Sunday, September 30, 2012

1977 50th Anniversary for Fowlerville Lumber

In another update on information for the Fowlerville Lumber Company, following are a picture and article published in the Press & Argus, written by Steve Horton, who now pubishes the Fowlerville News & Views:


Thank you, again, to one of my readers for providing all of this wonderful information.

Saturday, September 29, 2012

1955 Fowlerville Lumber

In the mid-1900s, the Fowlerville Lumber won awards for being the cleanest yard -- following is the article published in the State Journal and also in the Howell paper:

And, the Zimmermans were awarded "Businessmen of the Month."
All of these articles are from one of my readers -- thank you for sending this information so we can share it!
Some more updates tomorrow on the lumber yard when they celebrated their 50th anniversary.

Friday, September 28, 2012

1965 Houses on West Grand River

While one of my readers and I toured the village, he spoke about three of the houses from the northwest corner of Detroit street and West Grand River avenue westward.  In the mid-1960s, the corner house (first picture) was the home of Harry Blank.  It was a jeweler in the early part of the 1900s and, at one time, had his store located in the Harmon building.  One of the memories offered up concerned goldfish.  Mr. Blank had large tubs of goldfish which, once winter approached, he would move to the basement of this house.
The second house, many may remember, was the original location of the Liverance Funeral Home, before the Liverances purchased the old S.L. Bignall house at the southeast corner of Church street and South Grand, now the village offices. 
The third house shown was the home of Inez and Fritz Kunde in the mid-1960s.  Inez was an employee of Frank Utter in Utter's Menswear store and Fritz was a finish carpenter.  When widow Inez passed away, she willed the house to the Utters. 
Over the next few days, I will be doing some additional updates from e-mails and then will get back to my tour around town with one of my readers.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

1965 West Grand River

More reader's memories:

~~At the corner of North Ann and West Grand River, a Western Oil/Mobile gas station called the Flying Red Horse stood for many years.  Merle Stowe was the owner and Admiral MacKenzie was an employee -- anyone remember them?  Filling a car sounds interesting.  A large glass ball would be filled up by hand-pumping the gas, then the fuel would be released and drained into a container or car.

~~After World War II, in 1946, Cecil Lepard building a new building to sell Chevrolets (current-day picture of building below).  He would use one side of the building and the other side was the Dixie Inn, run by Fernon Gillis.  According to this reader, the Dixie Inn served the best country-fried chicken.

~~The restaurant also served as a truck-style stop.  Wholesale oil and gas was available, as well as oil changes were offered.  For the oil changes, a pit had been dug and created where the men would work below ground with the car above them.

~~The property along Veterans Drive (formerly Detroit Street) was mostly vacant in the early-to-mid-1900s.  By that time, the Commercial Club was quite active in the community and that organization owned quite a bit of the property along the then-Detroit Street.  To help encourage companies to relocate or start-up in the village, the club would offer a parcel of land at no cost as long as the company set up shop, ultimately employing local residents. 

More tomorrow, but on the north side of West Grand River Avenue.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

1922 Township Hall

In 1922, the Sanborn & Company from Chicago surveyed a majority of the village and provided wonderful detail of the sizes of the buildings and how they were used at that time.  The southwest corner of Power Street and North Grand Avenue is what we will be looking at today.  Following is a portion of the surveyor map:
The portion of the map in pink at the upper right hand corner shows the fire department and public school rooms.  The white wooden schoolhouse had burned down the year before and a part of this three-story building was being used as classrooms.  The second floor was called the opera house. 
A yellow square at the back of the building indicates a room that no longer exists.  It used to be a wooden structure accessed from the second floor, with pillars supporting it to the ground.  At times this small room was used as a dressing or changing room for those using the opera house for plays, oratories, etc.   

If you drive or wander behind that building now, you can see evidence of how the back brick wall has been changed and patched over the years.

A couple more bits of interest now that we are looking at the map:

~~Dr. Lamoreaux's office was where you see the number 4 on North Grand Avenue.  On his window, he had had stencilled, "Chronic Disease a Specialty."

~~The garages indicated with "auto" no longer exist.

~~A.J. Beebe sold coal.  He lived on East Grand River in the Craftsman-style house just west of the Kennedy house.  By 1923, A.J. Beebe sold his interests and moved to California.  The following article was found in the local newspaper:

Mr. and Mrs. A.J. Beebe left Monday for their new home at Santa Anna, California.  They have resided in this village something like 40 years, during which time Mr. Beebe has been actively engaged in some business enterprise and it will seem strange to know that they have gone out from among us at their time of life, but they have spent a winter in California and are very much taken up with the climate there.

