For today’s post I’m just going to share some of the history with you, stunning images and a cool tidbit about a certain famous female swimmer from the 1940s.
Brief Overview of the History of the Hotel: The Grand Hotel has a marvelous page filled with a much more detailed history on the Hotel (then what I will supply you) which you can read HERE.
July 10th, 1887: Grand Hotel opens, billed as a summer retreat for vacationers who arrive by lake steamer from Chicago, Erie, Montreal, Detroit, and by rail from across the continent. It took only 93 days to complete and rates are $3 to $5 a night.
1890’s: Grand Hotel’s Front Porch – longest in the world (880 feet in length)—becomes the principal meeting place for all of Mackinac Island, as well as a promenade for the elderly and a “Flirtation Walk” for island romantics. Grand Hotel Manager James “The Comet” Hayes invites an agent of Edison Phonograph to conduct regular demonstrations of the new invention.
Turn of the Century: The automobile finds its way onto the island. Grand Hotel supports an island-wide ban. A law is passed, but not strictly enforced until the 1930s (there are still no automobiles allowed to this day on the Island).
1919: Hotel rates are $6 per person.
1935: A radio salon where patrons can listen to Jack Benny and other popular programs is added.
1957: Michigan Historical Association selects Grand Hotel as a State Historical Building.
1980:Somewhere In Time, filmed at Grand Hotel and starring Christopher Reeve, Jane Seymour, and Christopher Plummer, is released (there are events at the hotel celebrating this very popular romantic movie. The next one is in October).
1989: The U.S. Department of Interior designates Grand Hotel a National Historic Landmark.
There are also 5 suites in the hotel named in honour of former First Ladies Lady Bird Johnson, Betty Ford, Rosalynn Carter, Nancy Reagan, and Barbara Bush.
Five U.S. Presidents — Clinton, Bush, Ford, Kennedy, and Truman — have visited Grand Hotel.
Images of the Grand Hotel:
Postcard showcasing the famous porch from Ripley’s Believe it or Not.
Interior of the Grand Hotel (it’s Fancy!):
The Dining Room
Sadies Ice Cream Parlor
Entrance to the grand ballroom…oh my…..
Some of the Hotel Rooms & Suites:
Since the only vehicles allowed on the Island are emergency vehicles and in winter snowmobiles, the only way to reach the dock from the hotel is via horse-drawn Carriage.
Now which famous swimmer from the 1940s & 50s has a tie to the hotel? That is…
This Past Sunday I attend my 3rd Hats and Horseshoe event at Woodbine Racetrack in Toronto for the prestigious 157th ‘Queens Plate‘. I wore one of my favorite 1940s Vintage hat that I had previously worn the first time I attended this event (but with limited pictures) so I thought I would give it a spin again with a different outfit. Here is the hat with my gorgeous friend Steph and her Hat.
Before I get into the post I wanted to share some images from that day of my well dressed Toronto Vintage Society Friends & Family (My parents are on each end of the image).
This lovely couple of friends pictured below, are very talented sewers and tend to make all their own outfits for their adventures. Andrea created this outfit (the hat she made herself) as an ode to My Fair Lady and you can read all about it at her blog ‘PhysicsGirl on the Loose‘.
3 of the guys made it into the Top 10 of the Best Dressed Men’s Comp (#82 #21 & in the blue suit with boater).
And another friend (#62) made it into the finals for the women (there were around 160 entries that they brought down to 60).
Now on to today’s post. I was so inspired by what I saw at the race and by the image below that I thought I would scour the internet for quirky and beautiful vintage hats that one could wear to a horse race event.
Let the Hat Race Begin!
This 1930s vintage hat SCREAMS Horse Races does it not? I love the Lucite oriental hair stick on the front.
Vintage toy tilt hat from the 1930s or 1940s in black and white, made by Austelle. I love the train and the bow at the end that keeps the hat on your head. Small and cute and a bit quirky exactly what I’m looking for.
