Tuesday, May 31, 2011

1893 Mistaken Boot

During this era, Fowlerville had three opera houses where plays, presentations, oratories, and meetings would take place. But this village wasn't the only town with an opera house. The following blurb was found in The Fowlerville Review, regarding an incident in Jackson:

A gentleman at the opera at Jackson the other evening, reached under the chair for his rubbers, preparatory to leaving, but it seemed to be glued to the floor. He pulled and pulled, til a lady behind leaned forward and said, when he got through with her foot, she would go home.

My husband and I have had various discussions of why these were called "opera houses" because, and especially now that I have been researching further articles published in the local section of the newspaper, there never seemed to be an opera that would come to town.  There were a ton of other types of performances such as lectures, song-and-dance men, comedy plays, and what we know of as "stand-up comedians" but as far as I have found, an opera such as "Madame Butterfly" never showed up in Fowlerville!

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I thought we would take a few days' break from the 'then and now' squint shots to check out a printer's cabinet used years earlier for the local newspaper The Fowlerville Review.  The cabinet is in the second floor of the Handy Township hall, tucked in a corner. 

I have to wonder what color it used to be -- just treated wood? -- but now it is a pale blue, except where paint has rubbed and chipped off.  There are numerous drawers, no doubt used for the individual letters for setting up to print the paper.

Monday, May 30, 2011

1885 Lawyer Joke

Sometimes the editor of The Fowlerville Review, G.L. Adams, would reprint articles he would find in other newspaper received in their offices. Some were good advice, others were warnings of swindlers and frauds, many might be heartfelt, and others funny. I'm not sure where this one fits in but it was definitely worth adding to this site:

There is said to be one lawyer in heaven. How he got there is not positively known, but it is conjectured that he passed himself off for an editor and slipped in unsuspected. When his dodge was discovered, they searched the realms of felicity in all their length and breadth for another lawyer to draw the papers for his ejectment, but they couldn't find one and, of course, he held the fort.

Apologies to my lawyer friends, but this was just plain funny! And, interesting on another level that even back in the late 1800s lawyers were the brunt of many a joke.

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The following old picture, maybe taken around the early 1920s, was labeled on the back as '123 Hale Street, r) Edna Griswold house, l) Florence Evans house.'  I headed that way one day during my travels and took a current-day picture.  It would appear neither house stands but has been replaced by a small, neat little about 1,000 square foot house.

Sunday, May 29, 2011

1903 Mrs. John Gilluly Obituary

Mrs. John Gilluly Dead~~The death of Mrs. A. Gilluly occurred at the home of her daughter, at Reed City on Oct. 6. She was 75 years of age and married John Gilluly in 1846, when they settled on a farm in the township of Hamburg. John Gilluly enlisted in the Civil War and died a Colonel in the 5th Mich. Inft. being killed in the battle of Fredericksburg.

Mrs. Gilluly was an earnest Christian woman and was a member of the M.E. church at Brighton. The remains were brought to Brighton Wednesday, of last week, and the funeral services were held there.

John Gilluly Post, G.A.R., at this place was named in honor of her husband and she has been present here as their guest at reunions in the past.

The above write-up was found in a 1903 issue of The Fowlerville Review. For those that have been following these history lessons, John Gilluly led Fowlerville men into battle, lost his life, and the G.A.R. post was named in his honor. The rock and plague at the northeast corner of North Second Street and East Grand River is in his honor.

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The left half of the picture shown yesterday follows.  In the early 1900s, there was a tinsmith or blacksmith operation where the doctor's office now stands.  The two-story Butler Gun (currently) was standing all those many years ago and is at the left side of the photograph. 

At the right side of the old picture is a tall, arched doorway.  That was the other entrance to the Bell Opera house on the second floor of the building.  The stairway is still there but is completely closed off with a firmly locked door just to the north of current-day Olden Days.

Saturday, May 28, 2011

2011 Museum Presentations

Friday morning I had the great pleasure of having two second grade classes wandering through the temporary museum, located in the old hotel across from Curtis Grocery.  Each class came in separately, the kids sat down for a few minutes so I could tell them a few things about the display and answer any questions they had before looking at the items.

Both classes were curious of the word for "175th centennial" -- each time I had to pull out a copy of my book so I could read it instead of trying to remember all 27 of the letters that makes up this word, which is "septa-quinta-quinque-centennial."  There were a few ohhs and ahhs when I mentioned it had 27 letters in one word!

After that, I told a couple interesting bits of trivia and then let them loose.  Once the students were released to explore, more questions ensued, and that was fun.  Their enthusiasm is wonderful.

So, the reason I mention this now?  If any of my readers would like to bring a group to the museum for a quick history lesson and then have me answer questions while you are exploring, please feel free to contact me and we can set up a time.

