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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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September 4th 1945 History Column 194 Dave Petersen I've been reading through some old newspapers and found one that had some interesting articles that I thought were worth sharing. This was shortly after the surrender of the Japanese ending World War II and one of the front page articles read "Hiroshima only pile of Rubble- Nothing left of Modern City." This was one of the first times that it was reported upon that allied forces were able to tour the area, the article was an example of how much we did not understand about the after effects of an atomic bomb. " The death toll has mounted past 53,000 with many only slightly wounded dying from no apparent cause." Captain Robert Baltzer was reported liberated and safe, he had been a prisoner of war since the fall of Corregidor and had been moved from the Philipines to Mainland Japan near Tokyo a few months before the end of the war. The rural school teacher list was released and some of you will most undoubtedly remember some of these names. Mrs. Virginia Schrink at Sutton, Mrs. Lulu McGhan at Star, Mrs. Loretta Pankow at Townhall, Mrs. Evelyn Dostal at Dewey, Mrs. Effie Gust at Rickey School, Mrs. Margaret Roach Star Amber. Do you have any stories to share about your one room school days? An article about a sailing trip taken in 1873 off the shore of Ludington was described October 3rd edition of the Ludington Weekly Appeal and we quote sections of it here. "All being in readiness the first mate mounted the deck and gave orders to the Captain to bear her off about 3 points to the wind and hold her close until they learned her ways. They bore up the channel for awhile running at the rate of 10 miles an hour. Everything seemed lovely and if ever the goose hung high twas then. The gents resorted to their cigars and all seemed highly edified with their send off, after which all joined in jovial conversation, remarking how much different than riding on a railroad or steamboat where you are liable to get your brains knocked out by the upset of a car or the explosion of a boiler." We skip ahead in the story here a bit, as anyone who lives near Lake Michigan knows things can change in a fury and what was once a nice day on the lake can quickly become a race for your life. We continue. "The wind had increased to quite a gale, the captain became sea sick left his post and our frail bark was at the mercy of the waves. At this point the boat had been carried upon a bar not far distant from shore, but in their dismay and excitement they had not yet discovered it, the water and sand flying over their heads some 10 or 15 feet while in this dilemma it was reported that a lady was lost overboard. When her sister was about to make the fatal leap to rescue her, it was discovered she was at the bottom of the boat and had covered over with sand water and sails which had been lowered in the gale." This story did have a happy ending in that all aboard were able to make it to shore and walk back to Ludington leaving the bark on the sandbar to her fate. In another story the August 31st 1897 fire which razed the basket factory in Ludington was recalled. " Long before the downtown Department arrived these buildings were past saving. The heat emanating from the fire was so intense that spectators were held a long distance at bay. The fire ladies had a hot time of it since they were compelled to close up very near to the flames in order to throw on a stream." With the grounds strewn with pieces of materials from basket making the fire easily traveled across the grounds and over 600,000 bushel baskets that had been recently finished in anticipation of the fall harvest of apples and peaches were lost. The fire was intense and it was estimated that half the town turned out to watch the blaze. The article continues as follows. " A survey of the ruins will show that everything was eaten up clean and slick except for the brick powerhouse, containing the engine and boilers. All that afternoon and all the next night however the ruins smoldered, lighting up the sky with a vivid reflection in the night. All this time streams were kept playing on the fire and only ceased when the last spark was extinguished." The war was over and things like getting ready for school probably added some normality to the end of 4 years of war. The Pandora Shop advertised back to school styles, The Great John L was playing at the 4 Star Theatre in Scottville, Linda Darnell starred in that one, she was a top box office star in those days. McPherson's Drug store was another long gone store advertising back to school supplies. Loyalty Diamonds were being advertised for sale by Schohl's Jewelry Store and a special Dance was scheduled for a Wednesday Night at the Danish Hall with Music by Roger Dancz and his Orchestra. There is another interesting topic, were you ever in a local band or orchestra prior to 1960? September 4th 1945, another day in the life of our community. If you have any photographs or stories you would like to share with our readers please feel to contact me at 757-3240 email at davep@blackcreekpress.com or mail in care of Ludington Daily News.

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