Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Squint Shot 033110

In yesterday's squint shot, I mentioned the sanded and restained floors of the second floor of the storefront east of the main portion of old Ruth's Resale building, formerly C.D. Hamilton dry goods. Well, interestingly enough, in the center of the room, this floor vent covers a hole to the first floor. At one time, it was a part of the heating system which no longer exists. But the artwork of this floor vent was worth noting.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Village of Nicholson

The other day I was in conversation with a friend and he mentioned the village of Nicholson. We live off of Nicholson Road and I mentioned that. Well, lo and behold at the very north end of Nichsolson Road, dead-ending into Lovejoy Road, at the very northern border of Livingston County, there is a small village. Or at least a few homes, what looks like a former storefront, and this church. We've lived here for over 12 years, but who knew this little stone church existed? So, on a Friday I decided to take a Sunday drive. The building has obviously been preserved, since there is a new steel roof on it, but it is boarded-up and not being used. The backside of the church looks like this. As I took the picture, a glint of red caught my eye so I pulled a little closer. There used to be stained-glass in the front entrance but it has been broken out. I stopped by the Conway Township offices but it was locked up tighter than the proverbial drum, so I tried doing some research online on this building but to no avail. Any thoughts from my readers? The denomination? When it was in use? Why the roof has been updated but sitting there boarded-up?

As an additional note, I did happen to come across a comment that in 1907 Frank Nichols purchased the Israel Colborne farm on the county line north of Fowlerville and would be moving there soon. So, is this when the village of Nicholson came into being? I'll be calling the township offices because I'm intrigued.

Squint Shot 033010

Still wandering around the upstairs of the storefront to the east of the old Ruth's Resale main building, I checked out some of the moldings and trims that were preserved when Courtney Daniels refurbished the building. It is nice to see this unique floorboard was cleaned up and repainted. The walls have been painted white and the floor sanded and restained.

Monday, March 29, 2010

Squint Shot 032910

After a few minutes, as described in yesterday's squint shot post, I stepped to the back of the building and turned around. This portion of the upstairs is in the second storefront to the east of the corner building. Ruth's Resale used both buildings during her tenure of selling, but now the upstairs is empty. It has been beautifully restored and updated, including handicapped-accessible bathrooms, as required by law. A few years earlier, this is what the upstairs looked like before renovation. There was a sort-a-kind-of water closet to the left and a single light bulb hanging from the ceiling.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Squint Shot 032810

After spending a few squint shot-days at the old Ford garage, now Jeffrey's Automotive, I headed over to the old Ruth's Resale building. Before Ruth filled the two storefronts with old and new items, C.D. Hamilton ran a dry goods store at the southeast corner of South Grand and East Grand River. This picture is taken from the second floor of the building -- now part of Courtney Daniels' insurance business. I stood at the front window for a few minutes, looking down on the main four corners, the traffic was a constant stream past me. But, at the same time, it was all rather muffled, and I felt a bit removed from the hustle and bustle.

Spring is Springing

Q: Can February March?
A: No, but April May.

Q: What season is it when you are on a trampoline?
A: Spring-time!

Knock, knock!
Who's there?
Spring who?
I might spring on over to your house one day!

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Snack-urday 159

Cream Cheese Wontons

1 - 8 oz pkg cream cheese, softened
16 wonton wrappers
oil for frying
1 jar of sweet and sour sauce for dipping

1) Heat oil in deep-fat fryer or pour into a deep skillet on high temp.
2) While oil is heating, lay out as many wrappers as you plan to use.
3) Have a small bowl of water nearby to wet your fingers in.
4) Put a small dab of cream cheese in one corner of each wrapper, about 1/2" from the edges. Use about 1 tsp.
5) Using your fingers, wet the two edges nearest the cream cheese, then fold the other half down and seal the edges, making a triangle shape.
6) Seal the edges tightly, but try to leave small gaps at the corners so the triangles will not expand so much they burst.
7) Drop several wontons into oil. Turn over when the edges start to brown and cook for another minute or two.
8) Set on paper towels to drain, then serve hot with sweet and sour sauce.

Open houses? This would be perfect.

Squint Shot 032710

Old-style, handmade trusses can be seen inside the old Ford Garage. They are spaced about every 12 feet apart and, although at one time probably a bright white, they are now somewhat grey in color. Having these trusses exposed, with fans placed between, and lighting attached to the beams, the building feels huge -- it is huge -- when standing in the center of the work area.
It is time to move onto another building. Tomorrow begins a journey through the building at the southeast corner at the main four corners -- the old Ruth's Resale, formerly C.D. Hamilton & Co., and now owned by Courtney Daniels.

