Saturday, April 30, 2011

1896 Star Bakery

In my book, The Fowlerville Chronicles, at the end of the year 1896, under "Business Notables," I had "The Star Bakery and Grocery, owned by F.W. Fisher, served oysters for lunch, 25-cents."

While looking through some more articles I've gotten off of microfilm, I came across the following article published in The Fowlerville Review:

The report seems to have in some way become general that F.W. Fisher was going to close out his bakery and leave the village. Such is not the case, however, and extensive repairs have been made, the interior having been nicely papered and painted and it is now not only the sweetest place in town but the cleanest.

A month later, F.W. Fisher, the baker, has just received a quantity of very handsome designs for all kinds of cake and can supply any who may wish anything of the kind on short notice. Mr. Fisher proposes to give the people of this place all the benefits of a city bakery.

Another article found: F.W. Fisher, of the star bakery, has a new advertisement in this paper this week. He has a fine line of groceries and meats for fishing parties, also lunches for the farmers and ice cream by the dish or in quantities for parties.

Later in the year, F.W. Fisher, of the Star bakery and grocery, has a new advertisement in this paper this week. He is now ready to serve oysters in all styles and will give you a very fine lunch for only 10 cents.

In the past, a bakery has been located where Shear Image now resides, and I am wondering if that might have been where the Star Bakery and Grocery store was located.

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Around 1910-15, S.T. Blackmer's Clothing Store was in its second of three locations -- the first place at the northwest corner of East Grand River and North Second Street and the last two doors east.  In later years, this would be the location for Byerly's grocery store.  It is hard to see the similarities between the old and new photographs as it would appear Chase Bank drastically changed the columns and redid the windows and some of the brickwork. 

Friday, April 29, 2011

1869 Sarah Drew Marries E.D. Drew

In the late 1800s, there were a few (not many) ladies in business -- it was a man's world. In my research of the history of Fowlerville, I have come across women, such as Mrs. C.T. Powers, a local milliner. The following biographical information, found in an 1891 publication of portraits and biographies, the widow of E.D. Drew was showcased. It follows:

Mrs. Sarah M. Drew~~The estimable lady to whom we would now call the attention of our readers is the widow of Emerald D. Drew, a New Yorker by birth, whose parents were Noah and Amy (Lyon) Drew, who as well as their son were natives of the Empire State. Noah Drew was a farmer, and many years ago came to Michigan, settling in Marion Township, Livingston County, and afterward making his home in Howell. In 1885, he went to England on business and spent some time there, and previous to his contemplated return, he died there in 1889. The mother was living in Marion Township, this county, when she received her call to the other world. Their children were Emma D., John C., Martin V., Milton, Allen, Ellen (Mrs. Hughes), Mary (Mrs. Conklin) and Job W.

Emerald D. Drew was a mechanic, and made his home at Howell, where he engaged in the business of a builder and contractor, and some years later entered upon a mercantile career. He finally sold out his interests in Howell, and in 1875 established himself in the mercantile business at Fowlerville, and thus continued until his death in 1877. He was a successful business man and built up a large and prosperous trade. His political views brought him into sympathy with the principles and movements of the Republican party, and he was a member of the Odd Fellows. He belonged to the Christian Israelite Church.

The father of Mrs. Hughes was Joseph Perry, and his wife was Sally Carr. They came West from New York in 1827, settling at Lodi, Washtenaw County, Mich., when there were only two small houses in what is now the city of Ann Arbor. Of their eight children, only two are now living -- Delia (Mrs. Hughes), and Emeline (Mrs. Camp). The others are Norman, Antha M., Weller, Grant T., Adaline, Booth, Lucy A., Burgess and Merritt.

Since the death of her husband, Mrs. Drew has continued to carry on his mercantile business. She suffered a heavy loss in the first which took place March 15, 1891, but she is undaunted in her determination to succeed in business. For its accommodation, she is now building a handsome brick block on the corner of Grand Avenue and Grand River Streets. Her beautiful home is situated on Grand Avenue. She is a lady of considerable culture, and received her higher education at Pinckney. When fifteen years old, she commenced teaching, practicing her profession in both Washtenaw and Livingston Counties. She is proficient in both German and music, and gives instruction in the latter art. Her father, whose memory she greatly reveres, was a prominent man in the Methodist Episcopal Church, and filled the office of Class-Leader. She is both socially and in a business way one of the most important ladies in Fowlerville, and has the respect and confidence of the community.

The parents of Mrs. Hughes, Joseph and Sally (Carr) Perry, moved from Genesee County, N.Y., to Saratoga Springs, same State, where they resided twelve years prior to coming to Michigan. Mrs. Drew, prior to her marriage, was a member of Star Lodge, Fowlerville, Mich.

