Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Squint Shot 063010

A few years back the village government personnel moved over to the house at the corner of South Grand and Church Street, the former location of the funeral home. Niblack Funeral Home is now located on the east edge of the village on East Grand River. At that same time, this building's first floor was completely renovated to house only the offices for Handy Township. It would have been interesting to have a photograph of this building before the work was done to see if that is when the three windows on the second floor were bricked in, or was this done years earlier?
The Handy Township offices also take up space in the one-story building just to the north of the three-story structure. Since the renovations to the buildings and sidewalks added at the back, both the front and back entrances are a bit more user friendly for those paying their property taxes!

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Squint Shot 062910

Yesterday's "backside" squint shot showed the west two-story building (white) Chase Bank is using. Today's picture shows three storefronts from the rear. The two-story red brick building is separated into two separate stores with front entrances. The one with three windows is currently housing a gardening store on the first level and the second level is empty, but ready for immediate occupancy. The corner building has Farmer's Insurance on the second floor and the first floor is still under reconstruction. Aleta's Flower Shop is in the tan single-story building, with a South Grand Avenue entrance.

Monday, June 28, 2010

Squint Shot 062810

The last "backside" single-story squint shot in the southeast quadrant is of the Chase Bank location. The two-story building is also used by Chase Bank but access into their lobby is through the front of the single-story portion. It is always interesting looking closely at the two-story buildings because there are so often "doors to nowhere," as I like to call them. At the far left of the picture, a boarded up door is no longer used. What was it used for before that?

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Squint Shot 062710

As in yesterday's squint shot, unfortunately this is another empty storefront. When Buck's Pizza took over this building, the owners changed the front. Kelli's Kloset used this building for a short time, but now it is just waiting for the right person to move in.

Snack-urday 169

Halibut wrapped in phyllo-dough -- what could be better for a Sunday dinner.


2 tablespoons melted butter
4 sheets phyllo dough
2 (5 ounce) halibut fillets
salt and pepper to taste
2 teaspoons chopped fresh dill
3 tablespoons lemon juice
1/2 cup whipping cream
2 green onions, finely chopped


Preheat oven to 425 degrees F (220 degrees C).
Lightly butter 1 sheet of phyllo dough. Lay another sheet directly on top of the first sheet, and lightly butter it. Repeat with remaining 2 sheets of phyllo. Cut sheets in half.
Season halibut fillets with salt and pepper. Place a fillet near the bottom edge of one of the halved sheets of phyllo. Sprinkle with dill. Fold in the sides of the phyllo, then roll the fillet. Place on a baking sheet, and lightly brush with butter. Repeat with remaining fillet.
Bake in a preheated oven until pastry is puffed and golden brown, about 12 to 15 minutes.
Meanwhile, bring lemon juice to a boil in a small saucepan over high heat. Boil until almost evaporated. Reduce heat to medium, and stir in cream. Simmer until the cream thickens somewhat. Stir in green onions, and season with salt and pepper. Serve halibut on a pool of sauce.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Squint Shot 062610

Working westward to the southeast corner at the "main four" is the back entrance to what used to be the BeeCharmer, and before that Sherri's Flower Station. Currently this building is empty, and from what I understand, a real "steal" for someone wanting to get into a storefront.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Squint Shot 062510

Just to the west of the old dime store in the southeast quadrant, the back entrance to Shear Image can be found. At the front of this building, there are two storefronts -- Shear Image on the west side and an eyecare facility on the east. The doctor's office for Lansing Opthamology is accessible only through the front.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Squint Shot 062410

In the continuing series of "backside" squint shots, this is the rear portion of the old dime store, currently a sporting goods store that is closed. The alleyway that runs from South Second Street to South Grand Avenue, behind these buildings, is just north of the old post office.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Squint Shot 062310

A few years ago, this building housed the Subway sandwich shop, which is now located south of the highway. The back entrance to the store was at the left side of the building. The last few years, this building has mostly sat empty. The alleyway to the right side of the building is one way heading west to get onto South Grand Avenue, right turn only.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Squint Shot 062210

Continuing with looking at the backsides of storefronts, Duke's Pizza is located just north of the old hotel. If correct information has been given to me, the front of Duke's was formerly the location for one of the veterans of wars organizations. Sometime, if you do happen to step into this building, check out some of the beautiful woodwork -- it does look very old and gives credence to this information.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Squint Shot 062110

The last few months, a number of the squint shots have been of inside various buildings in the downtown area. The last couple of years, numerous pictures have been shown of the fronts of the buildings. Now . . . we are going to change it up a bit. For the next couple of weeks, the squint shots will show the backsides of all of the buildings in the four quadrants. Some shots will not be quite so glorious, but others will show how the shop owners care about the back as much as they do the front.