1901 S.T. Blackmer

I found the following two articles, published in The Fowlerville Review in 1901, interesting -- partially because I was under the impression Blackmer's Men's Clothing had been housed in two locations only. It would appear in between being located at the northeast corner of North Second and East Grand River avenue and then in the middle of the southeast block on East Grand River, the store could be found in the Greenaway building:

S.T. Blackmer has leased the Greenaway building on Grand River street, which is now undergoing some interior repairs, and he expects to occupy it the first of the year.

S.T. Blackmer (as seen below) has removed his clothing and shoe stock to the Greenaway building on the north side of the street. The store has been refitted throughout, both the lower and upper floors, with new shelving and fixtures, including sliding ladders and all the modern improvements and convenience.The first time I came across the Blackmer name was in 1896 with, S.T. Blackmer and C.W. Minto, of Flint, have rented the Smith store and will put in a large stock of clothing and gents furnishing goods. They are both energetic young men and Mr. Blackmer has had years of experience in the clothing business and knows the wants of the general public in that line.

And then, Blackmer and Minto, have a new advertisement in this paper this week. They have purchased a fine stock of clothing and gents outfitting goods and will open the stock to the public in the Smith store on Saturday, Sept. 5. They come expecting to make Fowlerville their home and will offer you a fine line of goods at the lowest possible prices.

So, now I'm looking for any information of what might have been considered the "Greenaway building."

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I found a picture of the east side block on North Grand Avenue, ca. 1900, and decided to split it in half.  Today's 'then and now' shots show the seven windows on the second floor of the buildings that encompassed the Bell Opera House.  At street-level, over a hundred years ago, there was a bowling alley and the staircase was open up to the second floor. 

In the modern-day picture, Maria's School of Dance takes up the south half of the building, covering the staircase, and Olden Days is in the north portion. 

Tomorrow's pictures will show a bit further north of these buildings.

Friday, May 27, 2011

1880 Constables and Suspicions

In Fowlerville in the late 1800s, there were nightwatchmen, marshals and constables. A couple of articles -- one short on appointments and a long one on some of their activities were published in The Fowlerville Review.

A.S. Leland and Robert Griswold have been selected as night watchmen by the Committee appointed by the Council for that purpose.

Some of their activities:

During Sunday night some time the baggage room of the depot in this village was forcibly entered and a trunk belonging to a lady at Williamston by the name of Mollie Seymore, which had been accidentally mischecked; and left at this place, and a box containing a lot of men's apparel and a kit of tinker's tools belonging to a German by the name of Paul Nestler taken therefrom.

Suspicion strongly fastened upon some three or four suspicious-looking individuals who have been lurking around town since the races and on Monday evening one giving his name as George Bees was arrested by the Marshal and placed in the lock-up, and on being questioned confessed to know where the goods were and said he would show him. Upon being permitted so to do he led the way west on Grand River street across the river bridge a short distance and thence south into the woods about ten rods where the trunk and other things were found.

These being secured were brought back to the village and search instituted for the other members of the gang. One who was also under suspicion had been seen late in the afternoon wending his way toward Leroy. The individual, who by the way afterward, gave his name as Pat Garrahty, was traced to the above village by Constable Head and the Marshal and it was ascertained had taken lodgings for the night at the Leroy house. He was routed and brought back to the village and on Tuesday the two were arraigned before Justice Tanner but plead not guilty.

They were required to give bail in the sum of $1,000 each for their appearance in Circuit Court but being unable to furnish bail, both were taken to Howell and lodged in jail.

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In 1988, the following picture was taken of the newly-opened 'Keg 'n Cork Gladiator Pizza' and was shown in the local newspaper.  A little over 20 years later, it has been closed by the Hackett family and will now be operated by the owners of the BP gas station.  Following are 'then and now' squint shots:

Thursday, May 26, 2011

1969 Cecil Lepard

In 1969, The Fowlerville Review, which was originally started by G.L. Adams and W.H. Hess in 1874, was promoted nearly a hundred years later as "A Rudnicki Publication Newspaper Established in 1874" with the current publishers Richard and Lena Rudnicki, editor Sandy DeWar, and advertising manager Bette Milliman. The business was located at 135 North Grand Avenue.

In the very early years of this paper, obituaries were long and extensive; giving great detail on how the person passed away and their biography (both in business and personal). As the years progressed and, with new editors and publishers plus a change in how much information was provided, the following obituary for Cecil Lepard is a good example of mid-1900 details:

Cecil Lepard Dies~~Fowlerville businessmen closed their stores Monday from 1 to 3 pm to pay tribute to Cecil L. Lepard, prominent Fowlerville businessman and community leader.

Mr. Lepard, of 807 East Grand River, died unexpectedly Friday at his home. He was 58 years old.

A graduate of Lansing Business University, Mr. Lepard purchased the Chevrolet dealership in October of 1936, at that time located in the Clem Gannon building.

