1067 Bay City Road -- Golconda, Illinois  62938  --  Cell  618-525-4305
E-MAIL    mailto:  baycitynortons@hotmail.com
Updated April 3, 2015

Due to flooding this Spring, our landline phones have not been working, and another 7 days of rain are forecast.


Lodging open Year Round  (generally)

American White Pelicans came during the 2012 Fall - hundreds upon hundreds, up and down the Ohio River as far as you could see, stopping by on their annual migration to warmer climates down south and Mexico.
Photo taken and provided by Sandra Cowsert, Editor/Publisher, The Herald Enterprise, Golconda
Saw 5 this morning!

The Ohio River Scenic Byway runs right in front of our lodging and Store.

We have three different lodging facilities just waiting for you in the tiny burg of Bay City, Illinois - great for couples, families, club groups.

See all details below

We have been providing quality lodging at comparable and fair prices since 2005, and  our goal is to have folks come stay, enjoy, tell their friends about it all, and then come back!


By Marc Jenkins
Contributing Writer
River anglers in Illinois tend
to forget about the Ohio
River, which serves as the
border with Kentucky. The
Ohio runs along the southeast
part of our state and, for Illinois
fishermen, includes a handful
of pools that hold a number of
big and active fish, including
catfish, saugers, walleyes and
few surprise species.
CATFISH. The Ohio River is best known for it’s catfish. Finding an
entry point to the river is a matter of finding a map of the 133 miles
from the Wabash River to the Mississippi River.Catfish and saugers are the
most prevalent on the Illinois
pools of the fast-flowing river.
Yes, the Ohio has a reputation
as being slow – but that is a fallacy.
The Ohio actually has a
heavy flow, which calls for special
attention by anglers who
use any method or approach.
Where can you access the Ohio?
(Bay City has a State-built boat ramp just up the road 1000 yards, on Barren Creek)
The Illinois portion of the
Ohio River begins at the mouth
of the Wabash River near
Uniontown, Kentucky and
flows 133 miles to its confluence
with the Mississippi River at
Fort Defiance. This portion of
the Ohio is made up of three
lock and dams with three river
pools and an open river area.
The river level is regulated by
the Army Corps of Engineers
for navigation and has a navigation
channel marked by
buoys that runs its entire length.
The pool areas, bays, open
river areas and heavy river flow
provide diverse habitats which
provide diverse fisheries.
Over 150 different species of
fish have been recorded from
the Ohio River.
Smithland Pool
Smithland Pool is the largest
pool and is formed by the high
lift dam near Smithland,
Kentucky. Smithland Pool is
over 27,000 acres in size and
contains many small embayments
that provide many fishing
These embayments are actually
small tributaries that were
impounded when the dam was
Major embayments on the
Illinois side include Lusk Creek,
Barren Creek, Big Creek, Big
Grand Pierre Creek, Bay Creek,
Dog Creek, Alcorn Creek and
the Saline River.
Bluegills, white and black
crappies, channel catfish and
largemouth bass can be found
in lower portion of these areas.
The main channel borders and
island borders of the Smithland
Pool provide excellent fishing
for spotted bass, white bass,
freshwater drum, flathead catfish,
channel catfish and blue
Smallmouth bass are also
beginning to be found along
portions of the main channel
border. Areas of stronger current
in the upper portion of the
pool above Old Shawneetown
provide Illinois anglers opportunities
to catch saugers, striped
bass and hybrid striped bass.
The tailwater of Smithland
Dam provide excellent angling
opportunities for blue cats,
channel cats, flatheads, white
bass, striped bass, spotted bass
and freshwater drums.
Anglers can also expect to see
the exotic bighead, silver and
grass carp in Smithland Pool
and its tailwaters.
Pools 52 and 53
The smaller pools on the
Illinois side of the Ohio are Pool
Number 52 and 53. These pools
are formed by older wicket
dams which tend to vary water
levels and flows on a daily
Pool 52 starts at the Smithland
tailwater and flows 21 miles to
Dam 52, located above
Metropolis. Pool 53 runs 24
miles to Dam 53, located above
Olmstead. The open river portion
of the Ohio begins at Dam
53 and flows 18 miles to the
Mississippi River below Cairo.
These smaller pools and open
river areas provide anglers
opportunities to catch channel
cats, blue cats, flatheads, striped
bass, hybrid striped bass, white
bass and sauger.s Access to
these areas can be found at the
many public boat ramps.
Saugers and walleyes
Saugers thrive in the Ohio
River because it’s more tolerant
of turbidity than the walleye.
These are cool-water fish that
are catchable at low temperatures
when others are not.
The constant flow has made
them strong for their size. They
make for great sport and taste
simply delicious coming from
the cold water.
If bank fishing is your thing,
the Ohio River offers outstanding
opportunities to catch
saugers, saugeyes and walleyes
below the dams. Other access
points can be found at campgrounds
and parks.
Saugers are not all you will
catch. If you’re fishing for
sauger but it pulls like a heavier
fish, it could be a hybrid striper.
As with the walleye and sauger,
you can catch striped bass,
white bass, and the hybrid,
which is a cross between a
female striped bass and a male
white bass. Or you may unintentionally
hook into a paddlefish.
you expand your fishing to the
Ohio River, remember that fishing
regulations are the result of
negotiations between the fish
and wildlife agencies of various
states, including Ohio and
Officers of Illinois and
Kentucky will recognize and
accept valid sport fishing licenses
of either state when legally
possessed and used on the main
body of the Ohio, excluding
bays and tributaries.
Bay City
Among the destinations for
anglers along the Ohio is
Bay City,
an unincorporated community
in Pope County, located
eight miles south of Golconda
and nine miles north of the
Smithland Lock and Dam.
In the tiny city is a general
store built in 1915. The store,
which was renovated, has bed
rooms upstairs.
For fishing reports, lodging
options and other information
about Bay City, visit
If it pulls like a 10-pound fish,
it is probably a pound and a
half hybrid striper.
UNEXPECTED CATCH. Paddlefish are frequently caught
by accident on the Ohio River.
If bank fishing is your thing, the
Ohio River offers outstanding
opportunities to catch
varieties of fish. Saugers,
saugeyes and walleyes can
be found below the dams
year round.
CATFISH. The Ohio River is best known for it’s catfish. Finding an
entry point to the river is a matter of finding a map of the 133 miles
from the Wabash River to the Mississippi River.