Stylish vintage 1930s tilt hat.
1930s Quirky Tilt hat to the max! This will get you noticed, that is for sure.
Because I love Cherries- 1940s Tilt hat with Cherries and a cool top Knot (click on image for more views of this hat).
Horse Race Hat WIN! This 1940s “peek-a-boo” hat will get you noticed, fall in the quirky category and keep the sun off your head and that colour…gorgeous!
The green in this 1940s vintage hat makes it so unique.
Oh my goodness…..Vintage 1940s hat, blue straw tilt. This is simply marvelous and super fun! And my absolute favorite so far.
Dior’s New Look is excellent for making a statement when you head to your seat. The brim reminds me a bit of the song “Surrey with the Fridge on Top” from Oklahoma, don’t you agree?
I find 1950s hats could sometimes head into the most interesting direction with their styles, like this lovely AND Quirky 50s Floral skull cap.
As I end the hat section I’m going to post my bucket list hat which is actually not vintage at all, but is just so stunningly beautiful. Sigh..Want so bad….
Lastly, For a great blog post that showcased many of the hat styles seen at the Queen Plate this past Sunday, check out the blog ‘Hats by Anne‘. You just might see myself in there as well.
Question Time: Would you go with Quirky or Elegant for a hat to the races? Or maybe you would combine the styles together? Let me know.
Elinor Florence is a writer and blogger (and another Canadian friend) who focuses on Canada’s Wartime Past on her Wednesday blog. Her recent book entitled ‘Bird’s Eye View‘ is excellent and recommend read (I could not put it down) about an idealistic young Canadian woman who joins the air force during the Second World War and becomes an aerial photographic interpreter.
Elinor most recent blog post about a young woman named ‘Ruth Owens’ reminded me very much of the main character in her book. Ruth was trained as a photographer for the Royal Canadian Air Force and served at RCAF Centralia, Ontario, during World War Two. Her photo album gives us a fascinating glimpse into wartime history, crammed with snapshots of life on a Canadian air training. Read Post HERE.
The Archives of Canada has a bevy of amazing albums on their Flickr Page and one of them that caught my eye was all about ‘Toys and Games in Canada‘. Now this is not exclusive to Canada (as we know) but I just thought it was a fun collection of images of Canadian’s of all ages having fun.
May 28th, 1934-The Dionne Quintuplets are born and are noted as being the only quintuplets to survive for more than a few days. This miracle, plus their baby cuteness, the poverty of their French Canadian parents, and the controversy over their guardianship, made them the sensation of the 1930s (source).
This past weekend I attended a vintage event in Toronto at the gorgeous and historic, Todmorden Mills. On site they have an adorable 1940s cottage with the most amazing original flooring from the 40s in their kitchen. The flooring was linoleum and just look at the pattern….wow! So wow that when I posted it on Instagram the ‘Vintage Gal‘ commented that it would be a fantastic pattern for an outfit and I00% have to agree with her!
I will be honest I did not truly realize how colourful and fantastic 1940s flooring was (I think I was distracted by all the other items to look at in images), and this discovery intrigued me to see what other designs were out there. So Friends….
Why Linoleum? Well very simply it was known for being clatterproof, easy to clean, and resistant to stain. So ideal for a room in the house like the kitchen.
Example of Designs:
1939 Geometric linoleum patterns.
1941 featured abstract shapes with stars in muted colours. On side note, why does the kitchen look like it should be outside?
1945-Green’s in every shade!
Can’t make up your mind on which floor style to go with? Why not go with 2 of them?
When you have pink polka dots as a design element, then your linoleum floor 100% needs to be less flashy.
In 1945 the below colour scheme of Burgundy, Grey and Gold was considered a big departure from the old ways of doing things.
This kitchen in 1949 with this fun floor could have been yours for only $50 (a lot of money back then).
The Linoleum floor in this kitchen is my absolute favorite. It really is darling, don’t you agree? This kitchen reminds me of the movie Dumbo and the pink elephants for some reason.
Which style to choose?
Linoleum was not regulated to only the kitchen. It was also found in other places in the home, like the bedroom.
And the washroom as seen in the most adorable space ever! I love the “designated” areas for each of the family’s items.
Green was a very popular colour during the 40s (1941 Washroom).
Phew, that was a lot of colour, patterns and green going on in these rooms (why so much green?). Did you have a favorite style of linoleum from this post or from your vintage travels?
Lastly if you have not checked the website ‘Retro Renovation’ you really should. There are tons of great ideas on how to return your home into a mid-century masterpiece. Especially the piece on 1940s decor which was a great help for this post today.
In my vintage collection I have 2 ‘Romance Comics’ entitled ‘Love Romances and ‘My own Romance’.
I recently dug them out and started to read them on a lazy Sunday afternoon and really was pulled into the stories of love, romance, choices and the hard push about the women’s place in society. So today’s post is going to be of insight into the genre and a peak into my magazines (which by the way have some fantastic fashions).
History of the Romance Comic (courtesy of Wikipedia)
Romance Comic is a comics genre depicting strong and close romantic love and its attendant complications such as jealousy, marriage, divorce, betrayal, and heartache. The term is generally associated with an American comic books genre published through the first three decades of the Cold War (|1947–1977). Romance comics of the period typically featured dramatic scripts about the love lives of older high school teens and young adults, with accompanying artwork depicting an urban or rural America contemporaneous with publication.
The origins of romance comics lie in the years immediately following World War II when adult comics readership increased and superheroes were dismissed as passé. Influenced by the pulps, radio soap operas, newspaper comic strips such as Mary Worth, and adult confession magazines, Joe Simon and Jack Kirby created the flagship romance comic book Young Romance and launched it in 1947 to resounding success. By the early 1950s, dozens of romance titles from major comics publishers were on the newsstands and drug store racks. Young Romance, Young Love and their imitators differed from the earlier teen humor comics in that they aspired to realism, using first-person narration to create the illusion of verisimilitude, a changing cast of characters in self-contained stories, and heroines in their late teens or early twenties who were closer to the target audience in age than teen humor characters.
With the implementation of the Comics Code in 1954, romance comics publishers self-censored any material that might be interpreted as controversial and opted to play it safe with stories focusing on traditional patriarchal concepts of female behavior, gender roles, love, sex, and marriage. The genre fell into decline and disrepute during the sexual revolution, and the genre’s Golden Age came to an end when Young Romance and its companion Simon and Kirby title Young Love ceased publication in 1975 and 1977, respectively (Source).
Are you ready for some romance, friends?
“The World was at my feet! I had everything a girl could want…a boy who loved me, wonderful parents…and I won first prize at a beauty contest! How was I to know that everything wasn’t quite peaches and cream when you’re a…BEAUTIFUL LADY”
Right off the bat..I started to laugh because this opening statement seemed ridiculous to me in 2016 BUT then I got to thinking that maybe it was not as ridiculous as I originally thought. In the world of Selfies, internet fame, reality shows many people are relaying on their looks to move them forward in life, just like our very concerned heroine in today’s story.
But then as we move thru the story we are back to the 1950s as her mother tells her she had the same options in front of her as a young girl (the theater or her man) and gave it up to be a wife and mother because there was really no other choice. “Why would she want to lose her man for the theater?”
“And that’s how another beautiful lady became…a Happy Housewife!”
Right next to our “Happy” ending was this ad. As a marketer I seriously cannot stop laughing that they named the lady giving her testimony “Miss B.S.” LOL!!! ohhhh they are literally telling you it’s BS right in the second heading.
Moving on lets look at the story of this pretty blonde in “A Reason To Marry”.
Long story short, our pretty blonde struggles with the idea of marriage, kids and housework. After talking to a friend who just got married, quit her job and has tons of regrets about those choices, the blonde breaks it off with her man.