Serving the Fowlerville School Board for 14 years as president, he also served on the Community State Bank, Fowlerville Fair Board, and was an active participant on the McPherson Community Health Center board of officers.

Mr. Lepard was past master of Lodge No. 164 F.&A.M., a charter member and first president of the Fowlerville Rotary Club, an active member of the Fowlerville Commercial Club and the General Motors Planning Commission-Flint Zone.

He is survived by his wife, Mary, two daughters, Mrs. Daniel Cline of Midland and Mrs. James Budd of Beaumont, Texas; a son, Charles of Ann Arbor; one sister, Mrs. Rosalind Schroeder of Onaway and six grandchildren.

Funeral services were held Monday at the First United Methodist Church with Rev. Ronald Brunger and Rev. William Lutz officiating. Interment was in Greenwood Cemetery with members of Masonic Lodge No. 154 conducting graveside services.

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As you can see below, these are slightly out of the ordinary for my squint shots.  I came across a map of the area from 1840 and, on the same day, a map of Livington County in 1955 was given to me for the historical collection.

I enjoyed checking out the difference in the route the Grand River Trail to the 1955 Grand River Avenue, or US16 as it was also known as.  If you can get your hands on a current Livingston County map, Grand River Avenue may look even different.  Enjoy these 'then and now' squint map shots:

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

2011 Museum Fowlerville Review

There are so many reasons to check out the items on display at the temporary museum inside The Treasure Chest, and now another item has been put on show well worth checking out. 

I had the pleasure of sitting and talking with Dick Rudnicki, formerly the publisher and editor of The Fowlerville Review until 1972, and he brought along this framed replica of what the first issue, dated September, 1874, of The Fowlerville Review began by G.L. Adams, looked like. 

You can look at it up close and personal in the museum, and it is great fun trying to read the words backwards.  I know because I tried for a few minutes!
He also brought along some pictures of his father, Andrew, when he was the village president, as well as an original copy of a holiday edition of The Fowlerville Review in 1882.  The pictures of Mr. Rudnicki will be posted at a later date, but you can see the holiday edition at the museum.

1897 Chicken Thieves, Drunks, Business, and Fire

While going through old, very old issues of The Fowlerville Review, found at the Howell Library on microfilm, sometimes a whole series of articles strung together randomly in the local news section strikes me as needing to be repeating. One such series follows:

Chicken thieves are in this part of town; last Wednesday evening they stole some from H. Knapp and on Thursday evening they visited James Broadway and Nelson Franks, where they stole a good many before they were discovered.

On Tuesday night as Frank Nichols was going home, near his residence he found a man in the ditch in a drunken condition and freezing; he was taken to Justice Grill's who took care of him until the next day.

James E. Handy and Will H. Palmerton have rented the feed mill of Alton Peckens and by strick attention to business hope to secure a share of the feed grinding. They will also keep a quantity of feed on hand for sale.

L.W. Stevens, the shoe and harness maker, has an advertisement calling your attention to his hand-made harness and repair work and inviting your patronage.

The Griswold school house burned to the ground on Monday night about ten o'clock. Those who saw it in time rescued the teacher's desk and what books and papers it contained while the rest of the furniture, fixtures and books went with the flames. The school house was quite an old landmark being built about 26 years ago. The building was insured for $600. Mr. Kuehnle, the director, says they will have another school house in a short time and there is also talk of another site.

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These two squint shots kind of fit into the 'then and now' series -- if only a week apart -- of the Carpet Depot storefront.  Years earlier, this building was used as a storage building for the Sidell Implement company.  I'm still on the hunt for a picture of this building from years earlier.  If anyone has one, I would love to add it to the website. 

I quickly took (pardon the bit of blurriness) the first photograph when the building was wrapped before new siding was installed.  The second one shows the finished product.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

1954 New Telephone Service

In June of 1954, there were 1,100 telephone exchanges in Fowlerville, with 4,800 telephones in the 'new enlarged local calling area.'

The following article was published in The Fowlerville Review:

A new way of telephone living will come to Fowlerville Tuesday (June 22) when the Michigan Bell Telephone Company introduces dial service here. The changeover is set for 5:00 am.

With the change, a new 'metropolitan' type numbering system will include the central office name of 'CAstle' and five numerals in each local telephone number, for example, CAstle 3-1199. Local telephone users will call each other by dialing CA followed by five digits.
Russell H. Engelhardt, manager here for Michigan Bell, commented that the company is operating two telephone systems here from now until the time of the dial conversion. Customers will continue to use the manual type until Tuesday, and the company continues to test the new dial equipment, getting it ready for 'D-Dial' Day.

Fowlerville's local calling area will be expanded to include Howell, at the same time. Calls between Howell and Fowlerville will be allowed without a toll charge.

Engelhardt explained that increased rates will apply for some types of service here, under the extended calling area arrangement. He said that customers here have been so advised.

