March Events for History and Culture

Kathy Firestone on “The History of Power Island,” March 19th

On the 3rd Sunday of every month, the Traverse Area Historical Society presents a program on local history. This month, we welcome author Kathy Firestone, who will speak on the History of Power Island, that famed plot of land in West Grand Traverse Bay that was the playground of the likes of Henry Ford, Harvey Firestone, Thomas Edison and Babe Ruth.

Program is free and open to the public. Program will take place Sunday, March 19th, from 1-3pm, at the Traverse Area District Library, McGuire Room, 610 Woodmere Ave.

OAC’s 2017 Class Schedule is Online and Registration is Open!

The Oliver Art Center is pleased to announce its 2017 Summer Class Line-up! Registration can be done on our website, under the ‘Classes’ tab on the top menu or by calling the office at (231) 352-4151. Students will find classes in painting, drawing, collage, furniture, writing, ceramics, quilting, cooking, and special classes just for youth.

Returning favorites such as Peggy Hawley, Edee Joppich, Cedar Kindy, Beth Bynum and Tony Couch are joined by new instructors Julie Keck (copper enamel jewelry making), Jenni Bateman (silk painting), Heidi Finley (marbeling on paper and silk) and Karen West (iPhone and abstract photography). Douglas David returns this year with still life painting and David Abeel is back with Windsor woodworking.

The culinary arts program welcomes back Joe Muer with four classes on seafood and fish as well as Jim Voltz with classes on brunch and soups. Oliver Art Center is pleased to welcome Sara Hartley from Cherry Republic with four baking/pastry classes.

Youth classes are back in drawing, painting, ceramics, sculpture and felting. Register early for these popular summer activities.  The ceramics program is growing as well! Every Thursday is Open Studio and no experience is required. Keep an eye on the website for more beginner adult and kid ceramics classes.

“This year’s line-up is one of our best yet. We conducted a community survey late last year and asked what our community was looking for in classes. We took all the comments into consideration when booking this year’s classes and we hope that the community responds well to what we are offering. We are also looking to attract more youth to our center with many different classes for all ages” says Mercedes Michalowski, Executive Director.

Oliverartcenterfrankfort.org
Facebook.com/oliverartcenter

132 Coast Guard Road
PO Box 1513
Frankfort, MI 49635
Tel: 231.352.4151
Fax: 231.352.8017

A Glimpse of Union Street in the Late Nineteenth Century

By Bob Wilhelm, author and historian of Traverse City

The Grand Traverse Journal already published the first three chapters of the late Bob Wilhelm’s history of the Wilhelm family in the November, 2016 issue.  Now we wish to continue the project with this excerpt describing the Bohemian community along Union Street in the 1880’s and the construction of Wilhelm’s clothing store at the corner of Union and Eighth Street (now the AT&T store).  We plan to offer Bob’s book online in its entirety at an early date.

CHAPTER 9: Entrepreneur on South Union Street

Around 1880 when Anthony Wilhelm took up residence in Traverse city, Union Street was “paved” with sawdust its full length from downtown to Sixteenth street. The wooden South Union Street bridge was low and the slope from Seventh Street to the river provided fine sledding for the young.

In the spring when the pork barrels were low, people could be found on the banks of the river with dip nets and spears catching suckers, bass, pickerel and trout.

Two local Indians, Louis and Jake, who lived in a slab wigwam on Sixth Street near the river sold fish to the neighborhood. The price was always 25 cents regardless of the size or amount of the fish.

When the pigeons returned along the river, rifle fire was common.

There were only a few buildings from Seventh to Tenth streets. On the west side of the street at the corner of Seventh and Union was the Franz [?] Wilhelm’s meat market. Other buildings were the homes of Mrs. Furtsch, the Bartaks, E.P. Wilhelm, Charles Dupres, and Harry Holdsworth.

Union Street ca. 1870, showing Boardman River House, now Brady’s Bar. Image courtesy of Traverse Area District Library, Local History Collection.

On the east side of the street were the Boardman River House, Chaloupka’s Saloon and Prokop Kyselka’s home at Eighth and Union. Further up the 500 block was the Dezorme home, the convent, Mattison Drug Store and the residences of Morris Sabin and the Weidenhamers. South of Tenth Street was a forest of second growth and poplars.

Unlike so many of the lumberjacks,  Anthony Wilhelm managed to save a few hundred dollars from his many years in the lumber camps. He joined his cousin John  Wilhelm buying and selling real estate. On the north side of Eighth Street near Union they purchased several lots. John kept two and built his home.

In 1883 Anthony exchanged the remaining parcels for lots 19 and 20 at Union and Eighth.

