New York businessman Henry W. Sage built and donated this structure in 1884 as a gift to the people of Bay City. Sage owned one of the largest saw mills along the Saginaw River. The building continues to operate as a library, one of several branch libraries of the Bay County Library System. When the library opened in the 19th century, its first floor was used as a schoolroom and the meeting place of several literary and debating societies. The second floor was a reading room. The building is located on the National Register of Historic Places.
Henry Sage was also an early supporter of Cornell University, donating funds to create Sage Chapel and several other buildings, including the first dormitory for women and the present home of Cornell University Press.