Friday, March 31, 2017

1936 Centennial Park Part 2

A couple days, an article showed the schedule and some information for the dedication of the land behind the library, to be known as "Centennial Field."  The following article, found in the November 11, 1936, issue of "The Fowlerville Review," spoke of the celebration:

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

1936 Centennial Field

Some still call the park behind the library "Centennial Field," although in 1998 it became Centennial Park.  In 1936, the land was dedicated by the Board of Education for use in sporting events, etc.  Following is the article found in the November 4, 1936, issue of "The Fowlerville Review."  

The next post will show more information.

Monday, March 27, 2017

1883 Judd Horses Loose!

And now, like a time traveler, we have gone back to 1883, the early days of Fowlerville when horses, carriages, and buggies crowded the dirt roads in the downtown area.  

A couple days ago, an article showed 1953 and the opening of a gas station at the corner of Ann Street and Grand River.  Today's article, from a very early issue of "The Fowlerville Review" in 1883, the horses and wagon belonging to Seth Judd ended up on the north side of Ann Street.  
The tree the horses ran into may well have been apple since Ralph Fowler had an orchard along in this area.

Saturday, March 25, 2017

1952 Gulf Gas Station

Well, we are back in 1952 Fowlerville, long before I96 was constructed, making Grand River Avenue the main thoroughfare between Lansing and Detroit.  I96 was proposed in 1958 and finished by 1962.  So, ten years earlier, the Gulf gas station was opened up at the southeast corner of Ann Street and Grand River.  Following is the article announcing the "formal" opening, found in the October 8, 1952 issue of "The Fowlerville Review:" 
If you happen to park across the street, in what some call the DDA lot, and look over at that corner, you can still see the outline of the building.  It has been resided and all windows taken out (as well as the pumps), but the building is still there.  I believe it has been incorporated into the automotive service building it is attached to.

Thursday, March 23, 2017

1971 Hair Salons

I love to randomly pull up issues of "The Review" (1972-1984) and "The Fowlerville Review" (1874-1971), do a bit of scrolling, and then clip out an article, advertisement, or compilation of local news.  In a 1971 issue, I came across this ad.

Would love to hear from anyone knowing of any of these salons and where they were located.

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

1928 Local News

The editor of the local newspaper, G.L. Adams, was truly a gossip -- in a good way.  Today we have social media to keep us informed of what our friends and neighbors are doing.  Local residents received the paper once a week for that kind of information.

Here's a section from the June 20, 1928, issue of "The Fowlerville Review:"
Part of the reason this caught my eye was due to the fact I've been doing a little research for one of my readers on N.P. Jensen, a local photographer.  His name leaped off the page -- "Have your Kodak films developed and printed in Jensen's Studio."

When I was doing research for my novel, "Tilly Loves Johnny," I needed a photographer.  Mr. Jensen became my main man!  I've even included him in my third novel, a work-in-progress at the moment.

Another reason I like to post this local news is for the names you can read about.  So m any of them become like old friends.  While I was researching for Fowlerville, I felt like George L. Adams became my "invisible" friend.  I would have loved to have met him.  I have noticed a comment by one of my readers that he might be a great-grandson.  I would so love to have you contact me through this blog.  :)

Sunday, March 19, 2017

1928 New Lutheran Church

Back to our regularly-scheduled local information!  I just got myself stuck in 1928 and over the next couple of days, there will be some posts during that time period.  

The following article, found in "The Fowlerville Review," June, 1928, reports the old Lutheran Church building being razed and gives a bit of history.  In 1909, a "cyclone" came through Fowlerville, overturning the Rounsville grain elevator as well as destroying the St. Agnes Catholic church, when it was located on Maple.  It appears it had also done damage to the Lutheran building.

The tornado, as we would call it today, followed the railroad tracks over South Grand, eventually turning northeast into town, before traveling eastward and disappearing.

In 1928, the known Opera House was located above the current-day Olden Days restaurant (one half) and the other half above Maria's School of Dance.  As you face the restaurant, there is a wooden door to the left, where a narrow staircase leads up to the second floor.

In my novel, "Juniper and Anise," a temperance meeting is held in the old opera house and, at the podium, is Ida B. Wise, the leader of the movement in the midwest area.  Some loved her while others didn't, including a few that threw ripe tomatoes at her!

