Tag Archives: Mt Clemens

Mount Clemens…ish

12 Aug

the clem 187 (1)

It’s another day of exceptional weather here in metro Detroit, let’s get out and enjoy it. Not far from downtown Mt Clemens in Macomb County we are visiting George George Memorial Park off of Moravian in Clinton Township, this is not your average park! A tall fountain faces Moravian, water spills from a large basin into a shallow pool, grass is green and freshly mowed, landscape shrubs hug the arborvitae fence line. Just inside the gate we park the Jeep, the sun spreads warmth across our face and shoulders as we make our way to a pond on the left. At least a dozen ducks stand on the shoreline as others leisurely paddle through the water, we traverse the outside edge of the pond encountering look outs and seating areas along the way. A main walking path is paved, it takes you through the center of the well manicured, landscaped grounds; a large playscape to the right entertains children of varying ages, Black Eyed Susans bloom in perennial beds.

the clem 006 (2)

the clem 096 (1)the clem 129 (1)

the clem 139 (1)

The fountain plaza is delightful; jets of water shoot skyward from an elevated pool, water pours over the sides into a recessed area, more water flows over and out of boulders. Trees and other greenery sprout from a little center island, singular arcs of water criss-cross the narrow canal on the backside. Lush hostas thrive in shady areas while tall grasses take satisfaction in the bright sun. A photographer takes photos of a baby boy in this perfect setting. The further we walk the more natural the landscape becomes; wildflowers take the place of formal gardens, fields substitute lawns. The ground becomes a bit marshy, a natural pond is off to one side while the earth slopes upward on the other. A footbridge crosses the Clinton River, the sides are dense with trees, branches lean toward the water, a vehicle bridge is in the distance. We cross a couple more bridges over smaller waterways, the only sounds we hear are insects. The path ends as the property nears Groesbeck, time to turn back.

the clem 027 (1)

the clem 022 (1)

the clem 068 (1)the clem 035 (1)

A different photographer is taking pictures of a woman on the bridge, what a lovely background, it’s a perfect day for photos. Queen Anne’s Lace and cattail grow freely in the meadow, bumble bees race from flower to flower. We pause for yet another photographer  taking a family portrait, looking over the side of the bridge we spot a tiny turtle; algae clings to his glossy shell as he rests on a branch, ducks approach to see if we have anything to feed them. Back in the center of the park the pavilion sits empty, attractive wood beams compose the ceiling, we look through open arches onto the park grounds, a cherub stands on the peak of the structure. We pass beds of beautiful daylilies in yellow, red and cream, the sound of children’s laughter is carried on the breeze. Vine-covered arches straddle the path, folks arrive with coolers and  baskets filled with goodies for a picnic lunch. The 30 acre park is an absolute gem. There are seating areas in the sun or shade, by water or gardens; it’s a perfect place to take a walk, have a picnic or curl up with a good book.

the clem 061 (3)

the clem 079 (1)the clem 088 (1)

the clem 101 (1)

In a few minutes time we are in Mt Clemens, the Jeep is parked in a nearby lot, we are having lunch at Three Blind Mice on Main Street. We have always been fond of this building, the current owners did a wonderful job refurbishing the now 115 year-old structure when they took it over. Originally known as The Green Tree, it opened in 1900. Inside, the walls are American Oak, the floor original Pewabic tile, the bar top is made from wood the owners removed themselves from burned houses in Detroit. The place is full of old stuff like church pews, barrels from distillery’s like Old Grand Dad, Maker’s Mark and New Holland, fixtures were rescued from Salem Memorial Church in Detroit; it’s cozy and inviting. We take a couple of seats at the bar and check out the menu; one of the owners also owns the Bad Brads restaurants, that means the food should be tasty. 

the clem 259 (1)

the clem 251 (1)

the clem 234 (1)

We study the rows of bottles while we wait for our lunch to arrive, a ladder mounted to rails allows bartenders to reach every bottle, Kris spots the Blanton’s and orders a shot. I guess you’d say the signature item on the menu is the Spamwich, don’t judge till you’ve tried it: panko coated and deep-fried Spam, golden hash browns, scrambled egg, pickles and spicy mayo on toasted ciabatta–it’s really good! We split the sandwich and the Michigan cherry salad; all the usual suspects– blue cheese crumbles, dried cherries, candied walnuts with greens and a very tasty vinaigrette. Housemade dressings and sauces, Guinness Stew, cheese soup and full entrees, definitely not the average bar food.

