Will it be “Close, but No Cigar,” for this month’s mystery?

Where is this building, stamped, “Traverse City Cigar Box Company 1920?”

We expect all our readers will get this one, so here’s some extra credit: What do you know about the cigar industry in Traverse City? When did it flourish? How many companies and employees were there? What kinds of people worked for the industry?

You might not win a cigar for your answer, but you’ll certainly go down as a legend amongst Grand Traverse Journal readers!

2 thoughts on “Will it be “Close, but No Cigar,” for this month’s mystery?”

  1. When the lumber industry collapsed during 1920 and the Oval Dish Company closed down, they had been the largest employer but moved out of state. This is when the Cigar Factory flourished. Employees were unskilled workers, especially women who lived in the area and provided steady employment. Every man smoked cigars!! There were 10 companies in TC during that time. Yuck. Where did I find this info? The Historical Archives from TADL. 🙂

    1. Congratulations, Margaret! You’ve hit the nail on the head. Yes, women especially were employed… unskilled female labor was cheap labor! In fact, there was no real reason other than the unusually cheap labor for the cigar industry to flourish in Traverse City. It is not as if the tobacco was grown here, it was shipped in. Obviously, the price of the labor made this area attractive enough that factory owners were willing to take on that initial shipping cost. As Richard Fidler, co-editor of “Grand Traverse Journal” likes to say, this is the era that the phrase “A view of the Bay is worth half the pay,” probably came into use.

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