My Memories of Ecorse Skating Rink

My Memories of Ecorse Skating Rink

By Diane St. Aubin (McQueen)

 Boy can I remember the skating rink; it was never enclosed when I used it and in some ways I’m glad it wasn’t.  There just, was something about skating in the outdoors during the winter months that seems so right.  I remember them playing songs for us skaters and how often it would stir me to either grab a partner to skate with or just skate all alone in my fantasy as a famous skater – trying all the tricks I knew at the time!!!

Here I am off to the skating rink from Ninth Street…..was a long walk and I always took the back way; not going the route of Outer Drive to High Street, but to the area where there was a street that dead ended behind Schwayder Brothers.  I can still remember those high hills with the railway tracks and a big dip in the middle…..really a great place for someone to lurk if they ever wanted to grab a person; never happened tho.  How often there would be a slow moving train coming that I would ‘beat’ to get to the other side in order to skate that evening.  I always made sure there was only one train coming and not two from opposite directions, sure didn’t want to scare those engineers too badly!!!  Just got to say I rarely had to ‘beat’ a train tho.

This is the alley behind Pomograth’s Market, or Frankie’s Market. Frankie Schrettner managed it and was located on High Street, right across from Schwayder Brothers Trunk Factory.

 

A lot of times I would then go to Frankie’s store (nope not Frankie’s Bar which was just down the street, also where you could buy a great pizza), and get my skates sharpened – he had an electric grinder wheel just for that reason and could he put a sharp edge on my Canadian Flyers!!!  Had those skates even until after I married!!!!  Just hated to part with those wonderful skates.  Can’t even remember how much he changed to sharpen my skates but it couldn’t have been much because I really didn’t have much money those days.

IF I can remember right the skating rink was free to use when it opened and maybe later they decided to charge 50 cents.  I loved to skate and was at the rink every chance I could.  Often times I would meet my friends there and even boyfriends as well.  Those were the good ole days.  I just don’t remember ever having a car to drive there (like they would now).  Can’t even remember IF I would call a friend to see if they were going skating; they were either there or not, but there always seemed to be someone I knew skating and I would join in.

It wasn’t often I would rest but if I did I’d grab hold of the side fence rail that circled the rink; at times just to see who else was there skating.  Watching for my boyfriend to arrive or even maybe Rich would show up; he always wore men figure skates instead of hockey skates that the guys would wear.  We’d tear up the ice, skating as a team and then part, as new people would arrive.  It most certainly was a place us kids could gather to spend quality time and not just ‘hang’ doing nothing or making trouble.

What fun that rink was.  What memories I still have.

(It’s really a thrill to have Diane contribute this memory.  Would everyone please write some Ecorse memories?  They can be short and sweet, and it is really sweet to get them! Does anyone else remember going to Frankie’s Market?  He sold penny candy and popsickles, so I was a regular customer as well!

And the railroad tracks beside the Trunk Factory.  I remember how I could go up and down the hills and cross at least six sets of tracks to get over to Clark’s Candy Store on Cicotte Street and then to Beach Street where my Grandmother Robson – Ruth Spanger Robson lived! Please send me your memories.

Kathy)

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Two Years and Still Counting: An Ecorse History Inventory

Hi Everyone,

I wanted to let you in on a little Ecorse inventory and to ask your help.  August 1, 2012, will bring me to the two year mark of writing this blog.  As an anniversary observance, I thought that I would recap some of what I consider the highlights of the last two years.

I love your participation and welcome it. In fact, I am appealing to you to send me your memories – nostalgic or otherwise – of Ecorse.  It is important to preserve them and of course, I can’t remember everything or write events from anyone’s perspective but mine.

I also appreciate your comments and I especially wanted to mention how much I enjoyed the material that people sent me about the Harbor Theater and Roger Held’s memoir of Miss Garlington. Also a special thanks to Diane McQueen St. Aubin for her comments and encouragement. And thank you everyone for reading Ruth Spangler’s Blog.

So, here’s to another two plus years of Ecorse History!

Kathy Covert Warnes

P.S.  John Duguay’s picture of the old Ecorse Skating Rink before it was covered is one of my favorites, because I loved to go skating there. Does anyone else remember it when it looked like this?

P. S.S.  Sandy Blakeman’s picture of this senior group sitting in Riverside Park is one of my favorites of his photos.  I still haven’t been able to find out who the people are.  Does anyone know?

Ecorse History

ecorseechoes                   (Takes a few minutes to load. Lots of pictures!)

ecorsepresbyterianchurch (2) (This one might take some time to download. It has lots of pictures!)

raftingthewatersandpullinganoarforecorse

Ecorse Kids

Ecorse Creek is CCCCOLLDDD

francoisetheseagullfindshisfamilytree

Captain Goldsmith, Freddy and Francine, And

Barry Beagle Escapes to Mud Island

Granny Godfroy Grows Up

ecorseparades  (This has lots of pictures so it will take a minute to load)

I also have a website called Discover Fun History in Clio’s Cave that has Ecorse material on it.  The address is: discoverfunhistory.webs.com.  I have another history website at:   http://historybecauseitshere.weebly.com/ 

  and a google wiki at History Horizons  https://sites.google.com/site/historyhorizons/


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Ecorse History at a Glance

by Kathy Warnes

Ecorse Timeline – Short Version

1700s

First settled by French Habitants under Antoine Cadillac.

1763

Rendezvous for Pontiac.

1764

Tradition has it that the Labadie family arrived in the area.

1776

Deeded to St. Cosme by Indians.

1784-1795

First Recorded White Settlements. Pierre Michael Campau is supposed to have been the first white settler, arriving in 1795.

1818

Arrival of English Settlers.

1827

Township of Ecorse.

The Michigan Territorial Legislature created the Township of Ecorse. (Yes, Territorial, Michigan didn’t become a state until 1837!) The Township contained 54 square miles of land running from the Detroit River to what is now Pelham Road. It included Ecorse, River Rouge, Allen Park, Melvindale, Taylor, Lincoln Park, Wyandotte, and part of Detroit.

1834

Village of Grandport

The Township grew so quickly in seven years, that it became the village of Grandport. At that point it had 800 people, 152 homes and many businesses. It became the hub of the area and a center for French Catholics when St. Francis Xavier Church was established in 1845.

1845

St. Francis Xavier Parish

1860s

First Schools

1873

Grandport-Ecorse

The Ecorse business directory for 1873 listed fifteen establishments.

Alexander Bondie, Saloon, corner of State and Jefferson, N.E.

Campau and Ferguson, Grocers, SW corner of State and Monroe

Louis Cicotte, Hotel Proprietor, Jefferson Avenue

John Copeland, Lumber Manufacturer

Downriver Lumber company Sawmill

Beaubin Slip

Judge H.H. Emmons, U.S. District Court, 40 feet back on Jefferson

Frederick Ferguson, Brick Layer, Corner Southfield and Monroe

G.R. Goodell Grocer, Across from Liggetts

E.J. Goodell, Surveyor & Feed Store, East side of Jefferson, just North of Southfield

N.L.Leblanc & Riopelle, Grocers

J.B. Montie, blacksmith, South of Detroit, Toledo & Ironton Railroad

Louis Odion, shoemaker, Monroe Street between Southfield & Bourassa

Michael Roulo, Hotel Proprietor

A.M. Salliotte, General Store and Notary Public, Jefferson and State Street

Joseph Salliotte, butcher

Old Fish Market

George Cicotte, General Store, Bourassa and West Jefferson

1902

Incorporated as a village

1903

Grandport officially becomes Ecorse, even though it had been called Ecorse for generations.

