Thursday, March 26, 2009

Postcard Friendship Friday #8


New Tuller Hotel, Detroit, Michigan

Today's postcard features a picture of the New Tuller Hotel in Detroit Michigan located at Bagley and Grand Circus Park. It was one of 4 hotels built by Lew Tuller in 1905. Tuller lost control of the hotels during the depression, and the Tuller was sold. Although in disrepair for many years it remained open until 1976.



The message, postmarked May 23, 1917 reads:
Mrs. Clara Thompson
19th Ave
Haverhille Mass
Dear Clara,
I have been waiting for the letter that you promised me but in vain. I presume you are very busy all the time. Do you work in the hat shop yet and do you have lots of work. I have always had boarders ever since I have been here but I am not going to have any more dlman (?) made me let them go so I am just going to let my rooms which will pay my rent which is $40 a month. I have 8 large rooms and attic. We sleep in the attic and I let my 4 chambers. I am lonesome and not much money in it now that things are so high. I would just love to see you Clara. I hope you will write soon. from Mrs. Ellison


Tuller Hotel Sign as it appeared in 1986




The Tuller Hotel was demolished in 1992





This may have been the "attic" that Mrs. Ellison spoke of



This Singer doesn't sing anymore




The Ballroom

The Back Story:

Mrs. Ellison bears more than a little resemblance to Lizzy Borden. The boarders, of whom she speaks, mostly aged and single gentlemen of modest means were dispatched without fanfare after paying 6 months advance rent plus a small deposit to cover china breakage and wear and tear. The well appointed parlor contained burgundy velvet sofas and settees stuffed with horse hair and adorned with finely crocheted antimacassars. Parlor palms, a facade Vernice style fireplace and a Victrola were at the disposal of these gentleman. Spirits were strictly forbidden as was cigar smoking and guests of the fair sex. A light breakfast was served promptly at 8:00 am, luncheon at 1:00 and dinner at 7:00. It was expected that everyone would retire by 9:00 and all lights extinguished by 10:00.

The borders frequently inquired about scraping and banging noises heard after 10:00 PM. Mrs. Ellison explained that she often used the dumb waiter as there was much to do after everyone else was abed. When borders inquired about a certain Mr. So and So who failed to appear at breakfast, Mrs. Ellison would create a believable tale about a sudden death or illness in the family. The boarders would nod their heads, sigh deeply and then continue spooning out perfectly made soft boiled eggs served in lovely egg cups adorned with violets and small yellow butterflies.

Mrs, Clara Thompson suspected the comings and goings of her friend's boarders were questionable as similar disappearances occurred in her own home in Haverville while Mrs. Ellison vacationed with her one summer. Mrs. Thompson delayed making inquiries or searching about on her property because the upside of her friend's visit and her generous offer to "turn over" the garden plot was the most bountiful vegetable garden east of the Mohawk Valley. She would certainly NOT, however, encourage their friendship by answering her letters and postcards.

For more Postcard Friendship Friday fun, stop by and visit Marie at Voila! Vintage Postcards!

31 comments:

Bibi said...

Gosh, I can never remember to join Postcard Friday, even though I check Marie's blog every day. This is a fun, interesting post!

Drop by Belgrade to see my spring cleaning tip...

Lanny said...

The writing on the postcard seems so sad, that I so needed your story behind it all to clear up any false pity I felt for the crazy lady.

Marie Reed said...

I am sooooo hooked to Musey's magnificent mysteries!

Mim said...

Postcard friday? Hmmm....I'd be able to keep going for years! I have about 1000 old postcards that I have no idea what to do with - all from a neighbor of ours in NYC.

I love this little mysterious story....

marianne said...

beautiful pictures. Longing for a time long ago.
Pity they took the hotel down....

Shellmo said...

This is a good mystery and would make a great movie! Enjoyed the photos!!

Janeen said...

Happy PFF my beautiful friend! I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE this postcard. The plain streets and no landscaping yet takes my mind to days of history. But what kicked it up was your beautiful pics of what happened to it. The sewing machine is my favorite.

And the story... you are SO gifted, I just love getting to the stories! The creepiness of Lizzie Borden is perfect for it. Yikes! Have a great day!