We receive lots of requests for “just one night’s lodging”

It is very difficult to accommodate such requests because:
· Renting for just one night prevents us from hosting a group for 2 or more days
· Cleaning - we try to have our lodging spaces clean.  It requires about the same amount of cleaning for one night as for multiple nights.

Exceptions are made occasionally and we will likely continue to do so  – for example, one couple came for one night, and also reserved 4 days a week later. One gentleman stayed one night, then went to a business meeting for 2 days, and then his friends arrived to complete their fishing party that stayed for 5 days.
Considering these issues, we have decided to adopt this policy:

One night only accommodations only on week days – IF AVAILABLE
Sunday thru Thursday nights at the regular per-day rental price, with an added $30.00 one-time cleanup fee

Friday and Saturday nights are 2-night stays minimum.
No additional clean-up fee, of course

Call us for extra special needs and considerations!


Fishing Report:

2015 Fishing forecast is excellent for crappie, bass, red ear and catfish.

And every type of game fish attacking the shad and such in the eddy in front of the Store - quite a show!

Now just to find the time to get out in the boat...........

Three regular catfishermen from Galesburg caught over 100 nice  keeper catfish combined in less than a full day.

The FATHER'S DAY FISHING GROUP - 16 men from NW Illinois - came to fish 4 days, and caught nearly 1,000 keepers combined, using Hoss' and Sonny's baits.  They come every year and do very well on the catfish!

The Paducah Sun outdoor editor Steve VanTreese wrote an excellent June 2012 article on catfishing status and strategies that projects an excellent June outlook.
Written by Steve Vantreese, Outdoors Writer, The Paducah Sun  6-2-2012
"It is easier to get close to catfish nowadays. We’re into the catfish spawning season, when the whiskered fish waft into shallower waters.
Channel cats are most common in sizes of less than 5 pounds certainly, but they grow to double digit weights and can attain giant size of 40 pounds or more. Blues, meanwhile, represent most of real whopper catfish. Blue catfish of 10 or 12 pounds don’t even warrant a raised eyebrow. Blues of 20 to 30 pounds aren’t rare in the big rivers and lakes, and the species can produce fish of 100 pounds or larger.
Flatheads also can produce huge fish like do the blues, but they just don’t occur in numbers that can rival
blue catfish.
The more common fishing fodder, channel and blue catfish, both begin their spawning behavior at about this time of year. Both species spawn the most when the water temperature reaches about 80 degrees. That should be happening now – perhaps a little earlier this year because of July-like temperatures that were experienced in the last of May. Much of the spawning should continue through June.
Our catfish are cavity nesters that tend to move shallow – maybe as shallow as 2-5 feet – to find appropriate spawning holes. They like shoreline stuff like pockets in the root wads or stumps of trees, niches in brush piles or beaver lodge tangles, undercut banks and the crevices between rocks.
Little pockets in rock banks of lakes and rivers become a major catfish attraction. Think of all the riprap shorelines, points and breakwaters near deeper water that could and do attract spawning catfish.
The beauty of the spawning season for catfish is that it draws them to places where shore-bound anglers can reach them. Certainly, you can fish shallow catfish from a boat, but so can those who lack on-the-water transportation."

A regional crappie tournament was held on the Smithland Pool in June, and their reports showed excellent catches. I saw the livewell of two of our lodgers who are competing - very large, beautiful fish, caught on jigs.
This crappie club returned the last of October, and has reserved for 2014 in our lodging facilities.  We appreciate their patronage very much, and have added additional electric charging and water outlets to improve their stays.
They have now booked our Bay City Lodging as their continuing tornament base!

Yes, we have Asian carp in the River and tributary creeks - they do jump out of the water once in a while in response to slow-running engine noise -- mainly from older motors is my guess.

We have had only one jump in our boat in many years of boating!

Our neighbor R.C. Davidson had these two jump into his little jon boat - they weighed within 4 ounces of each other, at about 10+ pounds.  They make very good cut bait.

One neighbor who fishes mainly in the creeks where the jumpers seem to hang out built himself a "flying carp cage" (This picture with his permission)

The Bay City - Barren Creek boat ramp just one mile up the road is in good repair. LARGE PARKING LOT! With lower water levels, care should be taken in navigating out onto the River from  ramp.

Bill Walker - Bay City Resident - 5-9-2012
(I can't get Bill's picture rotated, but here 'tis.)

.Last year, we had a few modest rains and the River levels were lower but well maintained by the Corps of Engineers for navigation purposes -- all of which keeps the River at good levels. As always, it is vital as to know how much rain in the Wabash and Ohio River systems above us -- The River is at normal pool or slightly above on June 29th.

The important thing is to anticipate, watch the national / midwest weather up the Ohio River Valley, and prepare for possible changeable weather with safety gear and boats that are equipped and in good condition.

The Flood of 2011
The Flood of 2011, pictured below, was just shy of a new all-time record.  One year later, local media reports that the Ohio River is about 38 feet LOWER than 2011 -- below "flood" and below "pool".
The floods of May (and into June and July) were national news.  In May, here at Bay City, the effects of "the perfect flood" closed the County Highway that runs in front of the Store, in both directions.  Barge traffic on the Ohio River was shut down in the Smithland Pool, leaving many tows tied up to trees, and stranded.