To call Howell telephones, local customers will dial the code '41' and give the number to the operator.

New telephone directories are being delivered here before the changes. They will include all the new telephone numbers and instructions on how to dial them.
The new dial system is housed in the new Michigan Bell building here. The cost of the project, including switching equipment, dial instruments and outside telephone construction, will amount to $145,000. Some of my readers may remember the early telephone operators that would 'plug in' calls. Anyone have names?

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I recently came across a picture of the existing building at the northwest corner of South Grand Avenue and Van Riper Road which was the future home of Waldecker.  There was no date on it, so if anyone can enlighten us, that would be wonderful.  I headed out the other day and took a current picture of this same building.  Enjoy both pictures . . .

Monday, May 23, 2011

1899 W.W. Starkey's Death

The sad news of the death of W.W. Starkey of Saginaw, was received by J.C. Ellsworth on Thursday morning and was a shock to this entire community in which he lived for many years and was so well known. He died on Wednesday night.

The above article was published in The Fowlerville Review a week earlier, then the following obituary, taken from the Saginaw Evening News, with additional commentary at the end by G.L. Adams of the Review, was found in the paper:

Wm.W. Starkey Dead~~W.W. Starkey died last evening at his home, 1005 Genesee Avenue.

Probably no announcement will come as a greater surprise to the community at large than this one. It was not generally known that Mr. Starkey was in ill health and no one had an intimation that he was dangerously sick. The illness, which had such a sudden termination last evening was contracted about a year ago when Mr. Starkey suffered an attack of the grip. It was not an unusually severe one at the time but he was unable to shake off the effects. He recovered sufficiently to be about and for some time has been traveling quite extensively in the hope that he would soon recover his old-time vigor. In this he failed to find the relief sought and gradually heart trouble came on and complicated matters. His sudden demise was the result of an attack of heart failure. A leader in the city's business circles, his death comes as a sad blow to the community and in private life there are hosts who feel his loss keenly.

Deceased was 60 years of age. He was born in Swanzey, N.H., at which place he spent his early youth, coming to Michigan at the age of 22 years and settling first in Vernon. Afterwards, he lived in St. Louis and Fowlerville. He came to Saginaw seven years ago, and as he himself often said he found the place and the people so pleasant that he decided to make his permanent home here. He engaged in business in Saginaw, and has remained here since that time, a prominent figure in the business and social circles of the city. He was president of the Palmerton Woodenware company and his was the guiding hand which brought success to this large industry. He was also a member of the police board, at one time.

As a business man and a citizen, he was known for his uprightness and integrity, and for his sterling principles. He was the kind of man who does good to everyone with whom he comes in contact and to the community in which he lived.

He leaves his wife, two daughters, Mrs. F.G. Palmerton and Mrs. A.W. Norris, and a sister, Mrs. Lucy Tafft, all of Saginaw.~~Saginaw Evening News, Dec. 21.

He came to this place in 1872 and began the manufacture of shook, employing in the shop andn woods at times as high as 75 men and was thus identified with the early interests and prosperity of this village and much to do with its early growth, also the country around about, as he furnished a market for the fine timber which covered many acres and which he worked up into heading and shook.

This community will sympathize with the bereaved family in their affliction and sorrow.

The funeral services were held at the house on Saturday last at 1:30 pm and the remains were interred at Saginaw.

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I happened upon this wonderful old picture of the two storefronts at the corner of North Grand Avenue facing East Grand River.  Woods Drug Store was just east of Harmon Real Estate.  In later years, Harmon Real Estate would move across North Grand to its current location and the Woods storefront would go through numerous changes.  It is now the front portion of Maria's School of Dance.  Enjoy the comparison pictures in this 'then and now' series.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

1880 Jilted on Wedding Day

The following long article was published in The Fowlerville Review:

A rather strange marriage was consummated under peculiar circumstances at this place, on Monday evening, the facts as near as we can get at them being as follows: Burr Knapp and Miss Sadie White had been keeping company for some time and everything had moved along very pleasantly until last March when John W. Kent, of Muskegon, a widower with three children, and reputed wealthy, came here to visit his brother, E.P. Kent. Miss White met the gentleman and made his acquaintance, as did many others, during his stay here of about one week. He then went home and passed from the minds of most of his chance acquaintances, until he again visited the place about a week ago.

Mr. Knapp and Miss White finally arranged that they would become as one and for that purpose made their to the residence of Rev. Thomas Riley, on Monday evening, and after spending some little time in making their wants known, they were placed in position for having the knot tied when a rap at the door interrupted the ceremonies and a messenger informed Miss White that there was a lady at the door who wished to speak with her, and turning on her intended husband asked him if she might be excused for a moment, and he of course replied in the affirmative.

