Monday, January 31, 2011

1905 Hamilton's Advertisement

Here is a sample of what an advertisement looked like in the early 1900s, as published in The Fowlerville Review, for the Hamilton's store that was located at the southeast corner of East Grand River and South Grand Avenue. In later years, 1969 to be exact, this store closed and soon became Ruth's Resale. Ruth ran this storefront, as well as the one directly to its east, for about 30 years before it was also closed. Extensive refurbishing has been done over the years to the outside of the building and the second storefront has been totally redone, but the first floor directly on the corner is still in an early stage of repair. Both first floors are currently empty.

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Following are close-ups of the entire sign shown in yesterday's squint shot.

And now here are a few advertisements for the F.J. Cook & Co.:
And, as an added bonus, follows a short article found in The Fowlerville Review in 1894:

F.J. Cook owns half interest in one of the most useful inventions we have seen on the market. It is a galvanized iron feed box with a follower through which just enough oats are forced at a time to enable the horse to secure a mouthful and not any to waste by scattering them over the floor and the manger will soon pay for itself in the saving of grain. It also prevents the animal from hogging down its grain, almost swallowing it whole, as many animals are inclined to do. He has placed them in the barns of the street car companies in several cities and they are pronounced a success.

Sunday, January 30, 2011

1894 Coxey Army

Through all of the cataloguing I've been doing of the research material gathered while working on The Fowlerville Chronicles, I have learned bits and pieces of history that I'm finding very interesting to read further on. One such subject matter involves the Coxey Army, which you can read more about by clicking here. My interest was piqued after reading a short article in The Fowlerville Review, which follows:

The Coxey army, which is marching to Washington and which at first was looked upon as a joke, is fast assuming very serious proportions. On Wednesday, one branch of the army stole a train of cars at Butte, Montana, and when a company of deputies attempted to take the train from them, they gave them a pitched battle and retained possession of the train. The federal troops have been called out and things are assuming very serious and alarming conditions.

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As mentioned in yesterday's squint shot, an interesting piece of wood was found attached to a second floor window at Burnie's Hardware store. It was being used as trim. When Doug happened to look at the inside edge of the piece of wood, this is what he found: It was a sign, stenciled with product information sold by F.J. Cook when this was owned by Jared L. Cook's son, Fred. Tomorrow will include close-ups of this sign.

As I've been cataloguing microfilm research I've saved from when I was working on my book, The Fowlerville Chronicles, a few articles have caught my attention. One in particular included an article, published in The Fowlerville Review in 1886, as follows:

Mr. George E. Daily left on Monday for Lansing where he will fill a responsible position as bookkeeper in the large manufacturing institution of Bement & Sons. His many friends will regret exceedingly that his business interests have called him away from this village, and all will unite in wishing him abundant success.

At the left of the sign, Bement & Sons Stoves and Ranges can be seen.

Saturday, January 29, 2011

1945 Lintemuth Farm Equipment

During the 1961 125th centennial celebration for Fowlerville, many of the companies contributed pictures of their businesses and a short synopsis of their history. One such company, Lintemuth Farm Equipment, was located on East Grand River at the corner of South Second Street. Now the building at the right hand side of the picture houses Zizka-Grand-Lockwood Insurance Agency.

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Most of the month of January has been spent looking at the dismantling of an old building in the northeast quadrant, which took place in September, 2010. At about the same time, Doug Burnie of the Fowlerville Hardware store mentioned he had something interesting to show me. Well, he certainly did!

While Doug was doing some repair work and updating for winter of a couple windows on the second floor of his store, north side, he came across a piece of wood that was used as trim for one of the windows. For all these years, the side showing was blank, but when he checked out the other side, it was a 12-foot long sign for F.J. Cook Hardware.

This is the window and, starting with tomorrow's squint shot, there will be a lot more information on F.J. Cook.

Friday, January 28, 2011

1950 Lumberyard Building

I'm just guessing on the date of this picture -- possibly in the late 1940s or early 1950s -- but it is of the lumberyard building that used to stand on the west side of North Ann Street. The Fowlerville Lumber Company was owned by the Zimmerman family. In the late 1800s, the portion of the building on the left side of the picture was used as a roller skating rink. In December, 2010, I posted another picture of the building and wrote about some of the fun times the residents of Fowlerville had while roller skating. You can find that post by clicking here.