Every adverse weather phenomenon that could occur, did -- all the Midwest watersheds and rivers were full and storms came in waves, one right after another.  Rains of 4 and 5 inches or more just kept coming.

Several of the tow boats ran out of food and water.  A few of the tows lined up potable water supplies where they could - two hooked up to our water hoses here at the Store, taking on about 40,000 gallons.  We all helped them where we could - most people don't realize the national importance of our river commerce systems in America.

The waters kept on rising, and some forecasts projected levels higher than the 1937 flood - judged here as the "grand-daddy of them all".

The Bay City General Store building had about 3 feet of water in the basement under the south end, where all the mechanical equipment is located.  But, the water stopped rising just in time to not flood our Store and our new lodging ("Roy Willy's Lodge") portion of the building.

Phone service was out for almost a month, but the electricity held as did cell phone service most of the time. The Water District supply lines made it through OK.

Life took on an unusual cast - no vehicles, planes flying low to check things out, and people around here had to commute by their boats to their cars parked on higher ground.  Mail was delivered by our neighbors, the Davidsons, after being dropped off by the carrier at the last dry house on the road....... No phones ........ Very quiet, generally.

We immediately replaced the physical plant of the Store/Lodging complex - new heat/AC components, new septic system controls, water heater controls, new control and tank on our stand-by water well, along with lots of additional wiring and plumbing.

Our Bay City Cabin just to the north, is 30 feet higher than the Store, so the Cabin fared without incident.  Same with our House, except that to the north, due to the BIG rains, part of our roadside bank slid down the slope to the road - part of the mud and silt load that eventually reaches Louisiana. We built a 150-foot concrete-reinforced retaining wall Fall 2011 and new hillside water diversion and hope these will stabilize the land slipping away.

But we were fortunate in many ways - our neighbors up the road were really hit hard, and had to  engage in a massive effort to restore their lodging -- everyone helped each other in times like these.

South of Bay City, and in lowlands to the north and west, some housing will just not be usable.

In summary, we were very lucky that our lodging and Store here at Bay City were up and going 100% for the 2011 Memorial Day weekend and thereafter.

Thanks so much and God Bless for all the good wishes and offers of assistance.

Donna and Don Norton


Please see "One Night" policy above
We are keeping the same rates as 2012 and 2013

$80/ nite double occupancy  Plus 10% State/local "hotel" tax
$100/nite for 2 couples Plus 10% State/local "hotel" tax
$11 each adult additional Plus 10% State/local "hotel" tax
-  kids under 12 no charge
No charge for gas grill and boat charging


One double, one single front bedroom
2 single beds each of the other 2 bedrooms
$60 / nite per room double occupancy Plus 10% State/local "hotel" tax
$150 / night for all three rooms Plus 10% State/local "hotel" tax
-  kids under 12 no charge
No charge for boat charging

$80 / night double occupancy Plus 10% State/local "hotel" tax
$100/nite for 2 couples Plus 10% State/local "hotel" tax
$11 each additional adult Plus 10% State/local "hotel" tax
-  kids under 12 no charge
No charge for boat charging or gas grill

Discount - 7th day FREE
Discount for groups using our other rooms

Note:  for the last 5 years we did not charge the State and local Hotel taxes, which amount to 10% of gross receipts paid by our customers.  SORRY, but we could not absorb those taxes any longer and in 2012, added the extra 10% to each lodging bill.

Named for the make-believe character who supposedly owned the make-believe Bar-B-Que at the Bay City General Store, created by Warner Bros. for the movie U.S. Marshals.

The "Lodge" is the single-story portion on the south end of our building.

VERY LARGE KITCHEN WITH 2 DINING TABLES and picture window view of the River

Kitchen view of the Ohio River

Kitchen 2nd table, LR and Hallway
 TWO SPACIOUS BEDROOMS each with full-size brass bed and new single bed:

Front bedroom faces the Ohio River

Front bedroom, both beds

2nd bedroom, full and single beds

2nd bedroom, both beds


North side of Living Room

with couches and easy chairs and giant TV - bath with tub/shower, new carpeting in living room and front bedroom - all completely redecorated and furnished and clean.  Parking at the front door and in the rear.
Roy Willy's Lodge is the perfect get-away with a lot of space, for 1 couple or two, and those with children.

Great also for groups, clubs, families, family reunions, fishing/hunting groups - it fits perfectly with our other lodging.

Please see above for a summary chart of all rates.


APRIL 15th or thereabouts)

Saturday - 10 to 5
Sunday - 1:00 PM to 5

 Donna and Don Norton - The Bay City General Store
Hunter the Chesapeake is present as usual in the foreground

R.C. Davidson is a life-long resident of Bay City.  Along with his lovely Wife Joan, they raised their Family here, and have farmed in the immediate vicinity as well as engaging in the lodging business for 25 or more years.

We "took our lessons" from R.C. and Joan on how to be in the lodging business, and we work with them every week in many ways.  Every community should be so lucky in having leaders such as R.C. and Joan Davidson.

What about the Bay City General Store
History of Bay City
Lodging at the Store and the Cabin
Smithland Pool
U.S. Marshals
Fishing, Hunting and other activities
Region map and driving directions
Contact Information
Random Shots - Steve Vantreese,
Les Winkler, Boats, Fairy Rings

  The Queens passed by often - daytime and into the night - truly exciting!


Bay City was platted in 1859 but never incorporated – yet it became a key river and agricultural trading place, with many residents and lots of year-round hustle and bustle, until the 1970’s when cars and supermarkets spelled the decline of local commerce.  The population of Bay City now is 12 full-time residents, and 6 weekend residents.  Golconda is 11 miles to the north, and Metropolis, Brookport and Paducah are less than ½ hour to the south.  Easy access year round.