1918-1933

Rum Row

1922

First Library in Loveland’s Drugstore

1929

Great Lakes Steel

1941

City of Ecorse

  • Ecorse is the oldest Downriver Community, first settled by French habitants under Antoine Cadillac in the early 1700s. Cadillac granted ribbon farms to French settlers on both sides of the Detroit River, above Fort Pontchartrain (Detroit) and Downriver as well.
  • Most of the ribbon farms ranged from one to five arpents wide – an arpent was 192 ½ feet. They extended inland from the river for one and a half to three miles. The ribbon arrangement give the settlers easy access to their highway, the Detroit River, and the long narrow farms were easier to defend. The Detroit River was the main highway and the canoe served as the chief transportation vehicle.
  • Maps of the ribbon farms contain French family names like Beaubien, Campau, Chene, DeQuindre, Navarre, St. Aubin.
  • The Village of Ecorse was once named Grandport and was part of the Province of Quebec.
  • The name Ecorse, came from its location at the mouth of a little stream known to the French as Rivierre Aux Echorches, the river of bark. They called the stream river of bark because of the large number of birch trees growing along the banks. Legend has it that local Ottawa and Pottawatomie tribes would strip birch bark to make canoes and to fashion bark grave wrappings for their dead who were buried along the River.

Early, Early Ecorse!

One of the city landmarks of the early days was the Raupp sawmill, which was a popular gathering place for commerce and social events. Families intermarried and eventually there were nearly equal numbers of French and English settlers. The first recorded inter marriage was that of James Goodell and Angelique Salliotte. At that time all such records were kept at the parish of St. Anne in Detroit. Ecorse had only a small mission where Father Gabriel Richard preached once a month and which became the nucleus of the present St. Francis Xavier parish. A visit to the old St. Francis cemetery on Third Street is like a trip through history with old names and dates on every headstone.

The United States Congressional Ordinance established the Northwest Territory and set forth procedures for land measure and recognizing the old French land grants. By 1827, the scattering of settlers had developed into a small community the the Territorial Legislature created the Township of Ecorse, consisting of 54 square miles, running from the Detroit River to what is now Pelham Road, as well as two small islands in the Detroit River itself. The first township meeting was held in the home of Daniel Goodell and John Cicotte was named supervisor with duties including protecting of  public health, spokesman for the township, and arbiter of all disputes.

In 1834 because of its rapid growth Ecorse township became the village of Grandport with the plot of the village laid out and recorded in 1836. It had 800 people, 152 homes, and 4 businesses. It was to become the hub of the neighboring sprawling farmlands and the site of a shipyard as well as Raupp’s Lumber Mill. St. Francis Xavier became a parish in 1845. It served the communities of Fort Wayne, River Rouge, Wyandotte, Oakwood and Delray.

The earliest school records aren’t available, but it is probable that more French than English was spoken in the first schools established. In most cases, the French culture and customs predominated even in homes where one partner was English or some other nationality.

Older Ecorse residents recall being told of a log school, near the shore of the river at the foot of what is now Labadie. Some also recall a small building on the corner of Jefferson and White that served as a school in the 1860s. Later classes were held in the band building and in the council chambers of the old city hall.

By 1873, the business directory listed 15 establishments and in 1903 the unincorporated village of Grandport became a general law village, the largest “vilalge” in the United States. It was also renamed Ecorse from the original French “Ecorces.” Its first president was A.M. Salliotte. At this time, Ecorse was a resort area and one of the early commuter suburbs.

 

French Land Claims, Ecorse

Claim 25    197.80 Acres    Chas. Labadi               July 16, 1807                           Ecorse

Claim 31          640.00 Acres   Jos. Kilburn                 July 20, 1807                           Ecorse

Claim 32          271.33 Acres   John Cissne                 July 20, 1807                           Ecorse

Claim 35          337.60 Acres   Wm. Cissne                 July 20, 1807                           Ecorse

Claim 37          70.71 Acres    Chas. Chovin              July 20, 1807                           Ecorse Claim 42          292.84 Acres   Heirs of Frances Chobert, Jancaire     1823                Ecorse

Claim 45          595.60 Acres   Jacques&Francois Lasselle      July 23, 1807           Ecorse

Claim 46          896      Acres   Thos. Smith                                                                 Ecorse

Claim 47          225.00 Acres   Joseph Barrian             1823                                        Ecorse

Claim 48          896 Acres        Heirs of Thos. Smith   1823                                        Ecorse

Claim 49          389.80 Acres   Matthew Donovan      August 27, 1807                     Ecorse

Claim 50          457.07 Acres   John Connelly             August 22, 1807                     Ecorse

Claim 51          184.94 Acres   Jesse Burbank             August 22, 1807                     Ecorse

Claim 59          161.70 Acres   Ann Coates                 November 21, 1807                Ecorse

Claim 61          430.26 Acres   Ambrose Riopel          November 26, 1807                Ecorse

Claim 66          401.57 Acres   John Coates                 December 22, 1807                 Ecorse

Claim 74          106.67 Acres   Marianne Delille          December 26, 1807                 Ecorse

Claim 83          68.88 Acres    Louis Bourassa            December 30, 1807                 Ecorse

Claim 84          169.44 Acres   Charles Campeau        December 30, 1807                 Ecorse

Claim 85          70.68  Acres   Baptiste Rousson        December 30, 1807                 Ecorse

Claim 86          173.63 Acres   Antoine Baron                        December 30, 1807      Ecorse

Claim 92          68.33 Acres    Heris of Joseph Bondi    January 29, 1808                 Ecorse

Claim 95          174.34 Acres   Antoine Bondi               March 22, 1808                       Ecorse

Claim 112        49.59 Acres    Jean Baptiste Lebeau  May 25, 1808                          Ecorse

Claim 113        505.80 Acres   Jonathan Schiefflein   May 25, 1808                          Ecorse

Claim 114        385.82 Acres   Angelique Cicot&children  May 26, 1808                  Ecorse

Claim 116        136.38 Acres   Pierre Delorier             May 28, 1808                          Ecorse

Claim 118        105.72 Acres   Francois Trudelle        June 6, 1808                            Ecorse

Claim 119        228.38 Acres   Louis Vessiere dit Laferte  June 6, 1808                    Ecorse

Claim 121        250.82 Acres   Andre Viger,               June 8, 1808                            Ecorse

Claim 125        143.94 Acres   Antoine Cattin-Therese&Pauline  June 10, 1808        Ecorse

Claim 169        249.00 Acres   J.B. Drouillard                        June 22, 1808                          Ecorse

Claim 179        168.85 Acres   Bazile Pepin                June 25, 1808                          Ecorse

Claim 212        39.50 Acres    Jonathan Schiefflein   December 11, 1809                 Ecorse

Claim 226        360.50 Acres   Alexis Discontis Labadi   July 11, 1808                     Ecorse

Claim 259        80.00 Acres    Widow Ganier &heirs of Isaac  August 4, 1808        Ecorse

