#TBT Idle Moments on Torch Lake

Idle Moments on Torch Lake

Idle Moments – Torch Lake, photo courtesy Don Harrison/UpNorth Memories

I think the woman on the right is really glad that cell phones hadn’t been invented yet.

View Don’s photo background big, check out his slideshow, and definitely follow UpNorth Memories on Facebook!

More Throwback Thursdays and more funny business on Michigan in Pictures!

#TBT: 1915 Dodge Main

1915 Dodge Main

1915: Dodge Main, photo courtesy Eddie Abbott/Macomb County Memories

Eddie Abbott shared this photo in the Macomb County Memories group on Facebook, saying:

1915: Dodge Main; The Dodge Brothers’ Factory complex was built on a 30 acre site in rural Hamtramck in 1910 and featured a test track and hill climb adjacent to the manufacturing plant. Within a decade, it employed 20,000 workers and produced 145,000 cars, making the Dodge nameplate on of the most popular in the country and transforming Hamtramck into an automotive boom town along the lines of Highland Park. Five years after the brother’s deaths, their widows sold the company to a New York investment firm for $146 million, which in turn sold it to Walter P. Chrysler.

Head over to AllPar for a lot more about Dodge Main and some cool photos courtesy the Chrysler Club!

View the photo background bigtacular and see lots more cool pics in the Macomb County Memories group on Facebook!

More Throwback Thursdays (#TBT) on Michigan in Pictures!

#TBT: Detroit’s Masonic Temple

masonic temple auditorium detroit

masonic temple, photo by ryan southen

On April 27, 1764, a charter for the “Zion Lodge of Masons, No. 1” – the first Masonic Lodge west of the Alleghenies – was granted to Masons in Detroit. Since I’m going to see Portugal the Man/Cage the Elephant there next weekend, that’s close enough for me to learn a little bit more…

Detroit’s Masonic Temple (aka The Masonic) is the largest building of its kind in the world. Construction began in 1920 and was completed in 1926. They explain:

By 1908, interest and membership in Masonic fraternities had grown to such an extent that the Masonic Temple Association of Detroit began to consider either enlarging the existing Masonic Temple on Lafayette Boulevard or building a new, larger facility.

Land on Bagg Street (now Temple Avenue) was acquired and by 1920, the architectural firm George Mason and Company had completed an integrated design of a multi-function complex. Ground was broken on Thanksgiving Day, 1920. The cornerstone was laid on September 18, 1922, during a ceremony attended by thousands of Detroiters, using a trowel previously used by George Washington during the construction of the U.S. Capitol.

Significantly, the opening of the theater was celebrated during a concert by the Detroit Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Ossip Gabrilowitsch, on February 22, 1926–George Washington’s birthday. The formal dedication of the building took place on Thanksgiving Day, 1926. Once again, thousands of Detroiters were present for the ceremony.

George Mason’s unique design included three theaters (one was never completed, but is sometimes used by movie-production crews), a Shrine building, the Chapel, eight lodge rooms, a 17,500 square foot drill hall, two ballrooms, office space, a cafeteria, dining rooms, a barber shop, 16 bowling lanes–1037 rooms in total–in addition to a powerhouse that generated all electricity for the complex.

Mason also incorporated the artistic conceptions of the sculptor, Corrado Parducci, in the building’s magnificent lobby, which was an adaptation of the interior of a castle he had visited in Palermo, Sicily. Parducci also designed light fixtures and chandeliers, decorative arches, medallions, plaster decorations, and a myriad of other artistic details that are unique to the many varied spaces in the building.

Head over to The Masonic for lots of panoramic tours and also a panoramic view of the Corner Stone Laying. Also, if the name George Mason rings a bell, click that link to learn about this prolific architect whose works include Mackinac Island’s Grand Hotel!

View Ryan’s photo bigger, see more in his HDR slideshow, and follow him on Facebook at Ryan Southen Photography.

PS: Lots more Michigan architecture on Michigan in Pictures.

PPS: It’s also supposedly very haunted!

#TBT: Beer Wagons Leaving Detroit’s Goebel Brewery

Goebel Brewing Company

Beer Wagons at Goebel Brewery, photo courtesy David Tinder / Up North Memories

Don Harrison writes:

SE Detroit MI Heavily laden Beer Wagons prepare to leave the Goebel Brewery to quench the thirst of late 19th century Detroiters … AWESOME Photo from my good friend David V. Tinder and his friends at the U of M Clemens Library “Tinder Collection”.

View the photo bigger on Facebook and join the Up North Memories Photo Postcards Facebook group for more great old photos from Michigan!

The Wikipedia entry for the Goebel Brewing Company adds:

Goebel Brewing Company was a brewing company in Detroit, Michigan from 1873 to 1964 eventually acquired late in its existence by Stroh Brewery Company. The beer was locally popular in Detroit from the company’s inception, but grew in popularity and was eventually available in many states for a brief period in the 1940s, with an ad campaign in Life magazine that featured restaurant ads from many famous eateries around the country using Goebel beer as an ingredient. The beer, billed as a “light lager”, was golden in color, and was noticeably drier than most everyday beers of the era. Their longtime mascot was a bantam, called Brewster Rooster, who wore attire with Goebel’s logo, and the beer was a long-time sponsor of Detroit Tigers baseball broadcasts on radio.

Prohibition forced the closure of the brewery in 1920 though the space was rented out to various industries. In 1932 the company was reorganized. Though Prohibition was repealed in 1933 the brewery would not begin new production until the Spring of 1934. Otto Rosenbusch, the retired brewmaster from Stroh Brewery Company, was brought on to help Goebel compete against his old employer at Stroh’s and his son Herman who was the head brewer there. Upon the elder Rosenbusch’s passing in 1935, Charles Elich, the brewmaster at the Pabst Brewing Company agreed to become both the brewmaster and superintendent at Goebel.