GPS systems generally do well in helping to get to Bay City -- finally!  Although we are now a 911 county, GPS units do have some of the location information for Bay City AND the country shortcuts -- but trust the map and driving directions below!

The Bay City General Store was built in 1915.  It is a 2-story building with a single-story section at the south end.  The single-story section (formerly the owner's quarters, and used by Warner Bros. in U.S. Marshals) is now Roy Willy's Lodge.

Since its platting in 1859, this little burg prospered with several stores, several enterprises, a few taverns, a church, and much activity during the week and a lot more on Saturdays, when area farmers and families would come to trade, purchase, sell, visit, flirt, compete, tell tall tales, hatch plots and pranks, and otherwise have a wonderful time in this truly viable little community.

History buffs - there is one recorded Confederate incursion in Illinois --August 19, 1864 -- The incursion was executed by a detachment of Morgan's Raiders, which crossed from Kentucky into Illinois at about Shawneetown, and came south. This band helped itself to goods from the Bayfield Store, just a mile from Bay City at the place then called Bayfield - about where the DNR Davidson Boat Ramp is situated. The raiders wrote out a receipt for $2,500 , and proceeded south a few miles to the place known as "Old Maid's Crossing" - just above the current Smithland Dam, where they crossed back into Kentucky.  These facts have been documented by the University of West Virginia.

Also, local legend has it that Frank James "hid out" in an old house next to Barren Creek, just a mile up from Bay City.

The river boats stopped by regularly, including The Joe Fowler in the 1920's that would come by in the morning and stop if hailed, and people and goods could be loaded.  If one wished to go to Paducah for the day, the boat would stop at Bay City on its evening trip back up river.

Joe Fowler at Bay City - note crew

The show boats also stopped after having sounded off with their calliopes, which drew folks from within earshot.  Good times for all!

Children attended area country schools, and some went off to higher education and new lives away from HOME, which is what Bay City was for a lot of people.

Church services, baptisms in the River, and funerals - all part of the life cycle of Bay City.

After WW II, many area persons left their homes for work in Peoria, Chicago, Kankakee, Quad Cities, and elsewhere.  In the 1980's, 90's and up to today, many of these folks are returning to live in Pope County. And they return to the Bay City Store - now that we have re-opened it - with lots of memories to share and friendships to renew.  It's a lot of fun just to sit and listen to the way things used to be.

Lots could be said about "modern life".

One thing about Bay City and surrounds - you know when you are here that relationships are solid, there are lots of great folks, and that reality of what is good about America still lives with Bay City.


Typical scene at the Store way back when

Bay City is located adjacent to the Shawnee National Forest, on the Ohio River National Scenic Byway, which  is the road at the front of the Store and Lodging buildings.

 There were many businesses in this little town - farming, riverboat commerce and transport;  general merchandise for the agricultural and residential community for many miles around;  purchasers of produce and related commodities in the region.

Bay City was also the cultural center in this part of Illinois:  Hundreds of young folks grew up knowing the Bay City Store as their touchstone to the world;  informal and formal social gatherings of all sorts occurred here;  religious activities including river baptismal were conducted here regularly;  and affairs of the heart bloomed, to be sure.

The Bay City General Store was built in 1915 by Nathaniel Golightly, and in 1920, purchased by Clarence and Tressie Weeks.  "CR and Miz Tressie" kept this store open through floods, the Great Depression, the 1937 Great Flood, World War II and ensuing conflicts, and countless unimaginable trials and tribulations in order to serve the people of the Bay City area.

The Store had it all - about everything necessary to live and raise families and survive. If CR did not have exactly what a person wanted his response was, "Get it for you Thursday" - which he did by, in later years, driving his 1946 International truck to Paducah for the stock he needed.

CR was noted for his hand-cut bologna and cheese sandwiches --  hand cut, likely so thick on one side as to constitute the complete meal (usually thinner on the other side)!  Of course, most bought an RC Cola or Coke, and perhaps a Moon Pie for dessert.

CR and Tressie had a dog named Skippy, who when given a Dixie Cup of ice cream, could grab it with one tooth and lick clean all the ice cream - much to the amusement of all.

Denim overalls, dress materials, canned goods, barb and hog wire, nuts and bolts and nails, tools, good pocket knives, ammunition, watches, and CANDY for the kids in us all - these and countless other items for the folks around Bay City.  CR would purchase a stalk of bananas and hang it in the front window for all to see and buy.  The banana hanging rope is still there, waiting .........


Attn:  Genealogy Buffs

Ms. Carol Crisp, Golconda, is a noted expert and writer on cemeteries in Pope County -- over 200 covered and counting.

Most persons do not realize the number of people who arrive here to "look up the folks".  Illinois was settled from the South - Kentucky, Tennessee, and so forth.

Today, Bay City has 12 full time residents, and 10 part-time residents.

The old Bay City General Store was not operating from 1975 to 2005, when Don and Donna bought the Store building from the Family of Eulalia and Buck Butler.

Since  2004, Donna and Don have offered lodging in their Bay City Cabin next door to their house. (Please see below, or www.baycitycabinontheohioriver.com for interior views of the Cabin).

In 2006, We restored the Store and refurbished the 3 bedrooms on the 2nd floor (The Hotel) for guest lodging.

In 2011, we completely refurbished the single-story portion on the south end of the building into Roy Willie's Lodge (please see above).

    What is in the Store now?
The Store is open Saturdays 10 to 4,
and Sundays from 1 to 4

Winter schedule:  The Store is closed during the
Winter months December thru March

The Bay City General Store is like The Way It Was

The Store has been completely restored, with all the original 1915 wood shelving intact!  We added new lights and countless electrical outlets -- CR only had one wall plug in the Store, used for the radio for Cardinals ball games, and with an extension cord to power the ice cream keeper.

