Friday, November 30, 2012

1899 Henry Handy

Handy Township was named after Calvin Handy, one of the early settlers in this area.  In 1899, Henry Handy passed away.  The article from the newspaper follows:
About the only genealogy work I've really done has been for G.L. and Carrie Adams for Through the Eyes of a Country Editor.  But, while researching for that book, whenever my eye would catch something of interest, or an obituary, or a commonly-known name for this area, I would keep track of those articles.

The Handy name caught my eye, but now I'm wondering if anyone would like to fill in the blanks on his genealogy, other than what was mentioned in the article. 

Thursday, November 29, 2012

1900 Automobile Sighting

I got a kick out of the above blurb published in The Fowlerville Review in 1900.  As hardly any of us can imagine, the sight of a car was almost as rare as seeing Halley's Comet.  In the village of Fowlerville, it wouldn't be until 1903-5 before a couple of residents actually owned a car. 
And then, can you visualize, the sight of one of those cars chugging down Grand River avenue amidst horses tethered to the hitching posts or horses pulling buggies and wagons and all being startled by the unusual sound. 
I find it curious, even though we are out in the country somewhat, now it is the rare sight of a horse and rider that draws our attention (and my delight).
As a side note, as I wait for some pictures and information coming my way to post on this site, I am going to randomly grab articles from my over 300-page notebook cataloguing digital pictures of microfilm from the newspapers.  If anyone is interested in a particular subject during the years, in particular, 1874-1929, please feel free to comment or e-mail and I will look to see if I have what you are hoping for. 
In the meantime, don't forget to attend Christmas in the 'Ville, this Saturday, in the downtown area.  I'll be doing the 5K walk/run.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Three Updates

I am discovering I have some wonderful readers that are able to contribute additional information -- and that is great, because it just makes this information website all the better.

Over the last couple of weeks, I have received some e-mails with information on recent posts.

The first update is in regards to my post of October 23, 2012, "1992 Poster Center Top," which you can check out by clicking here.  I posed the question if anyone knew where News and Views was located at that time.  According to one of my readers, they were located on North Second Street, in the two-story house just north of what is now an empty lot at the northeast corner of North Second and East Grand River. As a side note, that empty lot is also the location of the old Spencer House (originally known as the Spencer Exchange) -- feel free to search on either of those names and read some interesting history.

The second update is in regards to a recently posted team pictures showing Charles Gehringer.  The picture was donated to the library by Don Knodle and you can check out the post by clicking here. One of the other players identified in the picture was Howard Canfield.  According to my reader, "he died in 2000 at age 98 and up 'til the end, was driving to Florida for the winter and fishing everyday at his cabin up north in the summer.  A character in the best sense of the word!  He made braided leather key chain fobs, which I still have on my cabin keys."  Thank you, dear reader, for this information.

The last update brought two bits of information.  One reader left a comment -- which I absolutely love when anyone leaves a comment -- which you can read by clicking here.  In addition to Mike G's comment, the following information was sent to me:  "Just cruised thru your blog.  The lettering on the door of the 2nd floor of the Harmon building is Ron Dillingham.  Fred's younger brother.  He started his insurance business there (Steve Horton remembers helping Ron paint the office that lovely shade of green).  When I came here in 1990, Ron had purchased an existing insurance business from Mr. White in Webberville and moved there.  Later in the late 90's, he moved to Tennessee to become an adjuster for the parent company."

Thank you once again to anyone posting comments or passing along information through e-mail.  It may sometimes take me awhile to get these updates on the website, but they will eventually show up!

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

1896 Balloonist

Christmas in the 'Ville has become one of Fowlerville's major events.  There's the 5k walk/run and a 1-mile fun run, stores stay open later, carriage rides, food at the fire hall, and many more fun things -- including the whole day capped off with a parade.  Part of what is quickly becoming a tradition is the arrival of numerous hot-air balloons during the day.  By evening, the balloons are packed away but the baskets, with their flame-throwing ability, are put into exciting use as they are paraded through the downtown area, shooting fire high into the air.

