautiful Souvenir of Saginaw, the metropolis of Northern Michigan, which has been six months in preparation, will be here in a few days. Owing to a delay at the custom house in New York it did not arrive in time for Xmas, but may reach Saginaw by Jan 1st  For sale by all dealers, news agents on all trains running in and out of Saginaw, and by the publisher, Twelvetrees, to whom apply for trade prices.”  

-The Saginaw Evening News, December 30, 1889, p. 7 

This is a self-guided tour to accompany the 2024 Castle Museum Exhibit: Souvenir of Saginaw. Each of the sites is featured in the original 1889 booklet. 

About the Book

Google Map

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About the Book:  

Souvenir of Saginaw, Mich is impressed in gold script on the maroon covers - covers which open to form a gateway to seven fan-folded leaves crammed with scenes of a city that was in the process of reinventing itself. Commencing with a Birdseye view of the city, subsequent pages provide a magical, sepia-toned glimpse of Saginaw in 1889. A wealth of street scenes, views of public buildings and thriving businesses suggest the vibrancy of Michigan’s third largest city. Although titled a souvenir, it is probably more honestly described as an advertising or promotional piece. It was prepared during the time East Saginaw and Saginaw City were merging to become one city – it went on sale before the merger became official in March 1890.  

The publisher, William F. Twelvetrees, owned a store at 215 Genesee, where city directories note he sold “books, stationary, fancy goods and toys.”  When William Twelvetrees died in 1888 at the age of 34, the Saginaw Evening News reported: “He had always been prominent in the movements originating among the merchants for the advancements of their interests and has taken active interest in matters pertaining to the welfare and prosperity of the city. He was progressive and energetic in commercial and social circles and his assistance and influence will be missed among those with whom he had business relations.”  

While the focus of the book was decidedly local, the printers were Chisholm Brothers of Portland, Maine in conjunction with the German company of Charles Frey. The printers advertised “Original Souvenir Albums of All American & Canadian Cities & Sceneries.” A quick search on the internet reveals the vast variety of places captured by the firm’s albums. “The simplicity of these tiny books with beautifully tooled covers, sold in stations, trains and ferries, appealed to the modern traveler. Intricate views of city monuments and buildings prepared the visitor for the excitement of the city and scenic views of rivers and mountains.” 

Google Tour:

Google Earth Map of Souvenir of Saginaw

How to Use the Tour: 

The tour is hosted on Google Earth. Simply click on the link above to access. The location of each site in the book is marked with an orange mark.  

There are two ways to approach the tour – 


Option One:  

In the left-hand column, each page of the book is arranged in a folder. Click on a folder, you will find a scan of the page and a listing of each of the sites on that page.  

If you click on a site under the listing in the left had column, you will find a description of the site accompanied by historical images from the Castle Museum’s Collection. 


Option Two: 

Go to the map and click on an icon and a history the site and images will appear. This will be the most convenient method if you are walking between sites. If you use this route, please be aware that the final site, the Bay Port Inn, is the only one outside the Saginaw city limits.  



Please be courteous and respect private property and all regulations on public property.  

If you are driving, do not use this tour while operating your vehicle.  

If you have any questions, please contact Tom Trombley: or 989-752-2861 ext. 304.  

About the Book
Google Map
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