We have the original cash register and 10-foot checkout counter, complete with Miz Tressie's fabric measuring yardstick still attached, and another 10-foot counter original to the store.  With another original wood counter, the store fixtures are almost restored back as they were -- one showcase was missing, and we substituted a 10-foot old oak and glass unit from a nearby country store now closed.  An old electric powered reach-in soda cooler box completes the store fixtures.  A 1913 brass Tiffany-designed National 444 cash register is at the front, with the original pot-bellied stove in place, and a huge Enterprise No. 12 coffee grinder to grind the coffee beans we sell from America's oldest coffee bean roaster company (We even have their Bay City Blend)!

Refreshments -- cold sodas from the old cooler, Moon Pies, snacks, and now and then, special goodies too numerous to list.


For 2013, we have added a BLUE BUNNY ice cream freezer to further enhance our offerings of ice cream goodies, and lots more bagged ice capacity

Antiques of all sorts - small items, primitives, vintage furniture, tables and chairs and sewing machines and home utensils and pie safes, old books and photographs from decades gone by, fishing lures and gear, old doors and windows -- and about everything else -- we scour auctions across the region to bring an interesting and varied collection to our customers.

Toys - old and vintage;  children's books, old tools, old fishing items, broadaxes, several old wood tool boxes, and what not.

Modern-made decoratives and collectibles, unique curiosities, such as a box of wooden fretwork from the 1880's with catalogs; thimbles from all over the U.S. and other countries; and cookbooks to suit every taste; a stack of old highway maps from gas stations gone away..

Of course, when you would go into an old store, you would expect to find candies such as old-fashioned chocolate malted milk balls, chocolate covered peanuts and raisins, RC Cola and Moon Pies, candy bars, roasted peanuts in the shell and candy buttons on white shiny paper, and on and on.

But also, you will find vintage and antique lamps, hatboxes and hats, vintage jewelry and textiles, soft and comfortable old quilts and collectible tins of all shapes and sizes.

Gifts for the garden, kitchen, bath, cabin and wherever you call home.  Lotions and potions to pamper and soothe and soy candles to scent the air.

Our coffee beans come from Gillies, the oldest coffee roaster in the United States.  Buy it by the pound or pot.  We try to carry everyone's favorites.  Our personal favorite is the Bay City Blend, which Gillies has been selling for some time!  Fits right in!


Dietz was the "standard" just about everywhere - and now we are able to stock (or order for you)  these very high quality lanterns and lamps in about every color and size.  These are made from Dietz's original plans, and are made of excellent and durable metal.

We can get just about any lantern or lamp for you

There's More in the Back Room!

You will find the Bay City Store to be a homey place with many nooks and crannies filled with the unexpected treasures and gift items, and friendly folks who care to spend time with you, and make you welcome to

The Way It Was.

The Old Gas Pump - since 1925 there used to be a "pump-up" gasoline dispensing pump on the northeast corner of the Store.  It has been gone for a long time, but we were pleased to locate a 1925 Gilbert and Barker ("self measuring gas pump" -- similar to the original American) -- and have installed it about in the same spot as the original. (Gilbert and Barker was owned by Standard Oil since 1912 -- now their pumps are world-wide and known as Gilbarco brand). We are indebted to GILBARCO for historical information on this and other pumps, and appreciated so much the kind assistance of  Mr. Mick Cronister, General Manager of SENECA Oil Equipment Company of Decatur, Illinois - without folks like these, life would be a lot more complicated.

When our hard maple died, it gave us the perfect opportunity to create an American Symbol visible to cars and boats along the River.
Donna's little Granddaughter Sadie named the sculpture "Eagle Birdy"

Well known Wood Carver Art Boatright of Marion, Illinois carved our American Eagle for all to see and enjoy.  Art is a Master Carver and shows across the U.S.

NOTE:  From time to time eagles will swoop low to see what is imitating them!  Quite a surprise to see this when it happens!

Transportation at
Bay City

The Joe Fowler picture - shown above - shows an old paddle wheel river boat stopped at Bay City. It plied the local trade area for many years.

The modern paddlewheelers - the Delta Queen, Mississippi Queen, and the American Queen were frequent sights at Bay City.

Bay City is also frequented by car buffs, horse trail riders, pedal bikers, motorcyclists, and hikers.

                                        Model T visitor

Bay City was not always easy to get to in the old days, but the highway now is modern and open all year.

Old Car Rally at the Store

1933 Diamond T pickup - resided here for two years

1974 Custom Sutphen Pumper

Fire Crew - Alex and Joseph Greco, Chatham, Illinois

New Sports Cars tours visit also

Kentucky Model A Club comes to Bay City

LST 325
Made in Pennsylvania, transported past Bay City
Rescued from the Greek Navy
Returned to the U.S. by Volunteers and donors.


Call us with what you have to sell!
Items from the home
Old decoratives
Old jewelry
Old guns
Whatever else you wish to sell.
Please call first - 618-683-4305


A to Z:
Accordion, artwork, accoutrements
Bears, collector banks, brownies
Books old and new
Candy, chocolates, coffees of all sorts
Dolls, dishes and dips
Eggs ceramic
Fishing tackle, old
Flourspar samples and garden rocks
Granitewear, Griswold cast iron wear
Hatboxes and hats
Ice cream, old ice box
Jewelry, Jewel Tea
Knitting needles
Lures, lamps, lotions
Moon Pies, muffins (and mixes), milk glass
Organic mixes
Pie safes,
Old photos,
Primitives, peanuts
Rocking chairs, roosters
Soy candles, soups, signs
Thimbles, tool boxes, tea cups
Wood stoves
Zoo photography

A word of caution:  if you see something you like, you better buy it, because the store contents change weekly.

A special treat - take time to look over the old Bay City Store ledger books, from the 1905 - 1925 era, which show what people bought and the prices -- but which also reveal two things -- most of the business of the Store was on credit with bills usually paid once a year at harvest time; and, that Mr. CR "carried" folks who could not have afforded to pay cash on the spot, but who also paid their bills!

