It was a great occasion on April 8, 1914, and the newly-formed Knights of Pythias chapter in Saline brought in photographers from out-of-town to take their portraits.
Apparently there were bleachers handy in the Opera House, so the men could stand on elevated planks. Nearly 50 neatly-dressed men stood still and dignified for their group photo.
The sober faces of the men is contrasted with the lively messages on the advertisements plastered all over the front of the auditorium.
While Saline residents referred to this place as the “Opera House,” in fact there is one type of performance that never happened there.
People gathered in the Opera House to see movies, hear concerts, watch graduations, and attend school plays. This was located upstairs in the buildings on the east side of South Ann Arbor Street.
With crowds of people glued to the stage of the Opera House, it is no surprise to see the local businesses tooting their own horns above the stage.
One of the signs says “My specialties livestock and wool, telephone service, creamery. E. A. Hauser.”
It may seem odd that one business would include sheep, phones, and butter production. But Edward A. Hauser was, indeed, qualified to boast about all three of those.
Hauser was brought in to run the creamery in Saline just before a new butter-making plant was constructed on the west side of Monroe Street. Besides his accomplishments with milk processing, he was a long-time partner and associate with Fred Henne, or “Mr. Telephone” in Saline.
As for his credentials with sheep, it’s fair to say that the sheep business was widespread in Saline and a man like Hauser must have had an inside track.
Another sign says “Josenhans and Son Blacksmithing, Horse Shoeing. ‘Gentlemans Drivers’ a Specialty. Phone 157.”
By 1914, horses were still king on the roads and farms, but gasoline-powered vehicles were showing up alongside them. The Josenhans family produced several blacksmiths, including Herman, living on W. Chicago Street; along with his father, Samuel, on Harris Street.
If someone knows what a “gentleman’s driver” was in 1914, contact me.
My favorite sign: “Between the acts call on me. Candies, fruits, cigars, tobacco. Lunch room. K. A. Boettger.”
Karl August Boettger was born in Saline in 1886. His parents, Henry and Anna, lived at 206 W. Henry St. Karl served his country in the Army during WW I, and got married to a lady from Dexter in 1919.
Somehow Boettger got in the candy-and-tobacco business, operating a lunch room somewhere in Saline, before getting hitched and moving to Dexter. He became a farmer and is buried in Dexter.
In 1914, Saline photographer Lucretia Gillett was no longer around. Carl Daines, a photographer from Ann Arbor, stepped up to the plate to take this picture, along with a friend.
Thanks to the Saline Area Historical Society, Historian Bob Lane, census data, Find a grave, city directories, Ancestry, Grace Shackman, and Saline Observer 1913.