Claim 455        198.72 Acres   J.B. Beaugrand           December 7, 1808                   Ecorse

Claim 475        187.37 Acres   Jacques Laselle            December 12, 1808                 Ecorse

Claim 496        221.72 Acres   Louis Leduc                December 14, 1808                 Ecorse

Claim 497        198.08 Acres   Claude Campeau         December 14, 1808                 Ecorse

Claim 524        234.56 Acres   Heirs of Joseph Voyer December 20, 1808                Ecorse

Claim 525        199.60 Acres   Gab. Godfroy Sr. & children December 20, 1808      Ecorse

Claim 567        129.79 Acres   Chas. Rouleau             December 26, 1808                 Ecorse

Claim 643        407.36 Acres   Anne Coats for heirs of J. Donaldson May 10, 1809  Ecorse

Claim 651        105.54 Acres   Alexis Cenait dit Coquillard June 26, 1809                Ecorse

Claim 661        276.50 Acres   WidowCorbus &Heirs of Godfroy Dec.15, 1809      Ecorse

Claim 667        80.00 Acres    Gab. Godfroy Sr.                    December 29, 1809     Ecorse

Claim 669        206.46 Acres   Heirs of J.B. Desplaines          Januay 1, 1810            Ecorse

Clain 671         467.08 Acres   Jonathan Nelson                      October 4, 1810          Ecorse

 

(Source:  http://www.geocities.com/michhist/ladclaim.html)

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Friends, Freedom, and the Fourth of July Ferris Wheel

(Remember the carnivals that were located down by the river every Fourth of July? This story really happened.  I changed the names of the boy and Lisa in question because I didn’t want to embarrass them or me, even after all of these years! If you have any carnival memories, please share them. All of the photos are by John Duguay)

by Kathy Warnes

The freedom of the Ferris Wheel, Merry Go Round, and Dodge’Em cars swirling in the rides section of the carnival beside the Detroit River made me vow that this Fourth of July would be different!  This Fourth of July as we walked around the carnival by the river, ate cotton candy, and rode the rides, I would tell John I liked him. Maybe he would even hold my hand- the ultimate act of love for eleven year olds in the late 1950s.

John and I had spent our childhood being good buddies, growing up a block away from each other.  We played long, hot summer afternoon baseball games and twilight games of hide and seek, tag, and statue makers with the neighborhood kids. When would be a good time to tell him I liked him? Could I tell him when he slid head first into first base and I tagged him out?

The Fourth of July carnival that came to our town every year would be the best place to tell him. I dug my favorite pedal pusher and matching top outfit out of the ironing and ironed it. I put new laces in my blue tennis shoes, and put on blue socks so the hole in my right shoe would blend in with the sock. To my anxious eyes, the colors blended and the hole stayed harmlessly under the cover of my right toe.The music from the Merry-Go-Round danced on the wind and floated into my ears. Miss Burr had taught us the song in music class,

“Come Josephine in my flying machine,

Going up she goes! Up she goes!

Balance yourself like a bird on a beam

In the air she goes! There she goes!

….Going up, all on, goodbye!”

Pretending I was a bird on a beam, and balancing myself with both arms, I headed toward the Merry-Go-Round. John and I usually met there. I kept my eye on the horses, especially the one with the brown mane and black and white spots. That’s the one we would ride together after I told him I liked him and he told me he liked me.

Then I saw something a few feet away from the Merry-Go-Round that brought me crashing back down to earth.

A woman with braided brown hair had set up shop in a little cubby hole of a booth. She had a rack golden lockets on slim chains on display and an engraving machine sat on the table in back of her. A single customer stood in front of the woman.  “I want it to say, I like you a lot,” he told the woman with braided brown hair. I wanted to jump up and down and dance. I wanted to fly with Josephine in her flying machine as high up as the moon or the sun. The lady with the braided brown hair’s customer was John.

I backed away before he saw me. I flew away. I floated away. “I like you a lot.” John had told the lady to engrave on the locket. I would never forget this Fourth of July! I planned to run over to my best friend Janet’s house and show her the locket as soon as John gave it to me and I needed to get a locket to give to him.

Ducking behind people and dodging a few kids I knew, I sneaked back to the booth. Whew! John was gone, but the lady with the brown braided hair was still there.  She smiled when I ordered a locket and she chuckled when I told her that I wanted her to engrave, “I like you a lot,” on it. She engraved the locket for me and when she handed it back, she laughed. “It’s a nice Fourth of July gift,” she said.

I smiled at her and held the locket tightly in my sweaty hand. I had to hurry and meet John. I was already late, but this year he hadn’t named an exact time. He had just said that he might see me at the Merry-Go-Round. I knew he meant more than might. He had gotten me an engraved locket just ten minutes ago, hadn’t he?

John stood in front of the Merry-Go-Round waiting. I switched the locket to my other hand so I wouldn’t tarnish it with my sweat. “John,” I said.

He didn’t hear or see me. He was walking toward a girl wearing Bermuda shorts and a matching blouse and a coordinating kerchief. As she walked toward John I saw that she had on flowered straw sandals and her toenails were painted pink.

“Hi Lisa,” I heard him say to her. “I ‘m glad you came.”

He handed her the locket. “I got this for you.”

She smiled at him and put the locket around her neck. They walked away, holding hands.

I put the locket back in my sweaty hand and I walked away too. Defiantly I rode the Dodge-em-Cars twice and the Merry-Go-Round once. Then, still balancing myself like a bird on the beam, I went to the Ferris Wheel. The Ferris Wheel attendant brought a boy and a girl to the seat behind me. It was John and Lisa.  I rocked back and forth in the seat by myself. I looked out over the Fourth of July red, white, and blue decorations and the flags waving in the breeze. I saw little ant people lining up to form the Fourth of July Parade.

“Going up all on, goodbye!” I sang as I rode in the Ferris Wheel in front of John and Lisa. My tears blurred the red, white, and blue Fourth of July colors together.

Every Fourth of July since that day long ago, even when I don’t ride the Ferris Wheel, I hold the locket in my hands and sing, “Going up, all on, goodbye!”

My tears still blur the red, white, and blue Fourth of July colors together.

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Ecorse Events and Editorials, 1950

by Kathy Warnes

Photos by John Duguay

Thursday, May 25, 1950

Liberty Bell Caravan

More than 900 future Ecorse citizens paid tribute to the spirit of freedom last Wednesday noon when they gathered in the Ecorse stadium to welcome the Liberty Bell Caravan to this city.

The bell – one of the forty nine replicas created for this nationwide program- was brought to Ecorse on the first leg of a statewide trek, which will carry the symbol of American freedom to every city and hamlet in Michigan.

The program is being carried out at the instigation of the United States Treasury Department as a means of arousing interest in the Independence Bond Drive now under way.

Glen Hunt, Ecorse High School instructor, spoke briefly at the beginning of the program, explaining to the students the history of the bell and its importance as a symbol.

George W. Cook, Deputy Director of the U.S. Treasury, Savings Bond Division for Michigan, spoke to the students concerning the importance of their participation in the drive.

At the conclusion of the program a group of Ecorse students took part in the ceremony of the ringing of the Bell, as the voice of freedom floated out over the City of Ecorse.

George Eldredge, a representative of the Ford Motor Company, one of the sponsors of the Caravan, highly commended the Ecorse student body, citing the group as “the best and most attentive audience yet encountered.”

