Bay View comprises one of Michigan's most spectacular collections of Victorian era architecture. Sweeping verandas and stately turrets characterize the Queen Anne style evident in the cottages and public buildings. Planned during the late 1870s, the curving streets follow natural terraces. The park-like setting reflects nineteenth century romantic landscape design. Railroads and steamboats spurred Bay View's growth by providing convenient transportation for people from southern Michigan and throughout the Midwest. Methodist camps at Martha's Vineyard, Massachusetts, and Ocean Grove, New Jersey, influenced Bay View's plan. Samuel O. Knapp, one of Bay View's founders, built the first cottage in what was then wilderness. By 1900, 420 cottages had been built. Bay View is a National Historic Landmark.
Bay View Association
Beginning in 1875 as a Methodist camp, the Bay View Association encourages scientific and intellectual development within a religious community. In 1885 John M. Hall of Flint began the summer educational assembly program. The Methodist camp meeting resort of Chautauqua, New York, inspired Bay View to organize schools of art, cooking, elocution and music. In addition, cottagers participated in religious study, reading circles, dramatic and recreational activities.
In 1890 Evelyn Hall was built for the Women's Christian Temperance Union. William Jennings Bryan, Bruce Catton, Lillian Hellman, Helen Keller, and Booker T. Washington were among the speakers who came here. Bay View continues to attract cottagers from throughout the United States.