And then, they moved back to Fowlerville a year later.  No explanation in the newspaper.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

1942 Haist House

With so much information being released from the 1940 United States Census, it is fun and interesting to do research on more of the long-time village residents.  In 1942, Nelson Fred Haist had to fill out a military registration card, even though it seemed rather unlikely he would have to serve in the armed forces during World War II as he was 61 years at the time.

Some of my updated information received from a long-time resident is that the building (now house) at the northwest corner of Power Street and North Grand Avenue was known as the Haist House.  In a 1922 surveyor's map, this information is shown:
In a 1930 census recording of the Haist family, Nelson Fred Haist was 49 years old and married to Maude, 42 years of age.  They had two sons, Arthur and Arist, ages 19 and 11 respectively, and one daughter, Edna, 18 years old.  Maude passed away October 29, 1975, while living in Howell, but I could not find anything on Nelson.

In the early 1900s, the feed barn and auto storage area shown on the map was quite possibly one of the ten-cent barns in the village.  Farmers and residents in outlying areas could travel into town then shelter their horses and wagons in a barn while shopping, visiting, and doing any other business.

Anytime you are interested in doing genealogy research, I would suggest  It is an easy site to negotiate through and has quite a bit of information.  If anyone does know more of the Haist family, I would love for you to leave a comment or e-mail me.

Monday, September 24, 2012

1950 Albert Monaghan

As I furiously took notes down while having a conversation and breakfast with a long-time resident of Fowlerville, he spoke about one of the printers at The Fowlerville Review in the mid-1900s.  His name was Albert Monaghan (maybe spelled Monahon), a Scot.

If you pick up and read a copy of my book, Through the Eyes of a Country Editor, you can find out so much about that paper, especially from 1874-1929.  G.L. Adams loved to write about himself, his wife, his life, and his employees.  Albert must have come after that time as I don't remember seeing his name.

But anyhow, back to my reader's memory.  Albert worked the printer for the paper and lived not too far from the downtown area.  He would walk most days to and from work, but he did buy a car.  He owned a 1936 Pontiac and, according to my reader, this car never saw a drop a rain.  If the weather looked iffy, it stayed under cover.

Can you even begin to wonder how great that car must have looked never seeing some of Michigan's harsh weather?!?  Out of curiosity, I googled an image of a 1936 Pontiac.  Here's one picture I found:

If anyone remembers Albert, I would love to have you leave a comment or e-mail me directly and I'll add an update at some point.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

1962 I-96 Expressway

In 1962, more of I-96 was finished, connecting Lansing to Howell to Detroit with Fowlerville somewhere in the middle.  Following are four pictures during the construction period south of Fowlerville offered by Ann Utter of her collection of family and miscellaneous photographs:

This last picture was published in The Lansing State Journal for the dedication in 1962:

With the expressway completed, the village limits were extended farther south on South Grand from about where MEGA Surveying (formerly Hughes Surveying) is now to the highway, and everything along South Grand was zoned commercial.
One of the memories offered up by one of my readers was of a house formerly located in the now-empty lot north of MEGA where the owner sold eggs.  He would gather eggs wholesale from area growers and then sell locally. 
For those of you that may remember when the highway was being constructed, two farms were on the north side -- the Frank Chapman farm about where Fowlerville Farms restaurant is now located and the Harry Calkins farm where the hotel and Wal-Mart are now located.

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Squint Shot 052512 Update

Earlier this year, I posted numerous pictures of houses in the village.  One was of Ford Grostic's home, and you can check out that article by clicking here.

Well, now I have a little more information regarding Ford Grostic.  About mid-summer, I had the pleasure of having breakfast with a long-time resident of the area.  I'm happy to say he is one of my readers and, in the interest of keeping this website as accurate as possible, he offered up some information to update some of my articles.

Ford Grostic was the supervisor at the Detroit Creamery on South Second Street at the railroad tracks.  Following is a picture of the creamery sometime during the 1940-50s:
The building was used for storage in later years and then finally torn down in 1998.  But back to Mr. Grostic.
He and his wife had two girls (Thelma and Ione) and one son (Marvin).  Some may still know or remember Thelma Grostic, who became Thelma Rossetter.  She and her husband ran a bakery in town.  Ione became Ione Simpson.  Martin was a runner; he set a record at the Howell High School by doing the 100 yard dash in 10 seconds.
If anyone else would like to add more updates, please feel free to leave a comment.

Friday, September 21, 2012

1961 Zimmerman Update

A short time ago, I posted some information on the Zimmermans' 50th wedding anniversary.  One of my readers -- as a matter of fact, the daughter of Lynn Zimmerman -- sent me a clearer picture of Minnie and Neail Zimmerman.
In our e-mails back and forth, she provided some additional information.  Some may remember, the Zimmermans lived in the house just west of the lumberyard where now the west edge of a parking lot stands.  The house was torn down a few years ago.  Originally, Neail was from Missouri and Minnie from Ohio.  They moved to Fowlerville from Rockford, Ohio, when Neail and his brother-in-law, Walter Lewis, bought the lumber yard.  From my research, that was around 1926.

