June 27, 2016

TWO PHOTOS OF PEOPLE STANDING IN FRONT OF THE JAMES SCOTT MEMORIAL FOUNTAIN AT BELLE ISLE, 1937


Does it matter that the glorious white marble fountain bedecking Belle Isle's crown was born of the rare beneficience of a scoundrel? It did to the moral factions of the church elders of Detroit in the 1910s. And J. L. Hudson himself, who said of a proposed fountain and monument to James Scott--playboy, rapscallion and hell-raiser extraordinaire-- “Mr. Scott never did anything for Detroit in his lifetime and he never had a thought that was good for the city.”

But after years of debate the city of Detroit, under Mayor Breitmeyer, determined that the bequeathed fortune was too great a gift to the citizens to refuse on moral grounds. So the grand monument was erected in 1925. It remains today though some refurbishment has been necessary to maintain the structure.


On the day when Dustin Hoffman was born, August 8, 1937, in the waning years of the Great Depression, these presumed Detroiters were dressed in their Sunday best. And with good reason because it was indeed the first day of the week. All while James Scott watched from his perch eternally dreaming of mischief.

June 26, 2016

KMART QUALITY DISCOUNT FOODS ADVERT, 1969

The Detroit News, February 5, 1969
As was and is the case with many area grocers and department stores in Detroit they are and were inner-related. Born from the litany of Kresge stores Kmart eventually overtook their namesake to become the second-leading chain store behind Sears.

The food stores were often joint operations with their discount enterprise--both began in 1962; though the partnered grocers were some times independent of Kmart despite carrying their branded items--but faltered and were retired in the early 1980s. The Big K and Super Center stores marked the return of the chain into the large-scale grocery business in 1990.


As the pictorials suggest shopping was largely still a housewife's chore in 1969 and meat was high on the buying list. Which was on high display in this section of The Detroit News that also featured an ad for their competition with a byline reading, "It's the meat... that brings most folks to Farmer Jack's". I shall post that in the near future.


The stores listed in the ad are as follows:

50 N. Groesbeck Hwy.
Mt. Clemens

29800 Ford Road
Garden City

29176 Van Dyke
Warren

31200 Schoenherr
Warren

165 Wayne Road
Westland

25201 W. Outer Dr.
Melvindale

22801 Harper
St. Clair Shores

3100 Washtenaw
Ypsilanti

28800 Telegraph Road
Southfield

One other thing of note: there are several mentions of the Meadowdale brand in this advert which I briefly discussed in a previous post. Perhaps they were exclusive to Kmart? Then again, during one of Farmer Jack's several purges under the A&P umbrella in 1988, seven stores (4 A&P, 3 FJ) were sold to Meadowdale Foods. Could it be that Meadowdale was one of the partnered grocers? Another question for a further post.

June 25, 2016

FARM MAID WELCOMES YOU BOOKLET


While the Weaver Street site is no longer the home of Detroit Pure Milk Company which produced Farm Maid for many decades, a new plant framed upon the old steel houses VernDale Products, a dairy which makes dry milk for chocolate products. They also own the former Twin Pines Dairy.

Founded circa 1920 the company was later purchased by Borman Foods, operators of the Farmer Jack chain of grocery stores, in the 1960s before being sold off in the '80s.

This booklet appears to be from the 1950s or '60s and shows the operations of the plant's machinery, the laboratory along with workers on the job. On the back cover deliveryman and truck owner George LaPointe posing with a crate of dairy products in the early hours while on his route.

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June 24, 2016

FRONTIER DETROIT: A LITTLE-KNOWN DE TOQUEVILLE TRIP, AND A CABIN HE MAY HAVE VISTED, 1976


I must admit that I have read very little of DeToqueville's Democracy in America so I'll have to take the editor's word when they claim this was a later published addendum to the classic text.

It's not very informative on the early characteristics of early Detroit unless you're completely ignorant on the matter. He talks of a disinterested, though polite, populace which was devoid of airs and simply craved solitude in its endless wilderness of flatland trees.

This was part of a supplement from The Detroit News July 4, 1976 special edition.

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