New Version of Old Male Dodge Traps Jeanie

When seven-year-old Jeanie Westcott grows up she’ll know what to do if a human wolf invites her to look at his etchings. As she was passing an alley way at 3625 West Jefferson last Thursday, Jeanie was approached by a ten-year-old boy who asked her if she would like to see some rabbits.

Jeanie, all a-flutter with anticipation, followed the boy up the alley. When they had traveled a short distance, the boys asked Jeanie what she had in her purse. She said it contained some money for some purchases she was to make at a grocery store.

Jeanie’s father, Lawrence Westcott of 76 East Auburn, reported to police that the boy had helped himself to 90 cents that was in the purse and fled.

“I’ll bet he didn’t have any rabbits,” Jeanie said scornfully.

Dog Scorns Friendly Overtures

Six year old Paul Messineo climbed some porch steps at 4334 Eighth last Thursday to make friends with a dog that had been tied up by its owner.

The feeling wasn’t mutual.

Paul, whose parents live at 4334 Eighth, was treated for severe bites below his left shoulder blade and the dog was ordered placed under observation for 10 days.

Thursday, July 27, 1950 

Banker to Attend School

Clarence R. Mead, senior vice president of the Ecorse-Lincoln Park Bank, is scheduled to go to Chicago Saturday to attend the School of Financial Public Relations.

Enrolled as a first year student, Meade is one of 50 bankers enrolled in the school.

The school will be conducted from July 31 to August 12 by the Financial Public Relations Association in conjunction with Northwestern University.

Classes will be held in Abbott Hall, an 18 story residence hall on the shores of Lake Michigan on the Chicago Campus of the university.

The broad a practical curriculum embraces applied psychology, practical sociology, publicity, business development, techniques in influencing people, advertising, effective speaking, salesmanship, effective use of words, radio and television, letter writing, public and internal relations and employee training in public relations.

Cops Good Deed Earns High Praise

A strapping Ecorse patrolman hung his head modestly this week when a letter from a contented citizen was hung upon the police bulletin board.

The letter, from a “married woman,” commended police in general for their courteous handling of the Ecorse Day throngs and one patrolman in particular who volunteered to mail a letter for her so that she did not have to leave her car in the congested traffic.

“Aw shucks,” said Patrolman Louis Audia, “it wasn’t nothing.”

Police Chief Charles W. Miller, however, took a different view of the matter.

In an accompanying notation to members of his force he wrote: “This is evidence that police courtesy and service pays off.”

Nightmare Proves Extra Realistic

Donald Redwine of 3886 Fourteenth, wasn’t just dreaming that he put his fist through a window of his home.

As a matter of fact, when he snapped out of a nightmare early Friday morning, Donald found that he had not only shattered the window, but also had an ugly gash running the length of his right arm.

Summoned by Donald’s mother, Ecorse police rushed Donald to a physician’s office where 71 stitches were required to close the wound.

Editorials, July 27, 1950

Civil Defense Program

More than ever before in history a Civil Defense Program is necessary as a third World War would affect every civilian.

However, the organization of a Civil Defense Program does not mean that war is here and is no cause for alarm or hysteria.

A global war may not come but, with the tension in Europe, aggression in the Orient, and a dictator nation seeking to spread it ideologies over the world, the need for preparedness both military and civilian is obvious.

The time may never come for the civilian defense program to be needed, but it is important to realize that it might be needed and needed quickly.

For this reason every able bodied man and woman should register and train for the position he or she can best fill and make his city’s civil defense organization the most efficient and extensive possible.

The Dangers of a Vacation in the Country

The city dweller who goes on a vacation in the country may come home with a case of typhoid, undulant fever or diphtheria.

Accustomed as he is to the pasteurized milk and dairy products he buys in the city, he forgets that all of Michigan is not controlled by the state’s excellent pasteurization law.

Besides five communities in Michigan which have removed themselves from the protection of the law, the pasteurization law does not cover milk and dairy products sold or used on the farms where they are produced.

For this reason, a vacation on a farm or at a resort where milk and butter are supplied by a nearby farm may be a dangerous and costly one.

For safety’s sake, the Michigan Department of Health urges all summer vacationists to insist on pasteurized products or if these cannot be obtained, to use canned milk or pasteurize the local product and avoid buying homemade butter and cottage cheese.

Most resorts use only pasteurized dairy products, but holiday seekers must be on the alert and buy no raw milk, homemade butter, ice cream or cheese for only properly pasteurized products are safe.

 

 

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3-D Glasses, the Harbor Theater, and Scary Movies

The photo is courtesy of Rich and Debbie Bzovi.

By Kathy Warnes

I settled my green 3 D glasses more firmly on my nose and wiggled more comfortably into the plush red seat in the first row at the Harbor Theater. I had gotten there an hour before the show was supposed to start just to make sure that I could be the first one in when the doors opened. Feeling like I was entering a time machine, I put my fifty cents in the steel kitty, accepted my complimentary pair of 3D glasses from a smiling teenage girl, and hurried down the red magic carpet through another set of doors into the mysterious darkness of the Harbor’s inner sanctum. The concession stand stood to the right.  I was the first one to buy the luxurious 25 cent box of buttered popcorn and a box of Jujubeads and I hop-walked down the long red carpet covered center aisle to claim my front row seat.

Escaping Unmelted from The House of Wax

I squashed my guilty feelings about sitting in the front row after my mother had told me not to because being so close to the screen would hurt my eyes with a fistful of popcorn. I buried my lacks of guilty feelings about leaving my brothers home with another fistful of popcorn and chewed Jujubeads for a forever time until the music announced the previews and the coming attractions. The previews were not in 3D and I can’t remember any of them. I was so anxious for the movie to start that I put my glasses on my nose and kept them on while I fidgeted my feet to make the movie arrive faster. I’m pretty sure that cartoon was a Goofy cartoon, very similar to this one.  Father’s Day Off.

Finally,  came the music and picture announcing The House of Wax, starring Vincent Price. My child self shivered ( it was the 1950s, after all!). The 3D glasses put me right in the middle of the story. Vincent Price playd a sculptor, Professor Henry Jarrod working in a museum in New York in the 1910s. Professor Jarrod’s partner sets fire to the museum to collect the insurance and splashes kerosene over his body, leaving him to perish in the flames. Although severely injured, Professor Jarrod survives and he builds a new House of Wax with the help of his deaf-mute assistant Igor, also a sculptor.

Professor Jarrod and Igor create an exhibit called “Chamber of Horrors” that features figures from notable crimes including the prototype of his former business partner who had been murdered by a cloaked, disfigured killer. Professor Jarrod’s partner Burke’s fiancée, Cathy Gray, is also killed. Her friend Sue Allen also visit the museum and discovers that all of the waxworks in the House of Wax are the wax coated bodies of Jarrod’s victims. Sue Allen almost becomes Jarrod’s victim, but she is saved in time and Jarrod himself falls into the wax.

My 3D glasses could have been glued to my face with Super Glue, I pressed them so tightly to my nose.  I didn’t want to miss any of the dramatic scenes, and I wanted to see the wax figures up 3D close and personal.