An additional note my reader provided was about Lynn Zimmerman.  She wrote, "as my dad's disease progressed, he was glad to have 'familiar' things around him.  Rotary Club and singing would have been two of those things.  At Dawn Patrol, he would usually cook eggs, and one year, as a joke, my mom served him egg salad sandwiches for lunch afterward.  He sure enjoyed his time through the years with the club and its members.  He and my Uncle Ed both loved to sing, and they were in the Fowlerville Follies as part of a quartet."

I joined Rotary in 1999 and had a chance to meet Mr. Zimmerman a couple of times before he no longer attended.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

1965 "Waffles" McPherson

A reader's memory:

At the southeast corner of East Grand River and South Collins -- the building that used to house Hill's Sporting Goods -- Grill's Mobile gas station operated.  Across Grand River, a Citgo gas station was in the now empty building, formerly Livingston Springs.

Back in the mid-1960s, this reader's dad would be working on a car in one of the bays of the Citgo station, and, on occasion, he would get mad about something or bump his head.  As a result of his anger, he would sometimes toss a tool out the building and it might skid across Grand River and land in the parking lot of Grill's.

About once a month, Mr. Grill would gather up the tools in a box, walk across the road with them, and impress upon "Waffles" -- as he was nicknamed -- to quit throwing his tools.

Makes one wonder how many tools never made it back across the street!

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

1954 Ground Observers

As one of my readers and I wound our way through the village -- him offering up numerous memories of growing up in the 1950s and 1960s -- we found ourselves on Veterans Drive, heading toward where he used to work when Utilex was in operation.
A couple of years ago, as I did research for The Fowlerville Chronicles, I came across articles regarding two towers in the Fowlerville area which would be manned by observers watching the skies for any unwanted intrusion by enemy planes.  Following is one of the articles I found published in 1954 in the local newspaper:
I asked my passenger if he remembered a tower on Veterans Drive, and he did.  He remembered it as being located about where the large green building, just south of CarQuest, is now.  All of this area on the west side of the road was an open field in the 1950s, except for the tower.

He mentioned having been in the "roost" at one time, being able to check out a poster with all of the different airplanes to be on the look out for.  Wouldn't that be something to see a copy of that poster?

An additional article found in The Fowlerville Review in 1954 read as follows:

Ground Observers Report~~The Ground Observe Post here in Fowlerville has just completed its 12th week of sky watching.

This week the post averaged 105 hours and better.  Post Director, Melvin Lewis, said that he hoped to go on a 24-hour schedule after the school of instruction is held.  This school will be held on December 16, at 4 pm and at 7:30 pm.  It is hoped that all volunteers who are interested in joining the Ground Observers Corps will attend, along with all regular Ground Observers.

Coffee and cocoa have been made available to all Observers.  It is paid for on a donation basis.  All volunteers that want to join, call Melvin Lewis.

One article reminded the village residents of the importance of this work in giving "warning in case of severe storms, including tornadoes."

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

1965 Red Diamond

Following are three current-day pictures:
Before one of my readers (see yesterday's post) and I left the parking lot for the Frosty Boy, he spoke about three buildings that used to exist on the north side of West Grand River.  The car wash (above) at the northwest corner of Detroit and West Grand River used to have a drive-in restaurant called the Red Diamond.  It was owned by one of my reader's sisters, Marion Nichols.  Originally, it was a spring, summer, and fall restaurant but eventually a portion was added onto the building for indoor seating.
At the northeast corner -- across Detroit Street -- an empty building now stands that used to house the Keg and Cork.  At one time, a gas station stood at this corner.  Does anyone remember what kind of fuel might have been sold there? 
Next to the old Keg and Cork, Citizens Bank now stands.  According to my reader's memories, a house used occupy this lot and the owners of the house ran a trucking company from this location.  He was not able to think of the name so if anyone remembers, it would be great if you could leave a comment.
Tomorrow, I will offer up some memories of his as we wound our way down Veterans Drive and onto Frank Street.