In 1896, long before all of this extraneous fun, hot-air balloons were a huge part of figuring out the flight of humans.  The following article, published in the local newspaper, showed how Prof. C. Bartholomew was working on long-distance abilities of hot-air travel.  The questions I wish could be answered are:  1) was he successful, and 2) did any messages make it back to Jackson?
Out of curiosity, I did a little googling -- you know, type in all the relevant words in, hoping for a hit -- and came up with the following from someone's travel blog:

While in Adelaide the dashing, and daring Professor C. Bartholomew got a chance to perform his aerial act. Dangling from a hot air balloon from a height of approx. 2,000 feet, the one-eyed dare-devil performed on a trapeze that was dangling beneath the balloon. He then leaped from the balloon strapped to a parachute. Unfortunately for the Professor his parachute failed to deploy properly and he slammed into the chimney of a nearby hotel. He unbelievably suffered only minor injuries, but was reluctant to perform for the remainder of the tour.

And, a picture:

And now that you know a little bit about ballooning, be sure to come out with everyone else to Christmas in the 'Ville this Saturday, December 1.

Monday, November 26, 2012

1943 IOOF Certificate

One of my readers sent this certificate to me through e-mail.  Along with this certification of Hugh Palmerton's membership in the Independent Order of Odd-Fellows in 1943, signed by Chris O. Ludtke, he wrote the following:

It appears as the lodge must have paid dad's dues because he would have been in the Army when this was paid.  I remember Chris being our mailman when I was a kid and Bud Douglass took over his route when he retired.

About a month back, I posted some additional information on Chris Ludtke.  If you search on his name, you will find a couple of different posts.

Thank you to my reader for this wonderful bit of history.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Can Someone Help Identify These People?

I recently spent a couple of hours helping a fellow from the Battle Creek area identify family members from days long ago.  He had three portraits labeled with G.D. Trowbridge (photographer) from Fowlerville, Michigan, but unfortunately there was no other information to be gleaned.
I know a few of my readers are well-versed in genealogy and am wondering if someone might have come across these originals portraits with information written on the back.  Or, has anyone ever found portraiture work done by Trowbridge, with a possible list of clients.
If anyone can identify these long-ago residents, please feel free to contact me and I'll pass along the information.

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Squint Shot 112412

As I drove around with my friend, he also pointed out this red quonset hut having been the location for Klein Fertilizers at one time.  Which brings me to reminding everyone that Clayton Klein has published a new book -- My First 90 Years.  I have received my copy and already read it.  It has a wealth of information about this area, wonderful stories, and shows what an incredible life he has led.
Copies of his book are available for purchase at Curtis Grocery and Olden Days.
 One last picture shows where, at one time, there were a couple of spurs off the tracks that may have been used by the Kleins.

Friday, November 23, 2012

Squint Shot 112312

Yesterday's post showed part of the building at the southwest corner so we could talk about the Domestic Pickle Works.  Before my friend -- someone who has known this village intimately for 60 years -- and I continued on in the car, we looked across South Grand Avenue. 

At one time, there was a mirror-image building in the parking lot just south of Aleta's Flower Shoppe.  In the 1960s, Bert Strong had a pool hall in that building.  He also offered duck-pin bowling.

I had never heard of duck pin bowling so I went to trusty-old wikipedia and read up on it.  You can too by clicking here.  I'm thinking it would be fun to have something like this in town now!

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Squint Shot 112212

The following may appear to be a rather strange squint shot but I've offered it up more as a visual location.  Years ago, there used to be a large building in place of this one, part of it used for the Tiedeman hardware store.  At that time, a lean-to type building was on the south side of the large building. 
According to one of my readers, the lean-to at one time housed a satellite operation for the Domestic Pickle Works out of Milford.  Local farmers would be contracted to grow cucumbers and bring them to this location for sorting.  The smaller ones were premium for pickles.
One story offered up concerned a "mooch" coming into the storefront, looking for any handouts.  He was even in the habit of just helping himself.  Well, one time, things went very wrong for him.  He dipped his hand into a bucket of white powder, probably assuming it was powdered sugar, when, in fact, it was alum for pickling.  Can you just imagine the pucker on his face when he crammed a mouthful in!  

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Squint Shot 112112

As I weed through miscellaneous information I've received from various long-time residents, I came across this picture of a yellow cape-cod style home on Power Street.  At one time, this was the home of Louis Hart. 