When The House of Wax was over, I walked up the aisle slowly, casting backward glances at the screen. Reluctantly, I handed my glasses back to the same smiling teenager, still casting frequent glances over my shoulder for one last glimpse of creepy Professor Jarrod.

It took years for the memory of the Professor’s work table next to the bubbling wax to fade and every time I passed by or went to see another movie at the Harbor Theater, I shivered at the spooky yet exciting memory of The House of Wax.

Aliens in 3D at the Harbor Theater was one of the highlights of my childhood.

Not too long afterward, I traveled the eight blocks from Pitt Street where I lived to the Harbor Theater to see It Came From Outer Space., the other 3-D movie that still sits firmly in my memory. It Came From Outer Space is set near a small town called Sand Rock, Arizona. Actor Richard Carlson plays John Putnam who is an amateur astronomer and Barbara Rush plays Ellen Fields, a schoolteacher. They watch a meteorite crash near the town and they visit the crash site. John spots something strange in the crater and he is convinced that it isn’t a meteorite but an alien spaceship. A landslide covers the mysterious ship, and the townspeople, the sheriff, and the local paper and radio and television ridicule John.

John asks Ellen to help him investigate the mysterious space ship and during the next few weeks, several of the townspeople disappear. When a few of them return, they act distant and dazed. Eventually the sheriff is convinced that aliens really are present in Sand Rock and he organizes a posse to find them. John hopes to resolve the situation peacefully, so he goes into a mine where he hopes to find the buried spaceship and the aliens.

John and Ellen finally discover that the aliens are benevolent beings whose spaceship crashed and they want to stay on earth just long enough to repair their spaceship. The aliens took control of the humans temporarily because they needed to blend in to the community while they repaired their spaceship. When they repair the ship and left, all of the missing and controlled townspeople are again their normal selves.

The Harbor Theater Was a Safe Harbor

When I left the Harbor Theater after seeing It Came From Outer Space, I was determined to find a spaceship and explore outer space, even at my age. I think I was ten by that time. It took me years to accept the fact that I would not personally be flying with Sputnik or orbiting or walking on the moon. After all, hadn’t I seen the cutting edge of space travel at the Harbor Theater?

My 3-D experiences at the Harbor Theater were the most memorable, but I also adventured with Superman, the Lone Ranger, and Hop-a-long Cassidy there. I remember watching some love scenes in movies and contributing to the disrespectable smacking noises that kids in the anonymous dark made to communicate their disdain for mushy movies.

The Harbor Theater was a time capsule, a space ship, and a fun place to spend Saturday and Sunday afternoons and beg parental permission to visit on weekdays too. It was a safe place for kids to go to set their imaginations free to roam the plushy red seats and travel the long carpeted aisles from childhood to adulthood.

(Until I received a comment from Rich and Debbi Bzovi, I thought I had managed to keep my nostalgic feelings about the Harbor Theater in Ecorse a secret. I thought!  Sandy Blakeman’s article about Andrew Bzovi  came to the attention of one of his great grandchildren and thus his grandson Rich and his wife Debbi Bzovi ‘s comment. You can read the comment in the comments  section under the post entitled “Movies and Other Events in Ecorse, Fall 1950.”

And, if you have any fond memories of the Harbor Theater, please share them!)

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Movies and Other Events in Ecorse, Fall 1950

By Kathy Warnes

Movies and Other Events in Ecorse, Fall 1950

Going to the movies in 1950s Ecorse was a fun experience. Remember the Harbor Theater on West Jefferson and Outer Drive? In fact, there was at least one movie theater on Jefferson before Andrew Bzovi built the Harbor Theater, the Ecorse Theater.

 

 

 (Thanks to Leta Blakeman Kekich for sending this article and others that her father, Morris “Sandy” Blakeman wrote for the Mellus Newspapers in Ecorse in the 1950s. Remember the Harbor Theater?  Escaping into the magic world of Superman, The 1950s Phantom of the Opera and  Disney cartoons at the Harbor Theater was one of the fun things about growing up in Ecorse.)

Sidelites. . .

By M. Sandy Blakeman

From silent movies to the era of 3-D and wide screen, the Bzovi family of Ecorse has brought entertainment to countless thousands of Downriver residents.

Andrew Bzovi and his family moved to Ecorse in 1929 and almost immediately afterwards brought motion pictures to the city. They closed the Ecorse Theater in 1948 and built the new Harbor Theater at the intersection of West Jefferson and Outer Drive. Dan Bzovi, son of Andrew and Florence Bzovi, is manager and co-owner of the Harbor Theater with his father and has closely watched the city’s progress. Bzovi emphasizes the important role the youth of a city plays in its development. “Ecorse is still to a great extent dominated by pioneers,” insists Bzovi. “Today’s problems must be met by today’s youth as well as the older generations.”

“First of all,” Bzovi suggests, “we need execution of new and modern ideas in Ecorse and the only way we can efficiently reap the benefits of these ideas is by organizing our progress-minded citizens. It has been my experience to witness the weakening of our community structure when a suggested idea for improvement was termed obsolete by certain pioneer citizens because it had been investigated several years ago and was found unworthy of further comment.

“Much of the progress in Ecorse can be attributed to young leaders,” Bzovi continued. “Check the rapid growth of several Ecorse business places. Almost invariably these establishments are controlled by young leaders. I do not mean older folks are not progress minded. I do mean old ideas should be examined more closely and new ideas should be given preferential treatment if they are worthy. Give the driver’s wheel to those who will bring progress to Ecorse.”

Need Chain Stores

Bzovi believes chain stores in Ecorse would bring new life to the business sections.  He reports however, that in his opinion, the chain stores were not given the opportunity to establish here because much of the suitable property is owned by people who asked fantastic prices for it.”

“The property under the circumstances,” Bzovi says, “will remain vacant for a long time. Several chain stores have investigated and were met with opposition from the start. We need competition,” Bzovi insists. “We need competition to keep us on our toes and to give our people more reason to ship and live in Ecorse. We need competition to help us plan the future of Ecorse.”

Organizations Help

The Harbor Theater was constructed at a time when the future of the entire motion picture industry was threatened by the popularity of television. Despite these odds and the serious handicap of obtaining building materials during the war years, Bzovi was assisted by many local progress-minded civic organizations who helped him obtain approval for the construction of the Harbor Theater.

“Faith in your home town,” Bzovi concludes, “is a necessary ingredient for tomorrow’s progress.”

Ecorse Calendar, Fall 1950

The September issue of the Ecorse Adviser reported that the Great Lakes Steel American Legion Auxiliary Unit 272 would be publicly installing officers in their club rooms on West Jefferson Avenue at Elton on Thursday, September 28, 1950, at 7 p.m.

St. Francis Xavier Church’s Committee on the Festival was held on Monday, September 25, 1950, in the St. Francis School. A House of Wonders booth sponsored by the school children will be added to the festival for Friday, Saturday. A children’s matinee will be on Friday at noon and refreshments will be served.

Roy B. Salliotte American Legion Auxiliary

The new officers of the Roy B. Salliotte Post and Auxiliary were publicly installed on Saturday, September 23, 1950, in the Legion Club rooms, 8 White Street, Ecorse.

