Ray and ?

These two great vintage photos show Ray Gibbons and a younger friend, unknown. At first I didn’t think this was Ray, because my mother in law didn’t point him out. She said she didn’t know who was in the photo. But, comparing the older fellow of the two to the bakery photo in the last post, I realized that it was Ray. He is so young!

The photos were taken…somewhere. Although the buildings in the background have business names on them, when I enlarge them, they are unreadable. There is a clock, and The Something Something. I know that Gibbons Bakery was in Mount Clemens, and it is possible this was taken there as well, as Ray seems to be about the same age as the last picture. The building looks like a school or a bank to me.

I don’t know a thing about cars except to say they are old.

On the single photo, although it looks like the boy is wearing some sort of pin, it’s actually damage to the photo paper. In the photo of the two of them, it looks like the younger boy is holding an apple? a baseball? and someone off camera is handing Ray something. Impossible to know now what it was. They seem to be laughing and having a good time. After school joking around, maybe?

Advertisements

Gibbons Bakery

I think one of these two young men might be my father-in-law, but I’m not 100% sure. (Update, my husband says he is the one on the right!) The picture unfortunately isn’t the best, but it is a treasure all the same. And just look at that monster cake they are decorating! The Gibbons Bakery in Mt. Clemens, MI was opened in the 1920s by Albert Henry Gibbons and his wife Christine Schultz Gibbons. Born in 1891 in England, Henry emigrated to the US in 1913. Henry and Christine married in 1920 and must have opened the bakery around that same time. Sons William (1922) and James (1923) soon arrived, followed by daughter Roseann (1930) and finally son Albert Raymond (1932). By the time Raymond was working in the bakery it was a well established business that has a long legacy in Mt. Clemens. I have another photo I will share soon of Roseann and her kids in front of the bakery. By 1957, Henry and Christine lived in Florida and Bill, Jim and Ray kept the business running. Eventually, all the kids had moved on to various other locations, and by 1988 the bakery was owned by Djurdja “Julie” Bogojevski. Gibbons Bakery was located at 84 Macomb Place near the corner of Pine St for quite a long time, enjoying at least one resurgence in the early 2000s by an entrepreneur who wanted to bring a nice bakery to Mt. Clemens. The building is still there and looks basically the same as it did way back when.

At some point, Ray and my mother-in-law Marie opened the Ray Marie Bakery, also in Mt. Clemens. Marie told me some stories of the early days of their marriage when Ray had to get up at 3 a.m. to be at the bakery and she would get up to make his breakfast, all while suffering morning sickness and the smell of bacon and eggs made her extra queasy! It was in that first apartment that Marie was given the recipe for carrot cake that became one of the recipes at their bakeries. It is a family treasure that I have made for birthdays and special occasions over the years. She shared that her neighbor offered her a slice of cake, but all she could think was “why would anyone make a cake out of carrots?” Fortunately for all of us, she liked it. By 1971 they were working on building The Cake Shop in Whittier, CA. which became another family owned and operated bakery, with Steve, Paul, David & Joe working alongside their parents.

The most recent version of the Gibbons Bakery in Mt. Clemens, MI operated from around 2010 to 2015, at the historic location of 84 Macomb Place. The owner at that time had personal ties to the bakery, having worked for Bogojevski shortly after emigrating to the US.

Here’s a great vintage photo I found showing a firefighter poking his head out of the window of Gibbons Bakery after a fire in the adjacent building. The irony here is that The Cake Shop burned down many years later, fire once again damaging a Gibbons owned bakery.

Here’s more about the “new” Gibbons Bakery:

Gibbons Bakery Facebook Page

Article about the reopening from Oakland Press News

Guitar and Fiddle

Two unknown / unnamed fellows jam on a guitar and a fiddle. The recess behind the fiddle player has quite a bit going on.  There’s a lantern advertising JAX beer, as well as the letters JAX spelled out in an arch. His hat is resting over his left shoulder. There are several plugs in an outlet over his right shoulder. The placard above all that says “No set in on ??? unless requested.”

