Bay View, Michigan
Crouse Chapel and some of the main Association Grounds
|Nearest city||Petoskey, Michigan|
|Architect||Eastlake, Stick, Queen Anne, Shingle.|
|Architectural style||Colonial Revival, Late Victorian, Other|
|NRHP reference #||72000613|
|Added to NRHP||March 16, 1972|
|Designated NHLD||December 23, 1987|
|Designated MSHS||June 5, 1957|
Bay View is an unincorporated resort community and census designated place (CDP) in the U.S. state of Michigan. It is located in Bear Creek Township, Emmet County on Little Traverse Bay and abuts the east side of the city of Petoskey along U.S. Highway 31. The ZIP code is 49770 and the FIPS place code is 06260. It was originally formed as part of the Methodist Camp Meeting movement and later adapted to the precepts of the Chautauqua movement. As of the 2010 census the population of the CDP was 133.
Bay View is modeled on Methodist camp meeting resorts, such as Wesleyan Grove on Martha's Vineyard, Ocean Grove, New Jersey, or Lakeside, Ohio. The structures on the Bay View community consist of approximately 440 cottages and 30 community-owned buildings. There are two hotels on premises: Stafford's Bay View Inn (1886), and The Terrace Inn and 1911 Restaurant. Other facilities include a post office, beach with a swim area, children's pool and a sail house. The community is located on about 340 heavily wooded acres (140 ha), dropping in a series of terraces from a 200-foot elevation (61 m) to the shore of Little Traverse Bay.
Nearly all the structures in the community were built in the 1875-1900 time period. Most buildings are Eastlake and Stick style, with some Queen Anne and Shingle style architecture. Cottages are set on 50-foot lots (15 m) along gently curving streets running along the natural terraces. In the center of the community is The Campus (originally Tabernacle Park). Many of the larger communal structures are located here, including the original 1877 preaching stand, as well an 1880 book store and multiple educational buildings constructed around 1890.
The Bay View Association of the United Methodist Church was founded in 1875 by a group of Methodists to be a camp meeting. The group considered multiple locations, and eventually struck a deal with the citizens of Petoskey and the Grand Rapids and Indiana Railroad, where the Petoskey citizenry would pay to extend the railroad line from their town to Bay View, the railroad would purchase the site, and the Methodists would agree to improve the location and hold camp meetings there for fifteen years. In 1876, the first group of Methodists travelled to the site, cleared an area of underbrush, and built a preaching stand and an audience area under the trees. On August 2, 1876, the first meeting was held at the site. Shelter at the time was only in tents. Construction of cottages began almost immediately, and by 1881 there were about 150 at the site.
In 1879, an artesian well water system was installed, providing spring water. However, the pipes were laid very shallowly, and had to be drained in the winter months to prevent freezing. Now, the community is closed from November through April, during which time the residences must be vacated.
A Chautauqua program, a series of educational of lectures, classes, entertainment, political speeches and music, began in 1886, and the community developed around these activities. These programs, along with programs for children and a variety of classes, took place in July and August of each year. The program was immensely successful, and the number of cottages in the community soared, with 200 in 1887, 400 in 1895, and 500 in 1901. Many of these newcomers were from other, non-Methodist denominations, and many stayed all summer rather than for only a few weeks of the year. In 1887, the Bay View Summer University opened. The University was associated with Albion College in 1919 until 1969.
The Bay View Association was listed as a National Historic Landmark district in 1987 as one of the best-preserved examples of the Methodist Camp Meeting movement, as originally built in 1876, and adapted to the Chautauqua movement.
The Bay View Music Festival is the oldest continuously operating music festival in North America. It was begun in 1886 with the choir from Court Street Methodist Church from Flint, Michigan. The program grew rapidly lead by respected musicians from conservatories in Detroit, Ann Arbor, and Chicago. The music program has been associated and accredited through Oberlin College, Cornell College, DePaul University, Albion College Alma College, and the University of Michigan. Most noted among the directors in the festival's 132-year history is William Reddick and Howard Barlow. Concertmaster Max Bendix of the Theodore Thomas Orchestra in Chicago was the first of many violinists including Robert Mann, Mikhail Press, Leon Marx, concertmaster of the Chicago Opera Orchestra and Austrian violinist Hugo Gottesmann.
Madame Schumann-Heink, Gladys Swarthout, John Charles Thomas, Richard Crooks, James Melton, Jennie Tourel, Martha Lipton, Thomas L. Thomas, Walter Taussig, Etta Moten, Mildred Dilling, Ossip and Clara Gabrilovisch, Jerome Hines, Sherrill Milnes, Diane Bish, George Shirley, Boston Brass, Ara Berberian, Martina Arroya, and Virginia Zeani, are a few of the musicians to teach and perform at Bay View. The Fisk Jubilee Singers made four appearances as did other jubilee groups. The Williams' Jubilee Singers were the featured group to open the John M. Hall Auditorium in 1914.
