Friday, December 31, 2010

1999 New Rotary Member

As I culled through reels of microfilm where The Fowlerville Review was accessible and paged through old issues of the Fowlerville News and Views, occasionally I would come across a bit of history that would make me pause. In 1999, I became a Rotarian. I continue in that capacity, even serving as secretary four years and president for one, and relish all of the wonderful experiences and memories it has brought to my life. Sandy Baker (at left), real estate agent, was the one to welcome me into the fold. As this year comes to an end, I will be entering my 12th year as a member and will continue to do whatever I can for this wonderful organization.

If ever you have an hour to spare, come join us for lunch at the United Methodist Church on Second Street, every Wednesday at noon. Introduce yourself to me and I will take care of you!

Squint Shot 123110

With today's squint shot, we bid the holidays and 2010 farewell. Tomorrow begins a series of squint shots focusing on the outsides and insides of houses and buildings -- some that still exist and others that no longer stand. On this New Year's Eve, I wish you a safe and happy ending to the year and I'll see you next year!

Thursday, December 30, 2010

1890 Visiting Redfields

The Redfield name has been found in many of the early histories of Fowlerville, as well as this name showing up routinely in The Fowlerville Review. I found the following article particularly interesting:I did a quick search online for The Experiment and it would appear copies of this newspaper can be found on microfilm at the Norwalk Library, similar to the way we are able to read old issues of The Fowlerville Review at the Howell Library.

Squint Shot 123010

It is hard for me to believe 2010 is coming to a close -- this year flew by with a joy I had only dreamed of -- having a book published with my name on the front cover. I would like to pass along a very heartful thank you to all that have purchased a copy of The Fowlerville Chronicles. In the coming new year, I hope to publish another book -- this time a biography of G.L. Adams, as you know if you have been following this website, the editor and publisher of The Fowlerville Review. He was one interesting person and his writing is unique to me, although not necessarily different to other writings during his lifetime. He used the English language from 1874 to 1929 in a manner that is very different from today's writings. My wish for the new year? That this second book will happen and that some of you will enjoy it as much as I am having fun putting it together now. Oh, and by the way, today's squint shot was taken of a lovely, large, Christmas ball nestled inside one of the display cases in Sweet Sensations.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

2010 South Grand

Is the total inconvenience of the restructuring of South Grand Avenue a distant memory? Well it is for me -- especially once the road was opened up so we could get to all of the businesses that persevered through this work. This picture was taken when the work first began. In the spring of 2011, hopefully the sidewalk and curbing will be refined as well as the final layer of asphalt put down. All of this becomes part of our history as improvements continue in the village.

Squint Shot 122910

Two more shots show some of the holiday spirit our business owners bring to the downtown area. The Burnies consistently put up well-lit, colorful decorations across the front of their store. These shots were taken during the day but if you drive by after dark, you will see angels and wise men and a host of other figurines.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

1892 Palmerton Plaque

Later in the year, after the devastating fire in 1891 that made it necessary to rebuild the Palmerton block, the following article was found in The Fowlerville Review announcing how Mrs. Palmerton would honor her husband: A picture of this etched stone can be found in my book, The Fowlerville Chronicles, on page 85. By 1892, the following picture shows the new building, which now stands and is known as the Harmon block. As you are driving through town, look up toward the third floor on the east side of the building. In the picture, there is a peak visible which no longer exists. At some point it was "chopped" off.

Part of the reason this is listed under 1892 is because the building was still getting its finishing touches late 1891 and shortly into 1892. The following article gave a synopsis of the occupants in the building:

Contractors Tunnard & Wines have completed their work upon the new Palmerton building and it stands today by all odds the finest private business block in Livingston county, and we doubt if there are many villages in the interior of the state that can produce its equal. The lower story is occupied by G.A. Newman & Co., and the Fowlerville Exchange Bank of Mr. J.C. Ellsworth will also be located in its old position in the corner of the building in a few days. The second story consists of offices and are occupied by attorney S.S. Abbott, doctors Austin & Austin and dentist F. Winchester, each having a fine suit of rooms. The third floor will be occupied by the F.&A.M. on the west side and the A.O.U.W. on the east side. The halls are designed especially for these orders and are elegantly fitted up with a dining room, cupboards and closets for the convenience of the occupants. The store, offices and lodge rooms are of yellow pine and finished in oil. The bank is elegantly fitted up and is finished in antique oak, A.J. Beebe having the contract for the building of the fixtures. The store is heated with a furnace and the bank is heated with steam.