Friday, March 26, 2010

Squint Shot 032610

In the high ceiling of Jeffrey's Automotive repair shop, propeller-like fans spin at a slow rate, circulating to push warm air back down in the winter time and to exhaust hot air in the summer. The ceiling is as it was built, according to Ed, but how long have these fans been in place. From the looks, a lot of years of service.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Squint Shot 032510

A "barn"-style door separates the repair portion at the back of the old Ford Garage with what used to be the dealership showroom. The showroom area has now been used as office space for a mortgage company a few years back as well as most recently Santa's workshop this last Christmas. After the annual Christmas parade, Santa sat in this warm, out of the cold wind, room and listened to all the kids' wishes.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Squint Shot 032410

You might think this squint shot is a rerun of previous window frames, but it isn't. I am finding in nearly every building in Fowlerville, of those constructed in the late 1800s and early 1900s, arched brickwork was used. This archway is inside the old Ford Garage, now Jeffrey's Automotive. The brick has been painted white, as is most of the inside, to reflect light and make this cavernous building brighter. From the outside of the building, its size is deceptive. But once you step through the door, and go down about half a floor of steps, the work area of this garage is much larger than expected.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Squint Shot 032310

Yesterday's squint shot showed the length of the old Ford Garage -- today's shows the back curve of the roofline. As I spoke with Ed, owner of Jeffrey's Automotive, he relayed that across Michigan, any car dealer building with this particular roofline was, or still may be, a Ford dealer. These buildings were unique to a design created by Henry Ford himself. Tomorrow we step inside the repair shop.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Squint Shot 032210

The last few days have been spent at the Fowlerville Hardware, both outside and inside. But with a short walk across Grand River Avenue, I found myself at the back of the old Ford Garage. This particular squint shot gives a good view of the curved roofline. Years earlier the front of the built did not have the current facade. There was an opening in the center front large enough for cars to drive into the building. The showroom was on one side with offices on the other side. Currently, at the back of the building is Jeffrey's Automotive Service, accessible through a side door at the southeast corner.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Spring Quotes

In the spring, at the end of the day, you should smell like dirt. -- Margaret Atwood

In the spring, I have counted 136 different kinds of weather inside of 24 hours. -- Mark Twain

A little madness in the spring is wholesome even for the king. -- Emily Dickinson

Spring is when you feel like whistling even with a shoe full of slush. -- Doug Larson

To be interested in the changing seasons is a happier state of mind than to be hopelessly in love with spring. -- George Santayana

An optimist is the human personification of spring. -- Susan J. Bissonette

Spring is nature's way of saying, "let's party!" -- Robin Williams

The world is mud-luscious and puddle-wonderful. -- e.e. cumming

Enjoy spring!

Squint Shot 032110

Before making my way down the narrow staircase to the first floor, back portion of the hardware store, I paused by the service elevator. I've ridden on it once -- and that was enough. Oh, it is very sturdy and appears very safe, but it is small and confining. The elevator is used more for hauling up what is stored on the second floor, such as many of the items used by the Fowlerville Rotary for serving up breakfasts at the EasyRider and Dawn Patrol events. The pulley system looks similar, but more intricate, than what was used to lift carriages. When in operation, it is well-oiled and smooth running.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Squint Shot 032010

It isn't always the architecture of these older buildings that interests me . . . sometimes it is the something as simple as a doorknob and key. The door giving access between the two upper floors of the two different buildings (the east and west portions of the hardware store) is old, heavy and thick, but swings open like a dream. The doorknob is smooth to the touch -- years of wear maybe?

Snack-urday 158

Spring Cookies


1/2 cup butter, softened
1 cup creamy peanut butter
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 t vanilla
1 egg
1 1/2 cups flour
3/4 t baking soda
1/2 t baking powder
1/4 t salt


In a large bowl, cream the butter, peanut butter, and sugars. Add the vanilla and egg, beating until light and fluffy. Stir together flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt; add to butter mixture, blending thoroughly. Shape into 1-inch balls and place about 2 inches apart on a baking sheet. Flatten with fork tines in a criss-cross pattern. Bake at 350 degrees for 10 minutes or until lightly browned. Makes 4 dozen cookies.