The young man on the guitar is playing a chord that I can’t identify. Behind him, the guitar case leans against a jukebox(?). And note the microphone in front of him. The table is beat up, there are beer signs around, and in front of the fiddle player is a bottle of JAX beer. They must be in a bar! I’m taking a stab at this being a bar in Florida.

JAX Beer was made between 1913-1956 in Jacksonville, FL. There are some interesting tidbits about the brewery, including them being the last brewery in the US to stop producing beer during Prohibition, and they are credited as the first brewery to sell beer in a six pack. Not like what we picture, the bottles were packaged in burlap bags. The brewery went the way of the Edsel in the mid-fifties, leaving behind only its building and memories, and this little snapshot.

A trip to Disneyland

From August 1962 or thereabouts we have two photos from Disneyland. The park at this time was only 7 years old and look how wide open the pathways are! For anyone who has been to Disneyland in the past 30 years, this is virtually unreal. This is back when you could wear a dress and heeled sandals to Disneyland and not be concerned about having your toes stomped on by the crowd or rolled over by a stroller. The attractions pictured are the Columbia Sailing Ship and the Matterhorn Bobsleds ride.

The people featured in these photos are Eleanor Conradson (my grandmother-in-law) and her boyfriend at the time, and his son. No one can remember her boyfriend’s name, unfortunately. My mother-in-law told me there was some story about his family, but she couldn’t remember the exact details. Either he or a daughter were murdered in some sort of robbery! The people who knew their names are long gone from my life, so I have no way of learning more.

At this point in the game, Disneyland was in the shape that most of us are familiar with, as you can see in the images below I found online. Click the images to open and enlarge.

1962 Map of Disneyland

Early 1962 aerial view of Disneyland

1965 aerial view of Disneyland

You will see the “Rivers of America” in the top left of the drawn map. It clearly was in place by August 1962 for the Columbia to be operating on it at the time of the snapshot above, but interestingly in the early ’62 photo, the Rivers are dry and unfinished.

It is very interesting as a local native who has watched a lot of the county be developed to have evidence of just how open Orange County, CA was when Disneyland opened. Compared with how it is now, this is like another country. All of the open spaces on the aerial photos have been completely developed with homes, businesses, apartments, freeways, and much more. The one big hotel shown – the Disneyland Hotel – is surpassed by massive hotels on every side of the park. It really is a tourist mecca.

 

Youth Orchestra

This photo came from a huge batch of family photographs we received when my mother-in-law closed up her home. We sat together looking at all these many photos (literally hundreds!) and tried to identify something or someone in each one. The process was important to the identification of the photos, but also such a wonderful time between us. Although she is gone from us now, I treasure the times we sat together. She would reminisce about these photos, her late husband, her family, and growing up in Detroit in the 30’s and 40’s.

This particular photo shows a youth orchestra or band, including an accordion, wood winds, and brass. I am guessing the boys with white straps to the right of frame were the drummers and the straps were designed to hold the drums while they marched or played. The band director must be the portly person on the far right. I enlarged this photo to look at the faces, but realized that the monument behind them has the names of some states on it. I can see a Kansas plaque on the left, between two caps, an Indiana plaque in the center of frame, above the musicians, and in the space next to that, I can just make out 1st and 1941. If anyone recognizes this monument, please comment. I would love to know where it is! Supposedly, my father-in-law is in this picture, but we couldn’t find him.

UPDATE: After sharing this on Facebook, my eagle-eyed cousin noticed the palm tree in the top right corner of the picture and pointed out that Detroit doesn’t have many of those. At about the same time, my sister and Intense Guy uncovered the identity of this monument. 

