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Mason County Memories

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History Column 91 Dave Petersen

I have several projects going at the same time that are related to local history that I'd like to talk about in today's column the first being the recording of the business history of the county by the building and address. I've been pouring over the city directories going back to the turn of the last century to create a pedigree or genealogy by street address to help me identify old advertising that I come across that doesn't not always have the name of the town on and buildings in photographs of street scenes.

This also serves to provide an interesting snapshot of changes in technology, the passing on of a business from one person to another, our buying habits locally and the weave of the social fabric of the county. Ultimately it will help me when I'm putting together stories for the weekly column that I hope will touch on aspects of our history that have not been put into print before.

I'm not sure how things are with other community papers but there has been a lot of local history written about and published in the Daily News over the past 100 years. Many times people simply sent in columns that reminisced about things they experienced and changes they have seen in their lifetimes. As I talk about some of the business's that have existed in the past 100 years I would like to encourage you to consider putting down on paper your memories and experiences in Mason County. I will say YES, people will want to hear about it and I would love to assist in preserving those memories.

The business's that I'll outline today are all from Ludington. I have had a few people ask about doing more columns on out county topics. Often, my weekly column is dictated by the photographs I find, or the people that contact me with old clippings and stories about a particular topic. So if you are interested in seeing a story on the Reek Brothers or Brant and Eoff (or any other topic) and you can point me in the right direction for photographs and information drop me a line.

There are a number of locations that have housed one type of business for 100 years or more, the first one that comes to my mind without looking at a Directory would be the site of Schohl's Jewelry, in 1900 it was McCourt's Jewelry store and it has housed that type of business for over 100 years. 101 East Ludington Avenue was home to a succession of Pharmacies, Latimer's Drug Store at the turn of the century to Taggert's, to Rose and then City Drug Store. 201 South James was the home to Henry Miller's Saloon in 1904, Cigars and Tobacco in1908, Candyland by 1929 and Pier Inn Tavern in 1954.

We seldom if ever think about shoe repair but it was an important business in years past, at 218 south James we find Peter Christian's Cobbler Shop in 1904 and Joseph Vorac's Shoe Repair in the same location for about 30 years before Jones Shoe Repair came on the scene and is listed in the 1960 Directory.

Service stations were literally everywhere in the city, do you remember 202 E. Ludington Ave Barnett's Standard Service, and Kinny's Standard Gas Station, Neilson's Shell Service Station at 301 E. Ludington Ave, Tony's Shell Station out by Scotty's? 201 West Ludington Ave is a great old building that will undoubtedly meet the wrecking ball sometime soon but do you recall American Laundry circa1904 J.H. Morrison Saloon circa 1907, Trepannier Tire Service circa 1929 or Daugherty's Service Station and Newberg's Shell Station at that location?

Outside of the pages of an old city directory that lists Peter Sarres Shoe Shiner, Broadway Café, Kuhli Brothers Barbershop, Elmer E Cribbs Shoe Repair, Baltzer Meat Market, Lunde & Sheldon Clothing, The Eat Shop, Oriole Café, Caplon Furniture, Sam Wing's Chinese Laundry, Chat and Nibble or the Patio Restaurant will anything else survive?

I don't know the answer to that question but I do want to challenge our readership to the ongoing project of preserving and sharing stories of our local history. What do you remember about the different business's that have existed in the county, and the people who owned them. What was it like to get ice cream at Schrink's, lunch at the Oriole Café, get the old Ford filled up at Daugherty's Service Station, and get your only good pair of shoes repaired at Jones Shoe Repair?

Feel free to contact me at anytime at 757-3240 or davep@blackcreekpress.com

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