To begin with, we are in the southeast quadrant. As some still call this building, the "old hotel" is shown from the rear entrance. A few years ago, this building was refurbished and redecorated, with the second floor made into apartments and the first floor continuing as commercial storefronts. The stairway shown goes to the apartments. On each side of the stairway, access is available to the coffee shop.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Squint Shot 062010

If you check back to yesterday's squint shot, there were two pictures of the supports in the basement of the former location of The Decorating Center, soon to be Maria's School of Dance. Well, still in the basement, and still wandering around. And this is what I came upon. This small doorway, about 12 inches x 12 inches opens . . .. . . for us to find this . . . The building is no longer warmed with coal, but it is curious there is still some residual left. I did a "google" search on the Marshall Furnace Company but did not have any success finding information. About the only item I found was a reference to a company by that name, located in Battle Creek, from 1872 until 1900.

Happy Dad's Day

And if you forgot to wish the special man in your life a happy day, you have no leg to stand out -- how can you miss it with all the advertisements?!

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Squint Shot 061910

For the last few days, the squint shots have shown various items in the second floor of the future home of Maria's School of Dance, at one time the Bell Opera House to the north and the upstairs above Woods Drug Store to the south. Well, we have descended to the basement. It is clean, open, but a very low ceiling. And these two squint shots show how the ceiling (or better yet, the whole building) is held up. Very interesting . . . cement poured into inverted whiskey barrels. And, actually, there are so many supports, it really appears very sturdy, and it must be a hundred years later!

Snack-urday 168

Here's a great recipe to get ready for dad's day tomorrow - go, go shopping today to make sure you have all the necessary ingredients.

Chunky Monkey Pancakes

1 cup all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup skim milk
3 tablespoons butter, melted
2 eggs
1 tablespoon white sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 large banana, diced
1/2 cup miniature semisweet chocolate chips
1/4 cup chopped pecans
cooking spray


Combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a large bowl. Set bowl aside. In a separate bowl, whisk together the skim milk, melted butter, eggs, sugar, and vanilla. Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients and stir in the wet ingredients, being careful not to over mix the batter. Gently fold in the banana, chocolate chips, and nuts.
Heat a large skillet over medium heat, and coat with cooking spray. Pour 1/4 cupfuls of batter onto the skillet, and cook until bubbles appear on the surface. Flip with a spatula, and cook until browned on the other side.

Friday, June 18, 2010

Squint Shot 061810

Usually I post one squint shot, maybe two if necessary; but today there are six shots. If you can click on the pictures to enlarge them, look closely and you will see initials, names, messages. A myriad of scratchings on the walls that stand at the back and one side of the stage for the Bell Opera House. It is nearly impossible to decipher any of the writings in complete form because time, dust, and hands running over the letters has faded what was written.

The Bell Opera House was a gathering place for entertainment, oration, concerts performed by the local cornet band, and a number of other purposes. Were these etchings made by the actors and actresses before or after performances? One will never know, but it is interesting to look closely and imagine a time a hundred years ago when this opera house was teeming with activity.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Squint Shot 061710

Okay, enough of door hinges and latches as well as light fixtures. We are still upstairs of the future home of Maria's, in the area where the Bell Opera House used to reside. At the back of the second floor, on the north side of the building, a stage still stands were orators, dancers, actors, and other performers would face the audience. But before getting to the stage, a "back stage" of sorts still exists and this door leads from that room out to where the audience would be sitting. From all appearances, this area has not been tampered with for many, many years and the room, the stage, and doorways exist as if time stood still.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Squint Shot 061610

Here's a puzzle . . . at least for me. Is this an old doorbell system or was this a light switch. The wiring starts at a doorframe. This door is on the second floor of what used to be The Decorating Center, and before that Woods Drug Store. There is a stairway access from the street level on East Grand River up to this door. As you will see in the three pictures, the wiring goes from the doorframe, up to the ceiling, and over to the center of the room. I'm assuming that makes it a light switch at the door . . . but there is no light fixture. Any guesses?

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Squint Shot 061510

As I mentioned yesterday, we would move onto some light fixtures in the former Bell Opera House located on the second floor of the future home of Maria's. So how unusual is this light fixture? I had to use the flash on the camera since it was in a dark room -- it shows how the circle is reflective. Since I wasn't sure if any lighting was operational in the second floor, I didn't look for a way to turn it on. Tomorrow's squint shot is a question -- is it a light or a doorbell?

Monday, June 14, 2010

Squint Shot 061410

As with other doorknobs, in particular in the Harmon building, I found this one in the second floor of the future home of Maria's. The porcelain knob was smooth to the touch but the whole thing rattled a bit. The last few days we've been looking at door fixtures, tomorrow some light fixtures in the old Bell Opera House.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Squint Shot 061310

Here's another unusual latch for a door in the same area as the last two squint shots. We are still upstairs of the future home of Maria's School of Dance, in the old area where the Bell Opera House was. The staircase that is no longer used is shut off by this door.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Squint Shot 061210

As with yesterday's squint shot, I also found this hinge to be interesting. It is on the same door as the hook and eye shown earlier. I could almost imagine the squeaking protest this hinge would have made if I had tried opening the door; but I resisted.