Mrs. Ann Miller, installing officers assisted by Mrs. Mildred Wieging, sergeant at arms, installed the auxiliary officers. Ann Cicotte, president, Henrietta Darilek, senior vice president, Augusta Horn, junior vice president, Dorena Manoyian, chaplain; Marie Broughton, secretary and treasurer; Regina Bader, corresponding secretary; Rosa Kirch, sergeant at arms; Helen Ellis, historian. Executive board members are:  Mary Schueter, Ann Miller, Ellea Lajoie and Grace Cyr. Mary Schueter is the retiring president.

The Ecorse Boat Club Auxiliary held their first meeting of the new season on Monday, September 25, 1950, in the Boat Club building on West Jefferson Avenue. A good attendance was on hand to plan activities for the fall.

Halloween Plans

The Ecorse Advertiser reported on October 26, 1950, that over 2,800 Ecorse public and parochial school boys and girls will be the guests of the Ecorse Recreation Department at a Halloween party in their respective schools Tuesday afternoon, October 31. There will be refreshments served.

Each school will make its own plans for the Halloween party.

In the evening the Recreation Department has planned Halloween parties for the 1,000 or more teenagers.

From 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. there will be movies at School No. 3. From 7:30 p.m. to 11:00 p.m. there will be games and dancing at the High School, St. Francis Xavier School, and C.J. Miller School.

Teenagers are invited to any of these parties, William Weeber, Director of Recreation, has announced.

 

 

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Al DuHadway Recorded Ecorse History for the Mellus Newspapers

Two Views, 74 Years Apart

Mellus Newspapers

Wednesday, April 2, 1975

By Al DuHadway

Despite a building boom that has seen thousands of new homes and business places constructed throughout the Downriver area, there still can be found buildings that date back nearly a century.

In Ecorse, one of the oldest settlements in this part of Michigan, hundreds of men and women patronize a tavern located in a building which has remained virtually unchanged for nearly 80 years.

Barrett Lafferty, veteran Allen Park city official, recently loaned the Mellus Newspapers a prized old photograph which was taken in 1909.

This week, Frank Rogers, Mellus Newspaper staff photographer, stood on the same spot and with a more modern camera, snapped a picture of the same view.

Lafferty, a peppery Allen Park official, who is not afraid to reveal his age, is quick to point out that he was three years old when he stood in front of the camera on the front steps of his father’s general store.

The late Frank X. Lafferty was a power in Ecorse Township politics for generations and for many years ran the general store in the pioneer village.

As can be seen by the old picture, what is now busy Jefferson Avenue was once a narrow brick street with the rails of the Detroit United Railway interurban street car line running along the edge of the highway.

Lafferty recalls how the streetcars halted in front of the building for unloading of crates and barrels of merchandise that were offered for sale.

Other things were shipped by freight cars on the old Michigan Central Railroad or by boat from Detroit. The cargo was unloaded either at the State Street (now Southfield) dock in Ecorse or landing at the foot of Oak Street in Wyandotte.

Teams of horses delivered goods to the inland farms which have long since become the bustling communities of Allen Park, Lincoln Park, Melvindale and Southgate.

Standing in front of the store is a delivery wagon which was pulled by the faithful old mare, Nance.

“Dad operated the old time general store-the kind you see today in such places as Greenfield Village. He stocked everything you could think of, and if he did not have it he would order it for his customers.

“We delivered everything in those days but the final blow came when a woman called and wanted us to hitch Nance to the wagon and deliver a single spool of thread,” Lafferty recalled.

The elder Lafferty closed the general store but continued to operate a grocery and meat market. After his death, his son Charles ran the business until he joined the Ecorse Fire Department. Charles retired in 1974 as chief of the department.

The Lafferty family had a soft spot in their hearts for their faithful horse and recalled that she lived to be 24 years of age.

Ecorse Officials Struggle to Write History

By Al DuHadway

Mellus Newspapers

Wednesday, April 28, 1976

Two Ecorse officials have undertaken a whale of a job as the city gets ready to observe the nation’s 200th birthday.

City Assessor Elmer Labadie and Purchasing Agent James Lawrence are heading a committee that intends to publish a Bicentennial history book, but already they are learning that they have a job cut out for themselves.

Labadie’s roots go away back – his great, great grandfather, Alex Descompte Labadie-was granted land in what is now Ecorse in 1701. The land grant was issued by King Louis the XIV of France back in the days when all of the present day Downriver area was a part of the Province of Quebec in the colony of New France.

The two men are learning something this writer discovered many years ago-finding information about the historical old community does not come easy.

Almost30 years ago the late William W. Voisine, Ecorse mayor, named this writer the city historian- an unpaid position with no office space to store records or funds to acquire and preserve old maps, photographs or archives. In attempting to compile a history of the old community, researchers must depend upon local legends – often impossible to document- or try to gather historical tidbits from old land deeds, frequently handwritten in French.

Old photographs and maps must exist somewhere, but they probably are tucked away in attics where the present day owners are either unaware of their existence or reluctant to part with them.

The one single factor that hampers all researchers is the lack of written records. For example, it is known that a hamlet of sorts existed at present day Southfield and Jefferson before the United States came into being, and old timers have often theorized that explorers and missionaries may have halted along the shores as far back as 1679.

On July 24, 1701, Cadillac landed in what is now Detroit, and the French ruled the territory for the next 59 years before losing it to the British at the close of the French and Indian Wars.

Many of the descendants of the early day settlers trace their origins to the strip of ribbon farms that extended from as far away as Lake St. Clair to the present-day Wyandotte limits.

Following the War of 1812 when the British flag was hauled down for the last time the little settlement was known as Grand Port.Grand Port, which existed before Michigan became a state, had streets which remain in their present location to this very day.

An 1820 map, located in the Burton Historical Museum in Detroit, gives an indication as to the age of the community by listing Revolutionary War era heroes as thoroughfares. Streets were named for Jefferson, Monroe, Webster and Jackson as well as French settlers St. Cosme, Labadie and LeBlanc.

In 1827, when Ecorse Township was established, the name Grandport faded from the picture and the settlement gradually became known as Ecorse.

It was not until 1902, more than a century after the first settlers landed on the shores, that Ecorse officials got around to incorporating as a village.So, one can only rely on 74-year old written records to get an official version of the early day workings of the community. Township records, which dated back for 131 years, were lost when Ecorse Township was dissolved in 1958 with the creation of Southgate.

In searching for information about Ecorse’s colorful past, Labadie is attempting to determine which is the oldest building in town.In his official capacity as assessor, he has access to records that date back to the earliest days of the Downriver area. Labadie has discovered what he thinks to be the oldest buildings in the Downriver area. They are the old San Succi farmhouse on Pepper Road, and an old brick dwelling located behind a drug store at West Jefferson and Labadie.

Ecorse Reaps Profit from 1903 Land Swap

By Al DuHadway

Mellus Newspapers, June 1972

Legend tells us that Manhatten Islandwas traded by Indians to early Dutch settlers for a barrel of whiskey and a few trinkets worth $24 – probably the greatest bargain in history.

The annals of the Downriver area tell of a land transaction on a much smaller scale which enabled Ecorse to become one of the wealthiest cities of its size in the nation.

Ecorse was a y ear old village in 1903 when negotiations were begun with officials of neighboring River Rouge to straighten out the jagged boundary between the two communities. Faded, hand-written minutes of Ecorse Village Council meetings tell that “council hed a meeting with the River Rouge village officials in regard to the boundary line between the two towns, etc.”