The March 26, 1885 issue of the Grand Traverse Herald reported:

Ant. J. Wilhelm is getting the material on the land for a brick building on the corner of 8th and Union Street. The building will be 25 x 60 feet, two stories and basement. It will be built entirely of white brick.

“Wilhelm, Anthony J., Wilhelm Brothers, Dry Goods, Clothing and Carpets.” Image taken from a collection of photographs of Traverse City Businessmen, held at the Traverse Area District Library.

The April 23 issue of the Herald reported:

Work will begin soon on the fine brick store for Ant. Wilhelm corner Union and Eighth. The present building has been bought by Jas. Dunn and is being moved to his lot  corner Eighth and Cass St. He is putting in a cellar and brick foundation. This building was the first dwelling on the  south side of the river. The new building will be 25 x 60 feet. The foundation will be quarry stone. The west and south fronts of the best pressed brick, the first floor front of iron and glass and the front iron. E. Adaley has the contract and J.G. Holliday will have the carpenter work. The building will cost about $3,500.

The existing building formerly occupied by Caloupaka’s Saloon was raised and placed on the crib and moved on rollers. A large log would be dug into the street with a windlass. Ropes would run to the building and teams of horses or oxen would turn the windlass and slowly move the building.

Since all the brick production of the J.W. Markham’s brick yard on West Bay road was being used to build the Northern Michigan Asylum, it was necessary to go out of the area for supplies. White bricks were purchased in Zeeland and moved to the Lake MIchigan coastline to be transported by boat to Traverse City. The limestone foundation was purchased from the owner of a lumber schooner who had used it for ballast. The beams were two by twelve inches. In the front of the store were cast iron girders. The reason for the twenty five foot width was that this was the maximum width that could be constructed without extra support.

The building was constructed as a millinery shop for his sister Christine, but never opened.  While visiting her brother Charles in Milwaukee, she met William Theopolis Bunce at a church party in Wauwatosa, Wisconsin. The couple was married April 13, 1889 at the Congregational church in Milwaukee. Bunce  worked for the Chicago, Milwaukee and St. Paul Railway from the early 1880s until his retirement in 1942. In May 1946, Bunce was featured in Ripley’s Believe it or Not because he “has worn a fresh carnation in his lapel every day for the  past 65 years.”

With a vacant building, the Bohemian community urged Anthony Wilhelm to open a clothing store to serve the needs of the neighborhood. Anthony and his brother Emanuel formed the Wilhelm Brothers partnership in 1885. The business opened in 1886.

Emanuel (“Em”) Wilhelm in fishing gear. Image from the Bob Wilhelm Collection, Traverse Area District Library.

Emanuel Wilhelm had returned to Traverse City after spending three years in Kansas, Colorado and New Mexico. He was employed in cattle ranching, railroad work and mining. With his wanderlust satisfied, he moved to Milwaukee where he took several business courses and worked seven years before returning to Traverse City to join his brother.

With the establishment of the partnership a second 25 s 100 foot addition was constructed on the north side of the original building.

The Northern Michigan Asylum was nearing completion so bricks could be purchased locally from the J.W. Markham brick yards. The cost was $3.00 per 1,000 bricks.

Advertisement for the Wilhelm Bros. store, from the “Grand Traverse Herald,” March 4, 1886. Full issue of newspaper is available for download from the Traverse Area District Library Local History Collection: http://localhistory.tadl.org/items/show/3752

The first advertisement announcing the opening was carried in the March 4, 1886  Grand Traverse Herald:

            NEW GOODS

A large invoice of Spring Clothing just received. Men’s and Boy’s Suits in all styles and qualities at prices that will surprise you. No shoddy or second hand goods in stock. It will be to your interest to inspect our goods and learn our prices before purchasing. We will have a well selected and complete stock of dry goods about April 1st, 1886. It will be our aim to give our customers honest goods and perfect satisfaction in every respect.  South Side Brick Building Wilhelm Bros.

Oldest Continuously Running Restaurant in Michigan: Sleder’s Tavern

by David Odziana, ThumbPrint News Staff Writer and Field Reporter

This article on Sleder’s Tavern was originally published in the January 2017 issue of the ThumbPrint Newsa wonderful publication filled with history, insight, life-hacks and just plain fun. We are indebted to the editors of ThumbPrint News and author David Odziana. Read and subscribe at their website: http://www.thumbprintnews.com/

Image provided by David Odziana.

For many residents of Michigan, a vacation often consists of driving a few hours north until they reach one of the many popular tourist destinations throughout the state.

Traverse City is one of the more popular vacation spots in the Lower Peninsula, enticing visitors with an array of year-round activities. The area once known as Slabtown and Little Bohemia has an extensive history, which is a big part of the beloved city’s charm.

Interior of Sleder’s, ca. 1885, with the famed spittoons resting on the floor. Image courtesy of the Bensley Collection, Traverse Area District Library Local History Collection.