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When the sheet metal siding was being taken off of the old fur trading post building in the northeast quadrant, one of the pieces had "Will Sidell & Son, Fowlerville, Mich" printed on it. This piece was given to Chuck at the Olden Days Cafe. Dan Whitt of the Fowlerville DPW framed it and now this can be seen on one of the walls of the cafe.

This ends the series of squint shots for this no-longer-existent building and tomorrow's squint shot begins a new round of pictures for another interesting find in the village. Be sure to check it out!

Thursday, January 27, 2011

1893 Handsome Gift

Oh, the things I've come across while cataloguing the microfilm digital pictures I've taken of various issues of the local papers for Fowlerville . . . here's an interesting one from 1893:

An Iowa youth smoked a thousand dozen of a popular brand of cigarettes and sent the empty boxes to the manufacturers, having been told he would receive a handsome present in return. This is the reply he received: 'Send us another thousand and we will send you a coffin.'

So, if this is correct, cigarette manufacturers, even as early as 1893, were already pretty certain the health consequences of smoking were dire, at best.

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Two squint shots were shown yesterday of the concrete slab that used to be a part of the building we have been looking at over the last few weeks as it was dismantled in September, 2010. Today's picture shows the area of the slab after the concrete floor was broken up and taken away. In a 1922 surveyor's map, this building is shown as a yellow square just above "104."

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

1876 Oddball News

The following two blurbs are blurry so I'm going to provide the text as it was published in The Fowlerville Review in 1876. This is another installment of "oddball local news" I found while going through all of my research for The Fowlerville Chronicles.

A man, whose name we could not learn, while driving on the road about three miles north of this place thought that one of his horses acted rather strange and upon stopping and unhitching, the horse staggered a little out of the road and fell dead.

Rachael Ann Dickison, a noted character who has been preambulating our streets during the "we ma'hours" for some time past, was sentenced on Tuesday under $500 bonds to keep the peace for one year but could not give the bond and was taken to the House of Correction on Wednesday by Deputy Sheriff Head.

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Well, the process is just about complete. By late September, 2010, the building was gone and all that was left in the northeast quadrant next to the public parking lot, was a slab of concrete and a pillar -- both are now gone also. If you check back over the last couple of weeks at all of the squint shots, you will see the stages of dismantling of the building.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

1894 Windmill Fire

Fires plagued the Fowlerville downtown area -- with at least four major fires, one in each quadrant -- over the years. But, in the early years, fires were not contained just in the shopping district, but many homes and outbuildings would sustain damages or complete destruction. J.C. Ellsworth, an early banker in the community, lost a windmill in 1894. The article, as published in The Fowlerville Review, follows:

The fire bells sounded the fire alarm on Monday at about the noon hour, caused by a volume of smoke issuing from the top of J.C. Ellsworth's wind mill containing a large tank at the top which furnished the water supply for the house, barn and machine shop by pipes leading to all the buildings. The mill was a very large one and with the timbers and braces that supported the large tank and made about as hot a fire as an ordinary barn. The barn and machine shop stood within a few feet on either side of the mill and it was a pretty warm fight, with the facilities at hand, to keep from setting fire to the buildings. The mill was entirely consumed and the loss is estimated at about $600. No insurance.

It wasn't but a few weeks later, J.C. Ellsworth is putting up a new wind mill in the place of the one recently burned.

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As the work progressed on dismantling the old building in the northeast quadrant, it appeared to be done methodically and with great care to clean up any and all trash. As I drove into the parking lot toward the end of this whole process, I was surprised to see a roof sitting on the ground. I would have loved to have seen how this was done, as the vertical structures of the walls were removed, braced, and then each end lowered to the ground.

Following are two pictures of how it looked before the top of the building was dismantled:

Monday, January 24, 2011

1870 Broom Manufacturer

In the early 1870s, Mr. John Drew began making brooms. He quickly became well known for his broom-making ability and the high quality of his workmanship. During the next 30 years, he was but one of many industrious men in the village during this era.

In 1894, after G.L. Adams received a broom from Mr. Drew, the following article was published in The Fowlerville Review. Is it a commendation or an advertisement?