Taken altogether, it is a building that every citizen of this beautiful little village can point to with pride. It would not be just to close this item without remarking that we have not had the privilege of conversing with hardly a single visitor to our village since the erection of the new brick stores but that in nearly every instance, the remark has been made by them that 'they are a better class of buildings than you will find in hardly any village of anywhere near its size,' and again we remark we are proud of our village and we have every reason to be and if there is a person here who is not, now will be a good time to move.

A few weeks later, Doctors Austin & Austin have arranged their new office in the Palmerton block very nicely. The north room from the main office will be the consultation room and also contains a very fine operating chair. The room south of the main room will be filled up with a drug case.

And, Mr. J.C. Ellsworth expects to occupy his new quarters in the Palmerton block this week. The bank is elegantly fitted up with a private office, handsome brass railing, foot rail, and taken altogether is very pleasing to the eye as well as being one of the most convenient banks in the county.

Squint Shot 122810

After I took the two pictures shown in yesterday's squint shots, I turned southward. It was a cold, crisp Sunday morning, with clouds moving through the area, the sun peeking out occasionally. I hurried up and snapped this picture of about half of the southeast block facing East Grand River. Unfortunately, three of these storefronts are empty and look so quiet -- hopefully 2011 will find new tenants.

Monday, December 27, 2010

1968 Howard's Market

For many years, the Miners operated a very successful grocery and dry goods business. In 1968, this company was sold to Howard and Waneta Dorrance. In my book, The Fowlerville Chronicles, there is a picture of the Dorrances in 1968 when they acquired this storefront. Waneta is part of the Klein family, and as I read this article, I wish I had photographed the other part of this page showing "Kleins to Hold Meeting . . . " At some point, I will get back to the microfilm and check this out.

Squint Shot 122710

The morning I took these pictures of the various buildings at the main four corners, I crossed Grand River Avenue and stood in front of Gormley & Johnson's building. I looked over at the Harmon building and decided to document it one more time. After all, it does hold so many ghosts of our past. But then I looked up to the second and third floors and noticed electric candles standing in the windows. The electricity has been shut off in the upper floors so these are never lit, but it does make one wonder how it would look if they were.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

1950 Yas-suh!

The history of Fowlerville has had its ups and downs, good and bad -- but sometimes I have wondered what were some of these people thinking! As I perused the microfilm of The Fowlerville Review through the years, I came across this advertisement for Sidell Hardware. I debated long and hard whether or not I should post this ad but it is a part of Fowlerville's history. So read it and please tell me how you feel.

Squint Shot 122610

The northeast quadrant is shown in this particular squint shot, taken the day after the "Christmas in the Ville" parade. In a year's time, changes have happened in this block -- some for the good and some not so much. Maria's School of Dance is now located where The Decorating Center resided for 28 years. The entire floor space has been remodeled. The pharmacy is now working in conjunction with Health Mart and seems "healthier" than ever. Unfortunately, there are two empty storefronts -- a physical therapy service has moved out leaving the former Shady Lady (does anyone remember that) location empty and the building at North Second Street and East Grand River (formerly used by Maria's) now sits quiet.

Saturday, December 25, 2010

1947 Christmas Ads

As I trolled through reels and reels, hours and hours, of microfilm, I sometimes photographed some of the advertisements in The Fowlerville Review. During these mid-1900s, the Rudnickis published and edited the newspaper began by G.L. Adams in 1874. In 1947, these ads for Craig Elevator, Woods Drug Store, Grill's Hi-Speed Station, and Luke's Shoe Shop are shown. None of these business exist in modern-day Fowlerville.

Squint Shot 122510

At the southwest corner, in the parking lot that used to hold "Independence Hall" and then the Commercial Hotel, and finally numerous gas stations, stands the annual village of Fowlerville Christmas tree. The official lighting took place December 4 at the end of the annual "Christmas in the Ville" parade. These beautifully wrapped presents were also lit up -- they look great day and night. The tree has so many lights on it, it is well worth checking out after dark.

