New Baltimore, Michigan: A Return Home

In March, before I left for Colombia; I got the chance to spend some time with my older sister, Alexandria. She now lives in Fort Wayne, Indiana, so I don’t get to see her often, but she was visiting Michigan for a few days. She wanted to go urban-exploring in Detroit, checking out old ruins and taking pictures. After being tied up with work for longer than expected, we decided instead of Detroit, we would go check out our childhood stomping grounds, New Baltimore.

New Baltimore is a small city of around 12,000 which finds itself on the northwest shore of Lake St. Clair. It always had a small-town feel for me. I was friends with most of the people in my neighborhood, and was familiar with the rest. It also holds a lot of great memories for me: my first kiss, attending many Bay-a-Rama festivals, winning the Little League All Star tournament with my friends, learning how to skateboard and play guitar, and many more. But even more than all of those things, I think New Baltimore holds a special place in my heart because I had lived there longer than anywhere else in my life. For slightly over 10 years, I was able to call a house that my father largely put back together, home.

We arrived at the waterfront and parked across from the old police station. We entered the park first; both of us armed with our camera, intent on capturing some hometown nostalgia.

The weather was nice enough for us to walk around without jackets, yet the lake was still frozen, and the sun was bright and warm.

We saw the playground we used to play tag on, the new beach which neither of us had used, the ledge on which we had watched many nights of fireworks, and the new dock, seemingly for police boats. I remember when the water tower was new and was given a fresh coat of vivid red paint, it was now rusty and a tired shade of its old self.

New Baltimore

We found our way to Washington Street where I saw the Rec. Center which I had totally forgotten about; yet played floor hockey in, year after year.

We walked past Main Street and noticed that the library had gotten a very nice makeover.

Our favorite corner store was now a bar; replacing 50 cent candy bars with 4 dollar pints.

Across the street, Stahl’s bakery was giving out free smells; we obliged to our senses and went in. I purchased a fresh bag of cookies. After trying one and confirming it was delicious, my sister quickly confiscated the bag for herself. Ah, just like old times.

Ally at Stahl's Bakery

We walked further down the street and passed Mike’s Comics, where I would rush to buy my next pack of Pokemon cards each week when I was younger. I was secretly glad to see it was still around, considering most of the other storefronts seemed new. A few restaurants and bars now exist where a hair salon and pizza shop used to be; I would have to return with some old friends to check them out.

We headed back to the car for a quick trip down Ashley Street, the one where our old house was located. Turning onto the street, I could see the Stanton’s beautiful home on the corner; with the backyard the twins and I would play baseball in until we started hitting the ball well across the street.


Finally, near the end of the street, there it was; the pinnacle of New Baltimore. Home.

Originally published on Restless Reserve.