She was gone about five minutes when she came in and told them that it had taken more time than she had expected but to be patient and she would be in in a moment and again went out. After sitting for some time and she did not appear, an investigation was made and it was found that she had, upon leaving the house the last time, immediately repaired to the M.E. parsonage and had there married Mr. John Kent.

Mr. Knapp is an estimable young man and may feel himself well rid of so fickle a lady as Miss White has proven herself to be. Let all young men contemplating matrimony take warning from the above that delays are dangerous and act accordingly.

A few weeks later, this short blurb appeared regarding Mr. Kent's brother's meat market, located here in Fowlerville:

Some party or parties decorated E.P. Kent's meat market on Wednesday and Thursday evenings of last week with images supposed to represent a boy standing at the door with a letter in his hand, and Mr. Kent is represented as standing at the gate, being profusely decorated with tar and feathers. It is probably intended for a 'take-off' on the marriage last week; but Mr. Kent does not see it in that light and offers $25 reward for the conviction of the person or persons who did the job. It was also decorated with hieroglyphics on Tuesday night of this week.

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At the southeast corner of West Grand River and South Ann Street, there used to be a brick or stone building but was taken down by the late 1950s to build a Gulf Station.  That gas station no longer exists, but does the building still stand, only covered with rough-sawn cedar?

Following are two pictures for the 'then and now' squint shot series.  The first one is from 1957, as found in that year's school yearbook, and the second one is from just a couple weeks ago. 

Any thoughts?

Saturday, May 21, 2011

1933 Henry P. Spencer

Former Resident Dies in California~~Henry P. Spencer's Family Came to Fowlerville Eighty Years Ago~~The death of Henry P. Spencer at nearly eighty years, in Merced, California, during the Christmas holidays, may have some interest to those in Fowlerville or its adjacent territory who have known the community for three score years and ten.

Henry P. Spencer was the eldest son of Dr. Henry N. Spencer, who came to Fowlerville in 1853, just eighty years ago, Dr. Spencer was himself then only twenty-seven. He brought with him his wife and their babe in arms. Four years earlier, he had finished his studies at the Cleveland Medical college. Incidentally, the wife and mother was the sister of Dr. James Avery Brown, also eminent in the medical profession, who practiced in Fowlerville and is buried in its cemetery. Two sons, Dr. Will C. Spencer and Dr. J. Ernest Brown, both eminent in the profession of medicine, fully sustained the Spencer and Brown family tradition.

It may be interesting to record how Dr. Henry N. Spencer was one of a family of nine (five brothers and four sisters) of old Connecticut stock, and that all of them except two of the sisters came from New York to Fowlerville in those early days when that great movement of population was on during the fifties to the North Central states and territories. The Spencers were thoroughly rooted in this community, and however far away or long years absent, persist in that feeling still.

In Fowlerville were born all of Dr. Spencer's family except Henry; Claudine, William, Belle and Alice. The two older boys recalled very distinctly the excitement in the village as the Civil War came on, the knocks at the little red school house, the training and marching away of the older youths called to the colors. The township of Handy never had a draft. Very distinct was the memory of how drab was the day they saw Lincoln shot.

In 1868, Dr. Henry N. Spencer was elected Judge of the probate court for Livingston county, and Howell, the county seat, became the future old home town of the family.

This is just a portion of Dr. Spencer's obituary, published in The Fowlerville Review -- the most interesting part. Hopefully this is helpful to those doing any kind of geneaology research.

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As a part of the 'then and now' squint shots, I looked at a ca. 1946 picture of the southeast quadrant, taken from about where the Home Restaurant was located, now Save-on.  I stopped and snapped a picture the other day, hoping to get about the same angle.  As you will see, it is pretty close: 

Friday, May 20, 2011

2011 Museum 1986 Display

In 1986, the 150th celebration took place.  It was held a bit later in the summer than this year's celebration will be as shown on the coffee mug -- July 16-20.  A huge thank you to Darryl Hughes for offering the following display for the temporary museum -- two caps, a ceramic mug, wooden coins, and Steve Horton's Fowlerville . . . The Early Years.

1896 Mrs. A.R. Miner Thrown from Carriage

Mrs. A.R. Miner was thrown from her carriage on Friday afternoon and although very fortunately not seriously injured, yet received some pretty severe bruises. She was driving near the store of Hugh A. Loughlin when her horse became frightened at the pop-corn cart which a boy was pushing along the street. Mrs. Miner called to the boy but he did not hear or see her and when the affair came upon the horse, he made a plunge, throwing Mrs. Miner from the carriage. This frightened another horse which was tied near by and both horses ran down the street and stopped of their own accord.

The above article, published in The Fowlerville Review, gives an interesting picture of what may have routinely been going on at the main four corners -- horse and carriage traffic, sounds of neighing from the horses, conversations of pedestrians, hawking yells from peddlers such as the boy with the 'pop-corn cart.' And those are just the sounds. I wonder what smells assaulted the ol-factory between road apples steaming away to popcorn odors wafting through the air.