In 1900, the following article was found in The Fowlerville Review about her son, Job W.:

Job Drew has purchased a stock of goods at Milan, Mich., and will leave next Monday for that place where he will take possession and engage in business for himself. The family have been residents of this place for several years past and will be greatly missed. They have many warm friends who will wish them abundant success.

And, Monday night a large number of members of the Baptist church and congregation and immediate neighbors gathered at the home of J.W. Drew, and proceeded to give Mrs. Drew and daughter, Erma, a warm-hearted visit and social time. Three beautiful silver pieces and other tokens were left evidencing the esteem in which they are held. Mr. Drew is engaged in business in Milan where his wife will join him this week. Mrs. Drew has been an enthusiastic, faithful worked in the curch and will be greatly missed. Erma will remain long enough to complete her year's work in school.
Mr. Drew went to California in 1860 and engaged in mining operations, and later undertook an extensive farming business in which he was quite successful. He remained there seven years, returning to the East in 1867, and two years later he established himself in a home of his own by choosing as his wife Miss Sarah M. Hughes, of Howell, daughter of John D. and Delia M. (Perry) Hughes. Mrs. Hughes was a native of New Jersey, and his wife was born in New York. They came West previous to their marriage and were united in the bonds of matrimony in Washtenaw County, where they settled on a farm. Later they came to Livingston County, and took charge of a farm two and one-half miles east and south of Fowlerville, Handy Township. Mrs. Drew lost her father by death in 1889, but her mother is still with her, and they make their home together. The five children of Mr. and Mrs. Hughes are Sarah M. (Mrs. Drew), Arvid H., Norman R., Lucy A. (Mrs. Van Riper) and Minnie D., now deceased.

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After taking yesterday's squint shot of the east side of North Grand Avenue, I walked over to the front of Olden Days and turned back.  Today's 'then and now' shots show the southwest corner of North Grand Avenue and Power Street. 

In the late 1800's, the three-story building at the corner was built to house the burgeoning fire company, the 'lock-up,' and eventually the first library.  In later years, an opera house on the second floor became a community room, and the third floor was used by the Masons.

The one-story building just south of this building is of especial interest to me as it was the printing office of The Fowlerville Review, edited and published by G.L. Adams from 1874 until 1929.  Mr. Adams and his staff were ambitious, interested in their community, and felt the need to report everything -- I mean, EVERYTHING.  Those years of the newspaper has such a wealth of information, I could post articles for years! 
Today, Handy Township uses the first floor of the three-story building and the one-story structure for their offices.  The community room is now storage, and the third floor sits nearly empty, except for remnants of the Masons; i.e., carpeting, a stove, and a few odds and ends.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

1873 Dr. Abel Austin Arrives in Fowlerville

There is a wonderful book to be found in the Fowlerville Historical Collection. It is entitled the -- okay, take a deep breath -- Portrait and Biographic Album of Ingham and Livingston Counties, Michigan Containing Biographic Sketches of Prominent and Representative Citizens of the Counties, Together with Biographies of all the Governors of the State and of the Presidents of the United States, published by Chapman Bros, Chicago, 1891.

I recently spent a few minutes copying some of the biographies found in that book and will be posting them on this site. The first one is for Abel S. Austin, M.D.; rather long, but well worth the read. It follows:

The profession which represents the beneficient healing art has many noble members whose lives are filled with acts of goodness, and whose most strenuous effort is to attain that skill which is necessary in saving life and restoring health. Such a life work raises a man above the sordid motives which actuate many of mankind, and gives to life a meaning, which more mercenary callings cannot grant. We are therefore always gratified to be able to introduce to our readers the physicians who have won for themselves a high place in the profession of Livingston County.

Dr. Austin, of Fowlerville, is one of the most prominent physicians and surgeons in the state, having had an extensive practice. He was born in Potsdam, St. Lawrence County, N.Y., February 26, 1835. His father, Oliver Austin, was a native of Vermont and his mother, Harriet Sealey, was born in London, England. Oliver Austin was an extensive farmer in his early days and is now living in the old homestead, having retired from active life. He is a son of Phineas and Disa Austin, who were Vermonters by birth and moved to St. Lawrence County, N.Y., in their early days. There they engaged in farming andn late in life removed to Potsdam village, where they spent their later years. Four of their five children are still living, namely: Phineas, Jr., Oliver, Lucy, and Melissa. The son who died bore the name of Joseph.

Harriet Sealey, who became the mother of our subject, came to America when a child of seven years, and passed her girlhood in the eastern states. After her marriage with Oliver Austin, she became the mother o f a numerous household, and ten of her seventeen children are now living, namely: Dr. Abel S., of Fowlerville, Dr. George O., of Morrice, Shiawassee County; the Rev. Charles W., pastor of the Dansville Methodist Episcopal Church; Emma, Mrs. Swift; Hattie, Mrs. Collins; Helen, the wife of the Rev. Mr. Bramley, who was formerly the Presiding Elder of the Black River Conference of New York; Alic, Mrs. Garlick; Francene, Mrs. Nelson; Dr. Edwin H., of Gaines, Genesee County, Mich., and Edward J., who resides on the old homestead. The latter two are twins. The father was formerly a Whig in his political views but later joined the ranks of the Republican party. In their church relations this family was earnest and active members of the Methodist Episcopal Church.

