Archaeological treasures revealed – Crow pie served

Posted on April 12, 2016


Louan Lechler was driving me home from a fine musical event up in Hayes Township that I’ll tell you all about later this week.  We came to the intersection of US-31 and M-88 and she said, “Look, they’ve uncovered the old writing on the building.”  I looked over at the future Torch Lake Café and pondered.  I’d been writing about the history of the building, and none of my photos showed that lettering.

“Nah,” I said.  “I’m pretty sure that’s just a clever way of telling people what’s coming.”  Louan is too polite to laugh in my face but . . .

Boy was I wrong.  At least I’m good at admitting when I’m wrong.  I have a lot of experience eating crow pie.  Herewith, the evidence against me.

Babs Apr 10 Torch Lake Cafe update

Exhibit 1: Progress report on Torch Lake Café – April 7 or 8 2016 – photo by Babs Young

If you look closely, you will see that lettering is cut off by the windows. Clearly the tarpaper has been stripped off the old siding and the old lettering has been revealed. There’s more.

Another incarnation of the corner bar

Babs sent out her usual Sunday Michigan Pic and posted the photo on Facebook.  Lynne Charlet Agar responded with another that showed even more progress, with even more tarpaper stripped off, and wrote that her grandfather had owned the place as The Eastport back in 1944.  Good grief!  Not only was I wrong about the lettering, but there was a whole ‘nother incarnation of the corner bar between the Hoopers and Molly Malone’s.  I did not steal Lynne’s photo but trotted over there and made one of my own.

TLC reveal - The Eastport - 2016 will be a fantastic year

Exhibit 2: Torch Lake Café revealed as descendant of The Eastport – photo by Gerry Sell April 11 2016

No question about it.  Old lettering on old siding.  There’s more, too.  Here’s the west side of the building.

TLC reveal - west side

Exhibit 3: Torch Lake Café reveals early lettering on west side too – photo by Gerry Sell April 11 2016

I rest the case against me.  But wait, there’s more.


Make that two more incarnations

In addition, Katherine wrote to add that Josie and Roy Ellington Ellison! had owned the building, too, and operated the Torch Lake Inn there between two eras of Molly Malone’s.  Oh boy.  Another serving of crow pie coming up.  Update 4-14-2016:  Make that two servings.  Ellison.  Ellison.  I knew that.

You see, I was up in Charlevoix the other day talking to Randy Cebulski about the Barnard Grange – you may be sure you will hear more about that eventually – and Randy swore the corner bar had once been called the Torch Lake Inn.

“Nah,” I said.  “You must be thinking of the Torch Lake Inn in Torch Lake Village.”  He was too polite to laugh in my face, but he lived in Torch Lake Village until he was twelve, and made a pretty good case, so I already half expected this second piece of crow pie.

Another quest.  Must acquire photos of all incarnations.  I love quests.  Crow pie not so much.  I am reliably informed, by Leanna Collins herself, that it will not appear on the Torch Lake Café menu, not even disguised as “Gerry’s Just Dessert.”