1915 : Detroit Girls Toss A Message In a Bottle; Discovered Nearly 100 Years Later

June 30, 2018 all-day

Steamer Tashmoo Loaded With Passengers (around 1901)

Nearly a century ago  Selina Pramstaller and Tillie Esper of Detroit wrote a simple note as they enjoyed a day at a popular amusement park on Harsens Island.

“Having a good time at Tashmoo,” their message states in neat cursive writing.

They stuffed the message in a bottle, corked it and threw it in the waters of the St. Clair River, where it sank to the bottom.

There it laid for 97 years waiting to be discovered.

The park was located on Harsens Island in the St. Clair Flats at the northern end of Lake St. Clair. The St Clair Flats is the largest freshwater river delta in the world. Tashmoo Park offered visitors an escape from the oppressive heat and humidity of packed, sweltering Detroit in the summertime. Tashmoo Park had picnic tables, a baseball diamond, swings and rides, as well as a casino and a dancing pavilion. Some visitors swam in the St Clair River. Indians from nearby Walpole Island> sold moccasins and beadwork.

The park was served by many steamships that travelled several times a day between Detroit and Port Huron, Michigan, delivering passengers and freight. This was during a time when automobiles were rare and roads few. However, the connecting waters of the Great Lakes made steamships travel almost like riding a bus, and up to 250,000 people visited Tashmoo Park in the summers during the 1890s and early 20th century. The most famous steamer was the Tashmoo, which stopped twice daily on trips between Detroit and Port Huron.

Source : Christina Hall, “Message in a bottle: Note written by Detroit girls surfaces a century later”, Detroit Free Press, June 18, 2013.

For another, see Christina Hall, “Descendants of message writer thrilled over bottle’s discovery”, Detroit Free Press, June 19, 2013.

Christina Hall, Tashmoo Days on Harsens Island offer a trip back in time, Detroit Free Press, July 16, 2015.

“The Doomed Steamer SS Tashmoo Photo Gallery”, Detroit News, July 13, 2014.

George Bulanda, “Tashmoo Park and the Steamer Tashmoo“, Hour Detroit, August 20, 2013.

Tashmoo Park wikipedia entry

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