Having spent his younger days upon the home farm, young Austin studied at the Academy at Potsdam and came west in the fall of 1856 settling in Waudeshaw, Wis., where he taught school for three years, putting in all his spare time in the study of medicine. His first preceptor was Dr. C. A. Leustrom of Waukeshaw and he attended lectures during the fall of 1859 and during the spring of 1860 at Ann Arbor, Mich. He began his first practice at Argentine, in Genesee County, Mich., and took his second course of lectures in 1865 at the Cleveland medican college. After receiving his diploma he was appointed as assistant surgeon in the United States Army and was with the Army of the Cumberland until near the close of the war, at which time he was taken sick and resigned.

Returning to Argentine, the young physician remained there until his health was finally established and he then went to Byron, Shiawassee County, Mich., and engaged in active practice. While there he built up a large practice and had an extensive ride. In 1873, he sold out his business in Byron and coming to Fowlerville established himself here in his profession. He has farming interests in this county and owns a farm of one hundred and thirteen acres, three miles southeast of the village. He has also interested himself in fine stock, and now owns the celebrated stallion 'Nestor,' who has a record of 2.26 1/4. He was foaled June 9, 1880, and the doctor is now raising some of his colts. No horse in the county has ever had so fine a record as 'Nestor.'

Dr. Austin has one of the most beautiful homes in Fowlerville and over it presides with gracious dignity the lady who became his wife in 1861. Her maiden name was Emma Cable and her parents were David and Sarah (Calhoun) Cable of Detroit, who had their nativity in New York. When they first came west, they made their home at Redford, Wayne County, where Mr. Cable was the first merchant in the place. His last days were spent in that village, and his wife died at Morenci, Mich. The doctor and his wife have two children, Arthur and Eva. Arthur is now a physician and read medicine first with his father and then with Dr. T.A. McGraw of Detroit, the leading surgeon of Michigan. The young man received his diploma at Detroit in the medical college. During his studies in the college of Detroit, he assisted in St. Mary's Hospital for one year. After graduating, he commenced the practice of medicine with his father in Fowlerville where he remained four years, then locating in Greenville, Montcalm County, and after one year there returned to Fowlerville and formed a partnership with his father. He belongs to the Michigan Medical Society and being now in partnership with his father is building up a fine reputation as one of the ablest young physicians of Michigan. The daughter, Eva, is now Mrs. F.B. Warren, wife of the Cashier of the City National Bank at Greenville, Montcalm County. Her husband is the son of the Rev. Mr. Warren of Howell, Mich., and his brother, Fred Warren, is a prominent attorney in Detroit.

Mr. Abel S. Austin is now the president of the Howell Board of Pension Examiners and he has held several offices of responsibility in Fowlerville. His political views have brought him into sympathy with the movements of the Republican party and he is identified with the Masonic order and with the United Workmen.

Anyone doing genealogy will benefit from this read. In future posts, more biographies will be posted.

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Two old photographs -- probably taken within a few years of each other in the early 1900s -- show the North Grand Avenue side of the northeast block.  The last one is a current-day photograph, taken a couple weeks ago, and shows how much this string of buildings has changed so much. 

In the late 1800s and early 1900s, the Bell opera house was a popular place and a great deal can be found both in my book and on this website, as well as a pamphlet put together by Richard Hutchins in 2002.  This meeting hall was located in the second floor, the first eight windows from the left side.  The first and eighth windows are above the two staircases leading up to the second floor.  The stairway on the south side still exists but has been totally blocked off.  The one on the north side also exists but both doors are securely locked.  In the modern picture, the doorway can be seen next to Olden Days Cafe.

At some point, the north side of the opera house became a 'billboard' of sorts.  If you look closely even today you can see faint lines of paint still on the brick.
There is one change on the facade of one building I have not been able to figure out.  The building, which was incorporated into the storefronts where Maria's School of Dance entrance is (half of the building on the south side of their canopy), looks slightly different from earlier years.  At one time, the lettering of 'Place and Gale' was a part of the stonework just below the roofline.  It can best be seen in the top picture.  It is no longer there -- was it chipped off or was it something removeable?

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

1968 Editorial on Swearing

An interesting editorial caught my eye that was published in The Fowlerville Review in 1968. It follows:

I was thoroughly ashamed last Saturday evening when, at approximately 9:45 pm, it was necessary for me to come to the business district and I heard the language being used by three teenagers on the streets of this village.