Then her friend takes back what she originally said about her regrets which causes our young lady to become all confused. She chats with her mom and realizes she cannot lose “The most precious thing a girl could have…the love of the right man”. Well that was easy.
But what happens when…”The Honeymoon Ends?”
Or “When a Girl is Lonely”?
And the worst of them all “But he won’t marry me!”
Blame it on….
All the stories end up pretty much the same. The girl realizes that no matter what she needs to be with a man. It could be the man at the beginning of the story or her boss who always had the hots for her (that was one of the stories). But whatever the story, it is Happy Endings for all! Oh that Young Romance 🙂
To close off the post I want to share a couple of other ads that tickled my fancy.
20 dresses for $3.95!! WHAT?! do you think that mail order is still in service? And please don’t forget that the road to popularity starts with a guitar (many of my guitar playing friends would agree).
Time to get on the newest shoe craze that will make you rich quick….adding your school letters to your shoes (not sure if this ever caught on).
Well I don’t know about you but I enjoyed learning all about this genre and I might need to pick up some more comics for my collection.
But for right now….I’m off to find out what happened to Pamela.
This is a different and fun post for me and I’m just squeezing in on the last possible day for May’s deadline.
Big Chill (retro & professional kitchen appliances) approached me and asked if I would be interested in doing a post on how I would decorate my dream kitchen using one of their amazing retro designed appliances. They mentioned that the colour for May is Turquoise, and since I don’t have a great kitchen in my teeny tiny apartment this was a fun little project to tackle.
My appliance to start off with is their stove, as seen below. HOW CUTE!!
And now here is how ‘The Vintage Inn blog’ would style my kitchen around this item. I went with a Turquoise, Tangerine, Chrome and Off-White theme.
What do you think? Totally cute right? And soooo me. The stove is just fantastic and I know that my not so vintage loving husband would approve of having one major piece in the kitchen being this colour. However…he is not aware that I would probably throw in the fridge as well (seen below). Surprise! 🙂
I had a totally different blog post planned for this week and then this appeared on Google….
Frankie Manning the founding father of Lindy Hop would have celebrated his 102nd birthday today (he lived to be 94) and after years of emailing Google they finally made all Lindy Hoppers over the world happy…Frankie Gets/Got to be Google Doodlefied (not even sure that is a word lol). Isn’t it awesome??!!
Now you may think..”who cares, it’s just a Google Doodle”. Well one of Frankie’s Missions was to spread the love of Lindy Hop around the world and he worked very hard in the later years of his life to do this. Today marks the day that Frankie’s dream became a reality in the digital world, Frankie’s dream just went viral 🙂
Another reason this is such a milestone is because of events like the one I’m part of this weekend. Toronto Lindy Hop is running a big swing weekend with 2 big bands and lots of fun activities called ‘Toronto Celebrates World Lindy Hop Day‘ and none of this would be possible if it were not for this man and the other Savoy/Whitey Lindy Hoppers that just went out on that Savoy Ballroom floor and danced the danced they loved…the Lindy Hop.
Check them out in action in the video below (featuring Frankie Manning).
Here are I am years ago at my first swing event, with the man himself..Frankie.
Happy Birthday Frankie, I sure do hope your Swingin’out somewhere in the great beyond on your special day!
There is a women’s lifestyle magazine in Canada that I really enjoy reading called ‘Chatelaine‘, which has been in publication since 1928, yes you heard that right…1928. That is a fantastic achievement and I applaud their savy business sense to remain so popular over all these years.
Today’s post I wanted to show off some of the fantastic vintage covers that they have had since the late 1920s up to early 1950s and give you a brief overview of the history of the magazine.
Chatelaine was first published in March 1928. It was created by the Maclean Hunter Publishing Company as a means to reach a different demographic than its other publications, Maclean’s and the Financial Post.
