(from the Winter 2016 Macomb Now Magazine)
By Denis LeDuc
“Come on, let’ get out there and give that guy a hand.”
“Sure it’ll only take a minute to give him a shove.”
“Ok, all together now…PUSH!”
So might the conversation have been on this snowy winter day in 1952 on Cass near Broadway (now Northbound Gratiot) in downtown Mount Clemens. The snow and ice appear to have just freshly fallen. It has not been brushed and scraped from the car windows. The sidewalk is not shoveled. The businessmen are all in their long-sleeve white shirts and dress slacks. There is a restaurant on the first floor and law offices on the second. Perhaps the men were having lunch or working at their desks when they heard the whirring sound of spinning tires. Knowing that it would only take a few minutes to help the men may have left their coats and jackets inside. The driver is behind the wheel and his door is open. Is he easing down on the gas pedal to get traction on the slipper street? Or maybe the car battery is dead? Has the driver been pushing too and just jumped in to “pop” the clutch, turn over the engine and get started?
Across the street a reporter from the Daily Monitor-leader newspaper is walking. He is close to the courthouse and his newspaper office is only a block away. The reporter has paused to watch. His camera shutter clicks and our street scene is captured. Look further at the details of his photograph. “Entrance” can be read on the canopy over the building door. The building directory is just below and to the right. Though a major downtown intersection, there is no traffic light only a stop sign at Broadway. On the far side of Broadway there is beautiful Italianate-style building with arched windows and doorways, a tall chimney, eaves, and steeply sloped roof. It is the Macomb County Sheriff’s Office and County Jail. The sign is on the far left of the building.
The men are pushing a 1950 Ford coupe and a 1949 Mercury sedan is parked behind it. Notice the chrome bumpers and wide whitewall tires of these classic cars. Look closely and you will see that the car driving in front of the Sheriff’s Office has fender skirts. Lovingly preserved and restored, beautiful automobiles like these still cruise Gratiot Avenue and frequent downtown Mount Clemens on Wednesdays every summer.
“Hey fellas, thanks for the help!”
Photo from the Daily Monitor-Leader archives courtesy of the Macomb Daily.