Mr. Hart had a store just to the east of the Hamilton building (which became part of Ruth's Resale).  He sold shoes along the left (east) side of the storefront and E.P. Carr used the right side of the building (west) for his jewelry business.

Our historical collection has numerous pictures of the Carr family, and sometime in the future, I will post those pictures.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Squint Shot 112012

This wonderful picture shows the R.P. Glover Hardware and Bicycles company.  You can get a better look at it if you step into Olden Days and check out all of the great memoriabilia on the walls. 
Earlier this summer, I had breakfast with a long-time resident.  Once finished, we took a drive through the downtown area and he offered up some great memories for me to post on this website. 
The building where Glover's was located no longer exists, but I took a picture of the lot and barn that now stands on South Ann street.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Squint Shot 111912

Yesterday's post showed the markings for the elevator that can be found at the Niblack Funeral Home.  Today's pictures show some of the old mechanisms which still work beautifully today: 

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Squint Shot 111812

After being at the Harmon building, I drove over to the Niblack Funeral Home, as Scott Niblack had told me about the old elevator in the funeral home.  Years ago, it was moved from the large "pink" stone house located on North Grand avenue across from the fire station.  The house was the Vogt Funeral Home in the early 1900s. 
Today's squint shots show the information stamped into the mechanism.

Doing a little research online, I could find the Sidney Elevator Mfg. Co. listed in a directory-style book on the "Iron Age" as making belt elevators, electric elevators, freight elevators, hand-powered elevators, passenger elevators, and vehicle elevators.  The book was published in New York, May, 1908, by the David Williams Company.  The book was entitled "The Iron Age Directory, A Classified Index of Goods Manufactured by Advertisers in the Iron Age."  You could purchase the book for 25-cents and one copy was sent free to each subscriber of "The Iron Age."

This directory information would fit in with the time-frame of having the elevator in the Vogt Funeral Home.  The wonderful thing, it is sturdy, trustworthy, and still being used to this day.

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Squint Shot 111712

If you check over the last week and a half of squint shots, you will see more shots of interesting things found in the no-longer-used second and third floors of the Harmon building and a part of the basement.
When my fellow explorer and I were on the third floor, he mentioned a Tiffany-style lamp that had been given to him years ago by George Monroe, a member of the International Order of Odd-Fellows.  As we looked to the ceiling of the ballroom, it was conceivable that some of the wires hanging down could have held the following lamp:
Some may know George Monroe.  He is in his 90s and lives on Power Street, just west of where the lumber yard used to be.  I had the fun of sitting and talking with him one day quite a few months ago, when I stopped (on a lark) to introduce myself.  He has a wealth of information and need to "stop on a lark" again real soon.

Friday, November 16, 2012

Squint Shot 111612

Once my fellow explore and I were done checking things out in the basement of the Harmon building, we headed to the main floor to give our thanks to Paul Harmon for him letting us explore to our hearts' content.  While we stood there talking, Paul offered to show us the safe that stands in the reception area -- and has been there since the building was rebuilt in 1892.  
Paul swung the massive door open to show us how think the door and walls are.  On the door, there is a checklist of various inspections done of the safe over the years, most dating to the early 1900s.  
I had to take pictures of two of the bottom-hinged doors found inside the safe.  It was unbelievable how heavy those doors are, made of 1/2-inch metal.  Very impressive. 

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Squint Shot 111512

I have absolutely no idea what we found pasted to one of the walls of the glass-cutting room in the basement of the Harmon building, but I felt it necessary to post these anyhow.  As I zoomed in on the pictures, I could make out at least handwritten notes of Oct. 19, 1897, Dudley, or Oct. 2, 1895, etc.

Anyone's thoughts on what this might have been?