You can also check out some old Goebel cans and be sure to watch the commercial below – it’s a gem and an early example of a brewery marketing to women.

More historical photos on Michigan in Pictures.

#TBT: Marquette’s Chief Kawbawgam

Chief Kawbawgam

Chief Kawbawgam, photo via Michigan’s Past & Superior View Gallery

Michigan’s Past shares all kinds of great old photos on Twitter. This one shows Chief Kawbawgam, a Chippewa who was reportedly over 100 years old when he died in Marquette in 1903.  According to the January 1903 edition of the The Lake Superior Journal:

Charley Kaw-baw-gam’s long life was brought to a close about 2 o’clock Sunday afternoon, when the old chief passed peacefully away at St. Mary’s hospital at Marquette, where he had been lying ill for the past couple of months.

Charley was one of the best known figures in Marquette, and he enjoyed this distinction from the first day when white men began to frequent the spot where the city was to grow. Charley’s reputation was not local alone. He was known throughout the upper peninsula and even below the straits his name and fame were familiar to many people.

He was an excellent type of the original owners of the soil, and an unusually creditable specimen. He was a full blooded Chippewa and a chief by blood. What is more he was a good Indian, and he lived a good life, according to his lights.

Kaw-baw-gam was also remarked upon time and again for his great age. It is believed that he was over 100 years old at the time of his death.

In 1849 when Peter White first landed on the shores of Iron bay it is well known that the first Indian to greet him and the party of which he was a member was the same chieftain. In the same year 1849, Mr. White, in carrying on a conversation in Chippewa with Charley asked him, for the sake of having something to say, “How old are you, Bawgam?” Charley replying said: “I am fifty. I spent twenty at the Soo; twenty years on the Tonquomenon bay and ten years on the Canadian side.” If Charley spoke the truth on that occasion he was about 103 years of age when he died, and there was no reason to doubt that this was the case. The Indians of his day were a notoriously long lived race and Charley was a find Indian physically, strong, tireless and healthy. Furthermore his countenance was that of a patriarch.

You can see Chief Kawbawgam’s grave in Marquette’s Presque Isle Park.

View the photo bigger and definitely follow @MichiganHist on Twitter for lots more great photos.

More Throwback Thursdays and more portraits on Michigan in Pictures.

#TBT: Icebound Car Ferries in Ludington

Carferries Icebound in Ludington 1913

Icebound Carferries at Ludington, photo courtesy Karl Bahle

The caption reads “Carferries 15, 17, 18 and 19 – Fast in ice at Ludington, Mich March 22, 1913” and from that, I was able to dig up some tasty history! Carferries.com has great information on the Pere Marquette fleet of ferries that was based in Ludington. They say (in part):

At various times between 1897 and 1947, the Pere Marquette operated a total of 13 ferries on Lake Michigan, running between Ludington, Mich. and Milwaukee, Manitowoc and Kewaunee, Wis. These ships were then an efficient means of bypassing the congested rail yards in Chicago. They plied routes varying between 60 and 97 miles in length, and were often plagued by violent storms and heavy ice. Given the fact that most of the cross-lake runs were made at speeds of 12 to 14 miles per hour, a remarkable volume of freight was carried.

In those fifty years the Pere Marquette car ferries made well over 160,000 lake crossings and transported roughly 4.5 million railroad cars loaded with over 75 million tons of freight. Even these numbers are somewhat conservative, as early records no longer exist. They also carried approximately 1.6 million passengers and after the mid-1920’s, about 380,000 automobiles. Additionally, over the course of its history, the railroad operated a total of 4 river car ferries. These ran between Port Huron, Mich. and Sarnia, Ont., and between Detroit, Mich. and Windsor, Ont., connecting the PM’s Michigan and Canadian lines.

  • Pere Marquette 15 – launched in December of 1896 as the original Pere Marquette. She reportedly burned 30 tons of coal on an 1897 round trip from Ludington to Milwaukee. In 1924, the vessel was renamed Pere Marquette 15, and scrapped in Manitowoc in 1935.
  • Pere Marquette 17 – launched in 1901, hauled 2 “Jack Johnson” battleship guns in 1915, sold to the State of Michigan to be the car ferry “City of Petoskey” <-great info and photos there!
  • Pere Marquette 18 – here’s where the history gets a little murky, as the ship that was launched in 1902 sank in 1910 off Sheboygan, Wisconsin, so either the date is wrong on the photo above or that’s another ship! UPDATE: Karl informed me that the original 18 did sink in 1910, a new one was put into service in 1911 and sailed until 1954!
  • Pere Marquette 19 launched in 1903, ran aground numerous times before being sold for scrap in 1940. She was reduced to a barge profile and renamed the Hilda.

If you’re wondering “What happened to Pere Marquette 16?” that link has great info on the 16, only wooden car ferry in their fleet!

View Karl’s photo bigger and check out his Lake Boats album for many more photos!

#TBT: Winter Comes to Michigan

1930s Michigan Snowplow

1930s Snowplow, via Michigan Highway Department (now MDOT)

The Michigan Department of Transportation shared this awesome newsreel from the 1930s featuring all kinds of winter fun including ski jumping. Their predecessor, the Michigan Highway Department also used the video to talk up Michigan’s road system and winter road maintenance.

It was discovered by Nancy and Barbara Sleeper of Newberry, daughters of former Luce County Road Commission superintendent Sanborn Sleeper, and it’s super awesome!