KMA History

Kantzler Memorial Arbortetum grounds prior to 1970

The Kantzler Memorial Arboretum has a rich history of being a public-private partnership between the City of Bay City and community groups. Bay City Garden Club, (BCGC) first initiated the idea to create an arboretum on city-owned land and brought the idea to the City of Bay City. For over 50-years, the two entities have continued to foster a strong relationship. The Arboretum has grown greatly since its inception in the early 1970’s and has become a valuable cultural and educational resource within the Great Lakes Bay Region.

Within ten years, (early 1970’s to 1980) this 12-acres of unique and commanding waterfront property went from an undeveloped, low-lying, unusable piece of land to a blank canvas prepared to have shore protection riprap installed, cement walkways poured, a brick plaza constructed, and a developed entrance.

Over the next 40 years the Arboretum gained the historical Trombley Centre House (part in the thanks to the Rotary Club of Bay City) and was proudly dedicated the Kantzler Memorial Arboretum, as a lasting tribute to Leopold Kantzler, noted Bay City philanthropist (1884-1974). Through these years over 120 trees were planted, and a raised boardwalk was constructed as an extension of the Riverwalk. In the spring of 2010, BCGC, the City of Bay City, and Bay Landscaping collaborated to develop three-acres of the Arboretum’s southwest quadrant. The project broke ground in the spring of 2012 and was completed in 2013.

The continued care and improvements for this beautiful space remains in part dependent upon the contributions of supporters following the vision and mission of the Bay City in Bloom and all collaborative partners. Become a supporter of Kantzler Memorial Arboretum today!