Sunrise at Bay City - this is the view from the Store balcony, the Lodge, and the Cabin next door!
      "Norton's Old General Store"
It filled the niche where the crossroads meet
A hitching rail once stood beside the door
An old pot-bellied stove to warm the feet
A black coal hod to keep trash from the floor
Here neighbors used to gather every night
They sat on sturdy chairs with tilted legs.
Here every man could feed his appetite
For news and wait for sorting of the eggs.
This was the meeting place of country men
They waded mud or plowed thru winter snow
To purchase from the stock they offered then of
flour, nails, and bright-sprigged calico.
The store was gone but I could recall the time
When I could buy all Heaven for a dime.
From and in memorium to Norton Walther's Old Country Store, Barry, Illinois

$80/ nite double occupancy  Plus 10% State/local "hotel" tax
$100/nite for 2 couples  Plus 10% State/local "hotel" tax
-  kids under 12 no charge
$11 each additional adult  Plus 10% State/local "hotel" tax
"Mini Hotel above the Store"
    $60 / nite per room double occupancy  Plus 10% State/local "hotel" tax
$150 / night for all three rooms  Plus 10% State/local "hotel" tax
-  kids under 12 no charge
$80 / night double occupancy  Plus 10% State/local "hotel" tax
$100/nite for 2 couples  Plus 10% State/local "hotel" tax
$11 each additional adult  Plus 10% State/local "hotel" tax
-  kids under 12 no charge
Discount for group using our other rooms

We have three lodging possibilities for your consideration:
   At the Store

We are glad to host other meetings and get-togethers by request.  Please call for details.

The Cabin has been offered to the public for 10 years, and has its MANY regulars.
The old web site for the cabin: see http://www.baycitycabinontheohioriver.com/index.html

A 6 - room cabin, metal roof - completely furnished and decorated, with two baths and 2 bedrooms, living room, complete eat-in kitchen, and a fabulous deck that provides super views of the Ohio River. The Cabin has a new air conditioning and heating system -- a vast improvement from the window air conditioners and space heaters, THANKS TO DON KILPATRICK, Fairbury, Illinois - one of our long-time lodgers.

Don Kilpatrick and his Coyote Catering Hunting Club from Fairbury - he and friends have stayed with us 9 hunting seasons!

Cabin Living Room

Cabin Living Room, looking into kitchen


Bedroom One

Second Bedroom

There are 2 privacy bath rooms with showers and stools, and 3 vanity sinks.  Public water system.  Modest-size screen porch with ceiling fan at front.  Ceiling fans in living room and both bedrooms.    With the huge sectional sofa in the living room, total sleeping is 6-8 persons! Plus, an extra cot is provided.

  • Bedroom ONE has  1 full bed, and one twin bed.
  • Bedroom TWO – 1 full bed, and one twin bed.
  • Living room has a large "L" sectional that can sleep 2 persons
The Cabin was built in about 1952, has 9-foot ceilings in living room and main bedroom, and vinyl floor tile in 3 rooms.  Propane grill on deck is provided.

Full kitchen and dining utensils, bed linens and towels provided.  TV with 1 local station (ABC) and a brand new DVD/VCR, in the living room. (Bring your DVD's and tapes!)

The cabin is a cabin
- it is comfortable and informal as a cabin should be.  It has fire and carbon monoxide alarms, and four doors for ventilation and exit.

PARKING at the Cabin - just outside the door -- parking for 2 to 4 cars, or 2 vehicles with trailers attached (we have parked 3 rigs, with care, at the Cabin - pretty handy, and safe).

The public boat ramp is just up the road, less than one mile - easy in and out, with boats safely parked at the Cabin when not in use. Handy for keeping your gear in shape.

At the rear. there is a fish cleaning spot with water, a deer- hanging tree just out the back door (please bring your own block and tackle), and flat area for secure boat parking for 2 boats, beside and in front of cabin with extension cord for battery charging --  $5.00 per night, please for electricity for one or two boats.

There is a parking lot immediately below the Cabin which (if not in use) can be reserved for a small additional charge in case additional parking is needed for extra boats and cars.


This lot has public water, security light and 110 volt electric outlets.  Sorry – no camper sewage disposal available.  Lot can hold three vehicles or boats, subject to reservation and availability.  Please call if you want more information regarding campers.


$80/ nite double occupancy Plus 10% State/local "hotel" tax
$100/nite for 2 couples Plus 10% State/local "hotel" tax
$10 additional each adult Plus 10% State/local "hotel" tax
-  kids under 12 no charge

Fish cleaning station at side of Cabin
Discount - 7th day FREE

We cannot accept one-night-only requests (see policy above)- it takes 3 hours to clean everything - whether it needs it or not.

Rental of combined Store lodging and the Cabin can be negotiated

Sorry, no pets

The new Lock and Dam at Smithland was built late 70's and placed into service in about 1980.  The new dam had the impact of raising the pool about 20 feet, and widened the river accordingly.  This created a fantastic fishing paradise for several years - "you couldn't miss on the Smithland". (Of course, the fishing continues to be great).

2012 update - a hydro-electric generating system is currently being added to the east end of the Dam.

The roadbed of the County Highway at Bay City was raised considerably in the late 70's, and the practical effect was to create a modern and safe blacktop highway -- but at the same time, the increased elevation of the highway did block off some of the view of the near shore, much to the consternation of old-time residents who were accustomed to watching all that went on from their chairs at the Store!  But the view of the Ohio River remains fantastic.

Sometime later the State boat ramp was built at Barren Creek, and is named for Mr. Russell C. Davidson, Sr. longtime community leader and outstanding farmer.

