Sunday, January 31, 2010

1898 Firemen effective in dampening R. R. hopes

This story was published by the Ypsilanti Daily Press of Friday, January 31, 1930.

Screeching, rasping noises as the lat rails are drawn from the protesting ties; clank of loading and the deep rumble of heavily laden trucks, is the last chapter in the History of the D.J. and C. Railway in Ypsilanti. Workmen have finished removal of the tracks west of the city and long stretches of the right of way have been covered over for traffic.

As the last load passed through the city today residents recalled brighter days for the railroad, days when it was arrogant, days when it got what it wanted or knew the reason why.

In 1898 plans were formulated for construction of a spur on Cross St. from Washington St. east. The city politely protested. The railroad men were adamant and one morning when D. D. Davis, then mayor, sauntered up the Cross St. hill he discovered a crew of about 40 men busily engaged in laying the disputed spur in front of the fire department. Indignant, and realizing that there would not be time to obtain an injunction from Ann Arbor before the last rail was in place, the mayor contemplated the scene with mixed emotions. Running a contemplative eye over the situation he devised a method of dampening, in fact deluging the hopes of the railway.

Fire Chief W. W. Worden who had been looking at the activity with a rueful expression brightened visibly after a short conference with Mr. Davis and in a short time gloom vanished from the faces of the firemen when they received orders to wash the street in front of the fire barns with their heavy fire hoses.

Never did they do that task with greater zest and never was Cross St. so thoroughly washed. Not a man was able to stand against the powerful stream of water and with in a short time the electric railway representatives, in a chastened mood, came to an agreement with the city officials.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Farmer’s wife is killed

This story was published by The Ypsilanti Daily Press on Thursday, January 25, 1910.

Mrs. Ethel Depue, aged 41 years, wife of Henry Depue a prominent and wealthy Pittsfield farmer, died almost instantly at one o’clock this afternoon when she received the full contents of a loaded shot gun in her right side.

According to her husband, the shotgun had been oiled, cleaned and loaded, as he was preparing to go hunting. Mr. Depue was rummaging in a closet in the kitchen looking for shells and as he straightened up, his shoulder jolted the table and gun and his wife who was standing but a foot away from the muzzle of the weapon, received the contents in her side. She crumpled up on the floor, unconscious, with a great, gaping hole in her side.

The shot carried the woman’s clothing into the wound and when Doctor Clark of Ann Arbor arrived the woman was dead, having succumbed within a few moments.

Dr. Clark notified Willis Johnson of Ann Arbor who with Deputy Sheriff Freme Star hastened to the scene of the shooting.

The Depues although having lived in Pittsfield only a short time, have become very prominent and are well liked by their neighbors. They have been married only a short time.

Mrs. Depue was the daughter of prominent Toronto people, her maiden name being Watson.

The husband is prostrated over the accident and is under medical attendance.

The farm is located about three miles out of Ann Arbor on the Ann Arbor-Saline road.

It is likely that a coroner’s inquest will be held Wednesday morning.

Incendiarism in two fires here, other alarms

This story was published by The Ypsilanti Daily Press on Saturday, January 25, 1930.

Indications that incendiaries was responsible for two of four blazes which caused runs by the fire department during the night and early this morning was being investigated by Fire Chief Alonso H. Miller and other authorities today.

A search was being made for a man, a stranger whose name was not learned, who was said to have visited the barn home at the rear of the business block on E. Cross St. occupied by Ruben Domisile, and later the rooms occupied by Korrol Strunko in an otherwise vacant house at 213 N. Park St.

Fire at both places are said to have started shortly after the departure of the stranger. At the barn damage was slight, being confined to a pile of rubbish in the rear of the quarters occupied by Domisile, a junk dealer, while a serious blaze development at the Park St. address gaining considerable headway before firemen were called, and seriously damaging the house.

Strunko, who was driven into the street scantily clad when the fire was discovered, was taken to Beyer Memorial Hospital by Ernest M. Maddux, a special officer, and it was reported today that he had one foot frozen. He reported the loss of a sum of money which had disappeared between the time of the mysterious visitor’s departure and the discovery of the fire. Strunko is said to know the man, and officers were attempting to learn the latter’s address in Detroit. Strunko is a foreigner and was able to give little information. Like Domisile, he occupied his quarters alone.

