My mom's side of the family have been in the Detroit metro area for over 100 years now. That's one of the reasons I've always loved visiting the Detroit Historical Museum. I was lucky in that years ago, I got to visit one time with my grandfather, who came to the area in 1912. When we went downstairs to the Old Detroit exhibit, he was familiar with all the stores and things! We talked about the pharmaceutical items, as he had been a cardiac surgeon at what is now Oakwood-Annapolis Hospital in Inkster.
I recently visited the museum again and went to see my favorite exhibit. It starts with the cut-log streets of frontier times and eases into the later part of the 19th century. I wish they'd have music from the different eras as you walk along in time.
There's an early version of S.S. Kresge, which became the embattled K-Mart. When I was a girl, S.S. Kresge was a cool dime store, where you could get plastic rain bonnets in a little plastic case with flowers.
There's also a reproduction of my favorite dessert parlor on Planet Earth: Sander's. Sander's has been in business since 1875, inventing the ice cream soda and the hot fudge cream puff. How many times would my grandparents get a Sander's caramel tea cake, I'd cut a big slice and they'd admonish, "Little girl, you'd better watch it"?
There's a gorgeous cut crystal Vernor's ginger ale dispenser. Oh, how I'd love one in my living room! It's so elegant. Vernor's is the oldest surviving ginger ale in the US and was invented in Detroit. It's still made in Michigan!
Wiki says this about Vernor's flavor:
Vernors is a sweet “golden” ginger ale that derives its color from caramel and has a robust flavor (similar to that of ginger beer). The Vernors style was common before Prohibition, when “dry” pale ginger ale (typified by Canada Dry Ginger Ale) became popular as a drink mixer.
LA Metropolitan News Editor Roger Grace describes the original flavor as "mellow yet perky with the mellowness attributed to the aging in oak barrels, and the perkiness to the use of more ginger and sugar than "dry" ginger ales.
Now, my grandparents were like an early version of Cook's magazine or the old columns in the Chicago Tribune. They held scientific tests of commonly used products -- email me for their toilet paper results -- and they certainly proclaimed Vernor's to be the best ginger ale. If you saw these tests, complete with blind taste testing and controls, you'd know they were right on the money!
My mom said that people used to have dates at Vernor's soda fountain when their factory was still in Detroit.
Also at the museum is a music room donated by Kid Rock. Quite frankly, I think he could have donated a lot more and made the exhibit world class. I'm disappointed! Kid Rock, feel free to email me as to what I think is missing . . . I already emailed your publicist!
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