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Squint Shot 111412

The above poster was found in the glass-cutting room in the basement of the Harmon building.  Warp's is still in business -- since 1924 -- and you can find their website by clicking here.  It would appear from their website, their logo has changed in all these years.  The above poster appears to be for 1975; about the time Fred Dillingham had the hardware store in this building.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

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Yesterday's squint shot explained one of the basement rooms of the Harmon building.  These two pictures show how the glass was stored:

Monday, November 12, 2012

Squint Shot 111212

After spending close to an hour on the second and third floors of the Harmon building, my fellow explorer and I headed to the basement.  We explored a little but the most interesting room we went into was one I hadn't ventured into before.  A large pane of glass and door separates this room from the rest of the basement.
As it turned out, this room was used for glass cutting.  Thank goodness for my partner-in-exploration because it had lots of interesting things to check out. 
The following two pictures show a small, low cabinet that may have held items necessary for glass-cutting:

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Squint Shot 111112

While still in the ballroom/meeting hall on the third floor of the Harmon building, formerly used by members of both the International Order of Odd-Fellows and the Masons, I noticed this very funky, crusty jar.  I took pictures and decided I'd be doing more research online to figure out what this "lite-tex buff" paint was all about. 

It would appear lead and color paint was very profitable.  I found the following picture and information online at one website and also you can click here for a wikipedia page:

William C. Boydell Home
4614 Cass Avenue near Wayne State University
and Detroit’s Cultural Center

In 1865, John Boydell founded a paint company in Detroit. His business expanded and his firm developed into a major national supplier of paints, varnishes and oils. As Mr. Boydell aged his sons took over the Boydell Brothers White Lead and Color Company. The firm remained in the hands of the Boydell family until 1959 when it was purchased by a Wyandotte firm.

William C. Boydell served as vice-president and treasurer of the family firm. In the 1890s, he asked Detroit architect, Almon Clother Varney, to design an appropriate home in one of the city’s most prestigious neighborhoods. Varney built a classical Beaux Arts double house using limestone on the lower floor and brick above. As you look at the home pictured above, you not only see the two entryways indicating a double home, but you appreciate the massive size and impressive nature of the house. This is the type of late nineteenth century residence that you might find in some neighborhoods of New York or London.

Architect: Almon Clother Varney
Date of construction: 1895
Architectural style: Beaux Arts
City of Detroit Local Historic District: Not listed
State of Michigan Registry of Historic Sites: Not listed
National Register of Historic Places: #82002892; Listed March 19, 1982
Use in 2005: This may still be used as a residence. It appears to be awaiting refurbishing as the Cass Corridor gradually becomes an attractive location.
Photograph: Ren Farley, May, 2005

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Squint Shot 111012

After my fellow explorer and I checked out the cloak room, we wandered aimlessly through the big ballroom.  Over the years, I've taken a load of pictures of these rooms and you can see them all by using the search box at the upper right hand side of this blog.  You can type in Harmon building or Palmerton building or even Sidell building to see various pictures I've taken.
Two things I never noticed, nor got pictures of, are two pocket doors from the cloak room to the ballroom.  I tentatively opened the closed doors and they both slid like moving your hand over silk cloth -- there was no hesitation, catching, or even sound as the doors easily slid open.  Amazing to me.  After all these years, the craftsmanship of creating these two pocket doors shone through.  The only other time I've come across pocket doors like these are the ones found in the old Nellie Glenn house (make use of the search box to check out those squint shots). 
The picture above was taken without the flash, but I used the flash to show the following hardware for the doors:

Friday, November 9, 2012

Squint Shot 110912

After checking out most everything on the second floor of the Harmon building, my fellow explorer and I climbed the massive stairway to the third floor; the location where members of the International Order of Odd-Fellows and members of the Masons would meet.

We wandered from room to room and I found more things to take pictures of which I had missed in previous visits.  In the cloakroom, we found this box cover. 

My curiosity got the better of me and I did some research online.  I came across the following recap from one website for Frank Henderson:

Frank Henderson was selling and/or making swords, regalia and military goods from 1850 until his death in 1899 and his company, Henderson-Ames co continuing until 1923. From 1850 to 1871 he operated his business under his name, Frank Henderson, in Kalamazoo MI. In 1871, Henderson formed a partnership with Theron F. Giddings and started the Henderson & Giddings co. This only lasted until 1873 when the name was changed back to Frank Henderson. From 1873 to 1893 Henerson put out catalogs selling fraternal goods and began selling as an agent for the Ames Sword co. In 1893, Henderson consolidated his regalia company with the Chicago based branch of the Ames Sword Co. forming the Henderson Ames Co. In 1894, Henderson bought the Detroit regalia factory of E. A. Armstrong, including sword plant, stock, tools, machinery, furniture and fixtures. When Henderson died in 1899, his firm continued in business until it was purchased and dissolved by M. C. Lilley Co. in 1923.