Sleder’s Tavern is one of the most established buildings in the area with the prestige of being one of the oldest restaurants in the state. A Bohemian wheelwright named Vencel Sleder came to the area in the second half of the 1800s, and soon made the decision to construct a local tavern where residents could visit with friends over a home cooked meal after a long day at work. Since most able hands were busy working in the mills or on their land, only Sundays were available to work on the restaurant. This caused construction to complete the building to drag on for three years. The building was manufactured using rejected wooden slabs from the local sawmill; Sleder’s Tavern was finally finished in 1882.

Vencel conducted his business with the mentality that goodwill is good business, later becoming the company’s slogan that allowed the bar to survive many dark economic times. The second generation of the Sleder family to work at the tavern was Polly Sleder, who was well known for offering her household medical advice with each $1.50 case of beer. It was also said she gave patrons a free beer and a double shot of liquor for each case of beer purchased. Prior to inheriting the tavern, Louie Sleder’s first job at the bar was to clean out the 21 spittoons throughout the restaurant, receiving 25 cents for each one. By 1920, Sleder’s Tavern was faced with a great deal of uncertainty, as everyday life began changing drastically during this time.

Results of a Grand Traverse Prohibition-era raid with officers and sheriff’s deputies. G.T. County Sheriff David R. Campbell at the far left. Image not included in Ordizana’s original article, but Your Editors love this photo, courtesy of the Traverse Area District Library Local History Collection.

When Prohibition was enacted in Michigan, Sleder’s Tavern was already established for nearly 40 years, which gave the company a better chance of surviving the state’s dry period that lasted more than 15 years. Sleder’s secret for thriving during the country’s ban on alcohol was his special root beer, which was well known during the time. The mixture, which was actually a blend of rye and bourbon, was served in tea cups free of charge to all visiting law enforcement – this allowed the family business to flourish when a majority of taverns were forced to close their doors. Throughout the 1920s, local law enforcement mainly focused on out-of-town bootleggers who were bringing alcohol into the area. This continued until the 1930s, when state police decided to enforce the laws local police were ignoring. Sleder’s Tavern was quickly raided, and police discovered two stills, 231 pints of beer, 50 gallons of mash used to brew alcohol and six quarts of moonshine. Due to his clean record, Louie was only charged with possession, which resulted in a $600 fine, instead of the much stiffer punishment that came with a bootlegging charge. This raid was most likely a result of pressure from citizens, who collected 450 signatures to get local police to “exercise a higher regard for the moral protection of the youths of our city and a more thorough enforcement in dealing with violators of city ordinances, federal and state law.” Despite the fact that the petition didn’t mention alcohol or prohibition, it was assumed the paperwork was referring to the lack of enforcement on alcohol in the city.

Interior of Sleder’s Tavern today. Image contributed by Brooks Vanderbush.

During the 1930s, the building underwent a few structural changes. Prior to this time, men and women were not allowed to frequent the same area of the bar. Instead, the men drank in the main bar, while the women had their own section in the back, which they would enter through a separate door. After Louie opened up the two rooms to make one large bar and renovated the second story ballroom into living space, many of the regulars who frequented Sleder’s were not happy about having women in the same area of the bar.

The original, 21-foot mahogany bar of Sleder’s Tavern, as it looks today. Image contributed by Brooks Vanderbush.

Although some things have changed in the building throughout its 134 years of business, many original features still remain. Time-appropriate stamped tin adorns the 12-foot-tall ceilings, original light fixtures still hang on the walls and much of the historic collectibles still decorate the walls, but one feature tends to grab the attention of thirsty patrons more than anything else. The original 21-foot mahogany bar, equipped with an old brass foot rail and embellished with cherry wood on the sides, has remained in the same spot since 1882.

Exterior of Sleder’s Tavern today. Image contributed by Brooks Vanderbush.

Louie Sleder was the last family member to own the tavern before it was sold. After changing hands a few times, Sylvia and Bob Classens purchased the restaurant in 1975. The couple’s main goal was to ensure the historical aspect remained. Renovations they accomplished were uncovering the original hardwood floors, redoing the paneling on the walls and constructing a Victorian style porch on the side of the building. In 1992, Brian and Deb Cairns purchased the restaurant from the Classens, and shortly after, the couple tied the knot on the recently constructed porch. When the Cairns took over, they changed as little as possible – all five of the Classens’ children, as well as many of the previous employees, remained employed at Sleder’s after the tavern got new owners. Today, Michigan’s oldest continuously running restaurant sits in the same spot at 717 Randolph Street in Traverse City. While much has changed throughout the city from the time it was known as Little Bohemia or Slabtown, Sleder’s Tavern stands as proof that some things can truly stand the test of time.