This office is kept very neat and clean now with a fine new broom, manufactured by Mr. John Drew, of Iosco, and presented to the editor by him. Mr. Drew is the veteran broom maker of this county, and we may almost say of the state, having been at the business for nearly 30 years. He is an expert in selecting broom corn and any broom made by him contains only the best material. His brooms may be found on sale at various stores in this village.

In 1895, the following article was found:

John Drew brings a sample of one of his brooms to this office that for quality of stock and fine workmanship is ahead of the ordinary broom by a very large majority. Mr. Drew has been at the business for years and it without a doubt one of the oldest and best workmen in the state. He has just completed a large invoice for A.R. Miner.

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Yesterday's squint shots showed a piece of antiquated equipment found in the building dismantled in September, 2010, which used to stand behind the old Butler Gun Shop. It was used for skinning animals in order for the furs to be sold.

Before the building was entirely torn down, the following pulley was retrieved and is now stored in the Fowlerville Historical Collection in the village offices. The wheel is large, at least six inches in diameter. So . . . was this used to pulley up and hang some of the animals before the skinning was taken care of?

Sunday, January 23, 2011

1849 Plat Map by Amos Adams

In 1849, Amos Adams, County Surveyor, completed a plat map for the initial land-divide for the village. This first picture shows a portion of the entire page as follows: A Plat of Fowlerville in the Township of Handy Livingston County, Michigan. Surveyed by Amos Adams County Surveyor, These lots contain 1/5th of an acre each, except Nos. 5, 6, 8, 9, 24, & 25, which contain 1/10 each. Scale 2 chains to an inch. The next picture shows the entire plat, with north at the top of the page. At that time, North Grand Avenue was known as Mill Street and South Grand Avenue was known as merely South Street.What follows is the description, which is then transcribed (shown below) as best as I could possibly decipher it. Transcribed as follows: On this Seventh day of November A.D. one thousand eight hundred and forty nine before me a Rotary Public in and for said County personally came, Ralph Fowler and Mary Fowler his wife proprietors of the West half of the South West quarter of Section Eleven and the East half of the South East quarter of Section number Ten (10) in Fowlerville Number ___ __(?) North of _______ (?) Number (3) thrice East and acknowledged that they have signed & executed the amended map or plat of a part of said lands as their free act and elect & declare that the streets represented upon Said Map which are four Rods in width running North two degrees West except Grand River Street which bears easterly & westerly crossing Mill Street & South Street at right angles Shall be and remain open for the use of the Public as laid out on Said Map. And Mary Fowler wife of the Said Ralph Fowler being examined by me Separate and apart from her Said Husband She acknowledged that she executed the above instrument freely and without any fear or compulsion from anyone Given under my hand & Seal the day and year above written. W.C. Rumsey (seal) Rotary Public Livingston Co. Michigan Recorded Nov 7th AD 1849 at 6:06 PM

And the last shot shows what appears to be Ralph and Mary Fowler's signature, although there is no way to be certain unless I can find out was "L.S." stands for -- "Legal Signature" maybe?

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As the dpw workers dismantled the building, in September, 2010, behind the old Butler Gun Shop, it was pretty much thought this building was empty. And it was -- except for one interesting piece of equipment attached to the south inside wall.

But first, as a bit of back-history, before we get to the pictures -- this old structure used to be the Sidell Fur Trading Post in the early 1900s. I would imagine a large number of furs passed through this building. Obviously, that meant there was some "skinning" going on, as I eventually learned.

The following picture shows the skinner that was used, and is now stored in the Fowlerville Historical Collection, found in the village offices: The next two pictures show close-ups of each end; the first picture being the end that was attached to the wall and the second one showing the end where the animal's head was secured before being skinned.

If anyone would care to see this old piece of history, meet me at the village offices any first or third Tuesday of the month around 9 am. That is when I have the large walk-in closet open and available for anyone to browse through.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

1891 Health Advertisements

In the late 1800s, you could head to the local druggist to get "nerve" medicine . . . . . . or send a letter to New York for the latest cure for consumption . . . . . . or head to the Lockwood Exchange Hotel, on South Grand Avenue, to have a traveling dentist work on your teeth. Oh, the choices! All of these advertisements were found in an issue of The Fowlerville Review. And, just in case I haven't mentioned why articles and advertisements are shown as above (white on dark), it is because these are snapshots taken of microfilm found at the Howell library.

