Saturday, March 31, 2012

Squint Shot 033112

Today's squint shot is kind of a bridge to some different pictures I'll be showcasing for the next couple of weeks. But first, this picture . . . A few weeks back, Richard Hutchins had an article in News and Views regarding Calvin Lockwood. Mention was made of Cal's Club, a men's club that met possibly weekly, but definitely at least once a month, during the late 1800s. This house was the location of Cal's restaurant, just north of the railroad tracks on the west side of South Grand avenue.

There were articles in the old Fowlerville Review of the meetings, although not much was mentioned of what was discussed. From all appearances, this was just a casual, social get-together of the merchants in town. When the building wasn't being used for these meetings, it was a restaurant that saw its share of travelers, as the train would stop at the Pere Marquette, and for locals looking for a meal. It also saw its share of small fires -- one such instance was noted in the newspaper when a fire was discovered on the south side of the restaurant, possibly ignited from sparks from the train as one traveled past.

It has been mentioned to me that a few years ago this house was being remodeled and huge, thick white oak beams and planks could be seen before the siding was replaced. Maybe that is part of the reason this house still stands.

And now the reason I mentioned this is a "bridge" to different photographs. Over the next couple of weeks, I will be showing some memoriabilia that some local residents have offered up to me for my picture-taking. I am always pleased when someone finds me and let's me know they've got something from days-gone-by of Fowlerville.

Friday, March 30, 2012

Squint Shot 033012

The last few squint shots taken in the basement of the drug store are of a shelf full of old books. My fingers itched to get into these books, and maybe some day I will. For now, just check out the titles.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Squint Shot 032912

For historic reasons, these empty bottles have been retained. Wouldn't it be great to get some of these for a display?

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Squint Shot 032812

Before we headed back upstairs from the basement of the drug store, there are a few more days' worth of pictures -- this one a funky, old window at the north wall. It is completely blocked in but the window remains. Could this even have been part of the coal shoot?

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

2011 New Covenant Brethren Church Fire

Monday morning, March 26, a fire was discovered in the New Covenant Brethren Church on North Stow Road. Before firefighters could arrive, the building was nearly engulfed in flames.
It would appear it is a total loss for this small congregation. You can read more by clicking here.
We have driven by this church only a few times and my thought had always been of what a quaint little church out in the country. And, how wonderful it has been maintained so beautifully. For partially those reasons, I headed there to see the damage. Following are some pictures as the sun was rising in the east:
Once I got home, I looked through all of my catalogued research and found the following two articles that had been published in The Fowlerville Review in early 1888, when the church was dedicated:

Squint Shot 032712

Check back to yesterday's squint shot -- and then come back to this one. This is the bottom of the door opening that has been blocked with wood. The more I ponder this, the more I would like to go back to check out what is behind the wood. I wonder if they will let me!

Monday, March 26, 2012

Squint Shot 032612

A couple days ago, a squint shot showed a door in the south wall of the basement of the drug store. As we wandered through the basement, another door can be found just to the west of the one earlier photographed. This one has a lock on it but the door stood slightly ajar. I didn't feel that I could open the door, but the employee I was with did. She pulled it open . . .. . . and we found more wood. So then, of course, we couldn't see what was truly behind this door. Whatever this area was used for -- being a former tunnel or closet -- we will not know at this point.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Squint Shot 032512

A couple days ago, I showed a door in the south wall of the basement of the drug store storefront. Some may have thought it was a former coal shute, but one of the employees wandering through the basement with me, showed me where the coal shute was. It is all blocked in but evidence of it and the box where the coal would fall into is still at the north wall of the basement. Following are a couple of squint shots:

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Squint Shot 032412

Before we move onto another doorway in the basement of the Fowlerville Pharmacy drug store, here's a nice shot of one of the Michigan stone basement walls. There's just a myriad of colors in these old rocks and I'm glad, over the years, someone hasn't had the bright idea of painting over these different hues.