Maud Miller Hoffmaster: A Biography

By Deborah S. Kohn, Life-long friend of Maud’s and historian of Mesick, Michigan

Transcribed and edited by Richard Fidler

Maud Miller Hoffmaster’s epitaph reads, “She toiled for beauty.” Her personal motto was this: “Wherever you go in this world, may that place be more beautiful because you have been there.”  The two statements summarize the life of a remarkable person.

Maud with a snowscape, from the “Chicago Sunday Tribune” article, North Woods Artist, by Norma Lee Browning, February 3, 1952.

In Manistee, Michigan, on December 29th, 1883, Maud was born to William H. and Sarah Adelaide (Helfreick) Miller. The eldest of five children, she took care of her brothers and sisters, her ill grandmother, and, later, her father.  This responsibility had a profound effect on her future.  She first studied music and wanted to be a musician, but, in the end, was forced to express herself in a quieter way, sitting beside her family members, sketching or painting scenes around her home.

Maud attended school on Old Mission Peninsula and in Traverse City.  She was able to attend the Chicago Art School for six weeks after she was able to sell some of her paintings.  Aside from that meager formal training, she was self-taught.

Maud’s father was a “doctor,” and her mother practiced nursing.  In those days, her father may not have been a trained in medicine, but practiced as someone who could help injured or sick people.  Her mother had to maintain the home after her husband became ill and bedridden.  There were five children: Maud A., Harry E., Mabel E.(Palmer), William J. (Bill).  (I am not sure about the fifth child)  Many of Maud’s early experiences influenced her later paintings, especially “The Country Doctor,” a world-famous (and her best-known) painting.  She had been offered a lot of money for it–and did sell it once, but bought it back and never let it go again.

From the 1900 census records, Maud was a laborer in a basket factory before she was married.  The factory, Wells-Higman, was located near where the family lived on East Eighth Street.  It was one of the largest manufacturing establishments in the city at that time, manufacturing “Climax” grape and peach baskets, bushel baskets, berry crates, and veneer.

The brother of Mrs. Henry Ford is said to have bought her first painting for one dollar.  It was a small watercolor of a pine tree along Grand Traverse Bay.

At the age of 18, she married Havillah Clive Hoffmaster on May 25, 1904.  He was a clerk and manager-buyer for the home furnishings department of Hannah and Lay for 25 years. 

Havillah’s parents were Uriah and Mary E. Hoffmaster.  Uriah served in the Grand Army of the Republic as a Union soldier in the Civil War.  He enlisted in Company 1, Eleventh Cavalry on Nov. 9, 1863 at Kalamazoo for three years at the age of 15, then mustered on Nov. 24, 1863.  Uriah then transferred to Company A, Eighth Cavalry on July 20, 1865.  On Sept. 22, 1865 he was mustered out at Nashville, Tennessee.  He returned to Traverse City.

Havillah’s parents are buried in the same lot as Maud and Havillah in Oakwood Cemetery, Traverse City.  A GAR (Grand Army of the Republic) stone is on the lot, indicating a Civil War veteran soldier is buried there.

One of Havillah’s first gifts to Maud was a set of oil paints, a present she put to good use.  Her ability to portray realistic landscapes, trees, snowstorms, and nature was recognized right away.  You could stand in front of any one of her paintings and feel like you were right there as part of the scene.  She was able to tell a story through her creations also.

Maud, Villah, and their dog Muffetti, near their iconic home on Aghosa Trail.

Together, they built a rustic home (cottage, as they called it), a unique building in that the outer surface was made up of stones found in the area.  She designed the house so that she could have her gallery connected to the main living area.  You can’t help but remember the stones they assembled because of their large size. 

In her design for the house she had two fireplaces, also constructed from the stones, one in the living area and the other in the gallery.  For many years this was the only source of heat for the gallery.  The door to the gallery was blue with a latch that she made.  There were note cards of this door with a poem by Estelle C. Koch inside.  “The Country Doctor,” which was painted in 1922, had a very special place in the gallery.  She would recite a description [of it] that Beth Parker told over the radio on her program called the Beth Parker Hour.   

Her home was in large part a gallery of her art.  Most of her paintings were done at an easel that was located so she could look out over the Grand Traverse Bay.  Many who knew her recognize this view in her paintings.  It is said she did over 400 large canvases and countless smaller ones.

There was also an outside fireplace built of stones where there were many picnics and neighborhood gatherings.  This was on the southeast side of their property.  This is where the “litterbug crew” of young boys had their pancake suppers.  It was a beautiful natural setting to be out among the tall pine trees and wildflowers.

Picture postcard from the 1940s of the Ahgosa Golf Course, operated by Havillah.