The festival has followed the national trends over the decades in featuring large choral works, classical music, devotional repertoire, chamber music, and recently has included a wide variety of popular groups to appeal the variety of musical tastes.
Theatrical production date back to the 1890s with road shows such as the Ben Greet Players and sporadic local productions. It became a regular feature of the Performing Arts Department when New York tenor Director Willard Pierce joined the music staff. Plays, musicals, children's productions, and opera productions are all featured on the annual schedule.
Today, the Bay View Music Festival offers approximately 120 students scholarships for coaching and teaching chamber music, vocal performance, collaborative piano, opera, musical theater, hand bell performance taught by over 40 faculty members. The 10-week program includes a mix nearly 80 theatrical productions, recitals, chamber music concerts, choral performances, brass, woodwind and string instrument concerts and appearances by classical artists and famous jazz and popular individuals and groups.
Education has been an important part of the Chautauqua movement, beginning with the New York Chautauqua Institution then spreading to Bay View Association and other Midwest Chautauquas.
Bay View offered more than sixty classes in 2017 including art, literature, history, reading circles, and culinary classes. Education classes have been offered in Bay View for over a century. In 1888 a comprehensive set of Education courses was offered. This School of Liberal Arts attracted college professors to teach the courses. A School of Elocution was part of the curriculum in that year.
Guest Lecturers have been enhancing the summer experience for over one hundred years. In 1895 Jane Addams, leader of the settlement house movement, spoke on 'The Inception, Establishment, & Accomplishments of Chicago's Hull House'. She returned in 1903 to speak on her controversial stand on saloons and dancing. Helen Keller came to speak in 1913 on 'The Heart & the Hand; or the Right use of our senses'. Each year American Experience lecturers visit and speak on campus, as well as Faith lecturers as part of the Religion Program. Recent Lecturers include David Kennedy in 2016. Professor Kennedy, a Pulitzer Prize winner, presented a series of lectures on 'WWII and the World It Made'. Reverend Dr. Barbara Essex gave a series of 5 lectures in 2012. Dr. Akhil Reed Amar, Professor of Constitutional Law at Yale University lectured in 2012 and will be the 2018 American Experience speaker.
Each year, Bay View initiates a 'Big Read' where a book is selected for all the surrounding communities to read. The author visits in July and holds a discussion on Bay View's campus. In 2017 the 'Big Read' was "Terror in the City of Champions – Murder, Baseball, and the Secret Society that Shocked Depression-era Detroit" by Tom Stanton.
On August 7, 2018 Bay View opened membership by removing the requirement that members be of “Christian persuasion.” Nearly 70 percent of Bay View members voted in favor of the amendment, which immediately went into effect. Membership in the Bay View Association is required to own a cottage in the community.
The Bay View Association has, in the past, had other prerequisites in its membership requirements. Although, when the association was founded in 1875, no such requirements existed the by-laws were amended in 1940s. In 1942 the Bay View Board adopted the following resolution: "No person shall be accepted as a member of this association or be allowed to rent or lease property or a room, for longer than a period of one day, unless such person is of the white race and a Christian who must provide acceptable and good recommendations. This resolution does not apply to servants within a household or to employes[sic]".
In 1947 the by-laws were revised to add "Any person twenty-one years of age and good moral character, by a two-thirds vote of the Board of Trustees, may be accepted as a member of this Association provided that he or she is of the Caucasian race and of Christian persuasion." The two provisions Caucasian requirements were removed in 1959.
From the 1960s through to the 1980s there was a quota on how many Catholics were allowed to be members. Membership of Catholics was not to exceed 10% of the total membership. Once the quota was met additional Catholics applicants were rejected. This quota requirement was abandoned in the 1980s.
On August 6, 2011, the Bay View Association members voted on a proposal that would remove the Christian affiliation requirement. The proposal was defeated by a vote of 52% (381 members) opposed to 48% (346 members) in favor of the proposal. The proposal needed a two thirds majority to pass.
On August 3, 2013, another vote was taken to change the membership qualification requirements to include non-Christians. The proposal was again defeated by a vote of 51.85% (364 members) for the change to 48.14% (338 members) opposed to the change. A two-thirds majority is required to pass the amendment.
On July, 2017, a civil rights and religious discrimination lawsuit was filed by The Bay View Chautauqua Inclusiveness Group against the Bay View Association of the United Methodist Church in the U. S. District Court for the Western District of Michigan. 
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- Bentley, Ryan (12 August 2011). "Bay View votes to keep Christian membership requirement". PetoskeyNews.com.
- Ryan Bentley (Aug 8, 2013), "Religious membership restriction remains after Bay View vote", Petoskey News-Review
- Arielle Hines (Jul 14, 2017), "Prejudice? Lawsuit claims Bay View religious requirement is discriminatory", Petoskey News-Review
- Connor Hansen (Jul 17, 2017), "Group files lawsuit against Bay View Association for "religious discrimination"", UpNorthLive.com