Also known as peanut butter cookies -- enjoy!

Friday, March 19, 2010

Squint Shot 031910

As mentioned in yesterday's squint shot, the west portion of the hardware store started out as an farm implement and carriage repair shot. The apparatus shown below is the pulley system used to lift the carriages while work was being done on them. The floor, which would have been a wide open gap from the first floor to this one, has been boarded over.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Squint Shot 031810

The last few days the squint shots have shown the outside and second floor portion of the east side of Fowlerville Hardware. This building has always been some form of hardware store, as known from information given by Doug Burnie. Today's shot, though, heads to the second floor of the west side of the hardware store. When this building was added on, it was for farming implements and carriage repairs in the early 1900s. By about 1950, the first floor had been converted into the Orr Theater. The upstairs, though, remains as it was built long ago. This particular squint shot had me curious. It looks like there was access to an attic area but the beams make it look inaccessible. As much as I wanted to, I didn't dare climb the ladder!

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Squint Shot 031710

I panned my camera over to my left from yesterday's squint shot to get a closer look at the arch, the bricks and a corner of one of the boarded-up windows. When I see this kind of workmanship from many years ago, my mind always travels to the thought of how so much thought was put into making a building unique. No "cookie-cutter" buildings.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Squint Shot 031610

I was given the chance to head upstairs of the hardware store so this next squint shot is the back side of yesterday's picture. You can see the arch stones and the boarded-up windows. If these are the original windows, each one was a split window with the top portion one-third of the size of the bottom portion. The brickwork on the outside has been painted a light tan, but the inside still shows the original brick colors.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Squint Shot 031510

Yesterday's squint shot showed the right side of this unique building, but this shot shows a bit more of its interesting architecture. Bricks were formed to make a circle -- at one time maybe it was a small porthole to light the second floor? The sandstone blocks that are worked into a large arch look like they have worn down through the years -- was there something more definite etched at one time? Now the three windows inside the arch are boarded up -- but at one time did they have interesting glass? Oh, the questions -- any answers?

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Everybody's Irish

In just a couple of days, we all put a little of the "Irish" on -- enjoy St. Patty's Day this Wednesday, and remember . . .

May the road rise up to meet you.
May the wind always be at your back.
May the sun shine warm upon your face,
And rains fall soft upon your fields.
And until we meet again,
May God hold you in the palm of his hand.

Squint Shot 031410

After a few squint shots at the Handy Township hall, I moved onto Burnie's Hardware store. The storefront actually makes use of two storefronts -- this one has always been some sort of implement or hardware store, while the building directly to the west used to be the Orr Theater. Tomorrow, we head inside.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Snack-urday 157

From my favorite recipe site:

Apple Toast

1 T butter
4 slices bread
1 T cinnamon
1 large apple, cored and thinly sliced

1. Set oven to broil.
2. Spread butter on one side of each slice of bread. Place apple slices on buttered side of bread. Sprinkle cinnamon on top. Place bread on a baking sheet.
3. Place in a preheated oven until toasted, about 2 minutes.

Squint Shot 031310

An upright piano sits quietly on the second floor of the Handy Township hall. Makes one wonder what tunes used to come forth from this musical instrument. Was it used for Rotary meetings?Tomorrow we head onto another storefront. Be sure to check back for some fun shots.

Friday, March 12, 2010

Squint Shot 031210

Back to the second floor of the Handy Township hall, shuffleboard games can still be found painted on the wooden floor. From what I understand, archery practice even took place on this floor, as well as Rotary meetings, and various other get-togethers.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Squint Shot 031110

While touring the upper floors of the Handy Township hall and heading back downstairs from the third to the second floor, this wide, long staircase helps to show how tall the various floors are. Ten feet? Twelve feet? It is all quite impressive.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Squint Shot 031010

The carpeting, well-worn, on the third floor of the Handy Township hall shows the Masonic symbol. Years earlier, this was the meeting room for this organization. Before this hall was built, the Masons met in the three-story building at the northwest corner now housing Harmon Real Estate offices.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Squint Shot 030910

After spending a few minutes snapping squint shots on the second floor of the Handy Township building, I headed up to the third floor and wandered around a bit more. This old furnace, no doubt out of commission, stands in the room where the Masons would meet before they built their current headquarters east of the village.