Monday, September 17, 2012

1965 Blue Star Restaurant

In the early to mid-1960s, the Blue Star Restaurant was located on the west side of town on Grand River Avenue.  Before that, some may remember it as Showerman's Restaurant, and today the building is known as the Genesis House.
As I toured around town with a former resident of the village -- he grew up in the village in the 50s and 60s and worked for Utilex in later years -- he described numerous locations his family lived and where they worked.  When his family owned the Blue Star Restaurant, the dining room (as shown below) was on the first floor and living quarters were upstairs.  The walls were painted with murals of lakes and pine tree, as you can see on the east wall of the restaurant.
At that time, specialties of the house were hot beef sandwiches with potatoes and gravy.  You could get a hamburger for 75 cents, home fries for 25 cents, and delicious malts for 50 cents. 
The restaurant was a well-known truck stop along Grand River Avenue which, before 1962 when the expressway was built, was the main thoroughfare from Grand Rapids to Lansing to Detroit.  Where today you can find the Frosty Boy at the corner of Veterans Drive and West Grand River, truckers would line up their vehicles before heading into the restaurant for good old-fashioned home cooking.
As related to my by this long-ago resident, State Trooper Dibble (shown below) was a frequent visitor to the restaurant.  As a courtesy to him and as a friend of the family, he never had to pay for a meal -- it was always "on the house."

Today, this building is now called the Genesis House.  For more information on what this is, click here for their website.

Sunday, September 16, 2012

2012 Vines on a Telephone Pole

This article is somewhat like a bridge between some history in the late 1800s to memories of the 1960s.  As I drove around town with a resident from Fowlerville, now living in Hamburg, we ended up at one point on East Street and I noticed a vine-like plant growing up a telephone pole.  Of course, I found it necessary to stop and take pictures -- thank goodness my traveling partner was patient!

I am now beginning a series of articles that will update previous articles.  With breakfast and lunch meetings with long-time residents, I have a ton of information to update.  Be sure to check back for more articles.

Saturday, September 15, 2012

1897 Cemetery Vandalism

A few months back, I put together an author talk that I titled, "Gypsies, Tramps, and Thieves."  I put together a power point presentation and I wanted to put it on the website but so far I haven't figured out how to do that (if anyone can help me, please feel free to e-mail me).
In the meantime, I'm adding a few of the articles I found in the local newspaper in the late 1800s and early 1900s on this topic.
Cemeteries seem to be a draw for vandalism, and it is nothing new.  The following article was published in 1897: 

Friday, September 14, 2012

1896 Egg Thief

Even though this wasn't necessarily about Fowlerville, I couldn't resist posting this short blurb found in the local newspaper in 1896:
I wonder if the same happened in the village.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

2012 S.M. Smith Truck

Recently a friend was hiking on Manitou Island and came across this bullet-riddled truck (possibly a Reo truck from the 50s or 60s).  If you check out all of the pictures, you will see Fowlerville Lumber has been painted on the truck, as well as S.M. Smith. 
So here's our mystery for this week -- does anyone recognize this truck?  Does S.M. Smith ring a bell with anyone?  If you can answer these questions or offer up some ideas, I would love to have you leave a comment.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

1961 Zimmermans

One of my readers provided the following news article (unfortunately blurry) and a picture from the party for the Zimmerman's 50th wedding anniversary.  Their anniversary was May 31, 1961.

Tomorrow's post will show some interesting pictures taken recently of a truck with S.M. Smith, Fowlerville Lumber, etched on the side of it.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

1900 Ora Fowler Grieve and Arthur Fowler

Following are additional photographs of Ora Fowler Grieve.
The first one shows Ora on a Fowlerville farm team.  He is the third from the right.
The next picture has been estimated to have been taken around 1895, and is probably the wedding picture for Arthur and Hattie Fowler. 
This last picture shows Ora Fowler in later years.  He passed away in 1968.  

Monday, September 10, 2012

1935 Ora Fowler

One of the e-mails I've received brought forth three great pictures.  The first one is of Mrs. Charles Fowler.  She was Helen E. Corbett, married to Charles Fowler and mother to Ora Fowler and Hattie Fowler Grieve.  The second picture shows Ora Fowler and his wife, Dollie McMannus, in 1935.  The third picture shows Hattie Fowler and Arthur Grieve.

I did a quick check on, which is a great site that you don't necessarily need to belong to to get basic information.

I plugged in "Ora Fowler" and the site came up with an 1870 census record information.  In 1870, Ora would have been three years old, born in 1867.  He was the son of Charles and Helen Fowler, ages 32 and 25 respectively.

In the 1880 census, the family consisted of an additional daughter, Harriet (Hattie), born in 1873.

Sunday, September 9, 2012

1961 Eggleston and Langdon

Today's post shows the last little bit of 125th celebration special edition of The Fowlerville Review.  It shows a congratulatory advertisement from Drs. Eggleston and Langdon. 
And now, it is time to move on.  Over the next few weeks, I will be posting updates, passing along information and pictures received through e-mails, and recounting memories offered up from long-time residents.  There won't be any rhyme or reason to the post; they will be in the order as I go through my files and e-mails and post them.