Bay Port is located on Wildfowl Bay found on the west side of the Thumb of Michigan. In 1851, Carl Heisterman named the new town Geneva, which was then changed to Switzerland, it then changed again to Wildfowl Bay, and when the post office at Ora Labora was moved to the shoreline, the community was finally named Bay Port.
A couple miles north of Bay Port, the town Ora Labora was established in 1882. The society was created to establish a place where members could pray, work and live according to the teachings of the Methodist Church. The name Ora Labora means to work and pray. The group chose Emil Baur as its leader. He had been active as a member of the Harmony Society a German Methodist movement at Economy Pennsylvania.
Bay Port’s main export and source of income is from fishing out of the Saginaw Bay. This industry was largely responsible for Bay Port’s birth, and was instrumental to the name Bay Port being known far and near for it successful fisheries. It was known for having the largest fresh water fisheries in the world.
Two major fisheries popped up in Bay Port around the same time. The Gillingham fishery was established in 1886, and Bay Port Fish Company in 1895. In 1949 Henry and Edna Englehardt began selling the famous fish sandwiches at the Bay Port Inn. This sandwich is the basis of their festival, the Bay Port Fish Sandwich festival, which is held in August of each year.
In 1880, Jessie Hoyt of New York began the Saginaw, Tuscola, and Huron Railroad (ST&H); it was employed by W.J. Webber. Webber ran the rail company and brought tourists from E. Saginaw by the train load in 1883 for rock hunting excursions. Webber asked Professor R.Z. Kedzie of the then Michigan agricultural College to run a chemical analysis of stone samples from a 160 acre site that he purchased. He then offered stone products which competed with similar stone from Ohio. The stone products were all transported by rail to their destination. Sometime before 1900 ownership was transferred to the ST&H, which designated a 160 acre site with the Quarry, meaning it has a rail station and was a source of stone products. The quarry was only three miles from Bay Port and was known as Bay Port Stone Quarry even though the official name of the Quarry was, The Bay Port Lime and Stone. The quarry was purchased and incorporated in 1900 by W.H. Wallace, George Morley, and A.H. Harvey with Wallace as president.
The Bay Port Fish Docks and The Bay Port Stone Quarry are still going strong today.