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November 27, 1987 - Image 50

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1987-11-27

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

-

DON MASSEY CADILLAC

WE APPRECIATE
YOUR BUSINESS

Jewelry

453.7500

WATCH US GROW AT

40475 Ann Arbor Rd. at 1-275, Plymouth, MI

SIMSBURY PLAZA

14 Mile and Farmington

HABONIM
IS HAPPENING!
HABONIM IS:

FUN • FRIENDS • HEBREW SONGS
• SPORTS • ISRAELI DANCING

Sunday, December 6

2:004:00 p.m.

At Camp Ruth, North of the JCC
on the Jewish Community Campus
6600 W. Maple Road, West Bloomfield

Kids and parents, come learn about
Habonim-Dror — Detroit's Labor Zionist
Youth movement for Boys and Girls Grades
4-7 during an exciting afternoon of ISRAELI
WINTER SPORTS AND ACTIVITIES.

Free Admission and Refreshments
For information, phone the Labor Zionist Alliance

967-3170



0



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• (1: 5-6 L.-
• , • •
■ .

• ;••• •• • . .

P• g

Discover Sugar Tree for the Holidays

Cruises Only! Ltd.
The Art Show
& Elkin Travel Inc.
Best Bakery
Hansel 'N' Gretel
Body, Inc.
Kidz Kloz
Marilyn Brooks
Raphael Salon
Capelli Colour
T.C.B.Y. Yogurt
Studio
Travelers World
Carmen's
Tres Chic Petites
Tommy Schey
Victoria
Colony Interiors
Weisman
Corporation
Cleaners
Cortina

50

FRIDAY, NOV. 27, 1987

I LOOKING BACK I

Ceei Orman

Holiday Hours

Noon-5 p.m.
Open Sundays
Dec. 14-23
Weekdays 'til 8 p an.,
North
of Maple
Orchard Lake Rd •

Bath City

Continued from Page 48

Fountain, the Crystal and the
Kings House. There were
countless others, and
numerous boarding houses, to
fit every budget.
As a child, Bess Glazier
remembers the boarding
houses as "dumpy and old. I
remember the tiny narrow
staircases. The rooms were
tiny. Maybe they weren't as
old or as tiny as they seemed
to me, but you know how
young children view things.
The bedrooms would have a
bed and a dresser. There
wasn't space for much else
really. The buildings were
small and close together. I
still think of those stairs
creaking. They didn't have
railings, just walls on either
side."
The bathhouses were also
numerous, and their names
echo a bygone era — the
Clementine, the "Original"
Bathhouse, the Fountain, the
Park, the Arethusa, the
Medea.
At its peak, Mt. Clemens —
Bath City as it was dubbed —
was vital, active, thriving.
The mineral baths were not
its only industry, but its most
well-known, and for a while
its most lucrative.
When the "season" began
each year, says Longstaff, the
city's merchants could tell
without consulting a calen-
dar. The silver coins in the till
were tinged with black from-
the minerals.
As Longstaff remembers,
"The bath was in its heyday
around the turn of the cen-
tury, but as time went on it
went into a decline, after the
Depression. People wanted to
go to doctors for relief of pain,
and the automobile changed
things a lot."
History books describe how,
almost from the beginning,
the bathhouses were highly
competitive. Runners were
employed to meet people as
they arrived and encourage
them to frequent different
establishments. The May 22,
1892, Mt. Clemens Monitor,
reported that the city at-
torney was trying to set up an
ordinance regulating the run-
ners. In 1905, an ordinance
was passed requiring runners
to be licensed, wear badges
and have designated stands.
The runners operated an
almost cut-throat business.
Even enterprising physi-
cians were using runners to
bring in patients. A law was
passed stopping doctors from
"subsidizing" employees of
bath houses, hotels and boar-
ding houses. In 1925, 75
hotels and bath houses voted
to outlaw runners altogether.
But the dark period in Mt.
Clemens' history was on the
horizon.

The competitive spirit, nor-
mally encouraged in a free-
enterprise society, was so in-
tense that owners were
unable to raise charges suffi-
ciently to build up capital to
improve their facilities. Baths
that cost 50 cents in 1873 cost
only $1 in 1930. As time wore
on, the buildings became out-
dated and in need of repair,
losing their glitter and
appeal.
Henry Ford's automobile,
while it helped many people
find a simple way to travel to
Mt. Clemens, also changed

The bath was in its
heyday around the
turn of the
century, but as
time went on it
went into a
decline, after the
Depression.

the American family's con-
cept of how to spend a vaca-
tion. People started to yearn
for new, unfamiliar spots.
Vacations didn't have to be
spent only in one place and
Florida began to attract the
adventurous.
The Depression, too, made
quite an impact on the
number of visitors to the
baths.
But the most decisive factor
in Mt. Clemens' downfall was
the way people came to view
medicine. It made more sense
to visit the doctor's office to
relieve pain and inflamma-
tion, than undergo a three-
week series of baths.
As the bath houses and
hotels declined, some were
burned and others razed.
When the Park was torn
down in 1940, the end of the
bath era was a fact of life. A
civic center, which has since
been torn down, was built on
the site.
The Clementine Bath
House, renamed the Murphy-
Clementine Baths after it
was sold to Longstaff's fami-
ly, had baths until 1965 when
the city bought the wells to
expand its Cass Avenue park-
ing lot.
The Medea's baths were us-
ed until 1963 when the boiler
house and wells were ac-
quired by the city's urban
renewal program and cleared
for the construction of U.S.
highway 25. The hotel is still
standing, but now houses
several stores and offices.
The Arethusa carried on
the bath tradition until it
burned down in 1976.
Warren Renando, Mt.
Clemens city manager, says
in the latter part of the 20th
century, the industries that

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