Friday, December 24, 2010

1945 Benefit Party

In 1945, a benefit party was given in order to put together gifts for the servicemen fighting in Europe during World War II. The following article was published in The Fowlerville Review:

Benefit Party For Servicemen ~~ Community Service Club Expects to Mail Out 400 Christmas Boxes ~~ The Fowlerville Commercial Club will again sponsor a Servicemen's Benefit Party on Thursday, September 20, at the Sidell Warehouse.

Last year's event was a great success, and the community at large seemed to appreciate an opportunity to contribute towards the Christmas boxes for servicemen, and at the same time enjoy an evening's entertainment.

According to the officers of the community service club, which is composed of representatives of every club and organization in the community, a group of ladies has already packed over 100 boxes for shipment overseas, and it is believed that in order to remember every boy and girl in service from this community, it will require about 400 boxes.

The funds raised at the benefit party last year were sufficient to defray the expenses, and it is believed that even though there will be more boxes this year, enough tickets will be sold to raise the necessary funds.

Tickets are on sale at most of the business places in town and by several organizations in this community.

Everyone is invited to come, enjoy the evening, and perhaps receive a fine award. The committee promises some exceptionally useful awards.

The Commercial Club members were very active in the community for quite a few years, with John Vogt (furniture salesman and undertaker) the first president of the group. In 1947, the Fowlerville Rotary Club was chartered and these two clubs worked side-by-side on many projects.

Squint Shot 122410

As the year quickly comes to a close, I think it is important to record the main four corners; or at least most of each block. This squint shot includes four buildings that have stood for many, many years -- the Harmon building was reconstructed in 1892 after a devastating fire in 1891, the two buildings west of it can be traced back to about the same time with hand-written blueprints in Doug Burnie's possession, and the last building which was built in the early 1900s. With each passing year, these buildings become even more important treasures to this village.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

1893 World's Fair

I recently finished reading The Devil in the White City by Erik Larson (published in 2004), a story about the 1893 World's Fair held in Chicago, Illinois, as well as intertwining the first recognized serial killer, H.H. Holmes. It was an interestingly-told true story that quickly held my attention. As I have continued to research Fowlerville from 1874 to 1929 through the eyes of G.L. Adams, publisher and editor of The Fowlerville Review, I began to wonder if I would see any references to the world's fair. I did.

In 1890, this short blurb was discovered:

If the Chicagoians continue to quarrel about the location of the site in that city for the world's fair, Fowlerville had better step in and try and secure its removal to this city.

As the days have gone along, I have found references of Fowlerville residents attending the fair, train rates for round trips, as well as letters back to the village by those spending some time in Chicago. As I have a chance, I'll publish some of these letters and additional information regarding the fair as it appeared to be as much interest to those living around here just as it was across the nation.

Squint Shot 122310

Here are three more shots of the flames shooting, about 20 feet in the air, and lighting up the downtown. I watched the faces of the occupants riding in the baskets and pulling the mechanism to release the fire -- they were having a blast (sorry for the pun). What these balloonists do is so unique and out of my realm of experience, I have just marveled at their passion.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

1890 Lockwood Exchange

This is a well-known picture of Lockwood's Exchange, which was located on South Grand. By the turn of the century, it had burned to the ground, and while it was being rebuilt into a brick structure (located at the northeast corner of South Grand Avenue and Church Street), James Lockwood used rooms at the Commercial Hotel to operate out of. But by the following article, found in The Fowlerville Review, published in 1890, the building may not have been this large:

Mr. J.A. Lockwood has been making extensive improvements upon the Exchange. He has fitted up an elegant reading room and has repainted and papered the office. He has purchased the adjoining store building of Mrs. Robinson and will connect it with the hotel, extending the veranda past the store.

So, is the above picture the two storefronts after they were combined?

