Since 1903, those famous clowns from Scottville, Michigan have been entertaining millions of music lovers throughout the state. (In case you are wondering, the city of Scottville is located in Mason County, 7 miles east of Ludington. Scottville is a friendly little town of about 1,200.)
Officially called the Scottville Clown Band, they are also sometimes referred to as “The Big Noise from Scottville”. Known for its colorful attire and crazy antics, they also like to perform catchy tunes like “The Stripper”. It really gets the crowd on their feet.
The band members come from all over Michigan and over 14 other states, from California, Tennessee, Florida and even New York. The members are a very diverse group, some doctors, firemen, police officers, bankers, and realtors. This hilarious group of very talented musicians come together many times throughout the year to share this passion for entertaining crowds and travel all over Michigan to strut their stuff.
The Clown Band’s roots date back to the start of the 1900’s when a musical group of Scottville merchants began to dress as hillbillies and entertained at local carnivals. Soon the group became more and more popular and the costumes became more and more risqué. World War II meant many hometown men went off to war; it also meant the end of the band.
In 1947, Scottville merchant Ray Schulte reformed the group and created what is still known as the Scottville Clown Band. “It’s one of the highlights of my life,” said Schulte about re-organizing the group. “It’s one of the greatest organizations to come to Scottville.” Ray was known at “The Godfather” of the Band and he passed in 2007.
Years ago, they were considered for participation by organizers of the annual Rose Bowl parade in California. “We gave them a demo film of us, and they said perhaps not,” Wilson said, laughing. “They were a little taken aback by that. There’s a few guys in the band that dress in drag, and back then it was a little too much.”
Since then, the band has grown into an all-volunteer organization that awards thousands of dollars in scholarships to music students every year. There’s also an underlying, almost fraternal aspect to it, like the Elks or the Moose Lodge: Generations of fathers share traditions with their sons during long bus rides, all-weather performances and daylong vacations in towns that dot the state, and where sons aspire to join their dads’ crazy band.
Applicants to join the band have to be sponsored by a member, and they must be experienced musicians. Almost everyone in the group played in high school or college band. And they’ve got hundreds of songs in their set list. There are a lot of fathers and sons in the band (particularly since you have to be sponsored).
The band’s most revered event, they say, is the annual trip to Mackinac Island for the performance in the Lilac Festival, which falls close to Father’s Day and has become a father-son tradition. Many band members can’t make all the shows. But with lots of fathers and sons in the group, most try to make it to this one.
Believe it or not, the Clown Band is a corporation. The members are represented by a board of directors. In ways of charity, the Band helped fund, build and maintain the Scottville band shell, funded, built and maintains the Museum of Music at White Pine Village, funds the annual Raymond J. Schulte/George F. Wilson scholarship at West Shore Community College, funds the Bud Simms Memorial Grant and grants thousands of dollars in scholarships for education in music and the performing arts through the Raymond J. Schulte Music Scholarship Fund.
The Scottville Clown Band, Inc. is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization. Donations to the Scottville Clown Band are tax deductable and can be made by sending a check made payable to The Scottville Clown Band, Inc and mailed to:
Treasurer-Scottville Clown Band, Inc
405 N Main
Scottville MI 49454
The Scottville Clown Band (web site)
John Carlisle, “Bawdy Scottville Clown Band shocks, then awes“, Detroit Free Press, July 17, 2016.
News traveled by wire 100 years ago and took a little longer than today’s internet….
At 8:10 o’clock on the night of Oct. 14, 1912, a shot was fired the echo of which swept around the entire world in thirty minutes.
An insane man attempted to end the life of the only living ex-president of the United States and the best known American, Teddy Roosevelt.
The bullet failed of its mission.
Elbert Martin, Colonel Theodore Roosevelt’s stenographer, body guard, former football player, and graduate of the Detroit College of Law, grappled with the assassin and prevented him from firing a second shot.
Roosevelt, as an experienced hunter and anatomist, correctly concluded that since he was not coughing blood, the bullet had not completely penetrated the chest wall to his lung, and so declined suggestions he go to the hospital immediately. Instead, he delivered his scheduled speech with blood seeping into his shirt. He spoke for 90 minutes. His opening comments to the gathered crowd were, “Ladies and gentlemen, I don’t know whether you fully understand that I have just been shot; but it takes more than that to kill a Bull Moose.” Afterwards, probes and x-ray showed that the bullet had traversed three inches (76 mm) of tissue and lodged in Roosevelt’s chest muscle but did not penetrate the pleura, and it would be more dangerous to attempt to remove the bullet than to leave it in place. Roosevelt carried it with him for the rest of his life.
