1863 : The Draft Continues During the Civil War
Oct 30 all-day

Drafting continues in Michigan.

To fulfill the necessary federal quota of troops, Michigan continued drafting for the Union army. At the end of this call, 6,383 men were drafted. After reducing that number for men who were exempt or paid the $300 commutation fee, 261 men were delivered to the induction center in Grand Rapids.

Source : Michigan History magazine, October 2003.

1943 : University of Michigan Football Star Tom Harmon Almost Dies in the Skies Over Occupied China
Oct 30 all-day
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Tom Harmon grew up in Gary, Indiana, the youngest son of a steel mill security guard. He worked his way through Michigan in the late 1930s while building his outstanding football career.

By his junior season, in 1939, he appeared on the cover of Time, which reported he was a “gregarious, lantern-jawed six footer with a Tarzan physique” who runs “with the power of a wild buffalo and the cunning of a hounded fox.” He was touted by sportswriters as “the Michigan maestro,” “the wily Wolverine,” and “triple threat Tommy.” And the six-foot, 195-pound running and defensive back, passer, and kicker actually exceeded the hype.

But on this day, October 30, 1943, according to his famed commander, General Clair Chennault, “oblivious to his personal safety,” Harmon turned his P-38 directly into the half-dozen Japanese Zeros that had suddenly appeared above him. He raced into their midst, firing away.

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For the full story, see Fredric Alan Maxwell, “The Late Great 98 Tom Harmon on the field and at war”, Michigan Today, September 1, 2008.

Also see Elizabeth McGarr, “Conquering Hero : Humble and hardworking, Old 98 Tom Harmon was Michigan’s first transcendent football star”, SI Vault, August 20, 2008.

Tom Harmon wikipedia entry

1950 : Life Magazine Captures UM Drum Major Practicing
Oct 30 all-day
The drum major for the University of Michigan marching band rehearses as admiring children fall in line, 1950.
ALFRED EISENSTAEDT / Time & Life Pictures / Getty Images

The drum major for the University of Michigan marching band rehearses as admiring children fall in line, 1950.

On October 30, 1950, Life magazine carried what is arguably the most widely seen and possibly the best photograph ever made at the University of Michigan. It shows an exuberant drum major—head thrust back, right leg thrust forward at an impossible angle—marching from right to left across a close-cut field. Seven children bounce along behind him in ragged single-file, their own heads thrown back in imitation. In the background, four stately trees seem to march in a procession of their own.

The photo was taken by Alfred Eisenstaedt (1898-1995), the great Time-Life photographer who specialized in capturing spontaneous images that told an entire story, the best-known example being a sailor’s passionate embrace of a nurse in Times Square on V-J Day in 1945.

As he recalled it later, Eisenstaedt already that week had shot many pictures of “the usual things: the formations, the rehearsing, and so on.” He was wandering on the athletic campus when he caught sight of the drum major—it was Dick Smith—rehearsing all alone. Kids were playing nearby, and “they saw him, too,” Eisenstaedt said, “and all of a sudden they ran out and began to mimic him. It happened so quickly that I barely had time to focus.”

At least two superb photographs of the drum major and the children resulted. Both have been reprinted, but only the one that appeared in Life became famous. William D. Revelli, director of U-M bands from 1935 to 1971, never forgot the coverage. “I think that for our marching band,” he told an interviewer more than 30 years later, “that article was the greatest thing that ever happened.”

The photography critic David Friend, a veteran editor at Life and Vanity Fair, has noted that while Eisenstaedt took well-known pictures of celebrities from Winston Churchill to Jacqueline Kennedy, his best works, like those of Frank Capra on film and Norman Rockwell in portraiture, were “the ones that distilled everyday life to its essential joie de vivre.” They captured “the ebullient moment.” The image of the strutting drum major and the kids, Friend said, was Eisenstaedt’s “ode to joy.”

Source: James Tobin, “Ode to Joy”, Michigan Today, February 10, 2010.

1956 : Romeo Community High School Clamps Down on Elvis Presley Hairstyles
Oct 30 all-day
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On Oct. 30, 1956, 52 boys at Romeo Community High School faced a deadline to either trim their Elvis Presley-like hairstyles or leave the school. The Superintendent of Romeo Community High School imposed the deadline after teachers complained the students’ sideburns and duck-tail haircuts spawned defiant behavior.

Barbers offered free haircuts to boys who could not afford them. And all 52 boys complied with the deadline.

Source: Michigan Every Day

2014 : Digging Detroit Launches First Video
Oct 30 all-day


Digging Detroit : The Backstory : Digging Detroit’s producers share their story and vision for the show. Featuring Thomas J. Reed, Jr., Pete Kalinski and Kevin Walsh.

Kevin Walsh, “Ken Burns-On-A-Shoestring: Creating Buzz for Launch of Mini-Doc ‘Digging Detroit’”, Huffington Post, January 1, 2015.

Digging Detroit, Episode 18 : Dearborn’s Arab American Museum : Some Arab Americans in metro Detroit trace their family back five generations, to the 1880s–while some have only just arrived. To honor metro-Detroit’s extensive role in offering haven and opportunity to one of the most influential waves of immigrants to the United States, Dearborn was selected as the site for the ten-year old Arab American National Museum. Host Pete Kalinski visits with Dr. Matthew Stiffler who shares the background of the museum and takes us on a tour through Hollywood, NASA, pro sports–and the heart of the culture, the kitchen! Dr. Stiffler helps bust a few myths–most notably that there are Arab Christians, Jews and Muslims, and that the museum is a home for all nationalities who have pursued the American dream.

Digging Detroit, Episode 17 : Birthplace of the Model T, Detroit’s Ford Piquette Avenue : In 1904, Henry Ford purchased three acres beside a railroad line off Woodward and moved his new car company from Mack to Piquette Avenue. Join Digging Detroit with special guest Tom Genova and come explore the historic Ford Piquette Avenue Plant, rescued from demolition and transformed into an amazing collection of priceless cars and fascinating stories about six revolutionary years for Detroit and America.

Digging Detroit, Episode 16 : Slavery in Detroit : Detroit has historically been seen as the last station on the Underground Railroad yet many of its residents including merchants, priests and illustrious citizens such as Brush and Macomb were slaveowners. Digging Detroit meets Prof. Tiya Miles of the University of Michigan whose team of graduate and undergraduate students uncovered a history of the colonial city that few remember or care to admit. But with the past comes inspiration from Elizabeth Dennison Forth, a former slave who became a wealthy businesswoman and landowner–whose homestead is now a parking lot. Prof. Miles takes her students on a tour of the former frontier town. Topics also include:
– Assembling a team at U of M
– Painstaking research, translation and transcription
– Primary roles of slaves including concubines
– Loaning slaves
– Importance in addressing Detroit’s past as a slave-city.

Digging Detroit, Episode 15 : An Original Rosie, Marjorie Waters : In October 2015 the Guinness Record for the most Rosie the Riveters in one place was shattered in the heart of the arsenal of democracy. Over two thousand women paid tribute to the women of WWII by wearing red bandanas–and many original Rosies were there as well. Join our special guest host and author of the new book Detroit in World War II, Gregory Sumner, as he visits one of those original Rosies, Marjorie Walters of nearby Ypsilanti who from Wisconsin to find work in Detroit’s stove plants until the war began and she began her three years assembling bomber wings at Ford’s massive Willow Run plant. Marjorie shares…
– Her memories of the Depression,
– Seeing both President Coolidge and President Roosevelt,
– Pearl Harbor,
– Meeting her husband on the job and
– What she did in her spare time after a long hot day in the plant.

Digging Detroit, Episode 14 : Rails to Tales — Detroit’s Inner Greenway : Why did they cut the Dequindre Cut? What came first, Ford’s Highland Park plant or the railroad over Woodward? Are there really old railroad rails under those bumps on the road? Great questions! Join Digging Detroit and special guest host Gatini Tinsley of the Oakland Press as she spends an afternoon with Todd Scott, the leader of the non-profit rails-to-trails effort, the Detroit Greenways Coalition as he takes us on the historic sites of the future 23-mile bike loop around the city that will not only spur exercise but also commuter options and increased value in commercial and private property! Special thanks to Paul Vial, to Brian Wilson of the Benson Ford Research Center and to Mark Bowden, Romie Minor and AJ Funchess of the DPL’s Burton Collection for some awesome photos of the past for this episode!