Squint Shot 122210

As we stood at the east end of the downtown area, on Grand River Avenue, the balloonists rode past us, igniting their propane burners used when flying. To say the least, it was impressive. With temperatures around freezing and a breeze that was starting to pick up, even a few snowflakes in the air, the heat off the fire was welcomed. And the "whoosh" of the blue flames was just plain impressive. The next couple of days will show a few more shots of this part of the parade.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

1890 Oddball Trivia

The editor of The Fowlerville Review would find trivia and news to print weekly in his paper. Here is a spattering of articles from 1891:

Here is a way to tell how fast you are traveling in a railway car: Every time the car passes over a rail joint, there is a distinct click. Count the number of these clicks in twenty seconds and you will have the number of miles the train is going per hour. This is a simple matter of arithmetic, as the length of the rails are uniform.

In the Albion Record~~Fred E. Watkins, while crossing a meadow in pursuit of a rabbit, found a clover blossom in full bloom on Christmas Day. The prophecy was made in 1462 that, after the first clover blossom found on Christmas Day, 62 days from then the world will come to an end. That will make the event due on Sunday, February 23.

In late winter, the Jackson Citizen says: Strange winter this. A robin was seen by a farmer five miles from Ann Arbor on the 30th day of January, and within a few days, the songster was seen in that city. Within a short time, one of its citizens says he saw in his yard a swarm of full-grown house flies, as large as a swarm of bees. That's nothing. On the 13th day of February, at high noon, a Kalamazoo man saw a whole yard full of snakes, most of them boa-constrictor size.

And then this -- A truly penitent looking fellow walked into a Beloit, Wisconsin, store the other day when the proprietor was alone and with difficulty keeping back the tears that would well up in his eyes, said: 'Four years ago I stole a pair of shoes here. It was during an 'off' sale and the shoes were marked $4. The fact has been weighing on my conscience until I have been driven to make restitution. Have me arrested if you will, but take the money,' and he plunked down a $10 bill. The merchant was overcome by this evidence of honesty, and giving the fellow $6 in change, bade him go in peace and sin no more. The penitent went, and two hours later, when the merchant went to the bank, he found that an ordinary tramp had worked a 'queer' bill on him and got good money in return. Next!

Squint Shot 122110

The Grand Marshals, Frank and Ann Utter, rode at the front part of the parade, after the Fowlerville Marching Band, in a beautiful convertible from Dick Scott. They both got out of the car, joined the MCs on the platform, and received a round of applause. It was a very satisfying moment during the parade. The Utters have lived in Fowlerville their entire lives, been business-owners, and very generous to the community -- a well deserved honor to a great couple. If only this could have been a better picture, but I would almost bet you already know the Utters.

Monday, December 20, 2010

1883 Masquerade Ball

Interestingly enough, a recount in the local paper followed:

As previously announced, the leading event of the season to the young people -- the masquerade ball -- occurred on Wednesday evening last. The Cornet Band began the exercises of the evening with an open-air concert in front of the Opera House at about 8 pm and then adjourned to the interior, where soon a goodly crowd of spectators awaited the arrival of the masqueraders, who made their appearance at about 8:45 and opened with the grand march, after which quadrilles, waltzes, etc., were indulged in until 11 o'clock, when the participators, consisting of about 25 couples, were requested to unmask and receive prizes, Miss Ida Parks receiving the prize for the finest ladies' costume -- a beautiful silver bouquet holder -- and Will Johr for the finest gentleman's costume -- a silver cup. Then prize waltz occurred in which Fowlerville, Williamston, and Howell were represented. After the second trial, the judges awarded the prize, a fine silver-mounted pickle castor, to C.H. Edgar, of this place, and partner, Miss Vanswell, of Chicago, although it was the sense of the company that it should be given to Mr. and Mrs. English, of this place. Supper was then served for those who wished it at the Commercial hotel. The dancing was continued until a late hour and all who took part seemed to enjoy it very much, and the managers should be commended for carrying out the programme so nicely. In the drawing for the oil painting, 'The trappers last shot,' Geo. Hyne held the lucky ticket.

Unfortunately, though, a week later:

Dr. C.S. Bowman requests us to remind the party who took a whip from his buggy standing in front of Cooper & Osborne's on the evening of the masquerade ball that he had better return the same within ten days or legal action will be commenced, as his action was seen by two parties standing inside of the store.

And then, a fun article I found in the paper published a few weeks later:

It has recently come to light that Chas. Elliott and Ida Parks (see winner above) have been married ever since the latter part of May last, and none of the gossipers of the village have been the wiser for it. It seems utterly impossible to keep anything from them for such a length of time, but Charley swears it is a fact, and we have no reason to doubt his word. Therefore, we congratulate them upon the keeping of their little secret, and wish Mr. and Mrs. Elliott a happy and joyous future.

