A rolled up message in a beer bottle hidden by two workers at Michigan Central Station in 1913 has been discovered by two modern construction workers.
Foreman Leo Kimble and laborer Lukas Nielsen of plaster contractor Homrich found the bottle before the ban on May 4 this year in the station’s tea room.
It was discovered upside down, stuck behind the top of a high section of the cornice the duo had prepared to remove while riding a scissor lift.
When the message — much of which is unclear — was later carefully rolled out, experts found it contained the names of two men and the date “July 1913.”
The men, whose surnames appear to be “Hogan” and “Smith,” must have worked on the construction of the station, which opened to the public on January 4, 1914.
The date ‘7-19-13’ stamped on the bottle – which the label indicates once contained ‘Stroh’s Bohemian Beer’ – narrows when the message was left.
Long vacant, the Michigan Central Station was purchased by the Ford Motor Company in 2018. Under renovations, it will be transformed into a technology center by the end of next year.
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A coiled message in a beer bottle (pictured) hidden in Michigan Central Station in 1913 by two workers is discovered by two modern construction workers
When the message (pictured) — much of which is unclear — was later carefully rolled out, experts found it contained the names of two men and the date “July 1913.” The men, whose surnames appear to be “Hogan” and “Smith,” must have worked on the construction of the station, which opened to the public on January 4, 1914.
The “7-19-13” date on the bottle — which the label identifies as once containing “Stroh’s Bohemian Beer” (an advertisement featured) — narrows when the message was left
STROH . BREWERY
The 1913 message was found rolled up and put in a bottle of Stroh’s Bohemian Beer.
Located just five miles from the station, the Detroit-based brewery was founded in 1850 by German expatriate Bernhard Stroh.
Their ‘Bohemian Beer’ was noted for winning the Blue Ribbon at Chicago’s Columbian Exposition of 1893.
During Prohibition, Stroh’s switched to selling non-alcoholic ‘near beer’, soft drinks, malt products and ice cream.
Messrs. Kimble and Nielsen are among the approximately 400-strong workforce currently working at Michigan Central Station, performing masonry repairs and performing the necessary installations to adapt the Beaux Arts-style structure for its new purpose.
Ford archivists praised the duo for holding back and not trying to open the bottle themselves.
“It was extremely tempting, really,” said Mr Nielsen.
But, he added, “if we had done anything to remove it, we would have destroyed it.”
This isn’t the first time the pair have found antique bottles at the station – though this is the only instance where a message contained a message.
“I think the bottle was left there in the hopes that someone will find it in the future,” said project leader David Kampo, who works for Christman-Brinker, the construction team overseeing the renovation of the station building.
The bottle is not the only find that surfaced during construction.
Pictured: An ad for Finck’s ‘Detroit Special’ coverall. A lost pair of buds were also found in Michigan Central Station
That same evening, Messrs. Kimble and Nielsen went on to find a button from a Finck’s brand coverall that is believed to have been lost during its original construction.
During the early 1900s, around the time the station was built, Finck’s ‘Detroit Special’ denim overalls were considered a quality choice for workers.
In total, some 200 historic artifacts from the station were recovered during Ford’s multi-year project to renovate the building.
Among these finds is a porcelain set dish found in the basement of the station, old tickets and payment books for bills and bills.
Furthermore – when removing an elevator shaft – a completely forgotten room was discovered on a mezzanine floor with a calculator, both baby and women’s shoes and other items.
All items recovered from the station will be added to Ford’s historic collection in the company’s purpose-built archive space in Dearborn, Michigan.
Foreman Leo Kimble and worker Lukas Nielsen of plaster contractor Homrich found the bottle before the ban (pictured) in the station’s tea room on May 4 this year.
Long vacant, the Michigan Central Station was purchased by the Ford Motor Company in 2018. Under renovations, it will be transformed into a technology center by the end of next year. Pictured: A 1913–15 postcard shows the station in its heyday. The 21-acre building cost $15,000,000 to build, had 11 tracks and, according to the back of the postcard, passenger accommodation that “wouldn’t be surpassed by any train station in the world.”
The paper on which the message is written is kept by Ford’s archivists in a special temperature-controlled room after it has been re-moistened and placed in a special protective storage box.
“The most important thing to do is slow down the deterioration of the paper,” says Ford’s Heritage and Brand Manager Ted Ryan.
‘It’s easy with the bottle because it’s glass, but we’ll also have to make sure that the rest of the label doesn’t spoil. It’s like the pieces of a classic car.’
The bottle was discovered, upside down, behind the top of a high section of the cornice (photo, top) that the duo had prepared to remove while riding a scissor lift
Nielsen — who lives in Garden City, 10 miles west of Detroit, and was born in the area — started working at Michigan Central Station in February.
He said he hopes the message in the bottle turns out to be important to the story of the great old building.
“I’d drive by and wonder what’s going to happen to the train station. Now we’re going to be part of the building’s history,” he said.
“It’s good to see it being revived after being abandoned for so long.”
In total, some 200 historic artifacts have been recovered at Michigan Central Station, in downtown Detroit, during Ford’s multi-year project to renovate the building.
MICHIGAN CENTRAL STATION
Pictured: Michigan Central Station
Michigan Central Station is a former central depot for passenger trains in downtown Detroit.
The 21-acre building cost $15,000,000 to build, had 11 tracks and, according to one description, had passenger accommodation that “would not be surpassed by any train station in the world.”
Pictured: Bill Ford Jr, Executive Chairman of Ford Motor Company, posing at Michigan Central Station in Detroit in 2018 after his company bought the building
The station was dedicated on January 4, 1914 and functioned until Amtrak services there ceased on January 6, 1988, when the building fell into disrepair.
After several changes of ownership, the station and its 13-story office structure were purchased by the Ford Motor Company, which is working to convert it into a technology hub dubbed “Michigan Central,” which is expected to open by the end of next year. will be ready.
The site will include public shops, restaurants and community amenities, in addition to facilities for Ford and its partners.