More Ecorse Memories
I Remember Ecorse When...
In September 1971, Mrs. Evelyn J. Jones of West Wesfield in Ecorse, recalled these Ecorse days when:
- West Jefferson was brick and there were streetcars on it.
- Boat houses stood where Riverside Park is now.
- Outer Drive was one street only and called Bonzano.
- When Ignatius Salliotte, who was an attorney, had a home where the library is now.
- When Wolverine Lumber Company was on the corner of West Alexis.
- When the Bob-Lo Boat picked passengers up at the Ecorse Dock.
- When there was a dry goods store on the corner of West Jefferson and Woodward.
- When our fire station was on the corner of Labadie and High and Mr. Jaeger was our fire chief.
- Southfield Road was State Street.
- We had Bob-Lo Boats dock up on Jefferson river front and a moonlight boat used to go up to Sugar Island.
- We used to have tracks like on Salliotte until they built our viaduct on Southfield.
- We also had horses an wagons to pick up garbage and rubbish.
- Our library was located on the block where the Silver Rail Bar is.
- Our small Ecorse show was on Jefferson, too.
- On Second Street off Southfield, kids used to play ball and have fun.
- Carnivals used to come where there are factories today.
- On Third Street there used to be a cement block shop.
- The houses on the riverfront were like boathouses.
- I can remember very well in June 1959 when Mrs. Eleanor Roosevelt spoke at the Ecorse Community Center. i was ten years old at the time. I can remember the greatness and the dignified manner in which she spoke. As she came out of the Center, I got close enough to see this great woman. As she passed by with an armful of red roses she smile at me and I did likewise.
- We built our home in Ecorse in 1924, a small four room house. In October of 1924 we added a small store and business was good. We have no paved streets. No gas. Everyone knew each other. Ecorse was a village then. We had presidents then. We had a small Baptist church. The name was Lily of the Valley. All the children had to go across the tracks to school. We had one small fire department. People had lovely gardens. I have seen Ecorse grow from a village to a city. We have a nice city and a goo government.
by John Frankhouse
John Frankhouse grew up in Ecorse from 1920-1941, and remembers going to School Two on Josephine Street. He said that there were three other schools at the time-School One and School Three and the High School. Before the high school on Seventh Street and Outer Drive was built, School One on High Street was the high school which only went to the tenth grade.
The teachers he especially remembered were Miss Conley and Miss Elliott. Women teachers were not allowed to be married. Miss Conley and Miss Elliott were both feared by most students, but they were both good at their jobs. The Depression was on at the time. We had no vacations, but we enjoyed our summers, he said.
The big day in Ecorse was Ecorse Day, a boat ride from Southfield Dock to Bob-Lo Island. Seems like it was a day of rides, games and races. They city used to freeze the field across from the municipal building. That was a rink for ice skating.
The main shopping area was from West Alexis to Josephine. Kroger, C.F. Smith, Loveland Drugs, a small movie house, etc., were there. When I was very young, they only had silent movies there, but they only charged six cents for a double feature. Later on they built the Harbor Theater near Westfield. The streetcars were running then and for five cents and a penny transfer you could ride to Belle Isle for a picnic and to visit the children's zoo.
The Swampy Little French Fishing Village
by Marvin Graves
The "Little French Fishing Village" on the Detroit River was long the place to eat a muskrat meal. The muskrat or "marsh rabbit" was easy to trap as they made holes in the ice where traps could be set. My grandfather trapped and ate them. They were skinned and then soaked in vinegar and salt water for 24 hours, and then baked or boiled with onions. The meat was dark, and I think a taste for them had to be acquired. Restaurants Downriver served them as late as the 1960s that I know of and may be serving them today. Marsh rabbits were plentiful in the fresh water swamps that covered the Downriver area at the time.
As for the early years that I remember, what is now Quality drive coming off Jefferson Avenue had a swamp on both sides. Jefferson Avenue was "high ground." One of my early Ecorse boyhood memories was of making a raft and exploring the swamp.
If you have any Ecorse memories, please email them to me and I will be glad to publish them.