The fire at Domisile’s place occurred at 7 o’clock Friday evening, shortly after the stranger had left and is believed to have gone directly to Strunko’s quarters where he stayed for a time before the second fire broke out early this morning.

A lighted cigarette which lodged in back of a baseboard in the Pullen lunch room on North Washington St. shortly before 1 o’clock is believed to have caused smoke which was seen and reported to the fire department as being seen in the Ehman and Greenstreet real estate office next door. A waiter in the restaurant extinguished the cigarette and firemen found no signs of a further blaze.

The fourth call answered by the department proved nothing more than a chimney burning out at 6 Dirscoll Court before midnight. There was no damage.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Nitro-glycerin caps discovered on Bennett Farm

This story was published by The Ypsilanti Daily Press on Wednesday, January 30, 1930.

What is believed to have been a plot against the life a Clarence E. Bennett or other members of his household at Rawsonville was uncovered late Tuessday with the discovery of five nitro-glycerin caps and a coil of fuse, such as are used in exploding dynamite in a barn a short distance behind the Bennett home.

The five caps had been wrapped in paper and with the fuse were placed on one of a pile of small titles in the barn. They were discovered by Bennett as he was moving things about in the barn Tuesday and he at once informed Dick Elliott, deputy state commissioner of public safety, of the find.

This morning Deputy Sheriff Lynn Squires and two members of the state police post at Wayne visited the Bennett home and exploded the caps in a field. A search for further explosives, particularly dynamite which the plotters may have intended using, failed. The fact that the caps and the fuse were laid separately in the tile has led to the belief that they were not intended to do their deadly work alone, but that they had been planted there until a chare of dynamite could be brought to the place.

The caps appeared fresh as though they had only recently been placed where they were found although Bennett was unable today to recall any indications of persons having been around his property. He was unable to furnish the officers with definite information as to possible suspects who may have formed the plot against his life.

There was power enough in the caps themselves to tear a deep hole in a tree against which they were hung while the officers stood off at a distance and discharged them with bullets from a rifle.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Gotham has its Brooklyn Bridge, Platt its station

This story was published by The Ypsilanti Daily Press on Saturday, January 18, 1930.

Platt, Mich, Jan. 18,--country gentlemen go to New York, buy the Brooklyn Bridge and then tell the prosecuting attorney about it. H. E. Losey brought the community waiting room here. Now he is telling the Eastern Michigan Railway Company about it.

The building, the proudest possession of Platt community, was equally attractive to Mr. Losey and he had a gratifying picture of it in his mind’s eye as a gasoline station at the Ann Arbor airport. The railway company agreed that it would make an excellent gasoline station and a transfer was effected.

When Mr. Losey came out to devise a method of removing the heavy tile roof without marring the beauty of the structure he was startled to find a sheriff’s order saying that the building was the property of the community and stating the penalty for anyone molesting it.

A few moments later he could be seen in a dejected attitude at the general store with a mental picture of the beautiful gasoline station glimmering away as residents consolingly told him that maybe he did buy a building from the railway company after all and that maybe it was one down in the middle of George Klager’s fields, one that could be easily accommodated on a small truck. This building a wooden one that had seen veteran service almost since the Detroit, Jackson and Chicago Railway had its beginning was replaced four or five years ago by the almost fireproof structure which so appealed to Mr. Losey. It was originally donated by Mr. Klager and erected by farmers living in the neighborhood.

The new station was built by residents from material donated by residents from material donated by Ann Arbor and Detroit building firms and was designed by an architectural firm in Ann Arbor.

It is one of the most distinguishing features of the Packard Road community of approximately 70 residents and, while the electric line was in operation was referred to as , “Platt Union Station.”

Finally convinced that the station was not his Mr. Losey told the Railway Company about it and after some research the company agreed. Arrangements are being made for the return of his money.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Driver of truck fears hijackers

This story was published by the Ypsilanti Daily Press on Wednesday, January 15, 1930.