The Bay City Road has been totally resurfaced into Golconda - great for motorcycles!  We welcome motorcyclists.  Think about coming down for an overnight stay.  (Secure parking in rear of Store - some under cover.)

Official Logo and Car Pass issued to "the locals"
In 1997, Warner Bros. chose Bay City as the site for filming the airplane crash and rescue segment, and the beginning of the fugitive chase of the motion picture to be - U.S. Marshals, which starred Tommy Lee Jones and his U.S. Marshals team, co-starring Wesley Snipes, and included Robert Downy Jr.  The Bay City and Pope County portion of the movie is about 27 minutesThis segment of the movie can be seen on our DVD - TV in the Patio Room.

What a change -- from only 8 people, the community soon bustled with strange vehicles, lots of people, all sorts of props including the upside-down 727 aircraft brought in by barge.  The casting included countless local persons who posed as restaurant employees of Roy Willy's World's Best  Bar-B-Que, local and state law enforcement and and first responders, and so on -- an estimated 200++ people gathered for the final filming to complete this massive undertaking.

The Store building was "converted" to the movie set, with the single-story section being totally re-made into Roy Willy's World's Best Bar-B-Que country restaurant (all make-believe, of course).

Bay City Store when used by Warner Bros. filming of U.S. Marshals,
with Tommy Lee Jones, Summer 1997.  Made to look real old, of course.
The movie came out in 1998, and is shown on TV many times each year - it remains as a fun film to watch (Copies can be ordered on Amazon and elsewhere).

Note - a technical staff person with the Web hosting company 1and1.com was helping us in some of the details of this site preparation.  He saw the above pictures and was very excited to see that U.S. Marshals and Roy Willy's were what he was helping with -- and this fellow lives in the Philippines! This shows a surprising 'reach' of this movie!

There is a scrapbook of pictures to examine in the Bay City General Store, and more interesting artifacts and pictures to come as we get unpacked and finish decorating the Patio Room.


Rest and read and enjoy the scenery
Get to know your life mate and families again
Fish from the bank across the road or bring your boat
Bird watch from the Store balcony and Cabin -- plenty to see!
Visit scenic tourist sites nearby
Visit the newly reopened Kincaid Mounds site and visitors facility
(On the way to Brookport, Metropolis and Paducah)
See new River History Museum in Paducah (great for kids!)
See eagles along the creeks and flying the River in front of the Store and Cabin

Eagles along the creek, just north of the Store and Cabin
Secret to Fishing:
Fish Where The Fish Are!
Ohio River - Smithland Pool

The Smithland Pool, almost 75 miles long, was formed when the new Locks and Dam were built at Smithland- about 6 miles below Bay City.  This new dam raised the river level about 20 feet and created a fishing and boating paradise.

Bass, crappie, catfish, striped bass, bluegill - all excellent.  For those not well acquainted with river system fishing, there is a lot of territory over which fish are scattered.  Depth finders are almost a necessity.
    Visitors can also fish from the bank of the River usually with good success
          Illinois license required -- www.dnr.il.gov for online purchase

    Bring your boat and fish the River  -
     Launch at Barren Creek Public Boat Ramp - just 1 mile upriver from Bay City Store
Boating safety is a must - all boats must be well equipped with life preservers and correct lighting equipment, and motors in good repair.  Small fishing boats and canoes recommended only for the creeks (Barren and Bay creeks are right here, no need to traverse the River).

We have increased our ICE capacity!


Fishing for channel and blue cats is excellent, and flatheads.
We have several batches of folks who come down regularly and have good luck - taking home good supplies of filets.

One success story is a young couple from Knoxville who caught over 250 keepers in 3 days
These folks use a "egg" slip sinker with hook & bait retainer, fished on the bottom. - Hoss's Hawg Bait and others, cut bait, worms ............

Drift fishing with slip bobbers is a high;y recommended technique also.

One secret for success is to fish the stumps areas, moving along spot-to-spot after activity at a spot quiets down.

Crappie have always been very good, with large catches reported.

Bluegill are always good, and larger fish are common.

Bass - success stories from the tournaments are notable. Techniques are important.

Stripers are caught in the Spring, at low-light times, and August on into the Fall, using a boat

We have Hoss' Hawg Catfish Bait
on hand at the Bay City Store.
This bait really works well!
The technique is to use a bait-keeper below an "egg slip sinker", fished on the bottom - pretty hard to miss being rewarded.  Stumps, holes, and drop-offs are good - heck, just about anywhere.

As stated above, one secret for success is to fish the stumps areas, and keep moving along spot-to-spot after a spot quiets down.

This dip bait was invented by Larry "Hoss" Hulet of Galesburg, and is now manufactured by Russ and Janice Nash of Elmwood (Knox County).

It is a real favorite all year around on the Smithland pool - works everywhere and is used in catfish tournaments around the U.S..

Hoss' Hawg Bait
1 pound containers    $5.95 + tax = $6.35
5 pound pails               $ 25.49 + tax = $27.14
Also available in 30 pound buckets

Barren Creek State Boat Launch
(1 mile north of Store)
Public Ramp
is on Barren Creek - Bay Creek is just above top of photo...The Ohio River is the water to the right.

Other activities:
  • Drive
  • Drive the area roads, especially at dusk, and watch the deer!  Great for the kids.


    The  Bow Season opens October 1st - trucks towing 4-wheelers, stands and gear as well as camper units came by for several days - reports were of excellent hunter success.

    We are getting 2014 deer hunter lodging reservations from around Illinois, Tennessee, Louisiana, South Carolina, Alabama ........

    If we don't have an opening we will do our best to try to find someone who does.

    There are more than 270,000 acres in the Shawnee National Forest available for public hunting.  Deer hunting is big - and has been - in the Shawnee and Southern Illinois. Bow hunting is gaining converts each year, and Pope County ranks at the top of the list for numbers and hunter success ratio.
    Hunting Guide service available through Illinois Ohio River Valley Trophy Hunts, Jared Jackson, Prop.  618-672-4755

    Spring turkey is big in Pope County and the Shawnee Forest.  Plan to come!

