How Michiganders Spent Their Summers: 1900-1963
When you think of things to do during summer, what comes to mind?
Goin' to the beach, barbecues, picnics, travel, boating.....those are the top things that come to mind.
But what are the members of today's generation doing during summer?
Gaming, texting, online shopping.....mostly staying indoors.
To be fair, not all of today's generation are like that...there are still plenty who get out and go swimming, play ball, go fishin', hiking, biking, holding charity car washes, etc. Even so, it's a far cry from what summer fun used to be, going back over one hundred years.
What did our ancestors do?
Well, yeah, they went swimming and played ball, but there were band concerts in the town square, weekly ice cream socials, scout camps, paddleboats, canoeing, renting a summer cottage, taking a trolley ride out to a local amusement park, boat tours, buggy rides, county fairs, parades...some of those still hold up in the 2020s but just a few.
What did I do during summer vacation when I was a kid?
Bike rides to who-knows-where, softball, nighttime neighborhood games...not too much before we were old enough to drive, so we had to make our own fun and games. Many times a few of us would go down to the party store and get some much-needed food for camping back in the woods: a bottle of pop, fruit pie, SweeTarts, and red hots. Sometimes we even cooked eggs and bacon over a campfire.
Resources were limited pre-driver's license, but we found things to do – good things, safe things, and nothing that we could be labeled “juvenile delinquents” for.
Summer can be one of the best – or worst – times of the year depending on the individual. The gallery below includes thirty photos of places and things our Michigan ancestors and predecessors did to amuse themselves during summers from 1900 to 1963...and believe me, these are just a tip of the iceberg.
Summers of Michigan Past