Belief that hijackers are attempting to operate in the vicinity of Ypsilanti was expressed by a truck driver who reported to police here early this morning that he had been stopped a short distance form the city by four suspicious appearing men in a large coupe who (?) searched his load.

The truck driver, whose name was not learned by police, was headed for Chicago and was several miles east of Ypsilanti when the four men drew alongside of his vehicle and told him that they were officers watching for liquor. According to his statement to police, the four showed no credentials and the machine which they were driving bore an Ohio license, indicating at least that they were not officers of this state..

After searching the truck and finding no liquor, the driver said, the other four drove toward Ypsilanti and the matter was reported to police shortly before 2:30 afternoon as the driver reached this city. Police searched for the coupe for several hours but were unable to locate one answering the description or bearing the four men.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Police probing two stabbings over week end

This story was published by The Ypsilanti Daily Press on Monday, January 14, 1935.

Clarence Wise, 401 Monroe St. victim of one week end stabbing affray, was being questioned this afternoon and three other men are being sought in connection with a more serious fight which resulted in knifing of Leonard Holland, 633 N. Fourth Ave., Ann Arbor. Holland is in Beyer Hospital with a slashed throat and police have at least three versions of how the wound was inflicted.

In the case of Wise they have two conflicting stories, one that he engaged in an argument with Howard Pettis over money and the other, that the argument involved a woman. Wise was stabbed in the right arm but not seriously injured. He displayed unwillingness to sign a complaint against Pettis on the grounds that the trial would require him to absent himself from his employment.

The Holland situation is causing police more concern because of obvious efforts made to conceal the real facts. Holland was first discovered sitting in a car on Michigan Ave. bleeding freely from the wound in his neck. With him were his wife, Mrs. Evelyn Holland, Dermot Cromwell, 1119 Lincoln Ave. Ann Arbor, and Mrs. R. Bryant, 717 N. Fourth Ave, Ann Arbor.

According to Cromwell’s story, they went to the Griffen dance hall on Harriet St. to dance and later went to the George Thomas home, 440 (?) St. While they were there Holland walked into another room and when he came back his throat was cut, Cromwell asserted.

Others who were questioned were Thomas, whose left arm was gashed in the same fight, Raymond Pope, Mrs. Holland and Holland himself. Three different persons were named as Holland’s assailant by these witnesses.

Thomas claims the argument started when Holland stepped on the toes of another dancer but Mrs. Holland asserts the group was standing still near the piano player when an unprovoked attack was made. She says she tore the tie from the neck of the man who did it and the neck piece has been turned over to police.

Whether the wound was inflicted by a razor or a knife has not been determined. It reached from the back of the neck to a point under the chin and was deep. It is not expected, however, that it will prove fatal.

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Martha Washington Installs New Organ

This story was published by The Ypsilanti Record on Thursday, January 8, 1920.

The Martha Washington theatre is adding this week to its already finely appointed theatre a Bartola orchestral organ. Mrs. Signor, owner of the theatre, after looking over many other instruments, decided that the Bartola was the best that money could buy and in keeping with the high standard of quality maintained throughout her theatre.

This new musical fixture of the Martha Washington theatre is not a mechanically operated instrument, as many might suppose, similar to the player piano, but is operated and played by the person at the piano, and takes the place of seven musicians in the orchestra pit—the violin, flute, clarinet, xylophone, drum, traps, cathedral chimes and has a changeable keyboard which instantly changes it into a pipe organ. The base viol is also present and other musical attachments are worked in so systematically that when you attend the Martha Washington theatre you will not only see the best screen pictures that the large corporations are turning out but be given something extra in good in music.

The Bartola orchestral organ is to be found in many of the largest and best motion picture houses in New York, Chicago, Cincinnati, Detroit and others of the larger cities. It is so perfectly constructed that an experienced operator can play the pictures and render appropriate music to correspond with what is being enacted on the screen. It is said that in one theatre in Boston, where a Bartola orchestral organ was installed that during a rain and wind stom scene appearing on the screen that the person at the organ fittingly came in at the opportune moment giving a realistic effect of wind blowing and the snapping of trees, whereupon several in the audience began buttoning up their coats and putting on their rubbers; several raised umbrellas and youngsters a howl.

This new organ will undoubtedly be inn operation this coming Sunday for the first time, unless some unforeseen happening mars the installing of it, as experts are here working overtime to have it ready upon that date.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Ten Injured in Big Spectacular Huron St. Blaze

Ten persons were injured in a fire that completely destroyed the home of Mr. and Mrs. Austin Burbank, 309 South Huron Street Tuesday evening.

The injured:
This story was published by Ypsilanti daily Press on Wednesday, January 5, 1910.

MRS. GENEVIEVE PERRINE, face burned, hair, eyebrows and eyelashes singed

RONALD PERRINE, 7 years old, burned about the head.

ARTUR BLUNC, Plymouth, Mich. Leg sprained.

FIRE CHIEF BABCOCK, suffered from exposure to water and cold.

FIREMAN E. SUGGITT, suffered from exposure to water and cold.

FIREMAN D. SHEMELD, suffered from exposure to water and cold.

FIREMAN F. REIMAN, suffered from exposure to water and cold.

FIREMAN F. HOGAN, suffered from exposure to water and cold.

FIREMAN D. FREEMAN, suffered from exposure to water and cold.

WILLIAM HAIGHT, suffered from exposure to water and cold.

The alarm was turned in at 8:40, in fifteen minutes, the blaze, fanned by a fifty mile gale swept through the entire house of 16 rooms.

Mr. and Mrs. Burbank, Mrs. Perrine and her two children Ronald and Austin, 7 and 9 years respectively, gathered in the front room of the Huron Street home about 8:30 o’clock to view the lighted Christmas tree for the last time. Mr. Burbank lighted several candles on the tree when suddenly there was a flare and the entire room and occupants were enveloped in flames.

In attempting to save the life of her seven-year-old son, Ronald, Mrs. Genevieve Perrine, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Burbank, was severely burned about the head. Her sone was also badly burned. Mrs. Perrine picked up the little lad and carried him form the house while Mr. Burbank assisted the other members of the party to safety.

The upper floors of the Burbank were occupied by Cleary College Students. Several had retired for the evening and others were studying when the dense smoke and blinding flame swept through the rooms.

Arthur Blunc, a student whose home is in Plymouth, Mich. Jumped from the second story window. He sprained his leg. Other students who escaped from the burning house, but who lost all of their wearing apparel are:

Ray Baker, Plymouth, Mich.
Clarence A. Callen, Caro, Mich.
Onley V. Potter, Coldwater, Mich.
George Olds, Union City, Mich.
Edward Stevens, Hillsdale.

The fire was undoubtedly the most spectacular the local department has ever fought and great credit must be given Chief Babcock and his men for the efficient way in which they handled the three leads of hose they used on the blaze. The efforts of the men were hampered by the gale and the severe cold numbed their hands and feet and swept the icy water back on the rubber coats where it froze. Kind neighbors tendered the weary men hot coffee and in some cases the men were so overcome by the hard fight that they were unable to lift the cups of steaming fluid to their lips.

The fire started about 8:40 o’clock and the fire ladies did not leave the scene until after four this morning, working in the cold for over seven hours.

Three men also materially assisted the firemen in their work. They are William Haight, Walter Westfall and Fred Maulbetzch.

Nothing stands but a shell of the first floor. The loss is complete and amounting to $7,500, $5,000 on the building and $2,500 on the furnishings. The students who lost their cloths will not receive any insurance. Mr. Burbank is insured for $2,000.

The fire was undoubtedly the worst the fire department ahs had to combat with in many years and the high wind and numbing, stinging cold greatly hampered their efficient work.

Crouched in a corner of the cellar of the Burbank home, Tom, the magnificent twenty pound feline was found by the firemen. Tom, a little the worse for water yowled dismally as the rescuers neared him. Tom was taken to a neighbor’s home and it is said that he made away with three quarts of milk before curling up behind the kitchen stove of his newly adopted home.

Monday, January 4, 2010

Distillery found on the Widow Gotts Farm

Ypsilanti police were informed on a possible illegal still in operation on the Widow Gotts farm in Superior Township in December of 1919. The police were informed that a liquor distillery had been erected on the farm with all the machinery needed to make whisky, beer and wine. The report further noted that suspicious packages were seen going to and from the farm. As the farm was outside the city limits of Ypsilanti, the information was passed onto Deputy Sheriff Dick Elliott, who secured a search warrant from Justice Stadtmiller.

