City of Saginaw, Michigan


The Heritage Square Historic District is one of the oldest continuously settled areas in the Saginaw Valley. The original nucleus for development of this residential neighborhood was the garrison established in Saginaw (Fort Saginaw) once located approximately at the intersection of Court and Hamilton Streets. A business district soon developed at the garrison's location and adjacent to that on the west side of Michigan Avenue, or Washington Avenue as it was known in the past, the Heritage Square Residential District evolved.

Traditionally, this neighborhood has been the home for a diverse cross-section of the Saginaw community. By 1887, lumber barons, engineers, retailers, teachers, grocers, and skilled tradesmen resided in the area. Many of the residents were of German extraction, and worked along the river in lumbering or in the business districts of the west side. Property ownership within the district was quite fluid. Owners bought and sold lots and houses, and moved into and out of the dwellings as their fortunes and family sizes increased or decreased.

The Heritage Square District illustrates the flavor and lifestyle of the period from 1860 to 1900. The design of the homes reflects the conservative outlook of Saginaw's leading residents. The large homes were designed to be fashionable, comfortable and useful, but were rarely as ornate or flamboyant as on Saginaw's more exuberant east ide. Heritage Square homes range in style and decoration from the simple to the ornate. Massive Queen Anne structures are perhaps the most visually powerful buildings in the district. The Italianate and Italianate Villa homes ith their balanced construction and moderate decoration seemed sedate in comparison. Additionally, every style from the Greek Revival to Colonial and Classical Revival can be found in the district. While many styles exist, the homes are visually united therough their size, materials, landscaping and position relative to the city streets.

By 1975, residents of this neighborhood had recognized the historic and architectural importance to Saginaw. Residents organized and requested that Saginaw County designate the area as a local historic district under County Ordinance 102. This ordinance requires that any major exterior alterations to the buildings in the district be reviewed and approved by the Saginaw County Historic District Commission. After a series of studies and hearings, the local historic district was established. In 1979, the district was certified for purposes of the Tax Reform Act of 1976, which qualifies owners of depriciable properties for tax breaks on restorations. Heritage Square was nominated to the National Register of Historic Places in 1981.


Area 91 Acres Construction Dates in Percentage of Structures:
Number of Structures 349 Date  
    1830-1849 1%
Predominant Use of First Floor Structures:   1850-1869 12%
Residential 40% 1870-1889 44%
Religious 1% 1890-1909 24%
Commercial 3% 1910-1929 12%
Service 4% 1930 + 7%

Architectural Styles: Queen Anne, Italianate, Georgian Revival, Colonial Revival, Classical Revival.

Notable Names Associated with District: George Bullock (first Mayor of Saginaw City), Bauer Family (Bauer Bros. Clothing), Stenglein Family (Saginaw Showcase Co., Spic and Span), Clarence Brand (Bliss Coal Co., Brand & Hardin Milling), Amasa Rust.

Historic Designations: Local Historic District, District Certified for Purposes of the Tax Reform Act of 1976, District Nominated to the National Register of Historic Places.