Havillah left working for Hannah and Lay after 25 years, eventually opening a golf course across the street from where they lived off Munson Avenue and near Airport Access in 1931.  He owned it until he sold the land and retired in 1952.  Many people from this area have memories of golfing at Ahgosa, the name he gave to the course.  After the land was sold, the Osteopathic Hospital was built upon the fairways, having moved out of what is now the Elks Club on Grand View Parkway.  No longer the Osteopathic Hospital, the building is now known as the Munson Community Health Center.

Georges Bal, an art critic for the New York Herald described Maud’s exhibit in Paris, France, presented at the Bernheim Jeune Galleries in his article dated November 7, 1928.  Bal placed her among the greatest landscape painters of the day, emphasizing her poetic touch, calling her works “picture-poems” of Michigan.  Even the French art critics were impressed with her ability to capture the landscape with such color and perfect drawing.  So important that show was to her, she traveled to Paris for the opening.  The next year, another prominent exhibition of her paintings took place in New York City at the Helen Hackett Gallery from February 22, 1929, to March 2, 1929.

Maud was active in the American League of Professional Artists; several garden clubs including the Board of the State Federation of Garden Clubs and the Friendly Garden Club in Traverse City; the Traverse City Women’s Club (past president and life member); and was Chairman of Fine Arts, a position that led to her work with Joseph Maddy at Interlochen.  She helped him raise money for his music camp, then organized the Fine Arts department at the National Music Camp. 

She was supervisor for 14 years in that department—most of the time serving in an unpaid position.  Maud helped design and build the Fine Arts building as a memorial to the Federation Golden Jubilee, and even collected some of the large stones that were used in the building.  She was not merely interested in supervising or delegating, but was involved in the actual construction.  She even carried stones to help the builders. 

Picture postcard of Maud’s oil painting, “May Morning,” from the Traverse Area District Library image collection.

Artists from all over the world traveled to her Traverse City, Michigan home for instructions on how to paint landscapes, trees, and especially blizzard snowstorms/scenes.  People would see her paintings or hear about her, and want to meet her.  Maud also traveled all over the United States for one-man or juried shows to places like New York City, Chicago, Detroit, Dallas, Pasadena, Laguna Beach, Carmel, Pebble Beach, Sacramento, Crocker Memorial Museum, Flint, and most major art centers.  People who had seen her work in Paris, France, came.  She did all of her exhibitions by invitations only.  In her presentations across the United States she correlated her painting with music, an art very important to her.  It helped her many times to get in the “mood” to paint, especially if she had an interruption while she was painting.

Getting the paintings ready for a show was a joint effort for Maud and Havillah.  Sometimes pictures needed frames, bought or made by Havillah.  Invariably, they had to be finished so that they would accent the picture in the right way.  The size, color, and design had to be just right for each picture to make it emphasize what it was saying to viewers coming to the show.  Pictures then had to be packed and gotten ready for the show, or to be sent to the new owner.

Maud specialized in landscapes and oil, but did almost every kind of art such as block prints, pastels, and etchings.  She reproduced many of her artworks on postcards, stationery, bridge tallies, prints, and other useful articles.  Reprints of “The Country Doctor” hung in many doctors’ and medical offices across the United States and may still be there.

During one of the many trips to Monterey, California, Maud got some editorial help with her “litterbug” idea by suggesting that gas stations hand out litterbags as a way to advertise.  It captured the public’s imagination when the Grand Rapids Press and the Record-Eagle’s Jay Smith wrote about it in Michigan.  The State and National Federations of Garden Clubs responded, and the fight against “litterbugs” was well on its way. 

Picture postcard of Maud and the litterbug crew. Maud coined the term “litterbug,” which has since come in to national use.

Maud even worked with a group of local neighborhood boys who became her anti-litterbug crew.  They had a picture taken which was printed on a postcard, selling them or giving them away to remind people not to litter.  These boys were Kim Tinker, David Stradinger, Randy Oliver, Tom Keith, Bruce Hume, Paul Wardwell, Earl Hamilton, and Dick Cobb.  All of these boys lived within a two-and-one-half block area near her home on Ahgosa.  They picked up along the beach and everywhere they could, then would go back to the Hoffmaster home where she would fix pancakes for supper.  Some of these “boys” still live in the Traverse City area.  This experience had a life-long effect on them.

On May 25, 1954, Maud and Havillah celebrated their golden wedding anniversary with an open house at their home.

Many people, local as well as from distant places, took art lessons from her.  She loved giving art lessons to youth, but people of all ages learned under her keen eye and tutelage.  She was always willing to share her talents and develop those of others.

In 1952, Maud wrote The Path of Gold, a novel dedicated to the membership of Beta Sigma Phi, of which she was a charter member.  This is the story of the struggle for decency and honesty against evil.  Jane Hamilton is the main character, a woman who just happens to be a painter.  It is a story of love, emotions, and intrigue about the Michigan area.

