Civic pride is a hallmark of many cities. Central to that is often a saying or slogan that it's hoped will sum up life in the city and how it portrays itself to the outside world.

In Bay City, Michigan, that slogan was once 'Where the Summer Trails Begin.' Now seemingly all but forgotten, the slogan was used by the region's first radio station, WBCM.

WBCM was the first radio station in Michigan located north of Flint (that station, WFDF, proudly used Flint's 'Vehicle City' moniker). The WBCM call letters, of course, stood for Bay-City-Michigan. The WBCM call letters are still in use in Michigan, they are for a radio station in Boyne City, so carry a similar meaning.

The WBCM broadcasts of the 1930s called itself the Voice of Northern Michigan from Bay CIty, Where the Summer Trails Begin. (Radio of the era, really liked its slogans.)

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A post card sent by WBCM to those who sent in reports of hearing the radio station over a long distance (a practice known as QSL) is in the collection of the Library of American Broadcasting located at the University of Maryland which shared it on social media.

The card is postemarked December 1932 and decorated with the hotel the station broadcast from, its concert studio, tower location and its manager (and presumably a station personality).

As for the Where the Summer Trails Begins slogan, there are very few references beyond the WBCM post card.

A 1927 book called Vacationland from the East Michigan Tourist Association uses the slogan for Bay City and describes the city as the gateway to "Michigan's Picture Gallery of Scenic Beauty."

The Topographic Journal from that same year associates the saying with Bay City and shared "Fishing is fine with summer weather the water will be warm. Pack your trailer and hit the trail for Northeast Michigan - through Bay City. Stop a while."

Finally, a 1926 edition of Editor and Publisher says of Bay City, it is "considered the first metropolis south of the Straits of Mackinac, due to being the entry to numerous summer resorts, thousands of tourists make Bay City thier headquarters when heading north. Bay City is rightfully called the place where the summer trails begin."

So there is is, in the 1920s and '30 and seemingly now lost to history a century on, Bay City could reclaim its title as the place to begin the exploration of Michigan's "summer trails."

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Gallery Credit: Kristen Matthews

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