We all have a town that we call home. It holds many of our earliest memories. For me, that town is Northville Michigan.
Northville has always been a small that town of several thousand people. It’s boundaries straddle two counties, Wayne and Oakland.
The joke growing up was our town was as far away from Detroit as you could get without leaving the county. Consequently, in our square mile were the locations of The Detroit Men’s prison farm, The Women’s House of Correction, The Juvenile Correction Center, Plymouth State Hospital for Mentally Impaired, The Northville State Hospital for the insane and Hawthorn Center for mentally ill children and Two tuberculosis Centers. We were accustom to the occasional run or walk away inmate or patient hiding in a church claiming sanctuary.
The town is the highest point in the county. On a clear day in the summer, I could see the high rise buildings in downtown Detroit. The area was refered to as the Alpine hills of Wayne county. In the 1920’s and 1930’s, there was a ski jump located there.
Besides the quaint small downtown area, Northville boasted 5 churches, two cider mills, and a well with spring water free to take in your own containers. The last interesting place was the county fair grounds turned into a harness horse racing track. As a child, I loved to watch the jockey’s driving their horses and sulkies back to the barns. The horses trotted smartly to cross the road at the traffic light.
As an older child, I was allowed to ride my bike to all areas within the town’s borders.
In the downtown area, my grandfather, Grandpa Clifford, had The Northville Electric Shop. My other Grandfather, Grandpa Al, had a barber shop in his home. My parents could keep tabs on me by a phone call to neighbors, friends, and shop owners. My three older brothers were charged with keeping an eye on their sister. I was never alone. My favorite places were the Guernsey Dairy with it’s 10cent cones, and the 5 and 10 cent store where most items were under a quarter. The forerunner to today’s Dollar stores.
More about Northville in the next blog.
A blending of old and new.
Downtown for pedestrians to walk, eat and shop.
the outdoor market
I am here in the present
but see the past all around me.
The echos of my childhood beckons.
I and my hometown have parted ways.