Deputy Sheriff Dick Elliott with Deputies Robinson and Smith raided the farm, some three miles from Ypsilanti, on New Years Day, 1920. In the basement of the house they found a 20-gallon copper still with worm and coils, as well as 14 barrels of corn and raisin mash, with which could be make bourbon or some of the cheaper stuff. They found a bottling works so what was sold would have the look of coming from a recognized distillery plant.

Deputy Elliott and the others spent the day at the farm waiting for the moonshiners to return. They were finally informed the two men who ran the operation, Sam Dromby and Eli Dometri, had been arrested while on their way to Detroit with a trailer fill with contraband. The two men were jailed in Detroit, and later transferred to the jail in Ann Arbor.

“Livestock was found on the farm, which seems to have been abandoned for agricultural purposes,” noted The Daily Ypsilanti Press of Saturday, January 3, 1920. “But there was live stock there, presumably being fed on the waste of the distillery. Horses, hogs, and cattle were being neglected, so the neighbors fed them. Otherwise they would have been with out food or water over the day.”

“The illicit plant,” concluded the account, “was sufficiently large to make its running profitable, of one isn’t caught at it.”

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Geo. E. Strong Died Suddenly

This story was published by The Ypsilanti Record on Thursday, January 1, 1920.

Sunday morning while attending church George E. Strong was stricken with death. He had gone to the Sunday morning services with his wife, feeling in his usual good health. As the congregation was singing the opening hymn Mr. Strong dropped in his seat. Rev. George Olmstead, pastor of the church, saw that something was wrong and rushed to the fallen man’s side. He was taken into a side room, where he died before medical aid arrived.

Mr. Strong was 67 years of age and had been in business in Ypsilanti for a number of years at the corner of Michigan Avenue and Adams street, where he conducted a shoe store and shoe repairing establishment. He became a resident of Ypsilanti in 1909. He was a member of the Masonic Lodge, Odd Fellows, and Woodmen of the World. He was universally well liked and leaves besides his wife a son, Leon and daughter, Mrs. R. W. Prvor, of Detroit, and a host of friends to mourn his loss.

Funeral services were held from the home Tuesday afternoon at 2 o’clock and the remains were laid to rest in Highland cemetery.

Bullet Crashed through body

This story was published by The Ypsilanti Record on January 1, 1920.

Monday afternoon Edward Leroy Helzerman, the little three year old grandson of Mr. and Mrs. John M. Bissell, lost his life by the accidental discharge of a 38 Colts automatic revolver. The act was committed by his own hands.

John M. Bissell, of the Ypsilanti police force, had finished his work for the day and went to his home. He took the revolver from his pocket and placed it on the buffet-just as he had done many times before-with little thought that grim tragedy was hanging over the home. After supper Mr. Bissell went into the front room and laid down on the lounge, and Mrs. Bissell went in the kitchen, busy with supper work. The mother of the child, Mrs. Edna Bissell Helzerman, who was in another room, came into the dining room, where the baby was playing several times to see that he was all right. Peace and quiet was in that home, when without warning, the heavy report of the revolver was heard, and when the family rushed into the dining room baby Edward lay on the floor where he had fallen from a chair he had pulled up to the buffet in order to get grandpa’s gun, that he had so often admired in his baby way.

It is thought that the boy, spying the revolver on the buffet, shoved a chair over against it, climbed up and reached for the revolver, pulling it toward him, and when the muzzle was against his body in some manner managed to discharge it, the bullet entering his breast and passing through the back. A physician was hastily summoned, but the little fellow never regained consciousness, but died in his grandmother’s arms.

The family has the heartfelt sympathy of our citizens, and especially Mr. Bissell, who is crazed with grief. It is one of those unfortunate accidents that one cannot realize how it could happen, as it would seem almost impossible that a three year old baby would have the strength enough in its hands to discharge a revolver of this caliber.

The funeral will be private and will be held from the house Thursday morning at 10 o’clock. Burial will be at Highland cemetery.