The Castle Museum of Saginaw County History is the ultimate source for understanding everything about this esteemed Michigan location.
Born as a functional post office, yet dressed in the architectural style of the French Renaissance Revival, the Saginaw Castle Museum was always destined for a higher purpose.
If you’re planning to take a trip to or through Saginaw proper, this is an essential stop. Everything you may have wondered about this special mid-Michigan city can be answered by visiting the Castle Museum.
About the Castle Museum of Saginaw County History
As far back as the 1600s, some Europeans came to the Midwest, including French settlers who began to settle in Michigan. One place they set up an establishment was the location that eventually became Saginaw.
Saginaw Michigan is the county seat of Saginaw County and often serves as the guiding force that informs curious people about the area’s rich history. The go-to center for that information is the Castle Museum of Saginaw County History.
The museum itself serves as a testament to the history that it preserves. The seemingly unusual architecture was designed by William Martin Aiken. His goal was to pay homage to Saginaw’s French roots by reflecting that appreciation through the building’s design.
So while the building stood out, the original architect intended it to be that way. As it turned out, that was an exceptionally intuitive decision.
The Post Office Purpose
The museum’s original function was as a post office. The city’s population grew exponentially.
Most towns in the United States were driven by specific industries at the time, and Saginaw’s main driving force was lumber. Because of the vast and lush forests in the area, the lumber industry in Saginaw was booming.
As the need for lumber grew, so did the population in Saginaw. A solid postal service became a necessity. Built in 1898, this building served that purpose — and served it well.
Growth & Expansion
Yet, as people continued to flock to Saginaw, the post office needed to be expanded. During the 1930s, additions were built into the original building to increase its serving capacity. It wasn’t enough, though.
Eventually, the city was forced to build another post office to accommodate the postal needs of the increasing number of Saginaw residents.
By the 1970s, newer structures seemed to render the original post office unnecessary. Recognizing its historical significance, the people of Saginaw came together to preserve the site.
Their passionate efforts were successful. The building became the city’s property, and the Castle Museum of Saginaw County History was born.
Accessibility & Service Animals
If you plan to visit the Saginaw Castle Museum, there are some key things to keep in mind. First, remember that this is an older building. In its original conception, accessibility wasn’t at the forefront of the architect’s mind.
Thankfully, the world has made leagues of advancement when considering accessibility issues for visitors. There is a rear entrance that accommodates people with accessibility concerns.
Within the building itself, there is an elevator for anyone who needs it. Anyone with concerns is encouraged to contact or visit Guest Services. That area is located near the front entrance.
Service animals are encouraged and welcomed. Just make sure that all service animals are certified prior to visiting.
FAQs About the Saginaw Castle Museum
What are the Saginaw Castle Museum MI hours?
The hours of admission at the Saginaw Castle Museum vary based on the day, so make sure to check the times before visiting. Generally, the museum is closed on federally observed holidays.
What are the Saginaw Castle Museum prices?
Admission to the Saginaw Castle Museum is a nominal admission fee that typically does not exceed more than a few dollars per person. Family admission fees are discounted.
During certain times of the year, admission fees will coincide with special exhibitions. For instance, the museum sometimes holds a “Lunch and Learn” event where selected speakers make presentations.
A general admission fee will cover this type of event. If you are interested in the presentation, you may want to time your visit to match it. You won’t have to pay an extra fee to get a special view of Saginaw’s history!
A practical admission option for frequent visitors is a membership. Membership fees are tiered, mainly based on where the members live.
County residents can sign up for free memberships with no admission fees. Visitors who live outside of Saginaw County will pay different fees based on their proximity to the museum’s location.
Things to Do at the Castle Museum of Saginaw County History
This museum has such historical significance for Saginaw County that it would almost be shameful not to visit the post office exhibit. Honestly, it’s the initial purpose that the building served, so do not miss out on taking a tour.
The Alcoves will give you a brief overview of famous hometown heroes, such as Sonny Stitt, an influential jazz musician with roots in Saginaw. Go beyond the French settlers to take a look at Saginaw’s first heroes.
Plus, the exhibitions celebrating the Anishinabek Tribe pay tribute to Saginaw’s native roots. Check out some of the artifacts and historical information surrounding the indigenous people who first lived in the Saginaw Valley.
More Things to Do Near the Saginaw Castle Museum
The museum doesn’t have to be your only stop. Here are a couple of other things to check out when you’re visiting Saginaw Michigan.
There are all sorts of birds, mammals, and reptiles at the Saginaw Children’s Zoo. If you are traveling with a family in tow that includes little ones, they will absolutely adore the up-close interaction with these cute animals.
It’s also a great opportunity to learn about wildlife. Although it is closed for winter, make sure to check the open hours as the weather warms up.
Right next to the Children’s Zoo is Hoyt Park in the center of downtown. In warm months, it’s a softball-playing haven. During colder months, it’s an ice skater’s paradise. If you just want to chill after your museum tour, it’s a great place to relax and breathe.
Dining Near the Castle Museum of Saginaw County History
When you’re in Saginaw, why not get a true taste of the city by eating at a hometown restaurant? Here are a couple of great ones that are Saginaw through and through.
Fuzzy’s represents some of the best down-home eating that Saginaw Michigan offers. A well-known and trusted local establishment, diners can expect classic American fare, such as chicken wings and chili.
However, gyros, fancy hash browns, and tasty stromboli are also on the menu. Of course, there are pizzas and burgers on the list too.
On top of that, this place is known for its breakfast dishes. Don’t be afraid to stop for a delicious start to the day before heading in or out of Saginaw. And, don’t forget to order the ice cream that Fuzzy’s is also famous for serving.
Jake’s Old City Grill is one of Saginaw’s best-known steakhouses. This is a great spot for dining after spending a day touring the museum and taking in the other sights of Saginaw Michigan.
The grill is considered to be a more upscale dining experience. So, expect some surf and turf options that include special beef cuts and lobster dishes. Jake’s even offers private dining if you can reserve it in time. Don’t be surprised to see a proposal if you dine here.
Lodging Near the Saginaw Castle Museum
One of the benefits of visiting Saginaw is the hometown feel that the city offers. That is precisely why some of the best places to stay are local lodgings. If you’re going to have a full and authentic experience, staying at a place that feels like home really helps.
This inn is actually a 17-room mansion that has been tailored to accommodate interested visitors that find themselves at Saginaw’s doors. Set along the tree-lined lakes of Lake Linton, you’ll get the benefit of serene surroundings while still being able to connect to the outside world.
Montague Inn is comfortable, gorgeous, and historic. It’s also a great place to spend a night or two while checking out the museum.
Why not combine some post-museum fun with lodging needs? Saginaw Bay is a huge body of water in Michigan, obviously named after the jeweled spotlit city here.
Traveling 41 miles north to Standish (under an hour), you and your travel companions can have a blast shopping, gambling, or golfing. Afterward, you can settle into a cozy camping spot, enjoying nature and reminiscing about your museum tour.
Explore the Saginaw Castle Museum & More
Fans of authentic Michigan history will not be disappointed when visiting the Castle Museum of Saginaw County History. It’s a unique spot in the state that is steeped in significant state and regional history. When you find yourself near Saginaw Michigan, make sure you check it out.