92c8be82-94b9-4013-8677-7f55813ffe3e.JPG

It is the Monument of States in Kissimee, FL. This interesting monument was conceived by Dr Charles Bressler-Pettis after the attack on Pearl Harbor. He wanted something to signify the unity of the United States, so he wrote to all the governors of the states – which at that time numbered 48 – and asked them to send a rock native to their state. By the time he was finished collecting, Bressler-Pettis had also included a variety of rocks from other countries he and his wife had visited. The monument was raised in 1943 with the dual goals of unity and tourism. Ah, America. It has been expanded over the years to include Alaska and Hawaii, and a variety of other locales with their rocks being embedded into the walkways around the monument.

Thank you, Steve, Auntie Kat and Intense Guy for helping to solve yet another photo mystery!

Further Reading

Monument of States via US National Park Service

Monument of States via Wikipedia

Monument of States via Roadside America

 

Special Military Training?

Enjoy today two photos that show us that sometimes military training and camp isn’t all marching and push ups. I don’t know who the subjects are, but they were in the same pile as these pictures of Earl “E. B.” Scott and his buddy. Location and date are unknown but I’m guessing in the 1940s to 50s.

Boxing

tn-vintage-pix-14

Two pugilists

Two boys show off their boxing stances in this vintage snapshot from the 1920s or 30s. One boy wears dungarees/overalls and an untied bowtie, while the other wears his coat and slacks. These seem to be unusual togs for a boxing match.

Boxing can be traced as a sport back to ancient times, with Greek, Roman, and even Minoan & Assyrian records showing it was a popular spectator sport. The Romans of course took it to an extreme with the boxing glove having metal studs embedded into it, fights going to the death, and all sorts of brutality. One bit of nomenclature we brought forward from Roman boxing, though, is the term “boxing ring.” Early matches were fought in a circle drawn on the ground. During the gladiator period, boxing was outlawed as being too vicious (that’s saying something!) and it wasn’t really resurrected until the 17th century.

Prior to the 1900s, boxing was part of an unsavory world of gambling and illegal fighting. Many of us have heard of Marquess of Queensbury Rules, which were established in 1867 London as a way to bring bare knuckle boxing under a little more control. It was still considered a brutal pastime and was relegated to gambling dens, eventually becoming a “scandalous” sport of violence, betting and rowdy behavior among men. Fights among the spectators were known to break out, and riots could occur. Boxing was illegal in certain parts of Britain and America. It resembled boxing as we know it today, but not in every sense. For one, not all matches were fought to a win/decision. If one fighter wasn’t knocked out, the fight could be decided by spectators, journalists, and others. It sounds like statistics for early 1900s boxing are nothing like what we imagine they should be! Boxing could also be called prizefighting at that time, because the participants were fighting for a monetary prize. We still refer to a boxing match today as a prize fight.

1900 – 1920 saw a refining of boxing with many fighters coming from the poorer cities and areas, including many Jewish and black fighters. It is interesting to consider that fighters who were considered heavyweight fighters during that era would probably fall into the lightweight and welterweight categories today. Our modern heavyweight class has heights of 6′ 4″ and weights well over 250 pounds.

But the boys pictured above were probably thinking more of fighters like Jack Johnson, Jack Dempsey, Rocky Marciano, Joe Louis and Jake Lamotta (the Raging Bull). These men helped define boxing as we know it today, although still on the small side weight-wise. Without these fighters, we would probably not have seen Muhammad Ali, Sugar Ray Robinson or Sugar Ray Leonard, all the way to George Foreman, Evander Holyfield and Mike Tyson. The big names of boxing today owe it all to those skinny, bare knuckle brawlers who helped resurrect boxing from the back alley and bring it into the living room. While boxing is still a prize driven sport, it is well known globally for its big purses, big fighters and big crowds – both in the arena and on pay per view.

I hope you will take some time to read further into the history of boxing. I myself enjoy a good boxing match, and encourage folks to learn about the “sweet science” that is more about technical and strategic moves than it is about blood and injury.

Additional Reading

Early 1900s boxing – via proboxing-fans.com

Boxing – via wikipedia

Why is boxing called the sweet science – via isport.com

Jake Lamotta, the Raging Bull – via biography.com

A list of famous boxers – via biography.com

Previous Older Entries

%d bloggers like this: