December 23, 2013
Much like Uncle Drew, Old Man Winter brought his A-game over the weekend, creating havoc across much of the state. The Freep reports that this weekend’s ice storm knocked out power for over 300,000 people. An interesting fact I learned from the article is that a quarter of an inch of ice is the equivalent of 500 pounds of weight on a span of power line. WLNS adds that thousands of people might be out of power through Christmas – here’s hoping that’s wrong!
The MotorCities National Heritage Area is holding a Sweepstakes on Facebook. The Grand Prize is an Autopalooza Gift Basket that includes a $50 BP Gas Card, MotorCities 1-year Membership, National Park Passport Stamp Book, Henry Ford 150 Celebration Mug, Ford Piquette Avenue T-Shirt, 2013 Cruisin’ Hines T-Shirt, 2013 Clinton Twp. Gratiot Cruise T-Shirt, 2013 Woodward Dream Cruise Calendar, Free Admission passes to The Henry Ford Museum, R.E. Olds Museum, Ford Piquette Avenue Plant, Gilmore Car Museum Edsel & Eleanor Ford House and more! 2 baskets will be raffled off, one at the Concours d’Elegance on July 28, 2013 and the other at the Orphan Car Show on September 22, 2013.
The Museum has thousands of irreplaceable items in the archives along with 52 vehicles that range from 1886 through 2003. It is dedicated to Ransom Eli Olds, inventor, entrepreneur, and financier, and one of Lansing’s most notable automotive leaders. He created the principle of the assembly line in the automobile industry and founded two local automobile companies: Olds Motor Works (1897) and REO Motor Car Company (1904).
…The Museum exhibits a significant collection of automobiles, engines, and other materials significant to the transportation history of Lansing, the region, the state and the nation. The R.E. Olds Transportation Museum and the Bates and Edmonds Engine Company offices are resources within the Lansing Stewardship Community of Motor-Cities-National Heritage Area, a cultural heritage area and affiliate of the National Parks Service.
More Michigan museums on Michigan in Pictures!
September 17, 2011
The other day I came across a new website called WhatWasThere. This innovative project ties historical photos to Google Maps and Google street views so you can see what was there. You can browse around a map, zooming in and out and then click on photos. The site lays them over the Google street view and lets you fade the old photo to reveal what’s there now!
Unsurprisingly, Detroit has the best coverage so far, and it’s pretty cool to see how sites like Woodward Ave looking north at Jefferson (location of the Spirit of Detroit) or Griswold Street have changed. Water Winter Wonderland (a cool site in its own right) has a sweet shot of the interior of the Princess and says that the Princess Theatre was shuttered in 1922 and located at 520 Woodward. That’s the present site of the old Comerica Bank HQ. At another of my favorite sites for old photos, Shorpy, you can get this photo bigger and even buy a print!
Here’s the link to WhatWasThere for Michigan. There’s not a whole lot of photos to be found (yet) outside Detroit, but one of the coolest things is that you can add your own historical photos, so the site is only going to get better. There are some definite gems though – be sure to check out Grand Rapids City Hall, the seriously cool looking Lansing Masonic Temple at the site of Cooley Law School and the not very much changed Front St in Marquette. A surprising hot spot is Port Huron – check out Sperry’s Department Store to get going.
January 26, 2011
January 26, 2011 is Michigan’s 174th Birthday. You can learn about Michigan’s rough & rocky road to Statehood on Absolute Michigan.
Check this out bigger in Ariniko’s Lansing slideshow and here’s hoping you find something about Michigan to celebrate today!!
PS: Also check out her City Saunter project to walk every street in Lansing!
December 7, 2010
Last week on Absolute Michigan we had a story about Lansing being named the Next American City. The article by Ivy Hughes in Next American City is titled Lansing: There’s No Place We’d Rather Be and might change your view of Michigan’s changing capital city. I had selected this photo for a quick link over to the article because I have always thought the building is neat. I soon learned that the long vacant Knapp’s Office Centre building is being renovated, another tangible sign of the new energy that is rising in Lansing.