There were two boys and a girl in the first block east of the traffic light on the north side of Grand River Avenue and apparently they were engaged in a small snowball fight when one boy was struck by some of the snow. The language that he cut loose with was not fit to be heard by man nor beast and yet this adolescent was shouting it to the top of his lungs.

Apparently the other youths deemed this hilarious and as they laughed the youth with the foul mouth shouted more and louder.

I do not know the names of these young persons engaged in the activity, but apparently they have no self respect let alone any respect for other persons on the street or even in their homes in the area.

The police on duty told the children to go to their homes. I don't believe that this is the remedy for the situation although it was all that was in their power to do as they did not actually hear the horrible language that was being used. They were just summoned to the scene.

I have wished since this happened that I had found out the names of these persons involvked so that the parents could be informed of what was going on. I just can't believe that the apathy of the parents of today could extend so far as to let this type of thing go on.

Interestingly enough, in 1899, the following article was found in The Fowlerville Review:

It may not be generally known that there is a law on the statute books of Michigan making the offence of swearing in the presence of ladies or children a criminal offence. Ignorance of the law excuses no man and while it might seem unjust to one who was ignorant of such a wholesome statute, were he arrested and made to pay a sharp penalty for its infraction, yet there is no excuse for any person to do violence to his manhood and lower himself to the extent of not being a gentleman by the use of profanity and vulgar talk in the presence of ladies and children on the street or his family at home.

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A picture that I came across regularly while researching my book, The Fowlerville Chronicle, was the one shown below from around 1930.  

While comparing the old one with the new picture, I noticed a two-story house at the far left side of the old photograph, which would have stood at the southeast corner of East Grand River and South Second Street.  By this time, also, it would appear the Standard gas station was located at the other corner (which you can see in an earlier 'then and now' squint shot).

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

1963 Woods Drug Store

The year '1963' marks a 40th anniversary in Fowlerville for Thomas G. Woods.

Forty years in the drug business and forty years of 'living' in Fowlerville, throughout which time Tom and Bess have become a part of theh community, not only through their business service, but in many innumerable ways for the betterment of their hometown.

Three years after their marriage, in 1920, in Clare, Tom and Bess came to make their home in Fowlerville, having purchased the drug business of A.C. Spencer.

This year, 1923, was doubly eventful for them, for in that same year, their daughter, Betty was born. Betty, now Mrs. Glendon Plummer, has added happiness to their life by presenting them with two grandchildren, Glenna and Tommy.

A part of the family also, was 'Grandma' Alger, the late Ann Alger, mother of Mrs. Woods, who made her home with them until she passed away in 1960 nat the age of 94.

Tom is a member and Past Master of Fowlerville Lodge F.&A.M. No. 164, a Past Commander of American Legion Ordson A. Rose Post No. 215, a member since its organization and also Past President of the Fowlerville Commercial Club; a Past Secretary of the Fowlerville Fair Association; and a member of the Fowlerville Development Corporation. In keeping with modern progress, the names of Thomas G. Woods is listed among the members of the newly-organized Independent Druggist League (IDL), which has been formed in order for the independent druggist to offer products to their customers at competitive prices.

In 1962, Thomas Woods was made an honorary member of the Fowlerville High School Alumni Association and invited to give the address at the annual alumni banquet.

Bess is a member and Past Matron of the Fowlerville Chapter Order of Eastern Star and served as Chapter Organist for 25 years. She has been associated in the music department of the Methodist Church since 1924, presently filling the position of church organist, a service she has rendered for many years. She also was actively affiliated with the Philomathean Club for several years.

On Sunday, March 16, all the employees of the drug store during the past 40 years were present with their spouses at a celebration at the Woods' home in honor of the occasion.

Those present were Dr. and Mrs. A.C. Spencer, former owners of the store; Mr. and Mrs. LaVerne Curtis of Lansing; Mr. and Mrs. Wayne Peterson of Hastings; Mr. and Mrs. Arthur Haist of Charlotte; Mrs. Kate Swinehart and Bud Swinehart of Mason; Mr. and Mrs. Mac McKenzie; Mr. and Mrs. George Damman; Mr. and Mrs. Charles Benjamin; Mr. and Mrs. Glendon Plummer; Glenna and Tommy; Mr. and Mrs. Bruce Russell; Mr. and Mrs. Robert Korteir of Owosso; Mrs. Clarilyn VanSickler; the Misses Ruth Utter, Linda Manning, Karen Monroe, and Glenda Palmerton.

Quoting Tom: 'This was, I feel, the highest honor that could have been paid to me to have all my past and present employees at this gathering.'

Centering the table from which a buffet dinner was served was an anniversary cake made in detailed replica of a soda fountain.

In behalf of those present, Linda Manning presented Mr. and Mrs. Woods with a gift, as a token of remembrance of this very memorable occasion.

Pictures were taken and the remainder of the afternoon spent visiting and reminiscing.
The above article was published in The Fowlerville Review. According to information obtained speaking with various village residents, the Woods house mentioned is at the southwest corner of South Second Street and Frank Street. That house is currently being redecorated.