It’s title refers to the ring of keys which housewives long ago would use to get into every part of the house. The winning name was chosen from 75,000 entries and the winner ( A rancher’s wife from Eburne, British Columbia) won, $1000 cdn.
Chatelaine’s original price was ten cents per copy, and this price did not change until 1950, when it increased to fifteen cents (source).
The magazine never shied away from controversy and important subjects for women. Topics like:
An article in December 1929 entitled “Now That Women Are Persons, What’s Ahead?”, that was based on the Persons Case—a famous Canadian constitutional case that decided that women were eligible to sit in the Canadian Senate.
In its first years, the magazine served as a sounding board for women at the end of the first wave of feminism. In 1928 and 1929, article topics included panic over the rising divorce rate, “Wages and Wives” (April 1929), and the high maternal mortality rate in rural Canada (July 1928).
However during the 1930s, the magazine became less political. Popular parts of the magazine included monthly budget meal plans and romantic fiction.
WW2, the mag participated in the media and propaganda frenzy by publishing cover images of young women in uniform, working on farms, and contributing to the war effort.
In the 60s early 1970s there were articles about the pill, sex and women’s rights (source).
In the past, the magazine has named a Woman of the Year, honouring a Canadian woman for her achievements in the previous year. Honorees have included Prime Minister Kim Campbell.
The Covers (some of my favorites)
August 1932. Can I have all the outfits in this image?
August 1938-“What did your husband give up for marriage?” This is the less political time in the magazines career.
February 1940-Nice Hat!
June 1941-Travel Canada…
February 1941. Make Do and Mend?
September 1942-Do your part for the war effort.
January 1948-It would not be a Canadian magazine if you did not have a skiing cover (this is one of many covers with this theme).
I wanted to share with you this week one of my favorite (and I mean favorite) female Rockabilly singers, that you may or may not of heard of – Janis Martin-the Female Elvis.
Janice was one of the few women working in the male-dominated rock and roll music field during the 1950s and one of country music’s early female innovators.
The Early Days:
Born March 27th, 1940 in Sutherlin, Virginia into a musical family (her father and uncle were both musicians and her mother a stage mother), Janis quickly became a hard-working performer. Even at the tender age of 4 she was playing the guitar by standing it up like a fiddle as she was too small to hold it on her lap and by age six, had mastered the basic chords and began singing. Although she was small her voice was loud and strong.
At age 8, she entered her first talent contest and placed second. For the next two years, she entered eleven contests over a three-state area, winning first place in each one, and winning over 200 or more contestants in a statewide talent show that took four days of elimination (Source).
At age 11, she began her career as a member of the WDVA Barndance in Danville, Virginia. The show was on every Saturday night and was broadcast from an actual barn and after the show was done all the chairs would be pushed back and actual dance would take place. Hence how it got its name “WDVA Barndance”.
Janice continued to focus on Country music in her early days, moving from MDVA onto the road with Glen Thompson (mentioned in the image above) and then eventually being invited to be a regular member at the 3rd largest Barndance in the nation – the Old Dominion Barndance in Richmond, Virginia, ranking only behind the Grand Old Opry and the Wheeling, West Virginia Barndance (source).
Eventually though by her mid-teens Janice was growing tired of the slow ballads of country music and wanted to get into Rock n Roll. She was about to get lucky….
Janis becomes a recording artist at the age of 15
Two staff announcers at WRVA (the station that carried the Barndance over the CBS network) were successful songwriters and wrote the song “Will You, Willyum”. They asked Janis to sing it on the Barndance for audience reaction, where they would cut a demo tape to send to their publisher in New York. When the demo tape arrived at Tannen Music in New York, the publisher not only accepted the song but sent the song to Steve Sholes, producer at RCA Victor and asked whether Sholes had an artist to record “Will You Willyum”. Apparently Sholes replied, “Well, who’s the girl doin’ the demo?”
At age 15, Martin signed with RCA Victor in March 1956, just two months after Elvis Presley joined the label. She recorded “Will You Willyum” on March 8, 1956, backed by her own composition, “Drugstore Rock ‘n Roll“.