Friday, March 23, 2012

Squint Shot 032312

After photographing a door in the east wall of the basement of the drug store, I turned toward the south wall. The ceiling is braced and this door was locked, but my thoughts were stretching overtime. If I can offer up some interesting rumors. A few residents have mentioned they have heard of a tunnel that used to be under Grand River avenue, connecting some of the storefronts from the northeast quadrant to the southeast block. There has never been any reference made to what era, and I've not come across anything about tunnels when Grand River was paved in 1924. But . . . the rumors are there and now there are doors in basement walls that give some credence. Especially once you check out the next few days of squint shots.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Squint Shot 032212

On a whim, I stopped by the Fowlerville Pharmacy, knowing it has continuously been the location of a drug store over 130 years, with a thought in mind. What would the basement look like? A few days back, I showed some pictures of the basement of the Edward Jones building, two doors west of this storefront. Would this one look similar? The answer is sort-of-kind-of yes. The floor is crude, some of it dirt, some areas rock or concrete. Also, it is a Michigan stone basement.
With my camera at the ready, I snapped a picture of this door on the east wall that may have, at one point, connected this basement to the storefront to the east. Would have loved to investigate further, but didn't -- maybe at some point and we'll be back to this door.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Squint Shot 032112

One last parting shot before I left the third floor of the Harmon building. Between the meeting room and the coat room this stove pipe hole can be seen. It is nearly up to the ceiling and I have to wonder what the pipes would have looked like from one room to the next. Tomorrow's squint shot will start a series of interesting pictures in the basement of one of the oldest buildings in the village.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Squint Shot 032012

A couple more pictures in the Harmon building's third floor and then we are going to head to another basement. Today's squint shot shows what the old draperies looked like on at least a couple of the windows on the north side of the third floor. They are faded and dusty but continue to be a part of what the meeting rooms looked like during the days of the Masons and the I.O.O.F.

Monday, March 19, 2012

Squint Shot 031912

The day I headed up to the third floor of the Harmon building to photograph contents in the suitcase, it was sunny but very cold outside. The contrast between the blue sky and the old windows and brick caught my attention so I snapped a couple more pictures.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Squint Shot 031812

I've gotten other pictures of wallpaper in the Harmon building's top floors, but they were usually falling off the walls, with the glue having dried and become ineffective. I happened along this piece of old wallpaper still in fairly good condition. It is on the third floor in one of the rooms used by the Masons years ago.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Squint Shot 031712

Well, since I was wondering around the third floor of the Harmon building (again), I thought I would make sure I hadn't missed anything of interest (well, at least to me and hopefully you). After checking out the suitcase, I looked up at an old hinge on a door that swings both into a hallway and then can swing all the way into a room that may have served as a kitchen. Both the hinge and wood were smooth to the touch.

Friday, March 16, 2012

Squint Shot 031612

Surprise, surprise . . . we are back in the Harmon building for a few squint shots. I had been looking through some pictures I took and noticed something I wanted to investigate further. Remember the suitcase on the third floor? As I was looking closer, I noticed what looked like a glove, making me wonder if that suitcase was owned by a girl. I headed back upstairs, with my flashlight and camera in hand. I pulled out the glove and a broken comb -- oh, I wish we could figure out who this belonged to. I checked over the suitcase inside and out, with no luck. Oh well . . .

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Squint Shot 031512

We ascended (Steve and I) the steps from the basement of the Edward Jones storefront and I noticed how this slat wall had been left exposed. I asked Steve about it and he commented it had been left that way on purpose to show what is behind the drywall. It is crude and very rough to the touch, and it makes me wonder what so many of these stores looked like years earlier. Were these walls exposed or covered?

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Squint Shot 031412

As Steve MacDermaid (of Edward Jones fame) and I headed back up the stairs, after exploring the small, dirt-floor basement of that storefront, I noticed a piece of wood with some old-fashioned style wallpaper stuck to it. It really doesn't pertain to anything particular to Fowlerville, but wouldn't it just be cool if some of the storefronts could remodel the insides of the buildings similar to this to match the outside? There is so much potential to make the downtown a "step-back-in-time" and really play up the longevity of this village.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Through the Eyes of a Country Editor

The manuscript has been shipped off to the publisher for Through the Eyes of a Country Editor, the Life and Writings of G.L. Adams, Publisher and Editor of the Fowlerville Review from 1874-1929.