As a result of the negotiations, River Rouge officials agreed to trade a large section of swampland and marshes along theDetroit River for Florence, Elizabeth, LeBlanc and Cora Streets.

Charles Lafferty, Ecorse fire chief and a descendant of the early day French settlers, recalled hearing how Rouge officials danced with glee after Ecorse councilmen agreed to the transaction, figuring that they had traded worthless swam for valuable residential property.

Today, survivors of that early administration must look back with regret on their “shrewd” bargain. The worthless swamps and marshes are the sites of industrial installations with assessed valuations totaling more than $200,000,000.  Included are the sprawling Great Lakes Steel plants, Dana Corporation, Nicholson Terminal and Dock, the switching yards of the Detroit, Toledo and Ironton and Penn Central Railroads, and the slag-producing operations of the Edward C. Levy Company. These firms last year paid nearly two million dollars in taxes to Ecorse.

By contrast, the streets given up by Ecorse now have only a few dozen aging houses, whose tax potential is decreasing yearly. Oddly enough, the land swap did not really clear up the boundary confusion, for as new streets were platted and homes constructed, they often were located squarely on the line between the two communities. There are people living in this area today who sleep in River Rouge, cook their meals in Ecorse and pay taxes to both communities. In a similar manner, there are persons who vote and use Ecorse as their mailing address, but actually live inLincoln Park.

Street pavings, creek relocatings and freeway construction have created similar problems throughout the area served by The Mellus Newspapers, as portions of Melvindale,Allen ParkandLincoln ParkfollowOuter Drive.

One of the most humorous aspects that used to cause confusion was in Southgate. Veteran police officers recall that a tavern is in Wyandotteon Fort near Eureka, but if an unruly drunk is tossed out onto the sidewalk, he will land inSouthgate.

Getting back to the historic land exchange, there are many descendants of the first Ecorse village council members living in the Downriver area today. They probably have heard how the Ecorse Frenchmen “skinned” the River Rouge Frenchmen with their “horse-trading.”

The names of the early day officials can be found on many streets that since have sprung up in the “new” communities of Allen Park, Lincoln Park, Melvindale, Riverview, Southgate and Taylor.

The officials who staged the “land grab” included President Alexis M. Salliotte and Trustees Joseph Reno, George Cicotte, Charles Salliotte, John Maurice, Gustave Raupp and Alex Goodell. Columbus Drouillard was clerk, Charles Montry, treasurer; and Thomas Sommers, assessor.

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Ecorse Activities – February 1957

by Kathy Warnes

Ecorse residents were busy with a variety of activities in February 1957.

Schools…Churches…..

Ecorse High School Graduate Disc Jockey in Ann Arbor- Eddie Pietrangelo on Air

Eddie Pietrangelo, sparkplug of the class of 1956 at Ecorse High School, is continuing to make his mark in the realm of higher education.

Although only a second semester freshman at the University of Michigan, Eddie is a disc jockey with two shows, one of them sponsored, broadcasting over WCBM, the Ann Arbor radito station.

Eddie’s evening show, “The Career Hour,” sponsored by Kaiser Aluminum, is broadcast at 11:15 every night and features recorded jazz music. “Jazz Party,” his second dee-jay program hits the air waves from 1 to 2 p.m. on Wednesdays. Taped interviews with top jazz artists appearing in Ann Arbor or Detroit highlight the afternoon show.

During high school, Eddie whose extracurricular activities were legion, was held in high esteem by his classmates, who elected him class president   in his junior and senior years. He also was chosen by fellow members to head the student council, which had, under Eddie’s energetic, imaginative leadership, one of its most successful years.

His other activities included memberships in the National Honor Society, Broadcasters Club, band and choir, Spanish Club and photography group.

Eddie is the son of Mr. and Mrs. Cesidio Pietrangelo of 4312 Seventh. He’s majoring in music education at U. of M., where he is also a member of the famed Marching Band.

Ecorse High Students to Present Play Friday

Seven weeks of grueling rehearsals will be climaxed on February 28, 1957 when 19 Ecorse High School thespians trod the boards in a three act play, “Curtain Going Up.”

A fast moving comedy-mystery thriller, the play will be presented in the high school auditorium. Curtain time is 8:30 p.m.

The play is being staged under the supervision of Miss Helen Garlington, Ecorse High School music teacher.

Members of the cast are Art Whitefield, Paul Henderson, Connie Bakos, Theresa White, James Lee, Marvin Williams, Judith Holmes, Barbara O-Bannon, Mickey Smurda, Bonnie Rose, Sara Batte, Junaita Salas, Willa Mae Nelson, Pat Christie, James Holbrook, Don Foster and Larry O’Laughlin.

The people of Ecorse are urged to attend the play. Tickets will be on sale at the box office until curtain time and may be purchased for 50 cents, 75 cents, and one dollar.

Chef Uses French-Indian Recipe to Prepare Muskrat

Good news on the gourmet front is the announcement of an Aquaba – muskrat- supper to be held beginning at 4 p.m. on Friday, March 8, at the St. Francis Xavier School auditorium, Outer Drive at West Jefferson, Ecorse.

Sponsored by the St. Anne Rosary Altar Society, the supper will provide an “eat treat” for muskrat supper fans who have little opportunity to enjoy the delicacy as prepared y Gene Maurice. A renowned French style chef, Maurice prepares the muskrat from a jealously guarded French-Indian recipe handed down through the family for several generations.

The muskrat considered an epicurean delicacy when correctly prepared, is one of the cleanest of all animals, living on roots, herbs, and marsh grasses.

Many local residents, Catholics included, are not aware of the reason they may eat muskrat on Fridays, since it obviously is not fish.

In fact, this is the only region where muskrat is permitted to be served on Friday by the Catholic Church. A papal decree made this permissible back in the early 1700s, when during a famine, the early French settlers were hard pressed to obtain food. They appealed to the Pope, who granted a special dispensation for the people from Port Huron to Toledo along the waterway, and in certain parts of Canada. This right has never been revoked.

Anyone who would prefer fish instead of muskrat may have it if they order it when purchasing tickets a few days in advance of the supper.

Mrs. Maria Lambrix, president of the altar society, has named Mrs. Russell Goodell and Mrs. Leo McCourt co-chairman of the supper.

Tickets may be purchased from members and at the door. Reservations may be made by calling Mrs. Lambrix, DU-1-3118.

Father and Son Dinner

A Father and Son Banquet sponsored by the Ecorse Presbyterian Church will be held Thursday, February 28, 1957 at 6:30 p.m. at the Leonard Duckett Center. The dinner will be served by the members of the Woman’s Bible Class.

The program for the evening will feature magic tricks and a Punch and Judy puppet show by Harold Ramm.

Honor Three Girl Scout Leaders

Three Ecorse Girl Scout leaders will be presented with three year pins on February 28, 1957, during a recognition dinner at the First Presbyterian Church in Wyandotte.

Receiving the pins will be Mrs. Inez Haynes, neighborhood chairman; Mrs. Helen Childress, neighborhood camp chairman, and  Mrs. Mabel Dalkins.

Others attending the dinner from Ecorse will be Mrs. Maud Peffard, group organizer; Mrs. Mary Parks, finance chairman; Mrs. Beverly DuHadway, public relations chairman; Mrs. Vivian Knipe, Mrs. Dorothy Covert and Mrs. Helen Elkins.