So . . . does that mean they were truly part of the masquerade at the ball?!

Squint Shot 122010

We stood at the main four corners for part of the "Christmas in the Ville" parade and I tried very hard to get a shot of one of the Fowlerville Fire Department's trucks. But, as you can see, the lights blurred. In a way, the whole parade became a beautiful blur of lights and sounds and the ringing of cheers and laughter.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

1887 Clifton House

During a great deal of my research for the book, The Fowlerville Chronicles, especially during the early days of Fowlerville, a reference would be made of the Clifton House. I've slowly come to the conclusion that it really wasn't necessary to give addresses or locations in the newspaper because, basically, everyone knew where storefronts, hotels, blacksmiths, etc. were located. That made it very difficult for me to pinpoint many of the storefronts, so in the book many times, I would reference the building as being in one of the four quadrants.

With the Clifton House, I wasn't even able to figure out which quadrant, to be exact. Until recently. As I have been cataloging information, I came across this very short article, published by G.L. Adams in The Fowlerville Review, in 1887:

The name of the Clifton House has been changed to Lockwood's Exchange. A few weeks later, Lockwood's Exchange has received a thorough renovating, repainting and decorating. Mr. Lockwood now has a very fine suite of rooms to entertain his guests in. Peek and Radford did the work.

In my quest to publish my book as quickly as possible -- me being so-o-o excited to get as much information out there for the village -- I wondered about a few loose threads I left in the book. Fortunately, as I continue to work on saving this research information, maybe some of those ends will get tied up!

Squint Shot 121910

There were so many light-draped vehicles in the "Christmas in the Ville" parade, including a Munsell Farms huge (and I mean huge) combine, it was hard to choose (or get good pictures) of each entrant. This 1947 Reo was a sight to see -- it was presented by Lansing Community College -- and even the "icicles" hanging off the front fender were lit up. I took this picture at the intersection of Second Street and Grand River Avenue where we were also the beneficiaries of the hot propane flames being shot into the air from one of the ballooners that came for the event.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

1886 Clothes Stick and Boiler

Tools and inventions have been numerous and varied throughout Fowlerville's history. More will be written in later posts on brooms, cider and dried apples, automobile safety parts -- there has even been an article posted about a shoe insert. But for now, this article, published in The Fowlerville Review, shows the ingenuity of a young boy to help out his aunt.

Squint Shot 121810

This dance room at the Grand River Avenue side of Maria's School of Dance looks nothing like it did a year ago when it was part of The Decorating Center. This is no longer an entrance, but only an emergency exit. As you drive by the large windows, though, be sure to check out the displays -- right now, obviously, there's this gorgeous Christmas tree, but other times there will be some of the costumes used and awards won.

Friday, December 17, 2010

1860 Miss Carrie Gilluly

In 1886, Miss Carrie Gilluly, of Brighton, died on Sunday evening of quick consumption, aged 26 years. She was the daughter of Col. John Gilluly, of Co. I, fifth Michigan, who was killed at the battle of Fredericksburg, and in memory of whom John Gilluly Post, G.A.R., of this place, bears its name. Miss Gilluly was a most estimable young lady and a prominent worker in church matters.

This very short obituary showed up in The Fowlerville Review. As I have spoken at various author talks and book signings, one of the reasons my book, The Fowlerville Chronicles, materialized was in part to find out what the rock and plaque at the northeast corner of North Second Street and East Grand River represented.

As I soon learned, John Gilluly was a teacher from Brighton that lead many of the Fowlerville men into battle, fought courageously, yet died, during the Civil War. When the Fowlerville post was created, it was named in his honor. At the time I learned of this history, I never considered him to have a family, children even. But he had a daughter, Carrie, who probably didn't even have a chance to get to know him or could hardly remember him. She would have been two or three years old when he left to fight the battles between the north and the south.