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The Ford Garage was completed in 1917.  G.L. Adams wrote a glowing article describing the inside, which can be found in my book, The Fowlerville Chronicle

The old picture for this series of 'then and now' squint shots shows the Sprague Ford Garage in 1920.  There were stone (or brick) buildings to the west of the building.

The Ford garage was built in such a way cars could drive in the front, at the center, and be taken to the back for repairs.  Someone unfamiliar with Fowlerville, looking at the modern-day photograph, might want to dispute it is the same building.  

A rough-sawn cedar front was added to the building in the 1980s and remains.  Currently, Jeffrey's Automotive uses the back of the building for car repairs and the front has been rented by the owners of Granny Greenthumb. 
At one point, a gas station was located at the southeast corner of East Grand River and South Ann Street but now it is an empty lot.

Monday, April 25, 2011

1895 Ford E. Smith

Ford E. Smith was an early dentist in Fowlerville in 1895. His office was located on the second floor of the (then) Palmerton block (now what I like to call the Harmon block).

Pretty much the next time I came across his name was in 1898 in a short article published in The Fowlerville Review as follows:

Strayed from home, Friday, July 29, dark red Irish setter dog, 10 months old, slender build, wore strap collar; answers to the name of Pat. Liberal reward if returned to Ford E. Smith, Fowlerville, Mich.

And then, At a meeting of the council on Monday evening Ford E. Smith was appointed village clerk to fill the vacancy caused by the death of A.S. Hamell.
The following picture was found in the Fowlerville Historical Collection, with the names listed as follows for the picture -- Ollie Garland, Veva Smith, Ford Smith.
In 1899, the paper reported, Ford Smith began a course in dentistry at the Detroit dental college on Monday.

By the early 1900s, Dr. Smith was practicing dentistry in Fowlerville as shown by the following ad:

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As I stood in front of the Harmon block (see a few days earlier when I have decided to use old terminology; i.e., Palmerton block, Sidell block, and now the Harmon block), my camera was pointed kiddie-corner across the intersection to the former location of C.D. Hamilton and Co. and then from 1970 until 2002 known as Ruth's Resale.  It is the two-story brick building at the southeast corner of East Grand River and South Grand Avenue.

In the picture, taken around 1903, 'C.D. Hamilton' can be seen to the left and upward above the four people at the corner, above the front door.  Other than that, and different window treatments, the building looks nearly the same.  C.D. Hamilton and Co. was a dry goods store -- linens, towels, household items, probably most anything you can dream up would be needed in a house.  When Dr. Ford E. Smith first began his dentistry practice in Fowlerville, he was located in the second floor before moving over to the Palmerton block.

Today, the first floor is still unfinished in some renovations that were began a few years ago, and the second floor housing Farmer's Insurance Co.

So, here are the two pictures . . .  

Sunday, April 24, 2011

1909 Standard Issue

In 1909, in May to be exact, a tornado hit the south side of Fowlerville, working its way across the railroad tracks. In my book, The Fowlerville Chronicles, the 1909 chapter fully explains the damage caused by this storm.

At the time of the destruction, there were two newspapers currently being published in the village -- The Fowlerville Review and the Fowlerville Standard. Following you will find the Fowlerville Standard's front page after this storm. Original copies of these newspapers can be found in the historical collection housed in the village office's council chamber. If you would like to check out this and other originals, you are more than welcome to visit with me every first and third Tuesday of the month at the village office at 9 am.

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An old photograph and a current-day picture are shown below of the northeast quadrant, the block facing East Grand River Avenue.  When put together like this, it is interesting to me to see how the second floors of the buildings remaining looking close to the same, but, of course, the first floors all look totally different.

The first picture was probably taken in the late 1930s or early 1940s -- the paving of Grand River Avenue took place from 1922-24. 
I sometimes wonder what the downtown would look like if all of the storefronts reverted back to the early 1900s -- would it even be practical?

Saturday, April 23, 2011

1975 Parking Meter

In the mid-1970s, the downtown area had parking meters.  In an upcoming May 'then and now' squint shot, you will see a picture of when the post office was located where Shear Image is now housed.  At the front of that picture, there is a parking meter.  The meters were torn out and it now does not cost anything to park while you shop.

While we've been preparing for the 'museum' which will be located in the south front portion of the old hotel during May, June, and July, one of those meters will be on display, thanks to Larry Davis, the DPW director.  His brother-in-law has loaned it for the display, but I thought early pictures might be a bit enticing.

On a side note, Larry Davis' sister used to be a meter-maid for Fowlerville.

