Visit the Sage Branch of the Bay County Library System to enjoy various examples of architecture with decorative elements and possibly a ghost or two. Henry Williams Sage (1814-1897) gifted the citizens of Bay City a library. Opening on January 1, 1884, the Sage Library remains a center of activity and enlightenment for the city. It may also have a ghost, or two.
Known as Michigan’s oldest continually open library, the Sage Library is stunning. Commissioned by Sage, the library was designed by New York architect Charles Babcock and supervised by the local architectural firm Pratt and Koeppe, with Andrew Thompson as the contractor. Sage invested $50,000 for construction, additional monies to initially staff the building, and donated over 8,000 books for the collection. He believed in public libraries, as well as the importance of debate skills. The 4-storey building had high school classrooms on the first floor; a library and reading room where a men’s debate club met on the second floor; and administrative offices for the Supervisor of Schools on the third. The basement housed the furnaces.
The architectural styles are many, with “French Chateau, Victorian Gothic, and Ruskin Gothic” styles prevailing. A beautiful fountain honoring the Greek myth “Leda and the Swan” sits outside the library. The library has been well maintained with many of the town’s businesses working on or in the building.
Paranormal author and investigator Nicole Beauchamp’s debut non-fiction book, Haunted Bay City, Michigan, was published this year. Nicole joined me for an episode of The Haunted Librarian Show and discussed one of her personal favorite hauntings: Jacob Beck.
Jacob Beck, Sr. owned and operated J. Beck & Son Steam Carpet Cleaning Works in the early 1900s. According to Nicole, Jacob laid new carpet in the Sage Library in 1904. Invoices reflect a payment of $11.36 for the installation and cleaning. In 1906, Beck was paid $5.18 to clean the carpets. In 1909, Beck died of a stroke at the age of 70.
Nicole and her paranormal group, Tri-City Ghost Hunters Society, investigated the library. The name “Jacob” came through on their ghost box. Upon further research, Nicole was told about Jacob Beck and his connection with the library. Listen to the archived show and/or read Nicole’s book for more information about Jacob, the Sage Library, and other paranormal activity in and around Bay City, Michigan.
Haunted Bay City, Michigan: https://www.amazon.com/Haunted-Bay-City-Michigan-America/dp/1467146706/ref=sr_1_1?crid=2ID8VFDZWDZDN&dchild=1&keywords=haunted+bay+city+michigan&qid=1608853776&sprefix=haunted+bay+%2Caps%2C164&sr=8-1
Tri-City Ghost Hunters Society, https://www.facebook.com/TCGHS/