Looking Back

Published March 11, 2015

EASTPOINTE — This month’s photo, taken during the 1940s, is of the original East Detroit municipal building. The building was located on Nine Mile Road just east of Gratiot Avenue, where the current police and court buildings are located.

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Published March 11, 2015

ST. CLAIR SHORES — The Big Bear Market was located on Greater Mack on the site of present-day Great Lakes Ace Hardware. It was one of the first major grocery stores in St. Clair Shores. Big Bear Markets of Michigan operated 33 supermarkets. By 1957, Big Bear Market changed into a Wrigley store. The brief history of this market in St. Clair Shores comes with an interesting story about supermarket monopolies.

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Published March 11, 2015

ROCHESTER — A watercolor painting by Rochester Hills resident William Steiner depicts the Detroit United Railway, known as the D.U.R., in 1900.

The painting shows the high-speed electrified interurban railway sharing Rochester’s Main Street with a horse and buggy.

According to Rochester Hills Museum at Van Hoosen Farm records, the D.U.R. traveled from Detroit to Rochester to Lake Orion and Flint. The travel time from Rochester to Detroit was under an hour, which is less than today’s rush-hour drive, museum officials said.

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Published March 4, 2015

Former Berkley Police Chief Frank Irons, left center, and former Berkley Fire Chief Frank Hannah, right center, celebrate the arrival of a new fire truck in the early part of the 1950s with two other Berkley fire personnel.

The previous two trucks that the Berkley Fire Department purchased in the 1920s were no longer functioning and required that a new engine be purchased.

Today, the Berkley police and fire departments have combined to form the Berkley Public Safety Department.

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Published February 11, 2015

ROSEVILLE — This month’s photo is of the Frank Biehl Sheetmetal & Electrical Work building on Gratiot Avenue in what is now Roseville, circa 1926.

The Biehl family lived in an apartment at the back of the building during the 1920s — note the side porch in the photograph — and Frank Biehl eventually became Roseville Village president.

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Published February 11, 2015

In this photograph taken during the winter of 1959, Aaron Oswald waves from the wooden aqueduct that once carried the Clinton and Kalamazoo Canal across the Clinton River near Yates Mill. Work on the canal, which was to join Lake Michigan to Lake St. Clair across Lower Michigan, began in 1839. Only a 16-mile section from Mount Clemens to Rochester was completed before a lack of funds ended the canal project in 1844. The aqueduct started leaking soon after it was built around 1840 and continued to leak until it finally rotted away in the 1970s.

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Published February 4, 2015

Berkley students and community members get ready for a bonfire during homecoming week in 1979. Berkley High School annually held a big bonfire every year on the night of homecoming.

The 1979 bonfire ended up being the final one, as the event was canceled due to safety concerns in the community.

James Tong, with the Berkley Historical Museum, came across this photo while compiling it as part of “Images of America: Berkley,” which is available at the Berkley Public Library, Barnes & Noble and Amazon.com.

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Published January 21, 2015

One of the earliest general stores in St. Clair Shores was located on Defer Road (now called Nine Mile Road) near Jefferson Avenue. It was operated by Otto Carl Henry Weber and William “Bill” Frasard. The store was built around 1914. Otto’s wife, Theresa, ran a boarding house on the second floor. Otto Weber’s World War I draft card from 1917 listed his occupation as a merchant in St. Clair Shores. The Weber family was living in Grosse Pointe Farms at that time.

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Published January 21, 2015

This month’s photograph is of the Kaiser Building, formerly located in Eastpointe on the southeast corner of Nine Mile and Gratiot. The basement of this building was used for the village of Halfway’s municipal offices, as well as for the city’s first library. The village of Halfway was the local government from 1924-1929, when it became the city of East Detroit. The photo itself is undated.

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Published January 14, 2015

The 1981-82 school year for the Holly Junior High School football team was the final one. That season, the Holly Stingers played against Page, Busch, Wilkinson, Wolfe, Clawson and Hickory junior high schools. Holly finished the season with 4 wins; 1 loss and 1 tie.

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Published December 31, 2014

Roberta Vincent, 6, poses next to her family’s 1928 Packard motor car and their Pierce-Arrow camper at the Packard Proving Grounds in 1937. She was probably eagerly waiting for winter to be over and warmer weather to arrive so the family could go camping. Roberta’s father, Charles Vincent, was the Proving Grounds manager. His office was in the Repair Garage pictured here next to the car and camper. While the Vincent family was living in the Lodge at the Proving Grounds, they went camping Up North as often as Charles could get time away from his work.

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Published December 17, 2014

In December, Santa made a special stop to greet the children of St. Clair Shores, along with the men and women serving in the military. This image may have been taken in the Police Station. There is a traffic poster and Macomb County map in the background.

The annual custom of city tree lighting, accompanied by music and Santa’s arrival, continues today. St. Clair Shores has a long community tradition of celebrating the Holiday season.

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Published December 16, 2014

Shirley Forton provided photos of both her family home and their blacksmith shop on the corner of Garfield and Canal roads — where a Shell station and Vince and Joe’s Fruit market are currently located. Forton said the dairy farm on Garfield and Canal was heated by gas wells on the property.

The Wellhausen Farm, photographed in 1895, belonged to Forton’s relatives. The house is still standing and is located on Moravian Road, between 16 Mile and Garfield roads.

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Published December 10, 2014

This month’s Looking Back photo showcases the Roseville Fire Department’s then-new fire engine circa 1926, which was kept at the Dodge Brothers dealership on Gratiot. The firefighters pictured are Arthur Pickler, an unidentified person, Charles Pickler, William Noble, an unidentified person, Ed Pulaski, John Fessler, an unidentified person and an unidentified person.

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Published August 6, 2014

From the July 22, 1967, edition of the Utica/Daily Sentinel newspaper: “Shelby-Utica Little Leaguer Jim Stone is ready to start play on the new Ford Field dedicated Friday. The field was presented to the league before the opening game of National Little League District Six Tournament.Read More

Published August 5, 2014

The Fraser Water Tower was erected on 14 Mile Road, west of Utica Road, in 1948. It was used until 1964 when Fraser switched to Detroit water. The landmark was used by planes at nearby McKinley Airport. In 1973, it was sold to another community for a dollar and removed from the area.

From Alan Naldrett, Fraser Historical Society

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Published January 4, 2014

Source: photo submitted by James Tong, Berkley Historical Museum

In 1946, Baker’s Drug Store moved into this building, located at 2600 W. 12 Mile Road, in Berkley.

In 1959, Raymond Lewis Baker sold the business to Max Millman, Milton Abramson and Harold Elias. Millman’s son, James, became a pharmacist and later took over the business.

On May 24, 2007, James Millman closed the store and donated a sizeable collection of historical drugs and prescription-making equipment to the Berkley Historical Museum, where it is on permanent display.

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Published November 26, 2013

Source: Cynthia Bieniek, librarian and archivist, St. Clair Shores Public Library
Photo Courtesy of the St. Clair Shores Historical Commission

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Published November 7, 2013

Photo submitted by James Tong, Berkley Historical Museum

The Grapevine Bar is pictured here in November 1975 at its location on Coolidge Highway, between 12 Mile Road and Catalpa Drive, in Berkley. The Grapevine, which was formerly known as the Bear’s Den, was one of the most popular drinking spots in Berkley for decades. Today, the restaurant Bagger Dave’s sits in the former location of the Grapevine Bar.

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