Digging Detroit, Episode 13 : Treasures from the Burton Historical Collection at DPL : For Episode 13, curators Mark Bowden and Romie Minor share six of their favorite treasures from the Detroit Public Library’s Burton Historical Collection, celebrating its 100th year this fall.
Mark shares the story of Clarence Burton, a Detroit attorney whose passion for history sent him into attics, cellars and even chicken coops to save the heritage of his town. Mark and Romie’s treasures include:
– The wampum belt that was the deed of sale for Belle Isle
– Grace Bedell’s letter to candidate Abraham Lincoln recommending he grow whiskers
– A city directory that not only gives Ty Cobb and Henry Ford’s addresses but also is a genealogist’s dream-come-true
– The abolitionist newspaper “The Voice of the Fugitive,” written 10 years before the Civil War by a former slave
– A diary from inside Fort Detroit as Chief Pontiac lay siege for seven months
– A rare picture of Elvis Presley backstage at his only concert at Olympia stadium.

Digging Detroit, Episode 12 : WGPR TV’s 40th Anniversary : Dr. Banks’ Vision to Transform Detroit’s Media, Message and Messengers : 40 years ago, On September 29th, the nation’s first African American-owned television station was launched in Detroit by Dr. William V. Banks. Host Pete Kalinski is joined in WGPR TV’s original studio by station alumni, Karen Hudson Samuels and legendary Detroit anchor Amyre Makupson as they discuss the vision of Dr. Banks to create not only a station but a training school as well. As the WGPR Historical Society prepares not only for the anniversary and historical plaque from the state on Jefferson Avenue, it also prepares for its special exhibit at the Detroit Historical Museum in January. We had a chance to catch up with seven other professionals who share there insights of the early days as well as the incredible impact of Dr. Banks plan. Topics include:
– The city’s first 24-hour television station
– A telethon to save the NAACP (on six days’ notice)
– The launchpad of successful media careers across the country
– All night movies
– The first news crew in town to use videotape instead of film
– The crowd-sourcing plan to help fund the exhibit and a museum

Digging Detroit, Episode 11 : Four Generations, One Detroit Home – The Sisoy Family : Meet Peter Sisoy and his family. In the 1920s his Russian immigrant father moved his young family from the crowds of Hamtramck to the wide-open country near the intersection of Southfield Rd. and Warren Ave. Pete and his wife of 68 years, Lorene, are joined by their two daughters and two granddaughters as they share memories of the house, Warrendale neighborhood and Detroit including the early days of howling wolves, burning crops, orchards and swimming holes through WWII and streetcars to the Grande Ballroom and sporting white gloves at Hudsons.

Digging Detroit, Episode 10 : The Assassination of Jerry Buckley, Detroit’s Voice of the People : On the 85th anniversary of the assassination of famous Detroit radio voice Jerry Buckley, Digging Detroit is proud to release its 10th episode: The Assassination of Jerry Buckley – Detroit’s Voice of the People. Author of The Purples (Amazon) and Professor Tom Klug of Margrove College’s Detroit Studies Program join host Pete Kalinski as they look at the unusual story of a voice from nowhere who took over the new world of radio, led the recall of Detroit’s mayor of just six months then was brutally gunned down in a the lobby of the Woodward Avenue LaSalle Hotel the evening of the recall–and how few are alive today who know his name.

Digging Detroit, Episode 9 : Henry the Hatter – History and Haberdashery : For its ninth episode, Digging Detroit meets Paul Wasserman, owner of Henry the Hatter, whose father Seymour purchased the haberdashery from the original Henry in the early 1950s and suddenly moved his family from New York. Hats and history go hand-in-hand as Wasserman shares the ups and downs of hat popularity as well as the trending of headwear from straw hats, caps, bowlers and fedoras to President Eisenhower’s decision to choose a Homburg for his second inauguration instead of a top hat to reflect the troubling economy. Also a look at how President’s Kennedy’s too-small hat ended hat-wearing for two generations–until Kid Rock, Paul Harvey and an uptick in downtown Detroit business and major construction on the block has made business challenging for Paul, despite the resurgence in hats.

Digging Detroit, Episode 8 : Cinema Detroit – 100 Year Old School Thrives as Indie Film : As Cinetopia opens in Detroit, a film festival of all great film festivals, one of its venues is a 100 year-old school on Cass Avenue–Cinema Detroit, owned and operated by husband and wife Paula and Tim Guthat, who followed their dream to create a venue in Detroit for independent films that were scarce in Michigan, let alone the midwest. Digging Detroit’s Pete Kalinski and Thomas J. Reed, Jr. visit with Tim and Paula, talk opening a business, keeping it fresh–and of course, some favorite movies.