Nee-Na, The Wild Flowers Good Fairy is a children’s book, but appealed to a wider audience than just children as many adults loved it.  The stories and illustrations teach nature lore that was very dear to Maud like respecting the birds and wildflowers of the woods and understanding their enemies.  She used the pen and brush to create the illustrations in the story.

Mrs. Godfrey Lundberg was a very good friend of Mrs. Hoffmaster.  She was an art critic for the Chicago Tribune from1917 to 1957.  Mrs. Lundberg’s pen name was Eleanor Jewett.  During the 1930’s Maud illustrated Eleanor’s poems for the Chicago Tribune.  They then decided to put some of Eleanor’s poems in a book with Maud doing the illustrations for each one of them.  The book was titled Make Believe.  The subjects of these poems range from the seasons in the Midwest to personal events in the life of a child.  Most of these poems were inspired by her own children over the years.

“Jewels from the Garden,” one example of a notecard created from one of Maud’s print blocks.

Maud was also a business woman in that she created notecards from her block prints, had postcards of many of her pictures, and sold paintings and her books as long as they were available. 

Many honors and recognitions were given her.  She is listed in Who’s Who in American Art, and Who’s Who in the Midwest, her name appearing in the editions encompassing her life as a painter.  The Mark Twain Society gave her an honorary membership in 1952.  The Michigan Indians adopted her and named her “Princess Ahgo-sah.”  The Michigan Federation of Sheriffs Association recognized her.  In fact, a wife of a Clare County (Harrison) sheriff started a drive to get the funds to buy her pine tree painting and place it in the state capitol.  The Michigan Sheriffs had a convention here in Traverse City in 1963.  One of the tours was of the Hoffmaster Gallery.  This had been one of Maud’s dreams but she did not want to just give the painting so felt she had to ask a modest sum (though its value was about ten thousand dollars).  The painting was taken on a state tour to try to raise the funds after the Michigan legislature failed to come up with the modest funds.  It remained in the Hoffmaster studio after this tour.

Maud’s paintings can be found all over the United States–and even the world since she sold several when her paintings were in Paris, France.  Her shows helped sell paintings and this, in turn, would bring people from all over to her gallery and home.  Her gallery was always open to the public.  Many groups would arrange a tour of her studio whenever they met in Traverse City, still another way she met people.

She would give lectures across the United States.  With her husband, she traveled to California several times to visit family but also to do shows.  She did several paintings of the Carmel, California area, as they wintered here until they were not able to do as much traveling because of their age and health.  Her brother and sister as well as nieces and nephews lived in California, so she would visit them there.

Few of us think that no one person can accomplish the impossible things that will make the world a better place for everyone, but Maud Miller Hoffmaster was always working at doing this.  When she saw a need, she was there doing whatever was needed—whether it was constructing a building or an art program, cleaning up a community, fundraising, selecting a cherry queen, teaching about the environment and preserving the beauty of nature, entertaining hundreds of groups at her home and studio, or starting the expression “litterbug” that became a national slogan.

Her talents were not just in painting.  If not standing at her easel, she could be found writing; reading about politics, current events, world and national events; tatting, knitting, crocheting; writing letters to voice her opinion on any topic; or writing about her family history.  She never was idle in thought or deed until she fell and was hospitalized months before she passed away.

Havillah Hoffmaster was fatally hurt when a car hit him on Munson Avenue near his home.  He was chipping ice from the gutter on the road and the driver did not see him.  He died a short time later at Munson Hospital of injuries on January 8, 1964.  His funeral was held at the Reynolds Funeral Home on Sixth Street on Saturday, January 11, 1964.  Dr. Kenneth Hance of East Lansing and Dr. Howard Towne officiated.  Burial was in the family lot at Oakwood Cemetery in Traverse City.

A committee of local friends was formed to try to plan a lasting gallery of her home and paintings as a landmark to Traverse City.  Dr. Glenn Loomis, Lt. Governor William Milliken, Representative Arnell Engstrom, along with some of her extended family members hoped to accomplish this.  After her death, however, the fundraising effort failed, so her estate eventually went to a nephew, Julian Hoffmaster, her brother William, and her sister Mabel.

Maud passed away October 2, 1969, at the Grand Traverse Medical Care Facility.  She had fallen in her home in March and had been in failing health ever since the fall.  Her funeral was held on Sunday, October 5, 1969, at the Reynolds Funeral Home on Sixth Street with Dr. Kenneth Hance of East Lansing officiating.  Dr. Hance was a close friend of the Hoffmasters.  Marjorie Exo was the organist and Melvin Larimer was the soloist for the service.  The burial was in the family lot at Oakwood Cemetery in Traverse City.

