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Mason County Memories


"You can't depend on your eyes if your imagination is out of focus" ~ Mark Twain


History Columns are arranged by year of publication in the Ludington Daily News



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Ludington Jacobsen

Last week we took a look at the vision of the future for Ludington as outlined in the "Ludington the Beautiful" campaign of 1892. During the period of time from 1892 to 1905 when the next campaign "Ludington on the Lake" began we did not see the population of Ludington spike to 40,000 people as hoped, nor did the connection to Hamlin Lake with it's power plant and factories lining Lincoln Lake come to pass.

Other improvements were in the works though; the Library construction had begun in 1905, [the Library is celebrating it's 100th year starting in 2005 and during this year long celebration is looking for early Library photos, and memorabilia to display.] A well needed hospital, improved roads, new homes, and more public improvements were in the works or had been completed by 1905.

Instead of Lincoln Heights becoming the tourist Mecca of the Midwest Epworth Heights arrived and Hamlin Lake Resorts continued to build upon the tourist trade. Summer folk made their annual pilgrimage to enjoy the soft summer breezes, miles of beach and of course fishing.

In the brochure promoting Ludington as "THE" vacation spot for weary city folk states" Where you decide to go for your summer vacation should be selected with the same care and thought you might give an important investment, for your summer vacation is after all an investment in Health, Happiness, and Recreation."

Good fishing, Beaches, Boating, Sports, Camping, Golfing, Hiking, Sand Dunes, are all extolled in the brochure that Ludington is the place for those city folk who are in need of a change of scenery after "the long winter's work and worry in a busy city."

When looking through the 1905 edition of the Ludington Daily Sun the photographs used in promoting the city show downtown streets lined with brick storefronts and filled with businesses, the harbor was active and continued to expand, manufacturing concerns were filling the void left by the lumbering industry. In spite of missing many of the growth goals of the 1892 campaign Ludington was meeting many others and by all accounts seemed to be holding it's own.

The Sun went on to provide background and illustrations of the young men in business in Ludington at the time. "Are prominent in Ludington Business circles, Future is in their hands, and they will not be found wanting."

One of the stores illustrated in the article was at 303 South James Street in 1905. This was the Jacobson Clothing Store, Opened in Ludington in 1881 and moved to the South James Street location in 1891. The store carried men's and boys wear, shoes, shoes hats and other "furnishings" and "Good dressers always finds his stock reliable."

NC Madsen Hardware was another business that was located on the corner of Dowland and Washington Street. Madsen's Hardware dealt in " hardware, stoves, tin ware, sash and doors, wagons, buggies, farm implements etc."

Madsen opened his store at the Dowland street location in 1903 but he had been a resident of Ludington for 26 years. He had worked in the mills, and for 10 years with O.J. Wilcox at his hardware store in Fourth Ward before going into business with Frank Bradl.

Ludington Madsen

Madsen secured a number of different lines of goods for his patrons in Ludington including the Grand Mallable Range, the Mort Steel Plow as seen in the illustration from the Ludington Daily Sun and more.

Other entrepreneur's of the time included David Gibbs, WD Bridge pianos and Organs, Ludington Steam Dye Works, Goodsell hardware Store, Henry Shiebel Groceries, Rohn, Coal and Ice, People's Furniture Company, N. Joseph Cigar Factory, Brillhart Cartier and others.

Information on the schools, banking, local churches and other local attributes were included in the 1905 campaign. Ludington on the Lake seemed to be a successful advertising campaign that continued on for a number of years. Many locally collectible items contain the slogan.

If you have old photographs of Ludington storefronts that can be used to illustrate future columns that you would like to share please feel free to bring them into the Daily News to be copied.

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