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It is always easy to figure out which storefront was Tomion's -- even if addresses were seldom used in advertisements -- because of the diamond opening above the sign.  It would appear the 'diamond' window has been closed up but it is still a part of the overall look. 

At present, a sporting goods store is in this location.  In the most recent memory it has been a part of Utter's MensWear and then a flower shoppe for quite a number of years (Sherri's Flower Station and then the BeeCharmer).

Following are pictures from 1962 when it was Tomion's and now in 2011:

Thursday, May 19, 2011

1880 Wooden Wedding

While doing a great deal of research for the biography I am working on of G.L. Adams, the editor and publisher of The Fowlerville Review, described a happy occasion -- his and his wife's fifth year anniversary of their wedding in 1875. I decided not to include this in the book but this article definitely needed to be on this website. Mr. and Mrs. Adams were married for 55 years and, throughout all of my research, it seemed to be a very happy union; both of them very passionate for their causes and activities.

The celebration article follows:

The Wooden Wedding~~In accordance with invitations previously sent, about sixty persons assembled at the residence of ye editor on Friday evening last, it being the fifth anniversary of our married life, for the purpose of celebrating the event and having a good time. Just as the company had become nicely settled a noise, accompanied by several bright lights, was seen meandering down the street toward our diminuitive mansion, and upon arriving in front of the house the noise became suddenly hushed and sweet music from the Fowlerville Cornet Band filled the ear and hearts of the assembled company. After several pieces had been played, the band entered the house, when Mr. I.B. Turner, in behalf of the band, in a neat, little speech, presented the host and hostess with a nice, large rocking chair. The presents were both numerous and beautiful and will be cherished as mementos of the occasion. Refreshments were then served and the company proceeded to enjoy themselves in the usual manner. The company dispersed with many kind wishes for the future happiness of the host and hostess, from whose hearts time can never efface the pleasant memories of the fifth anniversary of their wedded life, and of the many kind friends who did them honor upon that occasion.

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A few weeks back, as I hung around at the village historical collection (just in case anyone wanted to research something), I started looking through some yearbooks.  And I feel a little bit like I struck gold.  In the 1958 Fowlerville School yearbook, there is a picture of the 8th grade officers on swings on the south side of their school building, which now houses the senior citizen center.  In the background of the picture is the grist mill that used to stand on Mill Street where now you will find the fire department building and the Fowlerville Library.

So far, the only picture I had come across of the grist mill was in a 1956 aerial picture, which can be found in my book, The Fowlerville Chronicles.  The original photograph is safely stored in the historical collection.  Finding this ground-level view shows exactly how large that mill really was. 

Following is the 1958 picture as well as a modern-day view which was taken from the south side of the senior citizen center looking westward at the library building:

Since I'm always looking for remembrances of days gone by, I've gotten at least one comment that when that building was burned (intentionally) by the fire department, rats went scurrying in every direction, causing some close-by homeowners some problems.  Does anyone else have memories they would like to share of when the grist mill was still standing?

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

2011 Museum Implement Answer

The answer to the question posed yesterday on a unique-looking implement is it is a Monta lawn mower.  The Monta Mower Company was located in Traverse City, Michigan, with their sales office in Grand Rapids.  The MontaMower shown in our temporary museum was patented in 1923 and manufactured until about the late 1940s.  Before the shaped-wire handle was developed, a straight wooden handle (as shown in the ad below) was used for pushing the mower.  The company was gone, according to one website, by 1962.

According to an antique dealer answering questions through the Chicago Tribune newspaper, these mowers are valued at about $50-55 in today's market. 

1896 Bathing in the Cedar

As I have gone through microfilm at the Howell Library of issues of The Fowlerville Review, I came across this resolution article. I wonder how much of a problem this really was at the end of the 19th century. And, is it now ever a problem?

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These two photographs of brickwork are of the apartment building on the west side of North Grand Avenue in the northwest block.  This building was built over a hundred years ago and I find it intriguing the care taken in arranging the bricks artistically. 

So many 'box' stores go up quickly and are so plain looking.  These New England-style buildings are becoming a treasure and need to be cared for in these modern days.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

2011 Museum Implement

Another item on loan from Wayne Copeland, and on display at the temporary museum located in the old hotel across from Curtis Grocery, is the following -- does anyone know what this might be?  For a hint, it is from the Copeland farm, established 1853.  Feel free to leave a comment if you would like to guess.  I'll give the answer as an update but if you check it out at the museum, you can read the label to find out what it is.

1860 Early Rose Potato

From the website Potato Garden, the early rose potato is described as, A true vintage potato from the 1860s that has stood the test of time and loved and enjoyed by gardeners for over a century. Early Rose has smooth pinkish skin and delicious white flesh streaked with red. Selected from self-pollinated seedlings of Garnet Chili by Vermont farmer Albert Bresee. The parent to the now world-famous Russet Burbank.

