Diggin’ Around in the 1880s

Diggin’ Around in the 1880s

Sometimes it is lovely to visit the past. I mean, we know the past. We didn’t get nuked by North Korea in the past, I ate lots of ice cream in the past. This is not meant to minimize the horrible things that happened in the past, so please do not take it as such. Sometimes I got back into the 1880s newspapers and read the idyllic tidbits of the past. Of course, the articles generally don’t mention things like, you know, women couldn’t vote and were really not much more than property, people of color couldn’t live in certain parts of town or have certain jobs and were treated like not much more than property. (As a friend of mine says–the racism in the north was just as bad…at least the south had signs).

But sometimes I put my blinders on and dig around back then, finding such gems as these:

  • Mrs. Winslow’s Soothing Syrup — available for squalling infants, pleasant tasting, and safe to use in all cases! Available “everywhere”, including our own Ann Arbor!
  • Little Mack’s at 9 Main Street recognized that men “have many minds and many shapes and many forms”; thus, they offered custom tailoring for the discerning gentleman
  • Over at 7 E. Huron Street, F.S. Mack offered tobacco “at Detroit prices”
  • Rinsey & Seabolt’s grocery store offered a variety of goods for sale–bread, crackers, cake, cornmeal, feed…and also paid cash for butter, eggs and produce!
  • Anton Eisele (mentioned in my history book, just sayin) advertised his marble and granite monuments…prices were “lower than ever!” The shop was located at the corner of Detroit & Catherine Streets
  • A person call him or herself only J.W.B. posted an ad asking to “rent a good piano”
  • The administrator of the Buchoz estate was selling “valuable real estate” at the court house. There was a Buchoz block back in the day (also mentioned in the book!), located on Detroit Street…not sure if this was the same Buchoz but it’s a safe bet that they were somehow related!
  • Over at the opera house, Professor Haines was offering private handwriting lessons!

Then I found stuff about sidewalks because we still bitch about sidewalks sometimes and HOLLA so did the folks back then!

Image result for sidewalks]

(not actual picture but probably pretty close)

In fact, the Courier (always ready with an opinion!) suggested that businesses who hadn’t the “energy or self-respect” sufficient to clear its walkways should be boycotted. But of course it was the Courier and they didn’t just say boycotted…they said to give the “cold shoulder of patronage” to these businesses. It is “bad enough to have to wade through slush on resident streets.” True, Courier, true.

There was also a correction to the census numbers for the city…there were 8,103 people and not 7,103 as originally reported.

There was a mention of the recent election, as well. Only two anti-masonic straight tickets were voted in the county–one in Augusta and one in Webster.  Also, it was reported that the county canvassers got $3 per day for two days’ work, plus mileage.

I have to wonder how mileage was paid! In food and care of your horse? Wear and tear on your buggy! That is absolutely fascinating to me…I never even realized that they paid mileage back in the day!

Image result for horse and buggy


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