Police and Politics

No Nuthin’ on Levy’s Truck

Ecorse police officers Larry Bedo and John Jacobs had a difficult time deciding what charge to lodge against a man they arrested Monday, February 25, 1957. It wasn’t that they didn’t have a specific charge; it was a case of having too many.

The officers stopped Levy Lewis for questioning and learned that:

Lewis had no permanent address, no chauffeur’s license, and no truck registration.

The truck had license plates, but they were obscured. A further check showed that the truck had no tail lights. No turned indicators (required on trucks). No brakes, no lights, no horn.

Lewis was picking up junk from Ecorse alleys without a license, so the officers charged him with violation of a city ordinance which prohibits junking with a license. Judge Alexander Barbour ordered Lewis to pay a $15 fine.

Ecorse Headache-Take Ax to Peak Budget Demands

City department heads submitted record budget requests totaling $2,271,803 and handed Ecorse city officials a king sized headache to match.

The request represents an increase of nearly $100,000 over current appropriations with no allowances for pay raises. A police department request for $289,000 to be set aside for a new police station is not included in the peak figure.

The task of paring the requests into a semblance of last year’s $2,189,000 budget began February 22 at the opening budget session. City officials have only a month to get the proposed budget into shape before April 1, when it must be adopted.

A $300,000 appropriation for debt service is a required budget item.

 

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Meeting Ecorse Past Mayors

By Kathy Warnes

Hi everyone,

I am aiming to do as many biographies of Ecorse mayors as possible. If you have any information about Ecorse mayors would you please email me at kathywarnes@yahoo.com or kathywarnes@gmail.com ?  And, if you have any more information about Eli Ciungan, Richard Manning, or Albert Zukonik to add, please let me know.

Sincerely,

Kathy Covert Warnes

Eli Ciungan

Eli Ciungan was the Mayor of Ecorse from 1957-1963.

Eli Ciungan – a Romanian name pronounced “Chung gan”- was born in Salem Ohio, on November 22, 1921 and he died in May 1974.

An Ecorse resident since 1934, Eli graduated from Ecorse High School in 1939 and received advanced schooling at Kiski Preparatory School in Pennsylvania and Tulane University in Louisiana.

Eli served in the Royal Canadian Air Force in 1941 and in the United States Air Force from 1942-1945. He received the Purple Heart for wounds he sustained when his plane was shot down near Bougainville in 1943.

Married with two sons and a daughter, he was a residential builder and co-manager of Ciungan’s Shrimp House in Ecorse.

Eli Ciungan’s accomplishments as mayor included eliminating dilapidated housing projects and replacing them with new homes, a major alley and street paving program that saved the city thousands of dollars in maintenance costs, installing a centralized switchboard system for fast, efficient Department of Public works Service, and constructing playgrounds and tot lots in all areas of Ecorse to provide a place for children to play.

Richard E. Manning

(Richard Manning (right) and Louis Parker)

Richard E. Manning was mayor of Ecorse from 1963 to 1965.

Richard Manning was born in 1919 and attended Ecorse public schools. He studied naval engineering at the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland, and graduated from Eastern Michigan University and the University Michigan, earning secondary and junior college teaching certification and a graduate school degree in engineering.

In 1944, Richard enlisted in the United States Navy and was assigned to ship for overseas duty. He was discharged in 1947.

The next five years of Richard Manning’s life were filled with educational and political activities. He was assistant city engineer of Ecorse and for the next sixteen years he was an associate professor of civil engineering at the Detroit Institute of Technology. In 1950, Governor G. Mennan Williams appointed him to be a member of the Detroit Metropolitan Area Regional Planning Commission and he served three consecutive terms.

He served as an Ecorse Councilman from 1957-1961 and as mayor pro-tem from 1959-1961. He was nominated for mayor in 1961, but lost in the general election.

Richard Manning was a Cub and Boy Scout committeeman and a committee member for the Ecorse Boys Club. He joined the American Institute of Chemical Engineers and the Detroit Economic Club, and the Ecorse Rotary Club. He was a member of the Roy B. Salliotte Post 319, the American Legion and the Pulaski Club.

Mayor Manning was married to Elsie and they had two children.

Albert Zukonik

Albert Zukonik served as mayor of Ecorse from 1971-1973.  He was born in Pennsylvania on May 15, 1919 and died September 9, 1973 while completing his first term in office. He was a widower with one daughter and two sons.

An Ecorse resident since 1933,  Albert graduated from Ecorse High School in 1936. While in high school, he played football and baseball and after high school he played sandlot ball in Ecorse, He traveled with a semi-pro baseball team in Washington DC.

Before joining the Marines in 1939, Albert worked at Great Lakes Steel. In the Marines he earned the rank of platoon sergeant and provost marshal’s guard in Quantico, Virginia. During his six years in the Marines Albert Zukonik saw two years and four months service in the South Pacific. In 1942, while serving aboard the cruiser Erie, he swam two miles through shark infested waters when it sunk in the West Indies.  He became light heavy weight boxing champion for the Canal Zone Forces and he also played baseball while in the Marines. He later was head drill instructor for navy aviation cadets at the University of Georgia.

Albert Zukonik’s wife Shevawn was born in Ireland and came to the United States when she was five. She moved to Ecorse in 1943 after she married him. She died in 1972.

Joining the Ecorse Police Department in April 1947, Albert was promoted to sergeant in charge of the traffic department in 1954. A crack pistol shot, he also served as license examiner, weights and measures inspector and vice squad investigator.

In 1959, Albert Zukonic succeeded Alvin T. Royal as police chief. At the time of his appointment, Zukonik was described as a “rugged, deep voice prototype of a Marine platoon sergeant, which he was during his more than six years in the Marine Corps.”

In 1964, Albert retired early on a disability pension because of a back injury he suffered in a motorcycle accident, as well as hypertension and diabetes.

In 1969, Albert Zukonik ran for the Ecorse City Council and came in fourth out of twelve candidates. He served two years and then ran for mayor and defeated incumbent mayor Richard Manning.

In 1972, Mayor Zukonik survived a recall vote in which three of six city officials were removed from office. The recall campaign was launched by a citizens group after state auditors said Ecorse city officials improperly spent $178,000, including questionable expense claims for liquor and food.Of the eleven persons named by the auditors, only Mayor Zukonik and five other men were in office when the recall campaign was conducted.

At the time of his death, Mayor Zukonick had been planning to seek re-election in the November general election. In the August primary election he ran against four other candidates for the two nominations and far out distanced them. He won the top nomination at 1,939 votes. Mrs.  Leona Bourassa also won nomination with 1,066 votes.  After his death in September, Mayor Zukonik’s name was removed from the November ballot, leaving only Mrs. Bourassa’s name on the ballot.

City Clerk Patrick B. Trondle said that no new names could be placed on the ballot.

Mayor Zukonik owned and operated a cartage company and was active in the Veterans of Foreign Wars and the American Legion. He was a past commander of the Ecorse Veteran’s of Foreign Wars Post 5709 and was on the board of directors. He also served as scholarship chairman for the V.F.W. and was a member of the Pulaski Civic Club, Ecorse Hockey Association, Teamsters Local 299 and St. Francis Xavier Parish.

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