Squint Shot 121710

During the "Christmas in the Ville" celebration, the owners of Maria's School of Dance graciously opened their newly-renovated and decorated building (formerly The Decorating Center) to all those that wanted to wander through to see it, the story-telling sessions where held in one of the dance rooms, the open house for the Grand Marshals (Frank and Ann Utter) was held there, as well as Santa showing up. It was a great beginning to a year's hard work to rebuilding this storefront. If you have a chance, wander through to see what's been done. Walls, such as the one shown below, are adorned with previous dance troupes.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

1884 Roller Skating Rink

Just a few years ago, at the corner of West Grand River and North Ann Street, a very large, white building stood and was used by the Fowlerville Lumber Company as the storage building for their lumber. When the lumberyard was closed, this building was dismantled and moved to a farm on South Fowlerville Road, reconstructed, improved, and is now being used as a vehicle-maintenance building. This is the recent history of this building.
The old history is this large barn began in 1884, when it was constructed. The following article was found in an issue of The Fowlerville Review:
Mr. E. Sheldon, of Byron, has leased a piece of land in R. Fowler's orchard, corner of Grand River Avenue and Ann Street, and will erect thereon a roller skating rink. The building will be 40x120 in size and 16 feet high, with a gallery around the entire building on the inside. The building will be built at a cost of about $1,800, and will be the first building in the county erected exclusively for the purpose.
A few months after the building was completed, one of the first events was,
The Fowlerville Firemen will give a dance at the roller skating rink this evening. The boys are in need of a little money, and as the cause is a worthy one, all who indulge in that kind of pastime should make it a point to attend.
It would appear the editor of the paper was quite fascinated with the rink as he would sometimes wax poetically, such as,
An exchange thus poetically does the rink business: If all of life could be as smooth as roller skating in the rink, no charm would be required to smooth the many ills from which we shrink; mankind might glide through life in peace, unmindful of the bitter fates, and all things move as slick as grease -- as smooth as life on roller skates.
And, he was always vigilant in keeping everyone up to speed on improvements, such as,
The ceiling of the roller rink is being covered with builder's paper, which will add much to its warmth and appearance.
And now for a few rules when roller skating, as published by G.L. Adams in The Fowlerville Review, that maybe should have been adopted for the Fowlerville roller rink:
The new skating rink at Sidney, Nebraska, have adopted the following rules, and we suggest that they be adopted by our new rink. They are the latest rules on skating rink flirtation:
One leg in the air -- catch on.
Two legs in the air -- head me off.
Making a back somersault and lighting on your neck -- I'm mashed.
Mashing one's self and partner into the wall -- let us expire together.
Casting yourself headlong on the floor -- my despaire is great; ye love me not.
To make a rush for the banisters and fall down -- fly with me my true love.
Punching your neighbor in the stomach with your foot -- beg a thousand pardons.
Remaining on the floor in a sitting posture -- will someone please assist me?
A backward flip or the heel and a sudden adhesion of the knees to the floor - I adore you.
Squatting down and causing the skaters to be piled up three feet deep on top of you -- excuse me.
Suddenly placing your legs horizontally on the floor like a letter V -- you make me tired.
Catching your feet in your partner's dress and tearing the trimming off -- please don't tell your mother.

Squint Shot 121610

Yesterday's squint shot showed the newly-renovated house to the south of this one on North Second Street, as well as a picture of these houses a hundred years ago. Today's photograph shows the first of these houses to be updated. I did have a chance to step inside of this building while it was being renovated. All new drywall and flooring was installed, and it looked wonderful. The next time you are driving through town, take a few minutes and head up North Second Street and check out these improvements.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

1883 Fall From An Apple Tree

It seems to me, every now and again, an article was published in the local newspaper with a great deal of minute information as well as a possible prediction of the future. This one was found in an 1883 issue of The Fowlerville Review:

Mr. Hiram Persons, living just south of this village, was very seriously injured by falling from an apple tree one day last week. Mrs. Persons found him trying to get up off the ground and being unable to do so, whereupon she called Mr. Geo. Curtis, who was also at work in another part of the orchard, and they carried him to the house. He has no recollection of falling, or in fact of anything that happened that day, but as his hat was found in the tree and he had several bruises upon his body, it is supposed he must have fallen. His mind is badly shattered and it is feared he has suffered severe internal injuries which may yet prove fatal.