The song became the biggest hit of her career, selling 750,000 records and hitting the country and pop charts. Soon Martin was performing on American Bandstand, The Today Show and Tonight Starring Steve Allen. She also appeared on Jubilee USA, and the Grand Ole Opry in Nashville, Tennessee, becoming one of the younger performers to ever appear. In 1957 Billboard named her Most Promising Female Vocalist of that year (source).
Elvis Presley and RCA were so impressed with her stage presence, they dubbed her the Female Elvis. A nickname that would come to haunt her.
Ironically, “The Female Elvis” only had two brief encounters with her male counterpart. “I said hello to him backstage at a show in Danville, Va., once,” she recalls, “and later I ran into him in New York at RCA’s studio. He said, ‘How’s it goin’?’ I said, ‘Fine, how about you?’ He said, ‘It’s rough!’ That’s about all the words we ever exchanged. To tell you the truth, I wasn’t all that impressed with Elvis at first. I’ve always liked Carl Perkins better.”
In fact, Martin says, she was never all that keen on being cast in Presley’s mold. “I think ‘The Female Elvis’ bit was a hindrance–the audience expected a lot of hip gyrations like he did, and I got kind of tired of being called vulgar. It put a lot of pressure on me (source).”
Janis was chosen by RCA to tour as a member of the Jim Reeves show and continued recording rock and roll and country material that ended up being successful on both charts, including “My Boy Elvis“, “Let’s Elope Baby“, her cover of Roy Orbison’s song “Ooby Dooby”, and “Love Me to Pieces” (source).
In 1957 after a USO tour in Europe it was reveled that Janis Martin at the age of 15 (2 years earlier) had secretly married a young US paratrooper who was stationed in Germany. They kept their marriage secret (only their parents knew) until the USO tour where she met up with her husband and ended up conceiving. RCA discovered the pregnancy and dropped their “Teenage Star” from the label in 1958.
Fall from Stardom and a Career Resurgence
For all of her early success, Martin was never able to sustain a rock & roll career, her gender and changing times hindered her success. Her stage moves and lusty delivery appeared unseemly appeared vulgar to a lot of people. Additionally, the country shows on which she was booked usually put her on bills and in front of audiences that weren’t overly enamored of rock & roll to begin with, and Martin found herself caught between conflicting currents. Her record company and management wanted her to keep pushing rockabilly in her stage act, while promoters doing the bookings preferred that she do straight country.
By 1960 she was now on her 2nd marriage to a man who did not approve of her being in the music business, so she faded out of sight until 1970. After divorcing her husband she formed the band ‘The Variation’ and began performing again in the Southern Virginia area where she has always resided.
Then, in 1979, European tour offers started coming in, after Bear Family Records had reissued her complete 1956-60 recordings on two LP’s. Martin then would go onto perform in Europe and at major rockabilly shows across the United States for some time after that.
At first Martin could hardly believe it and it took her a few years to gather her nerve and return to the road. But in 1982, on her 42nd birthday, she played her first date in England and was stunned. “I wasn’t prepared for what I found there! I looked down and saw kids with crew cuts and leather jackets and the big ‘poodle’ skirts. It was really weird. Like stepping back twenty-five years in my own life!” After that, she became a regular visitor to Europe (source).
Sadly Janis died of cancer in 2007, leaving a powerful legacy of recordings and fans worldwide (source).
As mentioned at the beginning of this post, Janis is absolutely one of my all time favorite female singers. Her music is always in my mix of music, I tell anybody who would listen about her (it’s true!) and after I saw Rosie Flores (who actually did a duet with Janis in 1997) and Marti Brom perform her music at VIVA I have been incredibly hooked. If I had any sort of musical ability, Janis would be my inspiration.
I will now leave you with one of the performances from VIVA 16 that Rosie and Marti performed. Enjoy!