Category Archives: Mystery Photo

Time for a treasure hunt! Can you guess where this photograph, related to a historical story in the Grand Traverse Region, was taken? Come back for next month’s issue and check your answer!

Ready to submit a mystery photo from your community? Send it to the editors of the Journal at gtjeditor@tadl.org. Remember to include the answer to your photograph in your email!

Where would you end up if you followed these Marker Trees?

A plaque near this white oak, by the Grand Traverse County Civic Center, tells the story of a number of trail marker trees found in Michigan. This tree was part of a navigational aid to assist travelers on a trail that ran from one point in Michigan to another, likely used by Anishinaabe or Anishinabek Indians. Some of the trees used on the trail were shaped deliberately as young saplings, while others were made notable by disease and storms.

So, where did the trail take you? We’re talking across the whole State, not just in our neck of the woods. Hint: If you go and see the tree, the marker plaque next to it will give you the answer! History Road Trip!

“Shed” a little light on this Civic Center Building’s History

This building sits on the grounds of the Grand Traverse County Civic Center. What do you suppose this building was used for before 1974? Are there any unique features to this building that might give us a hint?

After a bit of back-and-forth with our knowledgeable audience, we know one thing for sure… and we’ll just have to speculate on the rest. This building was indeed a structure in use during the Grand Traverse County Fair at one time, the predecessor to the Northwest Michigan Fair. In the 1890s, what we now call the Civic Center was known as the “Driving Park.” Many sulky races were held here, then horse racing in general, followed by car racing and then the fairgrounds. This was a hopping spot!

Aerial image of the Civic Center, once known as the Driving Park. You can still see the racing track in this 1960s photograph, from the Al Barnes Collection at Traverse Area District Library Local History Collection.

Last of the Tourist Homes Identified!

Here is an example of the original Airbnb, the Tourist Home! Do you know where this last “tourist home” is located in Traverse City?”

Bonus question: Do you know of other “tourist homes” in the area?

Congratulations (again) to Larry! You’ve won a free virtual stay at the Tourist Home of your choice, just close your eyes and imagine the splendor!

From Larry: “740 South Union Street, NW corner of Union and Eleventh Street. I don’t know if your second question relates to current Tourist Homes or prior. If the latter: ‘Southworth’s Tourist Home’ was at 116 S. Boardman Avenue, in at least the 50s and 60s.”

Correct Answer Paves Way for Brick Streets

Just look at this beautiful brick street paver, a product of Metropolitan Block from well over 100 years ago! Like the Nelsonville Pavers, which we featured in a mystery photo way back in August 2015, this paver was, until recently, part of the roadway of Traverse City.

Here’s your question for July 2017: What two streets in TC are paved with brick?

Thanks to readers Cathy and Larry, we’ve got our answer! “Brick pavers are still visible on Sixth Street (Division to Union) and Eighth Street (Division to Union).”

Those streets may not be paved with gold, but they are paved with a whole lot of character!

Cigar for the Winner of our June 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!

Congratulations to reader Margaret, who gets a virtual stogie for her answer!:

“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.”

For those who weren’t able to identify the building, it is now called “The Box,” and sits at the northeast corner of Boardman and Eighth Streets.

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!

Accident rings a “Bell” with former Mayfield Resident

These images of an automobile accident in Mayfield were taken by newspaperman Al Barnes. Recently, a reader of Grand Traverse Journal stumbled across these images while looking at our digital images collection (which you can look at here), and remembered something interesting, linking Michigan Bell Telephone to the scene.

What is the connection?

Here’s a hint: this accident took place in 1964!

So, what’s the connection? Reader cancunblu01 recalls the day clearly: ‘I was living in Mayfield then and I remember this, Michigan Bell was on strike, Traverse City was long distance so we couldn’t call for an ambulance. Claude Smith of Smith Funeral Home in Kingsley drove victims to Traverse City in his hearse!”

Does anyone else remember the Michigan Bell Strike of 1964?