Copyright 2012, CABS for Reflections From the Fence
Man's mother saved EVERYTHING, I think I told you that before, EVERY THING! Her "wedding" box mementos had all types of little tidbits and surprises. There was a bill from the Wolverine Hotel in Detroit for two nights stay, the two nights immediately after the wedding. And, there was this post card. She had written on the back, "Honeymoon Hotel, Art & Millie" This is the Otsego Hotel in Jackson, Jackson County, Michigan.
Also found in the collection was this menu from the "Villa Bee" in Jackson, Jackson County, Michigan, a 3 page affair, only sharing the front of it.
Of course, you know I did a little research on both of these places, and I found that the Otsego Hotel is now the Otsego Apartments and the Villa Bee* was sold to new owners back in 1956, the name was changed to Club Ludwig and had been known as a place for fun and music ever since. In June of 2010 the business was for sale. I feared that it would be torn down. I had decided Man and I needed to take a drive to Jackson to visit both sites and take some photos.
* A bit of history on the Villa Bee was found at this web site in 2010:
Here is a bit of that article, note the quote marks! The web site has a much longer article, fun read, go there. In the meantime, thanks to the paper for this, sure gave us a good feel for the club during the time that Man's parent's were there, I can hear the big bands in the background, can't you??
"Before Club Ludwig
Club Ludwig started life as the Villa Bee, opened by William J. Short around 1944 and hailed in a July 15, 1944, Billboard magazine article as being one of the top clubs in this part of Michigan, along with Battle Creek's Club Tropics, Kalamazoo's Club Hollywood and Detroit's Club Haymarket.
The Villa Bee claimed in the 1945 Jackson City Directory to be "Jackson's foremost society night club." It was "air-cooled" and home to Karl Kaslow & His Orchestra. Big bands, including the Tommy Dorsey Band, also stopped by between shows in Detroit or Chicago.
It was common for the club to draw upward of 350 people to its 25-by-45-foot oak dance floor - one of the largest dance floors in town - on Saturday nights."
So, here are some photos taken on July 29th of this year, first Villa Bee, now Club Ludwig, from what we could tell, out of business, the property is for sale.
And the Otsego Apartments. Isn't it amazing how similar it looks to the post card? Man found some people sitting outside and they said the original tile floor is still in the main lobby area. We did not go in, probably should have.
It was great fun to travel to the honeymoon sites, 65 years later. Sad to see the Villa Bee/Ludwigs closed, but a thrill to see the Otsego and in such good shape (it is downtown Jackson, many downtown buildings everywhere are in deplorable shape, and look at this one, amazing!)
The grandtwins were with us when we made this trip back in time, and they both said they enjoyed seeing where Gramma Millie went on her honeymoon. Yep, the family historian in me smiled a lot at that comment!
Many trips back in time do not turn out this well, some say you cannot go home again, but, this once, we got to go back, 65 years worth and it was not bitter sweet. And, now, wonder if that Billboard magazine article is to be found anywhere?? I'm off, another tidbit to chase.
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