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Making connections with yesteryear



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May 05, 2010
Guess I will take a time-out from Almont's Homecoming 2010. Looking through an Almont Herald of 1925 (a year's subscription cost $1.50!) brought back many memories. I don't remember a theater called 'The Maxine' but, actor Tom Mix was in a movie called "The Deadwood Coach" July 2-3-4 and Gloria Swanson was in "Manhandled" July 5-6. At that time they would have been black and white and silent. I remember the Star Theater in the old Masonic Building on the west side of South Main Street. Bob Bowman's Grandfather Killam owned it, also showing black and white silent pictures. Evesia Bartles would set the mood by playing the piano. Fast and bangy for a train coming down the track or soft and sweet for love scenes. Bob's Grandmother Killam had a popcorn machine at the entrance outside. The next building to the north was Bowman's Drug Store. It was about that time that my oldest brother Floyd graduated as a pharmacist from University of Michigan and was working at Bowman's Drug Store. I would go downtown during lunch hour and Floyd would fix me an ice cream cone. Then I decided to take my best friend Mary Borland with me and Floyd fixed her one also. That was fine until my Dad got his monthly statement. The ice cream cones were not for free.

One large ad in the paper was from the Almont Hardware Company and had a picture of the New Perfection Oil Range with SuperflexBurners. It was a four burner oil stove with an oven over two burners. . ... Oh Yes. . . . . ..1 have had many a summer meal made on one just like it. Mom used it instead of the wood stove on hot summer days.

Also from that 1925 Almont Herald was a story about General G. O. Squier. It was called: Two More Gifts:

General G. O Squier, it was learned yesterday, has made another gift to the Dryden school, ten acres of land adjoining the grounds of the primary school which he built for the village several years ago.

"Your children didn't have room enough to play baseball, basketball and other games," said Gen. Squier, "so I have turned over this ten-acre piece to them. Eventually we'll have it a fine outdoor gym."

Asked what games he played when he went to school there, the General said: "No basketball or football, of course, just scrub baseball; that and pom-pom-pull-away and shinny and marbles."

Monday evening Gen. Squier and a company of about 50 people christened "Typsico Camp," just completed in the woods about half a mile east of Mill Pond. It was a great outdoor fireplace, built of stone and equipped with cranes, kettles, grills, etc, and also a row of stone seats. Several army tents have been put up there. This camp is for free use of the people, Gen Squier says. It was named for an Indian whom Squier knew when he was a boy.

General Squier also built Forest Hall south of Dryden. He called it his Country

Club, explaining it was the largest in the world because everybody belonged to it. It had one rule; "Members will please leave the club house and grounds as they found them." Our Park family reunions were always held at Forest Hall. Especially intriguing and interesting to me was the Japanese tea house which sat on the edge of the mill pond a few yards east of the club house. We used to have our high school parties over there. One time Gen Squier came in, joined our party and even danced with us girls. He also showed us a little trick. He placed some eggs on the floor and told us to look carefully at how they were spaced. He then blindfolded someone, quickly replaced the eggs with crackers and sent that person walking over what they though were eggs. Crunch! Crunch! Crunch! Oh my! Of course, they thought they were walking on the eggs.

Thanks for the memories.

— Country Cousin

Gertie Brooks is a lifelong Almont area resident. A 'farm girl,' Gertie is the premier historian for the Almont area, and frequently offers her memories and first-hand accounts in her 'Country Cousin' columns.
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