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As I stood as far back on the southwest corner by the empty buildings that used to house Herbie's Used Car Sales, I tried to replicate the old photograph taken somewhere around 1900 and republished in the Fowlerville News and Views a few years ago.  My current-day picture turned out not to be quite as all-inclusive as the old photograph -- it almost appears that picture was taken with a panoramic view.  The changes are still noticeable.
One thing I do like to point out to anyone looking at the early 1900 photograph is to look closer at the bottom of the picture.  A shadow can be found.  That shadow is of the old Commercial Hotel, a brick, 2 1/2 stories above ground and 1/2 story below ground building that was finished in 1880 after the Reason House burned to the ground in 1878.  The Reason House was built in 1852-53.  It was also known as 'Independence Hall' -- reportedly dubbed by an early ancestor of the Curtis family when Benjamin Curtis swung and crashed a bottle of whisky at the building.  Somewhat like christening a ship.  

The Commercial Hotel stood until 1937 -- you can find out more about that building, such as how it was used and why it was torn down, in my book, The Fowlerville Chronicles.

Friday, April 22, 2011

1956 Elsie's Restaurant

I recently had the pleasure of meeting a former resident of Fowlerville -- someone that grew up here, went through the school system and graduated in 1957 (I believe), has some wonderful memories of Spagnuolo's -- both the wholesale storefront and the fountain -- and visits two to three times a year.  When he came to purchase a copy of my book, to my great delight, we talked for quite some time of some of the various storefronts, a few major events he remembers, and he brought some memoriabilia for me to look at.

One of those items was a breakfast and lunch menu from Elsie's Restaurant from 1956.  Elsie's was located where Save-On and Bloated Goat are now.  The Save-On portion was the restaurant and the Bloated Goat was a bar area.  According to my visitor, there was an archway between the restaurant and bar, with the restrooms being in the bar area.  When that archway was closed off, additional restrooms were provided in the restaurant portion.

I asked if it was okay to take pictures and post the menu -- so following you will find the cover and then the inside.  Enjoy the pricing --

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As I was still taking some pictures from the southeast quadrant, looking northwestward, the current-day photograph shows a gaping hole at the left side where there used to be trees and buildings (lumberyard storage) in the 1940s. 

As the years have progressed, the trees were replaced by a parking lot used by Bob Smith, the lumberyard building was dismantled and moved down to a farm on South Fowlerville Road, and now the land has been excavated and set up for a future building.  At present, the parking lot that was created at the back of the property is used in the summer months for the farmer's market and this last winter, a portion of the unfinished ground was flooded for an ice skating rink.

But, for now, here are the two pictures:
The Orr Threatre closed in 1959 -- does anyone remember it?  My guess is the windows on the second floor of that building, which you can see in the old photograph, were covered when this became a movie house.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

1894 Windmills for Electricity

Wind farms for generation of power are part of our "modern" technology -- but is it really that modern? While culling through shot after digital shot of microfilm, I came across this article re-published in The Fowlerville Review in 1894, taken from one of the other newspapers that would land in G.L. Adams' office: Can you imagine what our life-style would be today if every yard had a windmill and we were self-sufficient for some of our energy needs?  And, truly, could my laptop have run as efficiently by windmill?!

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Yesterday's 'then and now' squint shots showed the Palmerton (now Harmon) block with a brick building to the west of it, which originally housed the F.J. Cook Hardware store.  This would have been in the late 1800s. 

By the early 1900s, it appeared as Mr. Cook was getting restless.  The Cooks took a trip to California and headed north up the coast to Oregon, checking out various locales.  In a future post, I will republish a letter written by Mr. Cook detailing some of that trip. 

Later that year, he accepted the position for one year as general manager of the Lansing Wagon and Carriage Co.  This plant employs at present something over 150 men at the factory at Lansing and also has branch houses at four of the larger cities of the United States -- as reported by G.L. Adams in The Fowlerville Review.  When he took this position,  he retained ownership of the hardware store and lumberyard and left the management of the business to T.M. Loomis, which was fortunate as within a month, the position in Lansing did not work out.  Shortly after all of this upheavel, he sold the stock of lumber, grounds and sheds to William Love of Portland.

So, here are the two pictures; one old and one taken just a couple weeks ago.

As a side note, in my book, The Fowlerville Chronicles, on page 77, blueprints are shown for construction of the storefront on the right side with the arched stone.  For a closer look, you might just want to stop in to the hardware store and ask Doug Burnie for a peak at those plans.  Quite intriguing.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