Fortunately, a week later, the following blurb was found:

We are glad to learn that Mr. Persons, who met with a serious accident, on account of which appeared in these columns last week, is on the road to recovery.

Squint Shot 121510

Before we get to a few shots of the "Christmas in the Ville" celebration, I want to showcase a couple of houses that have recently been updated (pictures taken the day of the parade). They are side-by-side, and tomorrow's squint shot will show the other one. This house is on North Second Street, halfway along the east side of the block between Grand River Avenue and Mill Street. Recently, the siding was updated, a new roof installed, and paint added. I don't know if any work was done on the inside, but the outside is a wonderful improvement. And I'm so glad to see houses around the village being worked on.

As a point of reference, this house (and tomorrow's squint shot) could be over a hundred years old. The following picture shows both houses (today's is the one with the wrap-around porch that no longer exists). This photograph is shown in my book, under the year 1909, and was probably taken from the second floor of the current Maria's School of Dance building. What is now a parking lot was part of a lumberyard operation. The reason we know this picture was taken sometime before 1920 is due to the fact that the white, wooden schoolhouse can be seen at about the center of the photograph. It burned in 1921.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

1837 Original Thresher

In 1885, one of the original pioneers passed away. The above, very short, obituary was found in The Fowlerville Review, which is on microfilm at the Howell Public Library.

Squint Shot 121410

Have you ever been driving east on Grand River, toward the four corners, and noticed this odd-looking cyclinder on top of the Harmon building? Well, I have many times, and I've wondered what it could be. I'm not positive, but someone told me it is part of an internet system, sending a signal. Does anyone have any other ideas or able to confirm this? I suppose I could ask Paul Harmon, but sometimes it is just plain fun to ponder.

Monday, December 13, 2010

1885 New Refrigerator

I have contended right along there have been many industrious inventors in Fowlerville through the years. In November, this post spoke about a heel insert.

Well, now comes along an article about a new refrigerator invented in 1885,

E.P. Kent has invented a refrigerator which has many improvements over others. It will not consume near as much ice and is so ventilated that all kinds of vegetables may be kept with butter and vituals without taint.

So, it makes one wonder what this "refrigerator" looked like compared to what we know now. One such old-style cooler can be found in the Sweet Sensations' building, which is now being used as an office. The walls are nearly a foot thick and the door equally heavy. The ice would be set above the ceiling and the cool vapors would drift down around the edges of the room. This particular locker was used when this building was a meat market, but is it possibly similar to what E.P. Kent invented?

Squint Shot 121310

This may look like a very strange squint shot, but if you check back over the last few days, various other pictures have been shown of the two buildings for the Butler Gun Shop. Yesterday's picture showed two front entrances; this is the window above the old doorway. I start to believe, looking at this weathered wood, this may be the original wood and glass for this entrance -- your thoughts?

Sunday, December 12, 2010

1884 Pinkerton

G.L. Adams, publisher and editor of The Fowlerville Review from 1874 until 1929, randomly inserted national news within his Local News Section. In one issue, in early July of 1884, he reported on the death of Allen Pinkerton, with, Allen Pinkerton, the noted thief-taker, died at his home in Chicago last week. The association of which he was the head, will be continued under the management of his sons. If you would like to read more about the Pinkertons, click here.

Squint Shot 121210

As we study the Butler Gun Shop for just a couple more days, this picture shows two front doors. The one on the right is obviously newer and may have always been a doorway, but the one on the left would appear to be the original entrance to the building. If you check back to the squint shot for December 10th, you will see an old picture of the building. If you look at it a bit closer, a closed awning appears to be over the doorway, as well as parts of the one-story building.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Recipes from the Ville

There is a new book in town. And it is a great book. Terri Whitaker Pilon, of the FUMC Mission House, has put together a fundraiser recipe book. I had the privilege of writing a foreword entitled "A Brief History of Fowlerville, Michigan." That was great fun, but what follows is even better. There are appetizers where you will find "4th of July Fireworks Brie & Cranberry Pizza" or "Addison Farms Artichoke & Spinach" and even "Village Time Capsule Bounce." In the soups and salads section, you will find "Gold 'n Purple Grape Salad" and "Stow Road Potato Salad." Breads, rolls and muffins follow, then breakfast recipes. Next, you will discover vegetables and side dishes where you can get "Toot's Cheesy Scalloped Corn" among many of the recipes. Main dishes and meats are then followed by desserts and cookies.