Friday, June 11, 2010

Squint Shot 061110

As in the Harmon building, I've looked at old hardware still to be found in some of the older buildings in the downtown area. So as I'm wandering through the upstairs of the future home of Maria's, in the area close to what was the Bell Opera House, this hook and ladder keeps a door latched where a staircase no longer exists. The stairway was the street entrance off of North Grand River for the opera house. I rattled and handled the hook and it appears to be nicely doing its job.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Squint Shot 061010

A squint shot similar to this one has already been shown, but I couldn't resist taking another picture. While touring the future home of Maria's School of Dance, the second floor awaited me. I've been upstairs before when Ron Daly had a great deal of furniture stored in these cavernous rooms. Now they are empty and it is easier to see the walls, look closer at some of the unique and very old features, and wander a bit more freely. This pillar stands in the portion that was part of the seating area when the second floor was the Bell Opera House. The windows on North Grand Avenue were to my left and the stage to my right. On the other side of the wall is the upstairs of Olden Days; the other half of the opera house that no longer exists.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Squint Shot 060910

The front entrance to what used to be The Decorating Center and will now be the emergency exit for Maria's School of Dance, used to be the only door into Woods Drugs. There were windows and a slight rise up to the center door. As the workers were redoing this area recently, Carrie drew my attention to the floor. This squint shot shows the shape of where the windows and door used to be. More shots to come of all of this hard work being done to get the school ready for students.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Squint Shot 060810

As with yesterday's squint shot, the original walls have been covered over the years but now are being brought back to days of old. The ceilings will, no doubt, be getting similar treatment. Ceiling acoustic tiles are being removed to show the wood slat ceiling. The remodeling in the future site of Maria's School of Dance is looking like a major undertaking, but well worth it.

Monday, June 7, 2010

Squint Shot 060710

While standing at the front of the East Grand River entrance to the old Decorating Center storefront (this will now be an emergency exit), I turned to the north to look back at all the work that has already been done to take the walls back to their originals. Some of the brick is showing, the ceiling, but strips of carpeting and old plaster still remains. Does it stay or will it go?

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Squint Shot 060610

Have you ever written your name or a note on a wall before wallpapering it, or etched the date into soft cement, or left your mark somewhere in a building to be found years later by someone else? I know I have.

Well, as I'm wandering through the future location of Maria's School of Dance, toward the front of the building, wood paneling had been removed and, of course, something out of the ordinary caught my eye. The Keeslers were the owners of the furniture store before Ron Daly. Sometime during their tenure, it would appear other remodeling took place. But before the original walls were covered, James Charles Keesler decided to leave his mark. Dated March 14, 1972, he wrote, "roses are red, violets are blue, this store is younger than you!" Now wouldn't it be interesting to know who he was writing about.

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Squint Shot 060510

Yesterday's squint shot showed original brickwork in the future location of Maria's School of Dance. Another great find, while the workers have been tearing up the inside of the floor space, is this solid, oak flooring. And, I mean solid! Tapping my toes on it gave off a rich, deep sound. Maria and Carrie are planning to refinish this wood floor for one of their dance areas.

Friday, June 4, 2010

Squint Shot 060410

As mentioned in yesterday's squint shot, it was time to move on from the Harmon building. Over the last couple of weeks, I have shown pictures of the second and third floors of this building that has stood since the 1890s. Head back and browse a bit -- interesting stuff. But, as I said, let's head to another building. Last fall, Ron Daly of The Decorating Center announced he was closing after 28 years in business in the downtown area. It was hard to see him close his store, but he is still around and still designing. But more on that in another post.
Today's squint shot is about the future of this storefront. And, I for one, believe it is very exciting. Sometime this summer, Maria's School of Dance will have their grand opening in this location. But that is after a lot of sweat, muscle, and remodeling. For now, the new owners and their workers are chiseling off drywall and plaster, exposing the original brick walls on the first floor. They are taking down partitions, redoing floors, and discovering all sorts of interesting things about this very old building. Thanks to one of the owners, Carrie, I have been given access to wander around and photograph to my heart's content. Over the next week or so, squint shots will show what interested me the most.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Squint Shot 060310

Well, after spending an hour or so in the two upper floors of the Harmon building, this is the view back to the first floor. The staircase is wide and must have been a grand climb to the second floor years earlier. I'd like to thank Paul Harmon for giving me access to these floors to wander as long as I wanted to. Tomorrow's another adventure in the squint shots. Be sure to check back.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Squint Shot 060210

Unfortunately this squint shot ended up being a bit fuzzy, but I wanted to show a hole in the wall where heating pipes would have been held. Quite a number of these are located in the Harmon building.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Squint Shot 060110

Yesterday's two shots showed a polished hole and padded, today's shows an additional hole in a doorway that isn't nearly as finished. But still interesting. Were these holes in the doors for identification or for another reason?