1961 Standard Station

In the 1950s and 60s, changes were taking place in the village of Fowlerville. One of those changes was moving the Standard Station that formerly was located at the southwest corner of East Grand River and South Second Street to the southwest corner of West Grand River and South Ann Street (currently a BP gas station). The following article, published in The Fowlerville Review, gives the details:
A completely new and modern Standard Service Station will soon be located on the corner of Grand River which will be the new of Glenn's Standard Service.
The house now being demolished on this site was built by H.A. Beebe for Nelson Swarthout in about 1892. Mr. Swarthout was then a partner with E.W. Burkhart in the elevator here.
Previous historical records of this property tell us that in 1876 this plot (lots 31-32) of the village of Fowlerville was occupied by the blacksmith shop of H.M. Chalker. In the rear was the village 'lock-up,' the iron padlock of which was on display in the Blackmer store window during the 125th anniversary celebration. It was a part of the Ralph Fowler third addition of Fowlerville adjoining the original village.
In 1910, the residence was occupied by Mr. Franks, several having occupied and owned it up to the time it became the Andrews property. It is also remembered that in 1910, a long shed in the rear of this home was used by George Adams, editor of the Fowlerville Review, for construction of printing presses, which he and John Ellsworth invented and manufactured for a number of years.
So, does anyone actually have recollections (or pictures) of the house that used to stand at the southwest corner of West Grand River and South Ann Street? I have a picture of the house during demolition, which is shown in my book, The Fowlerville Chronicles; but it would be great to have a better picture to show here.

Squint Shot 042011

In 1891, a devastating fire burned all of the wooden structures in the northeast quadrant of the downtown area, and then it jumped over North Grand Avenue and burned the first brick structure of the Palmerton block.  The original wooden structure built at the northwest corner burned in 1876. 

By 1892, a new brick building stood proudly, and was highly-written about in the local paper, at this corner, and it stands there still today -- known as the Harmon block.  Well, really as the building that houses the Harmon Real Estate but wouldn't that just be fun to go back to how the buildings were named -- by owner -- and call this the Harmon block.

On a cold Saturday morning, a few weeks back, I took numerous squint shots for this 'then and now' series, starting with this corner.  Over the next couple of weeks, you will see my progression as I walked around the downtown and replicated many of the older pictures in my book, The Fowlerville Chronicles.
A couple of differences of note in the pictures include the fact the peak that can be seen on the east side of the building in the old picture no longer exists.  Also, the only building to the west (other than Ralph Fowler's house) shown in the old picture was the only other storefront.  In current times, two more brick buildings now stand.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

1897 Cannon Acquisition

In 1998, the cannon shown in the following 1940s picture, which can also be seen in person at the Greenwood cemetery, was re-dedicated at its 100th year of being located in Fowlerville. The inscription on the side of the base reads 'In Memory of Our Fallen Comrades." As I've continued to look through old articles of The Fowlerville Review, I've come across numerous reports and informational articles about the G.A.R. (Grand Army of the Republic) and the John G. Gilluly Post #114, once very active in the village. I usually skim through these reports but not very closely as I'm afraid that would become another book in and of itself. But one paragraph seemed to literally jump off the laptop screen begging for my attention. It is as follows:

Gilluly Post, G.A.R., is in receipt of a condemned cannon 10 1/2 feet long and weighing 4,200 lbs., furnished by the government. A suitable base will be purchased by the post and the gun will be placed in the cemetery as a monument.

By the spring of 1898, The cannon recently received from the government has been placed upon a large cut stone base at Oakwood cemetery and presents a fine appearance and serves as a very appropriate monument to the dead heroes.

And then the celebration:

Decoration Day Exercises~~Decoration Day will be observed in Fowlerville on Monday, May 30, by John Gilluly Post, G.A.R., in the dedication of the monument placed in Greenwood cemetery, with the following program. The Post will meet in their Post hall at 9:30 a.m., and at 10 o'clock march to the cemetery. The W.R.C., public schools, civic societies and all citizens are invited to join in the march and all of the exercises of the day.

At the cemetery, the following exercises will take place:
Prayer.....Rev. A.B. Whitney
Music....."Star Spangled Banner"
Presentation of Monument to Post by.....Hon. F.G. Rounsville, Pres of Village a Comrade
Address......Rev. J.H. Thomas
Benediction......G.L. Adams
Decoration of graves by Post and children of public schools.

Of all the days in the year Memorial Day is the one that should receive the most attention at the hands of the nation. The tendency which has seemed to be growing during the past few years to make it a day of pleasure and sport should meet with a firm rebuke at the hands of the older ones and the younger portion of the nation should be thoroughly taught its solemnity and to fully appreciate its significance and how to properly observe the day of sacred memory to the nation's dead heroes, for every man who ever wore the blue and passed into battle is a hero. A soldier may have enlisted for money or for a prospective journey and a general good time, but a few weeks of actual service and contact with the stoutest patriotism which filled the ranks soon wrought a change and the fire of true patriotism must have burned in every heart.

Another opportunity of showing our love and appreciation for the memory of those heroes will offer itself to every citizen on Monday next and we hope that all will lay aside the busy cares of the farm, shop and store to show proper respect for the day, for the memory of the dead and the honor of the living.

Because of this, a current-day picture will now need to be taken, which you can see as today's "then and now" squint shot.