All the recipes have been given fun Fowlerville names and the array of ideas is astounding. If you would like to help out the Mission House and obtain a ton of tried and true recipes, pick up a copy for only $10 by either calling 517.219.9070 or e-mailing Terri at

Oh, and if you are looking for an extra gift for someone -- this might just fit the bill.

1885 Telephone Wires

We are unequivocably spoiled when it comes to telephone communication in the year 2010. Sometimes that's a good thing; other times it would just be nice to not be so connected.

But in 1885, it was a whole different story. Telephone service was just starting to find its way to Fowlerville. This was accomplished by stringing individual wires from home to home, home to business, or storefront to storefront. One of the early articles I found, when researching for The Fowlerville Chronicles, was how Mr. Spencer strung a wire from his hotel to the depot so he would know when guests had arrived.

As the telephone system became a bit more sophisticated, this article was published in The Fowlerville Review:

The third telephone wire was strung through this place last week to accommodate increasing business. The last wire is of copper and is said to be a better transmitter of sound than the old wires.

Squint Shot 121110

Yesterday's squint shot showed a close-up of the tilted bricks -- today's is the archway over one of the windows in the Butler Gun Shop building. This type of styling was very popular years ago and can be seen in numerous buildings around the downtown. As you can see, if you look back at yesterday's picture, an old photograph shows this building at about 1900.

Friday, December 10, 2010

1875 Turner and Archer

A great deal of the early history written about Fowlerville makes mention of Messrs. Turner & Archer, and the fact they would produce fine carriages. Their building was located at the corner of East Grand River and South Collins Street. In the summer of 1875, the following article published in The Fowlerville Review celebrated the "first top buggy" built by these gentlemen: Earlier in the year, their work had been touted as, the Corbett House hack which has just been retrimmed and painted at the establishment of Messrs. Turner & Archer made its appearance on the streets on Monday. The next year, the following notice spoke of their award-winning buggy:
G.L. Adams kept readers apprised of other projects, such as the following notice published in The Fowlerville Review in mid-1876: Messrs. Turner & Archer are building a new platform-spring one-horse dray for Russel Hastings.

Squint Shot 121010

The building just south of Kim's on North Grand River, formerly the Butler Gun Shop, is looking rather sad. But, then again, the building is probably over 100 years old. It is worth taking a closer look at some of the brickwork on the building. The following picture, which can be found in my book, The Fowlerville Chronicles, under 1900, shows the east side of the northeast quadrant looking somewhat southeast from the middle of the road at about Power Street. The one-story, as well as the two-story that does have "Butler Gun Shop" on it, are shown. In some of our wilder dreams to have a museum-of-sorts for all of the Fowlerville historical collection and other memoriabilia, I've often wondered if one of these empty buildings might just be the ticket. But then . . . I guess it's only a dream at this point.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

1859 Old Cemetery

Yesterday's history lesson spoke about the new cemetery that was being created at the northeast corner of East Grand River and Cemetery Road. In 1884, it was known as Oakwood Cemetery. Before this time, though, another (or the original) cemetery was used by the residents of Fowlerville. It was located at the northeast corner of East Grand River and North Hibbard Street. If you look on the plat map, you will find Section 11 at the top of the map, at the center (note: this map has east at the top). The second map shows the layout of the cemetery. This is a hand-drawn map I found in a book compiled by Milton Charboneau, entitled Greenwood and Mount Olivet Cemeteries, Fowlerville, Michigan, published in 1985. In addition to the cemetery, of interest is a small notation at the bottom center of the map, "Toll H." Once the Plank Road was built, there were eight tollhouses located in Livingston County. It would appear this was the location of the one on the east side of Fowlerville. Reportedly, the west tollhouse was located at about where Gregory Road intersects with West Grand River. More information and pictures can be found in my book, The Fowlerville Chronicles.

As an additional note, by 1888, all of the remains must have been relocated to the new cemetery, as evidenced by a short article indicating, There will be a meeting at the old cemetery one week from tomorrow (Saturday) in the afternoon, purpose of for the cleaning it up. All interested are requested to be present.