A picture follows from that website:
The reason you have just received this mini-lesson on the potato is because I happened along the following blurb published in The Fowlerville Review:

Daniel VanRiper exhibited some mammoth potatoes that he has grown this season, of the improved Early Rose variety. They are beauties.

Squint Shot 051711

A couple more squint shots today and tomorrow show portions of the apartment facade in the northwest quadrant -- today's is an old window opening with a newer window.  The wood is so weathered, I wonder how long ago the old window was replaced.
This very blurry zoomed-in portion of a picture from the mid-1920s shows a canopy over this window.

Monday, May 16, 2011

1891 Mary Curtis

Women were usually not much in the highlight in the 19th century. Therefore, when I came across this biography in a biographical and portrait book, published in 1891, and can be found in the Fowlerville Historical Collection, I was quite pleased. In addition to being able to read about one of the many strong women in the area, it is also ripe with great information for anyone doing genealogical work. Enjoy . . .

Mrs. Mary A. Curtis~~Until within a few years, there has been a cruel practice in vogue in Hindostan in which the widow of a deceased husband immolated herself upon the funeral pyre of her deceased spouse in order to prove beyond a doubt her fidelity and loyalty. In more enlightened countries that same devotion is better proved by living, and taking up the dropped threads that have fallen from the nerveless fingers of the departed, the loving survivor completes the fabric, making it harmonious and lovely. Thus has done the lady whose name is above and whose biography it is our pleasant privilege to here chronicle.

Our subject is the widow of Benjamin Curtis, who was born in Madison County, N.Y., August 21, 1816. His parents were Victory and Mary (Tucker) Curtis, natives of New York, whence they came West in 1836 and settled in the town of Howell, where they spent the remainder of their lives in farming, passing away at a good old age in this State. Mr. Curtis received his education in his native State and came West with his family. He was reared a farmer and became the owner of two hundred and eighty acres in this county. During his life he was honored by the appointment or election to various offices in the township of Handy. He lived here fifty years and during that time his interests became entirely bound up in the place; he died in 1874. For many years he had been an ardent Democrat, adhering strictly to the original principles of the party in their purity.

Mr. Curtis and our subject were married June 14, 1838. She, who name is at the head of this sketch, was prior to her union with Mr. Curtis, Miss Mary A. Bush. She was born in Danby Township, Tompkins County, N.Y., February 26, 1816. She is the daughter of John and Hannah (Dykeman) Bush, natives of Pennsylvania and Connecticut, respectively. They were married in New York where he was engaged in farming and in 1837 came to Handy Township, where he first took up two hundred and seven acres of land from the Government. He at once built a comfortable log house, which, however, during the first summer was without doors or chimney. He cleared the farm and at the time of his decease owned over seven hundred acres of fine land. On first coming to the State, the country was very wild and the shy denizens of the forest had not yet learned to be fearful of man. Mr. Bush frequently went out before breakfast and killed a deer. Politically he was a Democrat. His death occurred June 19, 1862, his natal day having been November 4, 1793. Mrs. Curtis' mother died November 17, 1879; she was born October 5, 1794. Of four children she of whom we write is the oldest and the only surviving one. The second one was Electa, who married Mr. A. Barnard. David and Marian, who became Mrs. Sylvester Tanner.

Mrs. Curtis was educated in New York at a district school and after completing her course she taught for five terms in her native State. She came West with her parents, they taking the lake route to Detroit, and thence coming hither by private conveyances. They stopped on the way Brighton, Livingston County, Mich., at a store and while there, Mrs. Curtis engaged to teach school, taking charge of the school two weeks, and having been the first teacher in that village. She taught for three months and received $1.50 per week and her board. Her first school was in Conway Township and was kept in a shanty with a bark roof and floor.