Monday, March 8, 2010

Squint Shot 030810

There may be something about the architecture around doorframes that intrigues me . . . but I'm finding it in just about every older building in Fowlerville. A square at each top corner with a circle carved in it -- these all date back to the late 1800s. This one? In the Handy Township building on the second floor where the community center used to be.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Mended Puppy

Squint Shot 030710

A water fountain on the third floor of the Handy Township hall caught my eye. It is no longer in use, but I wonder what the spout of water looked as it came out the top. From what I understand, at one time, similar water fountains were outside at the main four corners. If anyone remembers these, I would love to hear about it.

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Squint Shot 030610

I was given access to wander around the second and third floors of the Handy Township building. Both floors are mostly empty and not being used, except for storage. The second floor was formerly used as a community center, while the third floor housed the Masons until they built their quarters at the east side of the village. In my wanderings I came across this old Garland stove. How cool is this?!

Snack-urday 156

Veggie Pizza -- here's one of those recipes that works on so many levels -- for a party, a delicious snack, or to take to get-together.

1 (8 ounce) package refrigerated crescent rolls
1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese, softened
1 (1 ounce) package Ranch-style dressing mix
2 carrots, finely chopped
1/2 cup chopped red bell peppers
1/2 cup chopped green bell pepper
1/2 cup fresh broccoli, chopped
1/2 cup chopped green onion

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C).
Roll out crescent rolls onto a large non-stick baking sheet. Stretch and flatten to form a single rectangular shape on the baking sheet. Bake 11 to 13 minutes in the preheated oven, or until golden brown. Allow to cool.

Place cream cheese in a medium bowl. Mix cream cheese with 1/2 of the ranch dressing mix. Adjust the amount of dressing mix to taste. Spread the mixture over the cooled crust. Arrange carrots, red bell pepper, broccoli and green onions on top. Chill in the refrigerator approximately 1 hour. Cut into bite-size squares to serve.

Friday, March 5, 2010

Squint Shot 030510

After spending an hour or so at Sweet Sensations, I finally had to leave. I would have loved to linger a bit more but there was work to do. If you would like to linger, take a look back over the last week and a half of squint shots inside that wonderful store.

It was time, though, to head around the corner -- to the Handy Township offices. It is a three-story building at the southwest corner of North Grand River and Power Street. Just a few years ago, this building also housed the village offices but they have since moved their operation to South Grand.Tomorrow starts a series of shots inside the Handy Township building.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Squint Shot 030410

Yesterday's squint shot showed the cream-forming machine for the cream-filled chocolates that are made at Sweet Sensations. This bowl is for the carmel-cooling process. Hot carmel mixture or other sugars that need to cool down, are poured into this copper bowl and stirred until the right consistency is obtained. When not in use, it gleams! Like so many things, though, we have to move on. Tomorrow begins a series of shots at Handy Township.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Squint Shot 030310

This is a cream-mixing machine at Sweet Sensations. The mixture is put in the tray and then the paddles rotate, keeping the cream moving until it starts to thicken. Once ready, the batch is taken downstairs to go through the chocolate-making machine which was showcased as yesterday's squint shot. Quite the operation.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Squint Shot 030210

This is the basement at Sweet Sensations. Can you believe it?

I have been down some of the other basements of some of the storefronts and they are dark, stone walls or "Michigan basements" as I've always known them called, and cold. This basement has none of those undesirable qualities. It is brightly lit, there are mirrors at the south wall to give an illusion of it even being larger, the equipment is clean and at the ready, supplies are neatly organized, and the whole basement is comfortable. It would almost seem they created a miracle in making their chocolate-making room in the basement such a gem. Sherry gave me a quick "Cliff Notes" on how the machine in the center of the room works. The warmed, melted chocolate is piped in from a kettle where it has been prepared, forms travel through the machine where the chocolate is poured into them (covering whatever is inside each morsel), and then the forms are stored to allow cooling. Once that is done, the chocolates are either decorated or packaged to be displayed -- oh, and purchased.

Monday, March 1, 2010

Squint Shot 030110

A couple of days ago, I showed a picture of what was formerly the outside back wall of Sweet Sensations (when it was Spagnuolos). The brick was painted white so it was a little difficult to see the brickwork -- but this one shows it off beautifully. Also as in other squint shots, the wood doorframes show the uniqueness of how older architecture was done. Tomorrow, we head downstairs -- the nerve center where all of these wonderful chocolates are created.