Letters and telegrams from every part of the country hailing him as a hero are being received by Elbert A. Martin, Secretary to Col. Roosevelt, who on Monday night leaped upon the Colonel’s assailant and prevented the firing of other shots toward him. “Hail Martin as Hero”, New York Times, October 18, 1912.
Col. Theodore Roosevelt, carrying the leaden missile intended as a pellet of death in his right side, has recovered. He is spared for many more years of active service for his country.
John Flammang Schrank, the mad man who fired the shot, is in the Northern Hospital for the Insane at Oshkosh, Wis., pronounced by a commission of five alienists a paranoiac. If he recovers he will face trial for assault with intent to kill.
SPEAKS DESPITE WOUND, BLOOD OOZES THROUGH VEST, ATTEMPT TO STOP HIM
Detroit Free Press (1858-1922); Oct 15, 1912;
ProQuest Historical Newspapers: Detroit Free Press (1831-1922)
FORMER DETROITER HERO SAVES ROOSEVELT’S LIFE
Detroit Free Press (1858-1922); Oct 16, 1912; p.3.
ProQuest Historical Newspapers: Detroit Free Press (1831-1922)
For more information, see Theodore Roosevelt wikipedia entry
The Attempted Assassination of Ex-President Theodore Roosevelt, Oliver Remey, Henry Cochems, and Wheeler Bloodgood. Project Gutenberg, 2007.
“The Roosevelts [videorecording] : an intimate history / a film by Ken Burns. [Alexandria, VA] : Distributed by PBS Distribution,  7 videodiscs (approximately 840 minutes) : sound, color with black & white segments ; 4 3/4 in. E302.6.R795 R667 2014 VideoDVD Discs 1-7
In May 1917, Robert Robinson enlisted with the Marines and the action in France followed. Although seriously wounded during aerial action over Belgium, he continued to fight and successfully drove off attacking enemy scout planes before two additional bullet wounds forced his collapse. For his heroism and gallantry in this and previous action with enemy planes, while attached to the 1st Marine Aviation Force as an observer, GySgt Robinson received this Nation’s highest award.
Gunnery Sergeant Robinson, shot 13 times in the abdomen, chest, and legs, and with his left arm virtually blown off at the elbow, helped bring the plane down in Belgian Territory. His arm, hanging by a single tendon, was grafted back on by the surgeon-general of the Belgian army. The pilot of his plane, Lt Ralph Talbot of Weymouth, Massachusetts, who was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor for this same action, was killed in a plane crash a few days later.
He was honorably discharged in 1919 as a gunnery sergeant and was appointed a second lieutenant in the Marine Corps Reserve. His retirement was effected in May 1923 and his promotion to the rank of first lieutenant in September 1936.
Upon retirement, he made his home at St. Ignace, Michigan. Robinson died on October 5, 1974 at his home. He is buried in Arlington National Cemetery, Arlington, Virginia.
Citation : For extraordinary heroism as observer in the 1st Marine Aviation Force at the front in France. In company with planes from Squadron 218, Royal Air Force, conducting an air raid on 8 October 1918, Gunnery Sergeant Robinson’s plane was attacked by nine enemy scouts. In the fight which followed, he shot down one of the enemy planes. In a later air raid over Pitthan, Belgium, on 14 October 1918, his plane and one other became separated from their formation on account of motor trouble and were attacked by 12 enemy scouts. Acting with conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity in the fight which ensured, Gunnery Sergeant Robinson, after shooting down one of the enemy planes, was struck by a bullet which carried away most of his elbow. At the same time his gun jammed. While his pilot maneuvered for position, he cleared the jam with one hand and returned to the fight. Although his left arm was useless, he fought off the enemy scouts until he collapsed after receiving two more bullet wounds, one in the stomach and one in the thigh.
Source : Robert G. Robinson wikipedia entry
Air races were an extremely popular event in the early days of aviation. An estimated 200,000 spectators watched the opening race at the National Air Races, held at Selfridge Field (now, Selfridge Air National Guard Base) near Mount Clemens, Michigan from October. 8-14, 1922.
On October 14, Lieutenant Lester James Maitland reputedly became the first U.S. pilot to fly faster than 200 mph (320 kmh) and later received a letter of congratulations from Orville Wright.
The Pulitzer Trophy Race was Event No. 5 on the afternoon of Saturday, 14 October. It was a “Free-for-All Race for High-Speed Airplanes”. The course consisted of five laps around an approximate 50 kilometer course, starting at Selfridge Field, then south to Gaulkler Point on Lake St. Clair. From there, the course was eastward for ten miles, keeping to the right of a moored observation balloon. The airplanes would then circle an anchored steamship, Dubuque, and return to Selfridge Field.