The original of our sketch is a lady of questionable culture and refinement. After her marriage and giving up her teaching, she engaged in farming with her husband, being his co-partner and worker until his death. Six children came as a pledge of their wedded affection, four of whom are now living and all being men and women grown who have homes of their own. The eldest daughter, Justina, is Mrs. Enos Sowles of Howell Township; she is the mother of two children -- Mary and Rosa. Armintha is Mrs. C. Hopkins and has three children -- Eva, Lottie and Amelia. Rual married Miss Harriet Winer. By a former wife, Hannah Hyne, he is the father of three children -- Nellie, Myrtie and Lloyd. Frank H. Married Julia Tompkins and is the father of three children -- Fred, Clyde and Nellie. Permelia, who became Mrs. Adams, died in 1863, leaving one child, a daughter, Carrie. Mrs. Curtis rents her homestead and resides in a beautiful home in Fowlerville. She is known far and near and her friends are many.
In 1900, the following obituary and claims announcement was found in The Fowlerville Review:
Mrs. Mary Ann Bush Curtis died at her home in this village on Monday morning after a lingering illness of several months, by a gradual breaking down of the physical system, aged 84 years. She was born at Danby, Tompkins county, New York, February 26, 1816, where she resided with her parents until 1837, when they removed to Michigan and settled in this township. She taught the first school in the township of Brighton, in this county and also taught school in Conway, the school house consisting of a shanty with a bark roof. Thus it will be seen she was one of the early pioneers who had much to do with moulding the early settlement in this county and that she performed her work well and faithfully scores who came directly under her influence can testify as to her helpfulness, both at that time and in the later years of her life where she assumed the duties of wife and motherhood, having been married to Benjamin Curtis, June 14, 1838, and that she was widely known and universally loved and respected in a large circle of friends. She dearly loved her home and family, and yet she was quietly helpful to every one with whom she came in contact and she still lives, loved and cherished, in the memory of all who knew her. She was the mother of six children, three boys and three girls, one sone and one daughter having crossed to the other side of the river before her, together with her husband, who died in October, 1874; the others, Ruel and Frank, Mrs. C.E. Hopkins of Belding, and Mrs. Enos Soule of Howell, still survive her. She was tenderly cared for by her children and especially by her granddaughter, Mrs. Carrie Parsons, her every want being fully administered to, often even before it was expressed. She was of a pleasant, sweet disposition, quietly waiting her time of departure with a saving trust in Jesus Christ as her Savior and which she quietly confied to her relatives and friends.
The funeral services were held at the house on Wednesday afternoon, G.L. Adams officiating, and the remains were interred in the Coughran cemetery.

Squint Shot 051611

Yesterday's squint shot showed a close-up of the bump-out on the front of the apartment building in the northwest quadrant.  Here's a full shot.  I keep questioning if this has been refurbished -- it may have but I believe it has always been redone just about the same as the original.  Below is a scratchy picture of the bump-out cropped from a picture of the full block.

It sort-a-kind-of looks similar -- any thoughts?

Sunday, May 15, 2011

1943 Basketball Team

One of the wonderful parts of having the temporary museum displaying items on loan from various village residents -- both former and present -- is that pictures such as the following are available for viewing.  This is the 1943 Fowlerville High School basketball team, with John Munn and H.T. Smith flanking the group of players including the team manager, Kenneth Nelson (in the suit).

If you head to the museum, located for a short time more in the old hotel across from Curtis Grocery housed in The Treasure Chest, you can see this picture for real as well as the class composite for 1943.

1940 Southeast Quadrant

A friend of mine recently sent me a link to a wonderful page to look at pictures of various villages -- mostly older photographs. You can find the link by clicking here.

There is only one photograph of Fowlerville, which you can also see below. Unfortunately the photograph is not very good but you can see Blackmer's at the far left, Byerly's in the middle, and then at the far right the lack of a tall building at the southwest corner. In 1937, the Commercial Hotel was torn down and a gas station -- Pure Gas -- was built in its place. In my book, The Fowlerville Chronicles, a better picture of that corner can be found on page 281 under the year 1953; a picture that had been republished in the Fowlerville News and Views years later when renovations were being made at that corner.

Be sure to check out the link for additional pictures of other towns in Michigan.

Squint Shot 051511

In an earlier May 'then and now' squint shot, I showed the west side of the northwest quadrant and, in particular, pointed out the apartment building in the middle of the block.  It got me thinking about that building and that I had not taken squint shots of various parts of the front.  So for a couple days, I'll be showing squint shots of what I found interesting.

The first one is of the trim in the bump-out on that building.  The trim is all rather rough-looking and probably not original to the picture shown earlier this month, dated around 1898.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

2011 Museum Tomion's Display

Tomion's Dairy was located where the BeeCharmer used to be, now a sporting goods storefront.  This was back in the 40s and 50s. 

The 175th temporary museum, located in the old hotel across from Curtis Grocery, is very lucky to have on loan from Karl Tomion, grandson of Walt Tomion, the following display of memoriabilia.  There are old milk bottles, a box from a pound of butter, a sales ticket pad, various pictures, and other information. 
Once the museum display is finished, at the end of July, these items will be returned to the Tomion family -- but for now, we get to enjoy them.  So come, check out what's on display.

1880 Advertisement for Ralph Fowler & Co.

Ralph Fowler passed away in 1887. Seven years earlier, he was still busy with his store at the southeast corner at the main four corners of the village. It would appear he supplied a little bit of this and that for the residents -- from clothing to groceries -- this kind of store was quite often referred to as a 'dry goods' establishment.

Squint Shot 051411

This isn't quite a 'then and now' squint shot because the old photograph was taken from the main intersection and my picture was taken from the old Butler Gun building.  Both pictures show not much has changed, including the peak that was chopped off years earlier.