the clem 161 (1)

the clem 171 (1)the clem 221 (1)

the clem 177 (1)

At one time Mt Clemens was very wealthy, know for its mineral baths, there were 11 bath houses and several hotels at its peak. The bath houses operated from 1873 until the last one closed in 1974. There was a pottery factory that employed 1000 people and a train station, both closed now. The city is also the county seat of Macomb County, home to Circuit Court, Judicial Court and law offices, keeping it an active city. Neighborhoods are filled with beautiful historic homes; Cass, S Wilson, Moross and Belleview are some of our favorite streets— let’s go for a walk. I’d say the Tudor is the most popular architectural style, brick and trim color vary from house to house, several sport awnings. Mature trees line long neighborhood streets, urns, window boxes and planters overflow with colorful annuals. Well-kept front yards are the norm, many have lovely gardens, stars and stripes grace several front porches. Walkways in brick, stone and slate lead to elegant front doors, back yards are huge.

the clem 185 (1)

the clem 191 (1)the clem 211 (1)

the clem 277 (1)

Homes reflect a variety of time periods and styles; Tudor,Victorian, Colonial, Farmhouse, American Foursquare, Craftsman and even Mid-Century Modern, no two are the same! The Atwood House at 53 Moross erected in 1835 is thought to be the oldest house in Mt Clemens, possibly Macomb County. A wonderful example of Greek Revival, dark green shutters and blue porch ceilings accent the gorgeous white residence.Check out the French Chateau style house at 124 Belleview, it was built in 1932 of Bedford Indiana Limestone. The Charles E Doll house at 121 Belleview was built in 1926 and is a stunning example of the English Tudor, the lot backs to the Clinton River. Catty corner at 207 Moross sits a 1931 Tudor built by another member of the Doll family. I could go on and on, but instead, why not take a ride to Mt Clemens, park on one of the charming streets and experience it for yourself.

the clem 206 (1)

the clem 271 (1)

the clem 198 (1)

the clem 188 (1)

Mount Clemens: Wandering through History…

10 Jul

clem 031

Residing on the banks of the Clinton River is the city of Mount Clemens; incorporated in 1879 this four square mile city is the county seat of Macomb County. If you are not familiar with the area, you may have heard of the city; it was most famous for its mineral baths. That’s right, back in the day, beginning about 1873, Mt Clemens once had 11 bath houses and many hotels that played host to the rich and famous. Celebrities such as Clark Gable, Mae West, Babe Ruth and Jack Dempsey, along with William Randolph Hearst and the Vanderbilt family all flocked to the city for the well-known baths. In the 20’s the industry began to decline and the Great Depression took its toll on “Bath City”. Today only one of the original bath houses remains; now the Henry Ford Macomb Hospital, they continue to offer the healing baths using mineral water retrieved from an aquifer beneath the hospital. In about 1880 a new industry launched; roses. Yes, Mt Clemens was home to 10 major Rose growers. With over 30 acres under glass, it was once known as the Rose capital of the US. I can remember seeing the greenhouses from the time I was a kid until maybe a decade ago. Metro Detroit is filled with interesting stories and places if you just take the time to look.

clem 015

clem 033

clem 030

The first stop on our agenda for the day was the Crocker House Museum located on Union Street. The Italianate house-turned- museum was built in 1869 by the city’s first mayor Joshua Dickinson. The home’s furniture and decor reflect the mineral bath era in Mt Clemens.  Our guide shared stories of the Crocker family, artifacts and photos bring the stories to life. Exhibits display city mementos through the decades including pieces from Mt Clemens Pottery.  The photos of the bath houses are amazing! Items like bathrobes, dishes, and souvenirs along with guest registries from the hotels remind us of what a huge industry this was for the area. It’s great to be able to see these cool vintage pieces of the past. The house is quite lovely; you are able to tour both floors and see what life was like then. Space in the basement is used for classes, lectures and themed afternoon teas put on by Macomb County Historical Society. They also host an annual Garden Walk and Cemetery Walk. You do not have to be from the area to really enjoy your visit, there’s a lot of interesting history here. 

