Last night I was doing some quick research on why Monroe is called the Floral City. I came across this interesting website Monroe in History. As always, with historical research, you find so many interesting tidbits along the way. You become aware of all the different business ventures that prospered in the region at different times.
Some interesting businesses that once occupied Monroe County included canning companies, The Amendt Mill also called Floral City Flour at one time, Monroe Broom Factory, and Ohr Carriages. The Monroe Steam Laundry slogan boasted “Monroe’s Biggest Wash Woman.”
Browsing through these pictures reminded me of some other industries that once prospered here. Cranberry bogs once populated the marshes of the communities now known as Gibraltar, Rockwood and South Rockwood. South Rockwood was once home to a thriving basket industry. In the 1800s, workers carried their lunches in baskets, not steel, tin or plastic. With the introduction of the metal lunch bucket, the once prosperous basket industry quickly died out.
When I read about prominent people from the region, tobacco was how many made their initial fortunes. The stove industry was another biggee at one time.
The Goodyear Tire on I-94 near the Southfield Freeway exit has served as a local landmark for generations of Detroiters. Such was the case with a giant Garland stove that stood outside the Michigan Stove Company plant on Jefferson and Adair. The stove, built originally for the Chicago Columbian Exposition of 1893, was as big as a house and became a famous landmark.
In the book on Detroit history All Our Yesterdays (Wayne State University Press 1969), authors Frank B. Woodford and Arthur M. Woodford wrote: “No visitor to Detroit did right by his friends and family back home unless he sent them a picture postcard of the ‘Detroit stove.'”
“Long before Detroit put the world on wheels it was warming the nation’s backsides and keeping its coffee hot. For years the city was the world’s foremost manufacturer of stoves and kitchen ranges.”
The book states the stove industry began about 1830 but heated up in the 1870s and 80s and “for fifty years or more stove manufacturing was Detroit’s leading industry.”
In 1927, the famous Garland stove landmark was moved to a pedestal near the Belle Isle bridge. Later, it was slated for the wrecking ball. Public outcry against the destruction resulted in the relocating of the stove to the Michigan State Fairgrounds in 1965.