You can still find a part of her here in Traverse City as many of her paintings hang in homes and businesses.  Anyone who knew her has memories of her and her tireless efforts to improve and maintain the natural beauty of the Grand Traverse area.

Sources

BOOKS

Who’s Who of American Women, third edition (1964-65); Chicago, IL, A. N. Marquis Publications Co; p. 476

Artists in Michigan, 1900-1976, A Biographical Dictionary, Detroit, MI: Wayne State University Press, 1989, p. 137

Browning, Norma Lee, Joe Maddy of Interlochen, Chicago, IL, Henry Regnery Co, 1963, p.273

Hoffmaster, Maud Miller, Nee-Nah, The Wild Flower’s Good Fairy, New York, The William-Frederick Press, 1949

Hoffmaster, Maud Miller, The Path of Gold, New York: Exposition Press, 1952

Jewett, Eleanor, Make Believe “Milkweed Babies and other Poems,” with illustrations by Maud Miller Hoffmaster, Traverse City, MI: Myers Printing Service, 1962

Record of Service of Michigan Volunteers in the Civil War, 1861-65; published by authority of the Senate and House of Representatives of the Michigan Legislature, p. 50

Who’s Who in American Art

Who’s Who in the Midwest

OTHER

Exhibition of Paintings by Maud Miller Hoffmaster, New York City, Helen Hackett Gallery, Feb. 22, 1929 to Mar. 2, 1929

Exposition Maud Miller Hoffmaster, Paysages du Michigan, Galeries Bernheim-Jeune, 83 Rue du Faubourg Saint-Honore, Paris, Du5 au16 Novembree, 1928

Funeral Program by Kenneth Hance on Oct. 5, 1969

Grand Traverse County Probate Records

Oakwood Cemetery Records

1900 Census of Grand Traverse County

1900 City Directory for Traverse City

Traverse Area District Library

NEWSPAPER ARTICLES

Traverse City Record-Eagle

July 17, 1948, p. 7
Dec. 6, 1949, p. 1
Jul. 18, 1952
Sept. 10, 1959, p. 5
July 8, 1961
June 8, 1962
Jan. 9, 1964, p. 1
Jul. 2, 1964, p. 4
Feb. 20, 1965, p. 7
May 5, 2966, p. 8
Oct. 3, 1969, p. 8
Oct. 4, 1969, p. 11
Oct. 10, 1969, p. 4
Dec. 12, 1974
April 22, 1991

Grand Traverse Herald

Feb. 25, 1897
Mar. 4, 1897, p. 6

The Flint Journal

Oct. 29, 1939

Grand Rapids Press

April 21, 1953
May 27, 1962
March 21, 1965
Oct. 6, 1969

New York Herald

Nov. 7, 1928

The Carmel, Pine Cone, CA

March 18, 1938

PAINTINGS

Names of paintings I have been able to locate

1.Country Doctor

2. Even the Mightiest of These

3. Snowy Glow

4. January Moonlight

5. The Path to the Spring

6. My Gray Friend

7. Abandoned to Vetch

8. Dawn

9. The Road Out

10. Moonlight Over Grand Traverse Bay

11. Smiling Hills

12. Overhanging Boughs

13. Solitude

14. Top ‘O the Hill

15. A Messenger of Spring

16. Somebody Loved It

17. Star Thistles

18. Ancient Cypress

19. Majesty

20. The Jeweled Path

21. Winter Wind

22. Vetch and Daisies

23. Spring Is Near

24. Beside Still Waters

25. Deer Trail

26. Ladies of the Forest

27. Trilliums

28. A Fisherman’s Paradise

29. The Pioneer Mailman

30. Silent Night

31. Interlochen

32. White Pine

33. Hartwick Pines

34. May Morning

35. Snow Shoe Trail

36. October When the Needles Fall

37. Flaming Sumach Warms the Day

38. The Forest Road

39. Michigan Pines

40. Blessing of the Blossoms

41. Summer in Michigan

42. Whispering Peace

43. Moon Madness

44. Fuzzel, Our White Dog

45. The River’s Song of Autumn

46. Four Day Blizzard

47. Portrait of Mother

48. East Bay, 1912

49. Ahgosa Trail

50. Blocking the Road

51. Sand Dunes

52. Country Doctor’s Wife

53. Carmel Valley

54. Romance Moonlight

55. Big Wave on Pacific Ocean

56. Appolo’s Scarf

57. An Ocean Picture

58. Autumn

59. Rendezvous

60. Backwater

61. Michigan

62. Lingering

Book Review: A Field Guide to the Natural Communities of Michigan

by Joshua G. Cohen, Michael A. Kost, Bradford S. Slaughter, and Dennis A. Albert, published by The Michigan State University Press, 2015

