Picturesque Haven:
Bay View Community


The picturesque community of Bay View is located outside of Petoskey in northwest Michigan. Bay View was founded in 1875 by Michigan Methodists as a camp “for scientific and intellectual culture, and for the promotion of religion and morality.”  Originally conceived as a Camp Meeting, akin to a “revival” form of worship, Bay View started as a simple outdoor space cleared of brush and a preaching stand.  People attending would shelter in tents.  By 1886, the group adopted a Chautauqua program, a social movement popular in the late 19th century that focused on education, entertainment, and religion.  President Theodore Roosevelt famously stated that Chautauqua “is a source of positive strength and refreshment of mind and body to come to meet a typical American gathering like this—a gathering that is typically American in that it is typical of America at its best.”

The summer camp format proved to be very popular, and Bay View grew quickly. By 1887 there were about 20 cottages and eight public buildings constructed.  The number of cottages soared to 400 by 1901. In addition to summer cottages, many public buildings were constructed including an auditorium, chapel, several educational buildings, a hotel, a library, and a post office.

Bay View Victorian cottages were first recognized in 1957 when the Bay View Association was placed on the Michigan List of Historic Places. Subsequently, in 1972, it was listed on the National Register of Historic Places and in 1987 received the Country’s highest designation as a National Historic Landmark. Many of these buildings still stand and are included in a walking tour created by the Bay View Association available here:

Bay View is also included in this month’s MAF Architecture Road Trip-read more here.