Digging Detroit, Episode 7 : The Ernie Harwell Sports Collection: Digging Detroit tours the incredible Ernie Harwell Sports Collection at the Detroit Public Library with curator Mark Bowden. In 1966, Hall of Fame radio announcer Ernie Harwell donated over 7,000 sports photos to the library and began the massive collection of sports memorabilia that also includes equipment, sports cards, clippings, broadcasting equipment and even Harwell’s original music. Host Pete Kalinski discusses not only the collection’s treasures but also the generous man from Georgia who has become synonymous as summer, baseball and kindness for generations of Detroiters.

Digging Detroit, Episode 6 : The Navin Field Grounds Crew : pisode 6 of Digging Detroit features the men and women dedicated to preserving the Tigers ball field of nearly 100 years. Professional baseball was played at the corner of Michigan and Trumbull for nearly a century. The Detroit Tigers played their final game in 1999 and it took 10 years for the city to complete its demolition. In just 5 years, the weeds and trash had grown so thick that few signs remained of the once manicured lawn cherished by so many metro-Detroiters. In 2010, after hearing of a pickup game of catch after Ernie Harwell’s funeral, Tom Derry visited The Corner and was so moved by its abandonment that he encouraged his friends to bring their mowers, rakes and trash bags and they began a five year journey to return the field to baseball fans. Host Pete Kalinski visits with University of Detroit professor Jason Roche whose documentary on Derry and The Navin Field Grounds Crew, Stealing Home, won the audience award at the 2014 Freep Film Festival. We discuss the new plans for the field and the controversy of removing the natural grass.

Digging Detroit, Episode 5 : Detroit’s Nain Rouge : The legend of Detroit’s ominous red dwarf goes back over 300 years, to Cadillac’s ill-advised decision to abuse the little guy while foolishly ignore a fortune teller. In Episode #5, Digging Detroit explores the legend of the little guy as he has morphed quite a bit from the mischievous house-elf of Normandy who might fix your broken saddle to the harbinger of bad-times. The Nain Rouge has become a bad guy with a badder disposition who taunts and is taunted by sturdy Detroiters in a quickly growing Midtown tradition that includes a parade, neighborhood floats and costumes resembling Mardi Gras and a Masonic Temple speech. Join us as we look inside one of the art houses preparing for the March 22nd event and check in with an expert at the Detroit Historical Museum on this elusive fellow.

Digging Detroit, Episode 4 : Historic Detroit Theaters : The Detroit Film Theatre and the Redford Theatre are featured in Episode 4 of Digging Detroit. February is the DIA’s Detroit Film Theatre’s biggest month as sell-out crowds have now made a tradition of attending the Oscar Shorts screenings–the only place in the state you can see all the live-action and animated short films in one location. The Redford Theatre, run completely by volunteers for over 30 years, has never closed its doors–despite its Japanese theme severely decreasing attendance after WWII. Now movie-star-dinners and a social media blitz campaign has made the Redford’s rentals sell-out into 2015–for films, weddings, and even power-lifting competitions!

Digging Detroit, Episode 3 : Detroit’s Music, Vault of the Detroit Public Library : Inside the musical treasures of the E. Azalia Hackley Collection at the Detroit Public Library, begun in 1943 with an annual concert to celebrate Ms. Hackley and her incredible influence on African American music and its appreciation. Special guest: Romie Minor, Curator of the Hackley Collection.

Digging Detroit, Episode 2 : Rediscovering Detroit – One Bar at a Time : For its second episode Digging Detroit joins historian Mickey Lyons and the Detroit Bus Company examining four historic Detroit bars–as Metro Detroiters are rediscovering their city by visiting its past.

Digging Detroit, Episode 1 : Tommy’s – Inside A Detroit Speakeasy : It’s been a bar off and on since 1840, but in the summer of 2013 an archaeological team from Wayne State University did some digging to uncover a hidden staircase. A look underground with Tom Burelle, the owner of Tommy’s Detroit Bar & Grill along with Prof. Krysta Ryzewski of Wayne State.