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Once the horizontal planks were removed from the structure (see yesterday's squint shots), this pillar at the east end of the building became more visible. In doing some wondering with the dpw workers, it was presupposed this pillar might have been part of a support for a ramp into a building that may have existed in this area at one time. At various times, there were other buildings where the public parking lot now exists behind the storefronts of the northeast quadrant. As more planks were removed, the following two pictures show a bolt that was secured in this massive piece of concrete. It would be wonderful if anyone out there has any thoughts or information on what this may have been used for.

Friday, January 21, 2011

1894 Aluminum Lead Pencil

The local news section of The Fowlerville Review would have short blurbs of goings-on within the village, visitors, swindles -- you name it, Mr. Adams probably wrote about it. Included in all of these articles, he would often report on various new inventions that would show up in the village. Once such item was a new lead pencil. The article is as follows:

We are in receipt of a neat lead pencil as a souvenir from the Michigan stove company. The pencil is manufactured from aluminum, which is a very light metal and yet is as strong, if not stronger than steel. The stove company uses this metal largely in the manufacture of the Garland stoves and ranges, which are sold at this place by Hugh Loughlin & Son, for which they claim a stronger and smoother casting than from cast iron.Out of curiosity, I "googled" Garland Stove Company 1894 and came across a picture of a front cover for a brochure for these stoves. And, as a side note, the Garland Stove Company appears to still be in business all these years later.

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The walls were coming down. The following two pictures show as the horizontal planks were being removed by the dpw workers:

Thursday, January 20, 2011

1892 Slaughter House

About the time my book, The Fowlerville Chronicles, hit the market, more local villagers have offered up information that would have made for some interesting trivia. One such tidbit was in regards to a slaughter house that was located on the west side of the village, along the Cedar River, just north of West Grand River. Well . . .

. . . as I continue to catalog information, I came across the following article published in The Fowlerville Review in the fall of 1892:

The Benjamin slaughter house which has been a bone of contention for lo these many years passed on its way through the village on Wednesday to its proper location on the west side of the Cedar river. It will be a happy relief to the citizens in the east part of the village.

The slaughter house no longer exists, but I do have to wonder how the water in the Cedar river looked at the time butchering was being done along the banks.

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Old hardware can be interesting. This particular piece is probably fairly old but could have been added a mere 25 to 50 years ago for all we know. Some of the pulleys and hinges shown earlier in the month date back to the early 1900s. Will Sidell and his son had a hardware business where Harmon Real Estate is now located. For a time, that building was even labeled as Sidell Block. Was this hardware from his store?

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

1893 Russet Shoes

In 1876, bananas were introduced to Americans. A mere 17 years later, advice was being given on how to clean russet shoes (finished but not blackened leather) by using a ripe banana. This article was published in The Fowlerville Review in 1893:

One of the drawbacks to the wearing of russet shoes is the fact that they so easily take on a rusty look. An easy scheme for keeping them clean and bright is given by one whose own footgear testifies to the value of his plan. He says: 'With a piece of nice, ripe banana, I can not only keep russet shoes clean, but I can keep them polished as well. I simply take a piece of banana and grease the leather with it, and then polish it with a cloth. In this way all the discolorations are removed and a polish is obtain.'

Anyone willing to test this theory 117 years later?

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Two squint shots today show the length of the wood pieces on the south side of the former building behind Maria's School of Dance and Sweet Sensations and Save-On. On September 10, 2010, I posted an article, which you can find by clicking here, on this building being torn down. I even used one of these pictures that day.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

1875 Advertisement Advice

Being a business owner myself, I am always on the lookout for ways to keep my company in the forefront. One of the ways I do that is by being a part of the Fowlerville Business Association, both for its marketing purposes and also to learn from the various speakers we have in attendance at our monthly meetings.

One piece of advice I have heard over and over again is that advertising during hard economic times is as important, if not more so, than any other time. Upon hearing this advice, I never dreamed it was advice that has been around for over a hundred years. The following short article was found in an 1875 issue of The Fowlerville Review with G.L. Adams, editor and publisher, looking for new advertisers.