By Richard Fidler

Naturalists get excited whenever a new book appears that waters their interests: For me, this volume does exactly that—it fills a gap in knowledge I have long wanted filled, the natural communities of Michigan.  A natural community, according to this field guide, is defined as “a natural assemblage of interacting plants, animals, and other organisms that repeatedly occurs under the same environmental conditions across the landscape and is predominantly structured by natural processes rather than modern anthropogenic disturbances.”  Examples help to clarify the academic language: a Marsh describes a group of natural communities; a Dry Northern Michigan Forest is commonly found where we live, wherever soils are dry and well-drained; Open Dunes, commonly found along the lakeshore, is a community that features few tall woody plants.  I have always been sloppy in applying terms to natural communities, often loosely referring to “habitats” or “ecosystems.”  Now I know better.

It is important to note that the communities described in the book do not include agricultural land, whether in cultivation or abandoned relatively recently.  It does not include any land that has been disturbed by humans—a roadside ditch cannot be classified as a sort of marsh or swamp.  Because so much land has been cultivated and developed during the period of white settlement over the past two centuries, many natural communities are imperiled, their existence threatened by planned interventions that do not always respect natural places.  Conveniently, this field guide indicates which communities are most endangered.

Each natural community is described by its soils and geology, its hydrology (how water moves), its distribution, and by the plants that live there.  A general map of Michigan indicates where they are to be found—and, even better, specific locations are given to those who would care to pay visits.  Now, with the book informing where to go, I must get to Drummond Island to see the alvar natural community, the community that occupies cracks on bare limestone rock.   Existing in only a few places on Earth, it might be compared to an endangered community in remote Africa.  Lacking the wherewithal to get to that place, my safari will begin a hundred and forty miles from here, on Drummond.  Exotic travels can begin close to home!

Photograph from the “Field Guide,” by Joshua G. Cohen.

The Field Guide, it must be said, will be most useful to naturalists with a background in plant identification and with a knowledge of terms that relate to natural communities.  Commendably, it does have a glossary with terms defined gracefully in a language all can understand.  Still, it would be a good idea for explorers to latch onto a naturalist for a guide.  I do that whenever I can, even though I am someone frequently latched onto.

Keeping in mind Traverse City is a thoroughly disturbed landscape, still, let us look about for remnants of its natural past.  In fact, it is comprised of several recognized communities, among them, the Mesic Northern Forest (found around the hills near the Commons), the Dry Northern Forest (most of the city proper), the Rich Conifer Swamp (mostly around Kids Creek); and the Sand and Gravel Beach (by the Bay shore).   

Great beech trees of the Mesic Northern Forest grow on the hilly moraines above the former State Hospital grounds, on Madison street, and at Hickory Hills.  They predate white settlement by many years, but are now doomed by Beech Scale disease, an affliction that should destroy them within the next ten years.  Ashton Park on the West side of town presents a similar array of massive hardwoods.

Traverse City was mostly Dry Northern Forest, but the bulk of its giant white and red pines were cut down in the nineteenth century.  However, large white oaks survived the onslaught of loggers’ axes and survive in neighborhoods to this day. 

The street names Cedar and Spruce point to the trees that lived along Kids Creek (formerly called Mill Creek and Asylum Creek).  The land survey of 1851 tells us exactly what kinds of trees lived here at that time: white cedar and white spruce were often recorded.  The Rich Conifer Swamp that occupied this place disappeared long ago, replaced by occasional black willows and invasive plants of many kinds.

Finally, along the Bay front, dune grasses persist on the grounds of the Hagerty Center, a gift provided by landscapers who pay attention to natural plant communities.  Though much degraded from former times, natural communities like the Sand and Gravel Beach can still be found within the City limits.

A Field Guide to the Natural Communities of Michigan is a treasury of information for all who love Nature.  It is profusely illustrated with color photographs of 77 communities, often featuring aerial photographs and pictures of indicator plant species.  The Traverse Area District Library purchased a volume using funds dedicated to the remembrance of Bob Rudd, local teacher and naturalist.  Readers may find that they need to own a copy as they explore the glorious wilderness around us. 

Reader Clears the Bar with Correct Answer

This bar is the only remaining building of the largest employer in Traverse City in 1917.  What is the name of that company?

Congratulations to reader Larry, for his correct answer!: “That is currently ‘Side Traxx’, located at south end of Franklin street. I believe the company was ‘Oval Wood Dish Factory’ which left Traverse City in 1917.”

A causal exploration of the grounds by Your Editors yielded little evidence of the building’s former use. Should you visit, take a look for yourself! A number of interesting features, including frames of windows visible on the outside but not on the inside, and layers of wood paneling, gives us much to speculate on.