I am so very excited! I hope to have copies available sometime around the end of April/early May. The book is 300 pages, chockful of genealogy, his opinions, history, and pictures. The book will be the same size as The Fowlerville Chronicles, and is set up similarly so they can be read in tandem.

Watch for future updates!

Squint Shot 031312

Today's squint shot will be a little bit of a step back in time -- not as far back as we've been going lately. Before 1997, Shear Image was located where Edward Jones Investments is now housed. When they moved their operation across the street to where they are currently located, Odyssey Family Fun Center opened up. You could head in there to play a game of pool or billiards, check out pinball machines, and probably even get goodies from a vending machine. This sign is in the basement of that storefront.
After Odyssey closed, J.R. Computer Service opened up and was there for just a couple of years before Edward Jones decided that was the perfect location for them.

I'm curious if anyone ever hung out in Odyssey -- your comments, please.

Monday, March 12, 2012

Squint Shot 031212

As I continued wandering through the basement under the Edward Jones building, these supports caught my eye. They are pretty much nothing more than logs with the bark shaved off. There isn't much in this basement and it looks dry. As I've done research, though, I have come across information of when these basements were filled with two to three feet of water. A spring torrential rain in the early 1910s caused the Cedar River and the stream that used to run behind where the library is now located to overflow and water was running through the downtown as if it was a river. If you look at the stones beyond the posts, you can see moisture discoloration giving credence to the fact there has been water in these basements.

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Squint Shot 031112

And now, we are onto something new (or old) and curious. The next few days we will explore the basements of two storefronts in the northeast quadrant. Okay, just try not to think of me as weird. It is just that basements can tell a story as much as the upper floor of some of the older buildings. All are a step-back-in-time as many of the basements and upper floors are barely being used.

Today, and for the next few days, there will be pictures of the dirt-floored basement below the Edward Jones offices. It is a Michigan stone basement, most of the large stones being various shades of grey. This particular squint shot is in the southwest corner of the basement where a coal shute was formerly located. Plywood and pieces of wood block the old opening.

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Squint Shot 031012

As mentioned in yesterday's squint shot, here is the east exposure of the two-story house just east of Citizens Bank, which very well may be the other portion of the house that formerly stood at the southwest corner of East Grand River and Second. If you look back over the last couple of days, you will see a surveyor's map that shows the house had two portions, perpendicular to each other. Since talking with the owner of this house and him letting me know he was given the story about this having been located in the downtown area, now I can rarely drive by it without wondering the same thing.

Friday, March 9, 2012

Squint Shot 030912

If you look back at yesterday's squint shot, you can read about the supposition that this house, just east of Citizens Bank on West Grand River avenue, may be a portion of the old Defendorf house that used to be located at the southwest corner of South Second street and East Grand River avenue. The most well-known portion was moved to 701 East Grand River.
The owners of the house at 701 have been curious and have looked closely at this house -- the sizes of windows, spread between the windows, and doors or lack of doors. Tomorrow's picture will show the east exposure.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Squint Shot 030812

And now onto something very curious and quite interesting. If you look back over the last couple of weeks, you will see various squint shots I took of the large, white house at 701 East Grand River avenue. As I spent time with the owner of the house, she had heard that this house, moved from the southwest corner of South Second street and East Grand River avenue in the 1930s was only part of the house that was moved. As reported earlier, a small portion of the house, which was used as an office by Dr. Byron Defendorf, was relocated to 235 South Collins street. But given that information that maybe a third portion of the house was moved, I looked back at a 1922 surveyor's map before the house was moved.
It would appear the surveyed shape of the house was two rectangular pieces -- one of them standing at the 701 address we've been looking at, and the other (and this is interesting), the house just east of Citizens Bank. I had an opportunity to go into this house, which has recently changed hands, and much of the inside is being remodeled. The new owner showed me the following vertical beam in the kitchen area. Even though there is no paint on it, does it remind you of the beams we looked at in the 701 house? In conversation with the new owner, he was told this was part of a house that was considered the oldest house in the village that had been moved from the downtown area years ago. Gives credence to the fact this may well be the other rectangular part of the old Defendorf house.