Squint Shot 041911

Today's "then and now" squint shots show the cannon that was put in place in the cemetery in 1898 (more information on this can be found in today's "history lesson"). In 1943, a picture of the cannon was taken. The two photographs I took gives evidence on how the trees have grown, and it also shows how some refinements have been made to the monument. A second picture I took, shows the other side of the monument, looking southward.

Monday, April 18, 2011

1936 Ye Olde Town of Fowlerville

Nineteen thirty-six was the 100th anniversary of the arrival of Ralph Fowler to the area. W.H. Peek (Bill Peek), who was a printer, editor and publisher (of the Fowlerville Observer and the Fowlerville Standard), put together a booklet entitled Ye Olde Town of Fowlerville. Along with a synopsis of the history, there were also various pictures showing buildings from earlier years -- many of which can be easily found in old postcards, reprints in the Fowlerville Historical Collection, as well as in my book, The Fowlerville Chronicles. As you read through the synopsis, you may well be familiar with a lot of this history if you have been following this website or read the information I compiled for the book. In future posts, I will add some of the additional information found in this booklet. Also, if you would like to look at this booklet in its entirety, it can be found at the Michigan Library in Lansing.

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In 1900, rural free delivery (RFD) was established for the area surrounding Fowlerville.  The first route went north of town into Conway Township.  According to G.L. Adams, the editor and publisher of The Fowlerville Review, F.N. Parsons of this place, has been appointed carrier, and the new service will go into operation June 4, 1900.

At the time this service was organized, the post office was located in the northeast quadrant, at the corner of North Second Street and East Grand River.  While working on my book, The Fowlerville Chronicles, I came across this picture -- probably taken around 1906 -- of the carriers ready to head out for the day.  According to one article, found in The Fowlerville Review, Frank Lane commenced work Thursday morning as rural carrier number six.  All routes have been changed more or less and if any mistakes are made for a few days under the new arrangements, just bear them patiently for they will very soon adjust themselves to the new routes.  This new arrangement is supposed to give the entire county solid rural delivery.

Today, that building sits empty, recently vacated by Maria's School of Dance.  Here are the two pictures -- one very old and the other taken just the other day:
As an extra note, the three one-story storefronts shown at the left side of the older picture are now Save-On (two storefronts) and Bloated Goat.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

1982 Railroad Work

Last summer's roadwork on South Grand may be a distant memory for some but there will be a time when more work will be done -- either on South Grand or the railroad crossing. The following picture and short article was published in the Press and Argus' Fowlerville Review section in 1982.

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At the northwest corner of South Second Street and East Grand River, a Standard gas station used to stand in what is now a  parking lot used by Chase Bank.  The following photograph from around 1940 shows the little building that stood just to the east of Line's Dime Store.  In the 1950s, the gas station was known as Eaton's Standard Station.

In the second picture, taken just recently, this lot is nothing more than asphalt and memories for some.  The building at the left side of the picture was built year's earlier and used as a paint shop for quite some time, probably about the time the gas station was in place.

As a side note, this particular corner is also the location, years before the gas station was located there, to be the site for Dr. Defendorf's house and medical office.  If you are curious, there's more in my book, The Fowlerville Chronicles, and, at some point, I will be adding more 'then and now' pictures regarding this corner.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

1962 Frank's Foodliner Opening

She's Done - Let's Dance!

That was the headline of an article published in The Fowlerville Review in 1962. The rest of the article follows:

Frank's IGA Foodliner, which will provide the Fowlerville area with top super-market shopping convenience, will be open in these new quarters on December 10th. To celebrate the completion of the building, Frank announces a dance tonight (Wednesday) from 9:00 to 12:00. You are cordially invited to dance to the music of Jo's Band with Riby Holmes calling the squares. Admission is free and everyone is welcome to attend.

In January, 1963, the following was reported:

Thousands Attend Opening of Frank's Foodliner~~Thousands attended the grand opening of Frank's Foodliner during the three-day celebration of the opening of this new modern food shopping center.

The many friendly tokens of congratulations in the form of flower arrangements added to the attractiveness of the store.

A cake made in replica of the Foodliner decorated the table from which refreshments were served, Mrs. Ruth Grill acting as hostess.

Clowns, for the pleasure of the children, music, and the giving of prizes all lent a festive air to the occasion.

C.L. Ramsey of Howell was the winner of the grand prize of a portable tv; bicycles were won by Mary Stinnett of Webberville, Kip Tait of Fowlerville; the electric trains by Rusty Weaver and Tom Tannar of Fowlerville; the doll by Nancy Russell.

So . . . anyone out there remember this? Maybe attended?

Squint Shot 041611

In continuing the series of 'then and now' squint shots, today's pictures show the southeast quadrant of the downtown area, looking southwest from the corner of North Second Street and East Grand River.  The first picture was taken sometime in the late 1930s or early 1940s.

In the intervening years, the facades have been reworked but the five buildings are shown.