Sparky ♥ ∞ said...

Great story!
Haven't seen you at my blog in awhile. Hope you're feeling OK and just staying busy. :o)
Happy PFF.

Debby said...

Until you told us the story about Mrs. Ellison, I felt quite sorry for her. Had I lived in Detroit in those days, I'm sure that I would have been taken in entirely and ended up pushing up zucchini or some such thing.

Linda said...

AWESOME! HAPPY PFF!! Blessings

Rudee said...

Good one.

Dave King said...

I'm with Shellmo: it would make a great movie. Thanks for the story.

MuseSwings said...

Dave and Shelly - I think the movie has already been made - Arsenic and Old Lace with Cary Grant!

Anonymous said...

Brilliant! I think you are spot-on, Musey. This reminds me of that amusing passage in the book The Prime Of Miss Jean Brodie, wherein Brodie tells of her old landlady and how she would rip off the boarders when it came to breakfast. She'd say to her boarders, "Would ye like an egg, no ye wouldn't. Would ye like some herring, no ye wouldn't...." In effect answering for them and in the end just giving them dry toast!

-Lavi

Eddy said...

A good vintage postcard of an old American hotel.
Chris of wild postcards blog
gets a similar in his collection.
Happy PFF.

Wonder Turquette said...

A mysterious story that made me think to Stephen King's novels! :-) Have a nice week-end!

Poetikat said...

I think it's such a shame when heritage buildings are destroyed. We have a really good program here to keep old buildings alive and restored.

That one shot of the back of the sign reminds me of a scene from the Redford/Farrow "Great Gatsby".

Kat

petra michelle; Whose role is it anyway? said...

A mystery expressed beautifully, Muse. Loved it!

But the postcard pulled at my curiosity. Interesting how she'd sign it Mrs. Ellison to a friend? Yet, it was 1917. Yet, they had to work and earn a keep? Were they close before Clara moved to Mass., or did Mrs. Ellison think they were? She truly misses her, as her tone seems almost desperate. All very interesting and mysterious, indeed!

Sheila said...

The message on the card seems so plaintive! But your story is a perfect background. :)

Thanks for your visit earlier!

Pearl said...

Ahhh... perfect mix ~ History 'n Mystery! My mind wandered to Arsenic 'n Old Lace as I read, and was tickled to hear your reference in these comments... Now, of course, I want to view that old film, again... Thank you for your visit and kind comment. I look forward to many returns to your wonderful blog! Hope the weekend is pleasant for you...
~blessings~
Pearl

Jeanne said...

Because Clara knew visitng Mrs. Ellison was her death warrant.

Betsy said...

I love these Friday postcard postings! Yours are always just great!..and mysterious! :)

steviewren said...

I've been looking forward to coming home and reading this all day. It's my PFF treat of the week!

fortuitous faery said...

$40 a month must be a lot during those days!

love the handwriting! although it's sad that the writer hasn't heard from the lady recipient...he seems to miss her very much.

Margo said...

the postcard and this mysterious note would be a fascinating post in themselves... your story just makes it all the better.

Evelyn Yvonne Theriault said...

I love the way you weave history around your postcards!
Evelyn in Montreal

Judith Richards Shubert said...

What a fantastic group of pictures. The postcard is a treasure, isn't it? The story along with the card is great. This is my first time to contribute to Postcard Friendship Friday. Hope you'll check mine out at Genealogy Traces.

Blicky Kitty said...

I love these postcards. OK true story: Lizzie Borden stayed in the house next door to my mom's in Newport when she was awaiting her trail. The lady that owns it now runs an upscale B&B and also holds conventions for UFO people. I would love to do a post about her and her 'nanu-nanu' fiestas, but too many people I know read my blog. :)

SweetPeaSurry said...

This is by far one of the coolest things I've seen in blogland. I love the retro post cards!

lmerie said...

I loved the picture on the postcard - reminded me of an old picture book of Chicago I have. I liked the story behind the postcard even more! Wonderful -thanks for the good read!

Smiles!

Sandy said...

Love your backstory. Wow, that pic of the Singer sewing machine ...cool.