    Gene Davidson, Bay City resident, 2012.
    In 2006, Gene finally took off enough time to get his first turkey and since, has bagged several more!  Congratulations, Gene!

    Advance permits for deer and turkey are obtained through drawings, and all application forms and information are available at www.dnr.il.gov.
    Hunting licenses may be ordered directly online.

    Bay City is on the very bank of the Ohio River, above Paducah Kentucky, and below Evansville, Indiana. - Mile 911.3
    Note that Bay City is one of the few "towns" right on the River bank along the entire Illinois portion of the Ohio River Scenic Byway route
    Mile markers by boat on the Ohio River:
    Metropolis               944            Start Small ramp - no services
    Paducah                  935           + 9 Public launch at Floodwall - no gas
    Smithland Dam        919           + 16     No services
    Bay City           911.3      +  7.7 Bay City Store;  no gas
    Golconda                902            + 9.3  Golconda Public Marina           Bait,         gas,  supplies,  parts --
                                       Duncan Marine Service on call - Denny Duncan - Excellent.  618-683-3541
    Rosiclaire                892            + 10     Ramp    No services
    Elizabethtown          889            + 3       Ramp    No services
    Cave-in-Rock         881            + 8       Ramp No services (Free ferry to Kentucky)
    Shawneetown         858              + 23        Ramp - no services                (Bridge to Kentucky)
    Metropolis to Golconda    at  55.7        Golconda to Shawneetown at  44

    Driving Directions

    From the North:
    • From Mt. Vernon, Illinois, Come South on Interstate 57 to Interstate 24  (south of Marion) - Exit RIGHT onto I-24
    • Come South on I-24, get off at 2nd Vienna/Golconda exit and turn left at the stop sign (across from McDonald’s) onto Illinois Route 146.
    • Drive east on Route 146 to Golconda (about 20 miles)
    • In Golconda, there is one 4-Way stop – the Post Office and the Library are on the right, the Dari-Barr on the left.
    • Turn right (south), and go up the hill and out of town on this County blacktop, about 9 miles, to the “Tee” stop sign.
    • Road signs point LEFT for Bay City and the Ohio River Scenic Byway and “Round Pond” Campground.
    • Go 2 miles across bridges, with creeks and ponds on both sides of the road.
    • Road will curve right up a short hill, with the Ohio River right beside the road.
    • At that point, SLOW DOWN and get ready to turn right into the Old General Store driveway, and the Bay City Cabin.

    From the South - Paducah and Interstate 24:

    Metropolis Exit.

    Turn right at top of ramp at the Metropolis Exit -- and go east about 5 miles to the north edge of Brookport (Route 45) and turn LEFT or east on the Unionville Blacktop.  Drive east out of Brookport to Unionville, then on thru to New Liberty.

    Go all the way east  - about 11 miles, through Unionville, and on about 6 miles to the Church and the Odd Fellows Lodge next door. TURN LEFT and go north about 13 miles – be careful of the hills and the curves and the deer!  When you come to the River, STOP in the General Store driveway.


    We have included a lot of information to try to inform you - the viewer - of the major features about Bay City, our Lodging, and the General Store.

    It is difficult to include everything someone might wish to know in preparation to visit Bay City.
    If you have questions, please call Donna or Don, or E-mail:

        House    618-683-4305
        Cell        618-525-4305
        E-mail     mailto:BayCityNortons@Hotmail.com





    Mr. Steve Vantreese is the Outdoors Editor for the Paducah Sun, and publishes articles Wednesdays and Saturdays.  Mr. Vantreese is one of the very best writers we have encountered  and his works are pleasurable and informative.  We try to keep his stories and have them available in our Lodging for all to read.  You can access the Sun at www.paducahsun.com

    Les Winkler is the Outdoor Editor for the Southern Illinoisian, widely read and appreciated all over the region.  He has a wealth of insight and experience to share with his readers - check him out!  www.southernillinoisian.com

    Fairy Rings  These growths show up year after year unless disturbed, during times of heat and moisture.  Even if partly destroyed, the remaining plants keep on growing.  Here's a shot from the front yard in Bay City:

    Fairy Rings growing at Bay City


    About 43 Crownline boats gathered at Bay City before they sped off to lock through Smithland Dam

    Saturday morning in April
    The Annual Spring Tractor Show is a very popular event, with tractors of all ages and types and brands, as well as related equipment and such.
    Outdoors on Main Street

    The Festival has been held for 50 years!  There are vendors tents set up on the Courthouse square -- all sorts of goodies and gear
    Vendors are open beginning Thursday of 1st Season

    during 1st deer season
    1:00PM - Outdoors on Main Street

    Anything that runs and makes joyful sounds
    A big crowd pleaser - PLUS food stands!

    Annual Car Show

    The Spring Annual Car Show date will be announced sometime soon


    and other memorabilia

    Benson the fish was ledgendary in England - everyone wanted to catch it.
    The Original Bay City Store
    (now the parking lot below the Cabin)
     and the 1915 store


    Behind the Bay City Store is a small building that served many purposes:

    Right now the 20X16 building is used for  fish cleaning, deer hanging and storage It houses an old cast iron air compressor (Old Methusalem) that likely dates back before World War Two - and it still works just fine!

    We have restored the footings, added a new deck, and may continue with interior restorations - it would make a good hunters bunk house lodging - rustic, of course.

    Below - Mr. Russell Davidson, Sr., with Buck Butler and Jimmy, show the result of good cat fishing

    Bay City as was seen from the old cemetery, looking southward

    R.. David son and Friends, Old Shoestring Bill the goat

    Circa 1959



    The Sprague - Largest packet freighter on the Ohio