Wikipedia’s J.W. Knapp Company Building entry says:
The J.W. Knapp Company Building is a historic five-story, 190,000-square-foot (18,000 m2) Streamline Moderne building in Lansing, Michigan, United States. Designed by Orlie Munson of the Bowd–Munson Company, which also designed several other Art Deco landmarks in Lansing, including the Ottawa Street Power Station, it was constructed by the Christman Company in 1937 through 1938. The curvilinear look of the streamlined structure comes from huge plates of concrete faced with enamel, called “Maul Macotta”, a copyrighted product of the Maul Macotta Company and prismatic glass brick windows. Alternating horizontal bands of yellow macotta and glass block are interrupted by vertical blue macotta pylons, rising from the building’s four principal entrances. The pylons are pierced by windows. The entrance portals, display window aprons, and decorative banding are dark blue macotta. Red, yellow and blue spandrels, incorporating the letter “K” as a design element, decorate the entrance portals
The building housed the main department store of the Lansing-based J.W. Knapp Company. When completed in 1939, it was hailed in the contemporary press as “the most modern building in the Midwest”. Today, it is considered to be one of the finest intact examples of Streamline Art Moderne commercial buildings in the Midwest, notable for its size, clarity of design and brilliant colors.
Don’t miss this great set of Historic photos of J.W. Knapps Building in the Lansing State Journal.
June 7, 2010
Packard Factory, Detroit, 1910, courtesy of the National Automotive History Collection, Detroit Public Library
The Michigan Radio Picture Project has a new feature titled Michigan’s Automobile Factories, 1900-1961 edited by Doug Aikenhea. It’s a fantastic tour through Michigan’s automobile heritage, that takes you from hand-built wooden auto bodies to sheet metal & assembly lines. It features well known factories in Detroit, Flint & Lansing like Ford, Buick and Chrysler along with lesser known ones such as Durant-Dort, Fisher, Chalmers & Maxwell. They write:
The industrial adventurers and entrepreneurs who launched Michigan’s automobile industry came from various backgrounds. Some of them began as carriage makers, like William C. Durant who would go on to found General Motors in 1908. The earliest automobiles, like their horse-drawn predecessors, were constructed largely from wood and were built individually until the assembly line evolved to accelerate production and incorporate standardized, mass-produced parts. As automobile manufacturing progressed, the role of the worker changed from traditional craftsman to skilled assembly line specialist. This series of historical photographs traces the evolution of Michigan automobile factories from 1900 until 1961.
Click through for more!
Yesterday (March 26th), former Michigan Governor William G. Milliken turned 88. I bumped into him a few weeks ago and he seemed in great health, so hopefully he has many more coming.
Several years ago, in The Very Best People in the Northern Express, Robert Downes wrote:
Raised on Washington Street in Traverse City, Bill Milliken was the longest-serving governor in the state’s history, occupying the office from 1969 to 1983.
Gov. Milliken is an honest-to-gosh war hero: He flew 50 combat missions in WWII as a waist-gunner in a B-24. He survived two crash landings; received a flak stomach wound on one mission; and once had to bail out in Italy when his plane ran out of fuel 50 miles from its base. He received seven medals for his service, according to “The Milliken Years” by Joyce Braithwaite and George Weeks.
Still considered one of the leaders of the moderate wing of the Republican Party, Governor Milliken’s administration saw many advancements in civil rights and environmental protections. The governor signed Michigan’s landmark bottle deposit law into effect in 1976 and it was during his tenure that the Sleeping Bear National Lakeshore was created by an act of Congress in 1970. Although he hailed from Northern Michigan, Gov. Milliken recognized the importance of preserving the viability of the City of Detroit and refused to play into the “us vs. them” mentality of outstate politicians. As governor, he lobbied against members of his own party in the late ’70s for the Detroit People Mover, which was ultimately approved in a drastically limited form.
…Little known fact: The governor’s middle initial stands for Grawn, the family namesake of the crossroads between TC and Interlochen.
More in the William G. Milliken entry from Wikipedia.
Check this out bigger in Bryant’s slideshow.
December 26, 2009
I saw this photo of a winter’s day in Lansing in the mid 1930s when I found the photo of the Soo last week. The old cars and the chill wind made me think about how folks in Michigan were probably feeling at the time. This was the depths of the Great Depression, when the Civilian Conservation Corps sought to engage young men in meaningful work, when the UAW was founded and the workers in Flint held their famous sit-down strike – a period of wrenching change for Michigan and the nation.
Probably no time until the present day featured so many people whose way of life had vanished, leaving so much in the way of challenge and so little hope in front of them.
Still, from those dark days Michigan climbed to previously unthinkable heights, led by entrepreneurs, bold leaders and a citizenry that was willing to work hard to realize their dreams.
I hope that gives you the same measure of hope that it gives me.
You can see this photo bigger if you click through and choose “Printable Version”.