Does anyone have additional information?

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Squint Shot 030712

As I started to climb back into my truck to head on into my day, I had to take one parting shot. This old -- maybe a school bell, maybe a dinner bell -- caught my eye. I had never noticed it as many times as I've driven by the big white house on East Grand River avenue, but now I know I will. This bell is attached at the front peak of the garage on the west side of the house. Imagine the years it took to get the patena the color it is on that bell!

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Squint Shot 030612

A few more shots of the porch at 701 East Grand River avenue, and then we move on to different locations. Following is a close up of the knotty wood that makes up the porch flooring. It, the same as the trim around the door and windows, has layers and layers of paint covering the wood. Interesting, though to me, how the grain still shows through. I sometimes start to think my squint shots take on a slightly oddball view of the items in and around Fowlerville, but I just figure it is all worth preserving in picture!

Monday, March 5, 2012

Squint Shot 030512

After yesterday's squint shot, I pointed my camera downward and snapped this picture of more trim on the porch of the house at 701 East Grand River. It is interesting trim but definitely not precise, reinforcing my thoughts this was hand-hewn. Your thoughts?

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Squint Shot 030412

As with yesterday's squint shot, layers of paint can be seen as they rippled over time. This detailing is in the upper right hand corner of the porch on the house on East Grand River avenue. Since it is estimated this house was built around 1855, we can be fairly certain this wood was hand-carved.

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Squint Shot 030312

I took a few more exterior shots before leaving the large white house on East Grand River avenue -- the following is above the front door, tucked under the porch roof. The paint is crackled and wavy, giving it the true look of the age of this house. There may be layers and layers of paint on this wood, giving it a very unique look.

Friday, March 2, 2012

Squint Shot 030212

A bird's nest -- that is today's squint shot. As I looked around, up and down, and closer to the front porch of the house we've toured the last couple of weeks, I noticed this bird's nest tucked above one of the pillars. Made me wonder how many bird's nests may have been built in the trim of this house over the years.
By 1910, Dr. Defendorf and his wife were moving and it was reported in the local newspaper as:

Dr. B. Defendorf has purchased a good brick residence in Chelsea and will move to that place in the near future. The doctor has lived here for over 40 years and Fowerville will hardly seem the same with himself and wife gone from our midst.

When Dr. Defendorf left the village, after arriving 47 years earlier in 1863, the house we've been looking at still stood at the southwest corner of East Grand River and South Second.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Squint Shot 030112

As we look at the second floor front part of the house at 701 East Grand River, I went looking for more Defendorf information and came across the wedding article for Grace Defendorf, whom was mentioned yesterday, published in the local paper in 1900. She was one of two daughters of Dr. Byron Defendorf. It follows:
Cambell-Defendorf~~Dr. Perry Cambell of Ionia, and Grace A. Defendorf of this place, were quietly married in the presence of the immediate relatives and a few invited friends at the home of the bride's parents, Mr. and Mrs. Dr. Defendorf on Wednesday at four o'clock p.m. the Rev. J.E. Ryerson performing the ceremony.

Elegant refreshments were served and the occasion was a very enjoyable one to all present. They were the recipients of some very useful and valuable presents in which was manifest the warm place the worthy couple occupy in the esteem of their friends. Dr. Cambell has a fine business at Ionia where he enjoys a liberal patronage and the respect of his professional associates and the entire community in which he lives. The bride is one of our accomplished and esteemed young ladies. For years she has been one of the prominent and faithful workers in the M.E. church, Sunday school and Epworth league. She possesses a musical ability that has been fully appreciated by the church in her services in the choir, both as organist and vocalist. She served the Sunday school very ably both as organist and secretary and she will be greatly missed from the social circles of the church and village and all will unite in extending their best wishes for the future prosperity and happiness of the happy couple in their new home at Ionia, where they will make their future life.