2015 : Zombies Spotted on Wayne State University Campus
Oct 30 all-day

Wayne State University Zombie Walk, October 30, 2015

Wayne State University was a prime spot for zombie sightings today. Zombified students, staff and faculty danced, crawled and groaned their way through campus during the university’s zombie parade.

The special event was sponsored by Theatre and Dance and Music at Wayne.

For the full article, see anya Wildt, “Zombie parade lumbers through Wayne State”, Detroit Free Press, October 30, 2015.

1903 : History of the Little Brown Jug
Oct 31 all-day

Oscar Munson, University of Minnesota Janitor, Makes A Name for Himself in the History of College Football

On this day, Minnesota custodian Oscar Munson found Michigan’s discarded water jug in the visitors’ locker room. The discovery came after a bitter contest in which Minnesota dominated the Wolverines in almost every statistical category except one: points. The game ended in a tie after Minnesota scored a touchdown with two minutes left on the clock. Exuberant fans stormed the field, forcing an early end to the game, which many football pundits considered a major upset over the Wolverines. It was Fielding Yost’s first “defeat” as head coach at Michigan. It was also the first live “broadcast” of a college football game.

Source : Deborah Holdship, “Trophy life: The Little Brown Jug”, Michigan Today, September 17, 2014.

Another interesting sidelight of the game:

Gridgraph photo

Gridgraph used to “broadcast” football games to Hill Auditorium

Long before Hill Auditorium hosted a signing day extravaganza, the venerable hall was regularly filled with U-M fans for away football games, following their team’s fates on an elaborate “gridgraph.” Before there was radio, the first “broadcasts” of away games were the work of The Michigan Daily, which received telegraphic updates on the game and posted them on a scoreboard on campus. For the 1903 Minnesota game (the “Brown Jug game”), U-M student David Mattice sat perched in a telephone booth atop a 40-foot pole at Northrup Field. He called the action over the telephone wire to a bank of 10 phones in University Hall Auditorium where students, each in turn, took in as much of Mattice’s commentary as they could repeat and relayed it to the crowd with a megaphone. The progress of the ball was marked on a large gridiron diagram. With the development of loudspeakers and amplifiers, the “broadcaster’s” voice could be sent directly to the crowd, and evermore elaborate gridgraphs were devised to chart the game. The model pictured was purchased by the Alumni Association in about 1921. The first radio broadcasts of U-M football came in 1924, but the gridgraph at Hill continued through the 1929 season. The Alumni Association and The Michigan Daily combined to sponsor gridgraphs at the Michigan Union for some games through 1933.

“The First “Broadcast” of a UM Football Game”

The First 150 Years of Michigan Athletics.

1926 : Houdini Dies in Detroit
Oct 31 all-day

Harry Houdini died in Detroit on October 31, 1926 courtesy of the Michigan Archives

A famous performer in early twentieth century America, Houdini collapses after performing one last time at Detroit’s Garrick theater and dies on Halloween Day.

Source : Michigan Every Day.

Check out National Public Radio account

Also see Vivian M. Baulch, “Harry Houdini: Master of illusion and escape”, Detroit News, October 4, 2000 and Detroit News photo gallery.

1962 : International Bridge Opens To Traffic
Oct 31 all-day

International Bridge at Sault Sainte Marie

The bridge that connects Sault Ste. Marie, U.S. and Sault Ste. Marie, Canada opened to traffic on this day in 1962.

Source : Michigan Every Day.

1984 : Devil’s Night in Detroit
Oct 31 all-day

For decades in Detroit, Halloween Eve was synonymous with fire.

Photographers from around the globe flocked to the city to witness what became known as Devil’s Night, the notorious tradition of setting fire to houses, buildings, carsm and dumpsters.

Between 1979 and 2010, more than 100 fires broke out each year. The worst year was 1984, when firefighters responded to more than 800 blazes that covered the entire city in an eerie, smoky haze on Halloween morning.

On October 31, 1984, a combined 810 structure fires were reported in the city of Detroit for the three-day period between Oct. 29-31, marking the highest number of “Devil’s Night” blazes in the city’s history, according to the Detroit Firefighters Association.

Sources :

Steve Neavling, “Decades-long Devil’s Night is dead in Detroit, with fires disappearing on Halloween Eve“, Metro Times, October 31, 2019.

MIRS Capitol Capsule, October 31, 2019