So it would appear this box top has sat on the third floor, preserved, since as long ago as 1923.

I also found the following picture (taken in 2011) of the house/castle built by Mr. Henderson, located in Kalamazoo:
You can read more on the house and the Hendersons by clicking here, which will take you to a wikipedia page -- interesting read!

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Squint Shot 110812

My fellow explorer and I were on the second floor of the Harmon building a few weeks back.  If you have read this blog for very long, you probably have recognized I'm somewhat fascinated with this building rebuilt in 1892 after a devastating fire that burned all of the wooden buildings in the northeast quadrant, ultimately leaping over North Grand River and destroying this building.
The second and third floors are time capsules of days gone by when doctors and lawyers and dentists filled the second floor, and members of the International Order of Odd-Fellows would hold monthly meetings.  Those activities were years and years ago.
In the not-to-distant past -- 1980s -- Fred Dillingham used the first floor for his hardware store.  He may have also used the north portion of the second floor for some items.  In the floor, the following two pictures show a trap door:

This picture shows a massive hook in the ceiling directly above the trap door:

And, this picture shows what was possibly the platform used to lift items from the first floor through the trap door, with a chain/possibly pulley system attached to the hook in the ceiling to the round top of the metal braces.
It would be totally wonderful if anyone remembers this and could either confirm our assumptions or correct it -- I would put an update on the article.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Squint Shot 110712

Over the next few days, I am going to post pictures from the Harmon building.  It seems I happen to explore the second and third floors as well as the basement just about once a year!  This time, it was with one of my readers who is quite interested in history and very curious about this building.  Through his eyes, I took a few pictures of things I had never noticed before.

The above picture shows parts of a name clued to one of the doors on the second floor where there are offices that were used by physicians, dentists, and lawyers.  My fellow explorer mentioned this name (Ron? or Rod? Dillingham) and what he did (insurance?), but unfortunately I didn't take notes.  If he would e-mail me, I will update this post.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

1910 Illinois Tractor

Although this is not Fowlerville, or even Michigan, history, I thought I would post the following picture and explanation of a photograph of an Illinois tractor provided to the library by Don Knodle.  I have to believe something very similar to this type of machinery would have been used in this area.

Monday, November 5, 2012

1919 Charles Gehringer Team Photo

The same day that I was at the library, with Cheryl Poch giving me the 1992 advertisement poster (see previous ~15 posts), she also showed me a couple of contributions from Don Knodle, a Fowlerville schools retired teacher.  I believe both pictures will be freshly framed and hung somewhere in the library at a later date.  For now, though, I figured I would place these on the website.
Mr. Knodle contributed a Ford baseball team picture showing Charles Gehringer with his teammates. 
On the back of the photograph, someone had fortunately written the line-up of names and the players' positions.

For anyone researching family histories, I am going to list the names to help in searching this site.  They are:
~~Ora Atkins, 3rd base,
~~Howard Canfield, left field,
~~Duris, first base,
~~Floyd Barley, center,
~~Cocky VanBuren, shortstop,
~~Clay Nichols, score keeper,
~~Jeffrey, right field,
~~Charles Gehringer, pitcher,
~~Glen Sopp, second base and captain, and
~~George Hart, catcher.
Along with the above information, Mr. Knodle provided the following:

Tomorrow's post will be of a photograph of a 1910 tractor Mr. Knodle offered.
As a bit of a sidelight, I would like to explain how all of this information ends up on the website.  I use my trusty digital camera.  When someone contacts me or I come across a piece of Fowlerville history, I take lots of pictures.  Never do I want to have these treasures in my position (unless of course they are donated to the historical collection, which then they go directly to the village hall for safe keeping).  If you or someone you know have items that could be of historical significance, please feel free to contact me through the website or by leaving a comment, and let's get these items preserved for others to enjoy -- either through digital pictures or as part of the collection. 
In less than 25 years, Fowlerville will be celebrating the 200th anniversary of the arrival of Ralph Fowler and wouldn't it be great to have more memoriabilia than one committee knows what to do with it!