Lieutenant Maughan finished the race in first place with an average speed of 205.386 miles per hour (330.172 kilometers per hour). In addition to the Pulitzer Trophy, the first place finisher was awarded a $1,200.00 prize. Second place was taken by another Army pilot, Lieutenant Lester James Maitland, also flying a Curtiss R-6, A.S. 68563.
On October 14, 1927, Detroit’s City Airport (now Coleman A. Young International Airport) opened. This 1953 aerial view shows the airport’s footprint in its eastside neighborhood.
Source : Detroit Historical Society post, October 14, 2018.
On October 14, 1950, the Dearborn Historical Museum opened in the former Detroit Arsenal Commandant’s Quarters, built between 1833-1837. The building remains the oldest surviving building in Dearborn.
The eastern white pine, (Pinaceae Pinus strobus), is also known as “soft pine.” It was called the Tree of Peace by the Iroquois and in Ojibway, Zhingwaak. Mature white pines can easily live 200+ years of age, with some Michigan trees that have approached 500 years in age. The eastern white pine has the distinction of being the tallest tree in eastern North America, and pre-colonial stands were reported over 200ft in height.
It was said that when settlers arrived, a squirrel could travel in the forest canopy from one side of the state to the other. With this amazing resource, Michigan led the nation in lumber production in the 1880s and 1890s, and by the early 1900s, over 100 million of Michigan pine trees worth more than all the gold mined in California had been felled in the Lower Peninsula. Most of that value was in white pine, an when the forest was depleted, timber companies moved to the UP.
Some say Chicago was rebuilt after Mrs. Leary’s cow kicked over a lantern and started the Great Fire with Michigan white pine after
Public Act 7 of 1955 designated the white pine as Michigan state tree effective Oct. 14, 1955.
If you want to see some remainders of Michigan’s old growth pine forest, consider a visit to Harwick Pines State Park near Grayling. The park features a 49-acre forest and extensive lumbering exhibits – a definite treat!
Michigan Compiled Laws
The law designating the white pineas the official Michigan state tree is found in the Michigan Compiled Laws Chapter 2 (STATE) Act 7 of 1955 Statute.
Act 7 of 1955
AN ACT to adopt the white pine (Pinus strobus, L.) as the official state tree for the state of Michigan.
The People of the State of Michigan enact:
2.31 State tree.
Sec. 1. The white pine (Pinus strobus, L.) is hereby adopted as the official state tree for the state of
History: 1955, Act 7, Eff. Oct. 14, 1955.
Massachusetts Senator John F. Kennedy made a campaign stop in Lansing on this day during his run for the Presidency. Kennedy spoke to a large crowd on the steps of the Capitol and tapped into a campaign theme that has carried through the decades — that no state feels the crunch of a downturn more than Michigan. Michigan would back Kennedy in the election over then-Vice President Richard Nixon.
Source : “Michigan Matters : Presidential Candidates Have Long Understood Mitten’s Signficance”, Lansing State Journal, November 1, 2012.
On Oct. 14, 1960, future-President John F. Kennedy proposed what would become the Peace Corps in a speech at the University of Michigan. He arrived at 2 a.m. and was greeted by throngs of students at the Michigan Union.
The President didn’t have a speech prepared, but talked about the need for young people to give something back to their country by working with the Foreign Service. Although he didn’t name the Peace Corps, the speech is credited as the genesis of the idea.
Source: Michigan Every Day
In the fall of 1969 a strange and mysterious rumor was circulating on the fringes of college campuses in the Midwest: Paul McCartney of the Beatles was dead.
According to the rumor, McCartney had died three years previously in a horrific car crash. His death—so the story went—was covered up, the surviving Beatles found a double to replace him, and ever since had been hiding clues in their songs and album covers that revealed the truth about their ex-bandmate’s grisly fate.
No one knows for certain how the rumor started, or where. But in mid-October it exploded on to the national scene, sweeping the ranks of youth from coast to coast in a matter of days. Suddenly it seemed as if everyone under the age of 30 was either debating the possibility of McCartney’s demise or poring over their Beatles records, searching for clues.
What many do not know is that the rumor might not have come to their attention at all except for a mischievous young U-M natural resources student named Fred LaBour. Forty years ago he was an jocular staff writer for the Michigan Daily who had been assigned to review “Abbey Road,” the Beatles’ latest album.
His story on October 14, 1969 that “Paul is Dead and presenting 14 clues “electrified the campus. The Daily sold out its entire run by mid-morning, and a second printing was ordered to meet demand. And before the story had run its course, Time and Life also featured the rumor on its covers.
For the full article, see Alan Glenn, “‘Paul is Dead!’ (said Fred)”, Michigan Today, November 11, 2009