… and nine other great opportunities to stretch your legs in The Dotte
BY RICK SCHULTE
Don’t look now, but spring may be on its way. And with it comes, for many people, a desire to get out and feel healthy. One advantage Wyandotte has is an abundance of opportunities to exercise, in one form or another.
Our completely unscientific study has come up with 10 ways to usher in springtime. Mind you, we understand snow could return at any time, even into March and April. But this should give everyone a running start, metaphorically speaking. (read more…)
BY SHEILA R. McAFEE
The Downriver Indie Craft Fair returns this month for a fourth year at the Downriver Council for the Arts, featuring the creativity of more than 50 independent crafters and artists.
The fair will take place from 6-9 p.m., Friday, March 17, coinciding with the Wyandotte Business Association’s Third Friday festivities, and continue from 11 a.m.-6 p.m. March 18.
Erin Suess, DCA executive director, said artists with one-of-a-kind items will fill the three-story building at 81 Chestnut St., describing the event as a smaller version of the annual Urban Craft Fair at Detroit’s Masonic Temple in December. More than 1,500 attended the DCA fair last year, and Seuss said she expects similar, perhaps larger, crowds this year.
Admission is $2, which the DCA will use to help children with the cost of attending its summer art camp (details for which are still to be formalized). The first 50 people through the door each day of the fair will receive gift bags filled with items from vendors and neighboring businesses.
Suess noted that the trolley will also be available March 17 to take shoppers between the DCA and neighboring downtown restaurants and businesses.
The craft fair is just one of several activities planned this month at the DCA. (read more…)
BY RICK SCHULTE
In the early days of the Wyandotte Boat Club, getting to competitions was an effort all by itself. Members would get in their shells and row upstream to either the Ecorse Boat Club or the Detroit Boat Club — both many miles away.
How things have changed since the club’s origination in 1875.
The Wyandotte Boat Club (WBC) is home to several Downriver high school programs, including Roosevelt High School. While the club now has an impressive site at the foot of Pine Street near Biddle, the rich tradition of the sport continues today. (read more…)
BY SHEILA R. McAFEE
Pulling up to the corner of Sixth and Forest streets in Wyandotte is a step back in time. Within the cozy residential neighborhood, classic neon logos from Camel and Kool cigarettes shine in the windows of Frank’s Café, which has been at the corner since 1933, one of numerous corner taverns and cafes that have since closed, save for Frank’s and the Chene Adele Bar on Orange at Sixth.
Opening the door at the top of the front steps and stepping inside, not much has changed over time, from the décor to the perch fish dinners. The walls are knotty pine, the floor is linoleum and some of the tables were once used for euchre games decades ago. The perch dinner is still generous and delicious. The beer is icy cold. While many patrons order Pabst, craft beers are served, too. (read more…)
Founded in 1917, Ernest W. Smith built a small family business that focused on servicing the community and putting the customer first. In 1930, his son Edgar Smith purchased the agency on 336 Poplar St. in Wyandotte. Edgar remained president until 1967, and the agency expanded to Biddle Ave. before building its current headquarters at 1717 Fort Street in Wyandotte. (read more…)
BY FRANK KOOTSILLAS
The City of Cleveland III was a ship built in 1907 at the Wyandotte Ship Building Co. in Wyandotte. Her length was over 400 feet, making her the largest paddle-wheel steamer in the world and one of the most luxurious. She was built to carry 4,500 passengers, with sleeping accommodations for 1,500, with additional capacity to carry freight.
Unfortunately, just before her scheduled launch on June 30, 1907, she was heavily damaged by a fire while still in dry dock. Her elaborate interior was almost destroyed. After the reconstruction was completed in 1908, she made her first trial trip on April 22, 1908 and her maiden voyage on June 4, 1908 to Sault Ste Marie. She joined her sister ships of the D&C Fleet in Detroit. They were the Eastern States, the Western States, The Greater Detroit, The Greater Buffalo, and The City of Detroit III.
The City of Cleveland III traveled the Great Lakes profitably for 42 years, until that fateful day of June 26, 1950. On that day, she was heavily damaged in a collision with a Norwegian freighter, The Ravenfjell, in heavy fog off Harbor Beach, Michigan. There were eight fatalities and many injuries. Among the dead were the Benton Harbor Police Chief and the former Mayor of Benton Harbor. This was a special cruise chartered by the Benton Harbor Chamber of Commerce. It was headed for Detroit to watch the Detroit Tigers play the New York Yankees that afternoon. (read more…)
BY BRIAN RZEPPA
With a minuscule 4 percent success rate, businesses are simply not expected to ever hit the decade mark. For EmbroidMe on Biddle Avenue in Wyandotte, this year has served as a milestone that an overwhelming majority of businesses are never able to achieve.
The path that has been taken over the past 10 years has had its fair share of twists and turns, but the fact that EmbroidMe has made it this far is a testament to the hard work of their owners, Mark and Jennifer Lyons.
It has turned into a full-fledged career, but the embroidering business was not one that Mark Lyons had pictured himself working in over a decade ago.
“Ten years ago, the job I had went away and I had to do something because I was too old to get hired by someone else. My wife and I found this, so we just decided to run with it,” Lyons said.
While they were excited to get their business up and running, the economic climate was not one that was conducive to any business, new or established. Right out of the gate, they were served with the biggest challenge that they would face. (read more…)
BY SHEILA R. McAFEE
As thoughts turn to apples and pumpkins, organizers of the monthly Third Fridays in Wyandotte are planning a family friendly event for October.
The Beer Fest last month and the Wine Crawl in August catered to adults; now it’s time to focus on fun for all ages, said Jenna Smith, president of the Wyandotte Business Association.
Fall Festival is Oct. 21 beginning at 5 p.m., and the downtown district will be the backdrop for activities, which includes the popular Chili Trail (buy a ticket to sample an assortment of chili dishes). (read more…)
’Tis season for unique history lesson
BY SHEILA R. McAFEE
The city’s history comes to life through the spirits of its past during the Wyandotte Museums’ annual Cemetery Walk.
The event is taking place at Oakwood Cemetery Oct. 7 and 8, and will highlight the stories of the men, women and children who have been buried there since 1869, when land owner John Clark buried his daughter, Katherine.
The lucky ticket holders (the event sells out in mid-September every year) receive a brief history on Victorian mourning customs and etiquette at the historic Ford-MacNichol home before being transported to the cemetery for a walk along paths lit by candles and jack-o-lanterns. If weather conditions are optimal, an evening mist may circle throughout the grounds.
The evening continues back at the historic Marx Home with light refreshments and a presentation on Victorian séances and spiritualism, and the viewing of an Edwardian Hallowe’en party at the Ford-MacNichol home. (read more…)
BY JOE HOSHAW Jr.
Former Congressman John D. Dingell turned 90 July 8, and celebrated the occasion with get-togethers with friends and former staffers in Washington, D.C., and then again with friends and family at Silver Shores Waterfront in Wyandotte a little later in the month.
Several people offered Dingell their well wishes by video as well, but the best birthday greeting may have been the tweet posted by former President Bill Clinton, who called him “America’s Treasure,” and then jokingly thanked him for “pushing through the Louisiana Purchase” while in Congress. (read more…)