Friday, March 17, 2017

2017 Secondary Characters

Thought I'd do a little self-promotion today.  It all goes along with Fowlerville, though.

When I was doing the research for "The Fowlerville Chronicles" and "Through the Eyes of a Country Editor," I used much of what I learned to write my two historical fiction novels (a third one is in the works).  I changed the name of the town to Cedartown but it certainly looks a lot like Fowlerville in the early 1900s!

So, promoting my books on social media takes quite a bit of extra work.  Basically, books don't just sell themselves as there are so many out there.  To that end, I do a great many blog posts for other bloggers.  My latest for my two books can be found by clicking here.

I wrote about my favorite secondary characters -- Izzy in "Juniper and Anise" and Rita Mae in "Tilly Loves Johnny."

If you are interested in purchasing my books, you can head to my website or search on Amazon for both the ebook format or paperbacks.  They are fun reads involving hooch, rumrunners, bootlegging, blind pigs, and a ton of other stuff.

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

1953 Orr Theatre

The old newspapers for Fowlerville are an absolute wealth of information and, to be quite honest, fun to browse and getting lost looking back through all this history.  Today I was looking at some of the movies advertised as showing at the Orr Theatre in 1953.  I found this ad in "The Fowlerville Review," along with a ton of other ads for new cars, furnaces, clothing, farming equipment, groceries.  You name it, there was an advertisement.  Does anyone remember the Orr Theatre and/or seeing these movies?
As I've mentioned before, feel free to email me or leave a comment if you are looking for something in particular.  At the moment, I'm also doing some research on early photographers in Fowlerville -- around 1900-1930.

Sunday, March 12, 2017

1900 Nicholson Shooting

We were on the road for a couple of weeks so I was unable to post any new articles.  One of our stops along the way included a tour of the Ohio State Reformatory in Mansfield, Ohio.  The location for the filming of "Shawshank Redemption," starring Tim Robbins and Morgan Freeman, filmed in 1993.  

The reason I bring this up is because of anecdotal stories we heard during the tour.  One in particular of how the wife of the last warden and his family to live at the prison residence.  She was shot in the stomach by a rifle, as it supposedly fell off a shelf and fired, killing her.  It could never be proved whether it was an accident, intentional by her husband, or suicide by her.  

So now, as I'm browsing through some articles in "The Fowlerville Review," dated October 19, 1900, I happened up the following article.  This one does appear to be an accident but I'm prone to wonder how often things like this happened over the years.
By the way, if you ever get anywhere close to Mansfield, Ohio, I highly recommend your heading to the Ohio State Reformatory.  You can choose either a guided tour or a self-guided one (which we took).  After seeing all there is, we came away so very thankful for so much.  Following are a few pictures from our tour:

~~The centerfront of this massive reformatory, formerly used to house up to 1900 inmates.

~~A shot of the stairway heading up to the warden's living quarters.  I'm pretty sure the light flare at the bottom of the staircase is an "orb" -- they say the place is haunted!
~~The west cells, the first to be built between 1886 and 1896.
 ~~The east cells, built a few years later, with caging bars closing in all six floors of cells so inmates would not jump or be pushed to their death to the concrete floor below.
~~The shower room, which the inmates dubbed "the carwash" as they'd walk down the line of the piping, letting the water spray over them.
~~The chapel, where every Sunday all 1900 inmates were filed into this room for their weekly dose of reforming.  Now the place is overrun with pigeons!

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

1884 Fowlerville Cornet Band

The cast of characters:

James G. Blaine (from Wikipedia) was "an American Statesman and Republican politician who represented Maine in the U.S. House of Representatives from 1863 to 1876, serving as Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives from 1869 to 1875," and etc. and in 1884 was nominated by the Republican party to run for President, ultimately defeated by Democrat Grover Cleveland in the election.

John C. Fremont had a huge life, which you can read all about here.  After this stop in Fowlerville, he lived six more years and died quite suddenly from a case of peritonitis (abdominal infection).

General Russell A. Alger was just plain rich, being "an army officer, financier, lumber baron, railroad owner" and holding high government offices, according to Wikipedia.  Supposedly, he was a distant relation to author Horatio Alger.  A bit of trivia -- Alger County in Michigan is named at the general.
Quite a group stopping by Fowlerville and being serenaded by the Fowlerville Cornet Band.

Note:  All information on the three men was found at