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Most of this month's squint shots have been showing an old building in varying forms of dismantling during September, 2010. Where the building used to stand, and definitely encouraged "No Parking Any Time" has now been turned into four or five parking spaces behind the building that used to house the Butler Gun Shop.

This is a shot of the rusted siding before it was removed from the structure, showing some interesting wood beneath. Check out yesterday's shot for one piece of wood in particular.

Monday, January 17, 2011

1880 Chatauqua Book

I am finding one of the most fun parts of having this website, as well as the notoriety (or infamousness) of publishing The Fowlerville Chronicles, has been new contacts from here within the state as well as across the country.

A couple months back, I received an e-mail from a woman in California. Her husband had been at a garage sale and happened upon an 1880 Chautauqua Edition of the History of the United States Prepared Especially for Schools on a New and Comprehensive Plan, Embracing the Features of Lyman's Historical Chart by John Clark Ridpath. He brought it home and started leafing through it, and lo and behold, the lettering and notes of F.D. Seward of Fowlerville was found inside.

Ultimately, the couple searched online for anything about Fowlerville and came upon my website. We e-mailed back and forth and a couple weeks later, I received a package in the mail copies of the book's cover and information as well as some of Seward's notes.

So much has faded with time but I am going to be on the look-out for an F.D. Seward while I continue to catalog my research materials. If I come across anything, or if anyone has information on this person, I will gladly post it here.

This is the part that I find incredible -- I can have "penpals" from all over the world -- just because of this wonderful (if I do say so myself) website on our village in our little corner of the world. Thank you to the couple in California for taking time to do a little research and find me.

As a side note, as I've been working on looking through microfilm, I came across the following article in the local newspaper, in 1894:

A Chautauqua reading circle was organized at the residence of Prof. S. Durfee, on Friday evening, with ten members. Prof. S. Durfee was elected president and Prof. Knooihuizen secretary and treasurer. The circle will meet again this evening at the residence of G.L. Adams.

In later years, the Chautauqua came to Fowlerville. A large tent was set up and there were performances from oratories to plays to various performances.

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There are two squint shots today -- pretty much of the same thing, just at different angles. I've mentioned the last few days how the stamped steel metal siding was being taken off the old building behind Butler Gun Shop as well as how brittle the wood was. The steel was worth recycling but the wood was disposed of. Although I kind of hope someone grabbed this particular piece -- who knows what for -- but just because it was worn in a way to look like it had melted.
Both pictures were taken looking at the south side of the building.

Sunday, January 16, 2011


One of the four people I dedicated my book, The Fowlerville Chronicles, to was Nellie Glenn. For those of you that may have never heard her name, she was a historian for the village in the mid-1900s, passing away in 1975 at the age of 90. A huge amount of the materials, documents, remembrances, and memoriabilia from various celebrations, to be found in the Fowlerville Historical Collection is due in a major part to Nellie Glenn.

Until recently, I didn't realize she was also an artist. I'm sure she wouldn't mind, posthumously, if I show some of her work that can be found in the Fowlerville Library. Head there, ask directions to where the computers are, and then look on the walls. These are some wonderful depictions of some of the old, and now non-existent, buildings.

The first one shown is of the Spencer House, which was located at the northeast corner of North Second Street and East Grand River. It was torn down around 1915. The next one was labeled the Lutheran Church. A brick structure now houses that congregation. Next, this drawing is of two of the schoolhouses that used to be located at about where the Senior Citizen building now stands. The white, wooden schoolhouse burned down in 1921, and the red, brick schoolhouse was torn down in 1957. The nickname for the following picture of the Reason House was "Independence Hall." It was located at the southwest corner of South Grand and West Grand River Avenue. It burned down in 1878 and by 1880, the Commercial Hotel, a brick structure, stood in its place. The last picture shows what the northeast quadrant would have looked like along about 1874. These wooden structures burned in a huge conflagration in 1891. By the end of that year, over 13 new brick buildings were being constructed in the downtown area. So now, with this very slight taste of some of Fowlerville's history, you might consider checking out all of the other posts on this website . . . or purchasing a copy of my book, The Fowlerville Chronicles.

Happy reading!