clem 018

clem 028

clem 027

The Anton Art Center is housed in the historic Carnegie Library building erected in 1904.  The center hosts rotating exhibits throughout the year so it’s nice to stop in once in a while and check out the current artists on display, which is what brought us here. The space on the first floor is the Main Gallery, Fiber Hybridity was the current show, there were some cool pieces. The second floor is the Community Gallery and hosts shows by three community groups. The Art Center is more than a gallery; they offer educational programming, community outreach and special events. I love the gift shop; pieces are sold on consignment so the selection is always new. Keep this place in mind for  Christmas shopping, they have a wonderful Christmas Market. If you are interested in honing your artistic skills they offer youth and adult classes in painting, fabric arts, ceramics and jewelry making.

clem 009

clem 003

clem 002

Lunchtime had arrived; throughout the day several people had recommended the Engine House Bar and Grill on Cass by the railroad tracks. Not ones to turn down good advice, the restaurant was our next stop. The building has been around since the early 1900’s; beginning life as a grocery and meat market, it seems it has always sold food. As we walked inside it had a neighborhood feel to it as though the waitresses could tell you everyone’s name and their favorite food or drink. Sitting at a high top table we looked through the menu; lots of appetizers, salads, sandwiches, and entrees. The pizza came highly recommended so we ordered  the Classic. The Tigers were on the large screen TV as friends gathered together to watch and have a drink. Our pizza arrived; not only did it look good, it was delicious! Service is friendly and prices are fair making it a great place to stop in for a meal or a drink.

clem 057

clem 055

Across the street on Grand Ave is the Michigan Transit Museum, formerly the home of Grand Trunk Western Railroad Depot. Named a Michigan State Historic Site and on the National Register of Historic Places, this one story Italianate structure opened in 1859. This was when GTWR opened their Port Huron to Detroit line traveling through Mt Clemens. The interior has been transformed into a museum complete with a waiting area and a re-created ticket office. Floors and ceiling are hardwood, walls are wet plaster with wainscoting. There is stuff everywhere to look at; take the time to really look around, volunteers are available to answer questions. The depot’s claim to fame is the fact that the railroad hired 12-year old Thomas Edison as a newsboy and candy salesman on the Port Huron to Detroit run. The story goes like this: In 1862 while the train was on lay over, young Thomas Edison pulled a 3-year old boy out of the path of an oncoming train, the boy was the station agent’s son. As a reward for the rescue the agent, J.V. Mackenzie, taught Edison train telegraphy and operation. Sometime later Mackenzie joined Edison at his Menlo Park Lab. Seriously, this town is full of fascinating history. 

clem 036

clem 052

clem 043

One of the rules of summertime is: eat ice cream. Right? Luckily for us there’s a little place not too far from the museum to get some. Before we get there I have two words for you: Cappuccino Crunch.  At one time several small dairies occupied space in the city. In 1923 John Miller bought out several smaller creameries and opened Miller Bros Creamery. Miller Bros first made ice cream in 1937 and opened several company stores, eventually selling the business to the London Dairy in 1971.  Today, the charming little store on Dickinson Street is owned and operated by 87-year old Irene. She began her career working for Miller Bros in 1955, became store manager in 1962, and finally, bought the store from London Dairy in 1982…… she never misses a days work. The old-fashioned brick building with curved front windows and original Miller Bros sign screams kitsch. Inside it is a combo mini-mart and ice cream store. We headed directly for the ice cream counter that now serves Hershey Ice Cream (not related to the Hershey candy company) and each ordered cappuccino crunch, Kris got a cone, I got a dish. The cappuccino flavored ice cream is smooth and creamy with tunnels of dark chocolate fudge running through it. The perfect bite is a combo of ice cream, fudge and a chunk of crunchy toffee that is scattered throughout. Trust me, try it. Though hardly a big city Mt Clemens has enough to provide you with a full day’s entertainment.  

indian village 092

indian village 096