Saturday, March 7, 2015

ISLAND WATERFRONT - Jensenville - Part X

Another photo from the Herschberger album, courtesy of Ann Young,
showing several homes in Jensenville.  This one was taken
in 1937.  The Spendrift is the boat in the foreground.
Detroit Harbor, Washington Island -

I received more photos from Ann Young the other day, in part to answer my question, "Does anyone know what sailboat that might be?" shown sailing past the old Elbow Light in an earlier blog.

The boat is unmistakably Jack Herschberger's Spendrift, and the many photos Ann provided me, along with vessel registration, are not only fun to look at because they're about boats, they also show nicely the summer homes along the Jensenville shoreline.  You may be able to recognize some of them today, although most have modified windows, gables, porches and such compared with the 1920s-30s look.  I took the photo below from the ice just to see if I could match roof lines and windows, and other than knowing where Tim and Lois Jessen live today, as a relative 'newcomer' I can't feel qualified to draw conclusions as to which home is which.

Photo taken the afternoon of 3.6.15 (not a good day for boating).
Cedars and pines obstruct the buildings, adding to the difficulty in
matching similarities of the oldest homes.

Jack Herschberger's Spendrift in late 1920s, with ferry
in at Gislason pier, background.

The above photo shows the ferry landing in the background, an indication this photo was taken sometime in the 20s, before Jepson moved his operations to Lobdell Point.    

What about the name Jensenville?  In her book Let's Talk About "Washington Island" (1950, copyright 1973), Anne T. Whitney wrote this:

Captain Christian Jensen owned an attractive strip of property stretching along the shores and running back to Detroit Harbor Road from the Trueblood land east as far as where the Herschberger home now stands.  He built several good cottages and his own unique home.

There was a glamour around Jensenville beach, and Detroit Road became a boulevard requiring very slow driving while criticizing the shocking bathing suits the city people wore, (Oh my, just look at that one!) and those whose eyesight had not failed them too sadly could see that some wore no stockings.  Mothers drove young daughters hastily away.  Lots sold like "hot cakes" in Jensenville.

Here is another photo from back in the day, showing the Spendrift with several other boats, one a being a former double ender lifeboat.

The Jensenville summer resident family names Whitney mentioned are names still associated with many of the properties there today, or they are related to Island residents now living in other parts of the Island, names such as:   Trueblood, Herschberger, Evens, Mueller, Koken, Kiss, Williams.                                                         

What about the Herschberger name?  Who was C. B. Herschberger, whose children were Jack, Ruth, Harriet and C. B. Jr.?  Although the following is a digression from the main topic at hand, it is an interesting diversion to read about C. B. Herschberger, (from information supplied by Ann Young, C. B.'s granddaughter) from a piece titled, "CHICAGO ROLL OF HONOR":

Clarence Herschberger, Chicago's first representative on Walter Camp's "All America" team, and the first player west of the Atlantic seaboard to win such recognition, was mighty in achievement but small in size.  "Herschie" in his greatest days weighed only 158 pounds, his power as a runner coming from his cleverness.  He and Walter Steffen are said to have been the only two Chicago players who could pivot off either foot with the same skill.  When tackled, he had the resiliency of a cat, squirming loose and bouncing to his feet before he could be pinned down.

But marvelous a runner as he was, "Herschie's" fame rests really on his skill as a kicker. There probably has been no better drop kicker in football history, and certainly there has never been his equal as a place kicker.  With Gordon Clarke holding the ball, Herschberger place kicked field goals almost from any angle or distance.  One of his spectacular feats was to kick a goal from the 37-yard line, while the ball was rolling on the ground.  He did that in an indoor name played against Michigan in the old Coliseum on Thanksgiving Day, 1898.

Herschberger played four seasons on the [University of] Chicago football team.  He began in 1894, his freshman year, was out the next season because his parents objected to his playing, returned in 1896, was captain in 1897, and played his last year in 1898.  He also won four letters in baseball and track.  As good a student as a football player, he graduated with a Phi Beta Kappa key.  Now a real estate dealer, his greatest avocation is working in the fine machine shop, much of which he built himself, at his summer home on Washington Island, Wisconsin.

Ruth Gislason, along with her husband, Lawrence, worked as cook and porter on Great Lakes freighters for many years after their Island store closed.  At one time, Ruth prepared meals for the Herschberger family in summer.  In particular, her skills as a baker were remembered.  Ruth Herschberger proclaimed, "When I die, don't put flowers on my grave, just Ruth's rolls all around it."  Ruth and Lawrence would sometimes go to Chicago in late fall or winter, there to be entertained by the Herschbergers.  (Information taken from a hand written remembrance by Varian Hanson, who worked as a young girl under Ruth in the Herschberger home - Washington Island Archives document.)

But, back to the vessel Spendrift, owned by Jack Herschberger and acquired in 1928.  It was a well-used craft for many years, it appears, and although it was a motor boat, occasionally it was rigged with mast and sail (as seen in photo of the March 3 blog about the Elbow Light).  Side panels lifted off to permit greater air flow to the cabin, and that feature is shown in a photo of an overnight cruise to South River Bay, an inlet several miles north of Fayette on the Garden Peninsula.

The Spendrift (25'6" x 5'10" beam x 2'6" draft) was built by Dan Kidney of DePere in 1911 and was powered by a 7 HP Straubel engine.   Anyone who may be interested in engines of the past will enjoy this link describing the history behind the Straubel engines, a northeastern Wisconsin manufacturer and machining company:

Spendrift at South River Bay.  "Looking from side with
cabin sides up because of hot weather" - 1931

Pile driver

Finally, before leaving the Spendrift and Jensenville area I should provide the answer to my own questions, "What is that thing behind the crowd gathered on Gislason Pier?  Was it a navigational buoy of some sort?" 

In yet another photo furnished by Ann Young, a group of folks (Herschberger family members or friends, most likely) gathered at the Lobdell Point ferry dock with that same device behind them.  The iron guide to hold piles while they were being driven, and the iron block that was raised and then dropped onto the top of a piling, can be more easily seen.  Other photos of the time period also show this same piece of equipment mounted on a float, and so we assume Capt. Jepson may have been the owner and operator of this pile driver.     -  Dick Purinton

Group seated on pile driver, which in this photo appears to be
resting on top of the pier next to the ferry Welcome.  (Probably
taken in early 1930s)

1 comment:

Richard Purinton said...

From Bill Tobey, whose family was - and still is - a part of the Jensenville community of Washington Island come these comments:
In your Island Waterfront - Jensenville - Part X, the first picture shows what we knew as Aunt Grace Herschberger's summer home. We were over there often as kids. To its left is a garage with the front end of Ruth Herschberger's 1929 Chevrolet sedan showing.

During an Emelie and George Tobey Jr. family reunion at the Tobey place (since about 1913, just south of Jessen's current place (earlier Herbert's and then Marsik's)), we got Ruth's car out and got it running successfully up and down Rangeline Road through Jensenville. Quite an event!

The island is quite significant in our history ...... instrumental even!

Our father, George Jr., met Emelie Fisher at Karly's during the summer of 1929 and they were married in 1930 (not on the island). He was doing some painting at their Jensenville place and she was a nanny for the Gentry children at their Greengate Farm on the island's north shore.

I believe the Herschberger garage is just right of center, upgraded, in the second photo in that blog post. The front roof lip of Jessen's place with snow on it is farther south. The Tobey place (now owned by Dick and Sue Tobey) is just south of that. My recollection of Jack and Helen Herschberger and their children, John, Bob and Ann, is that their house is at the center of your color photo, north of the subject garage.

Feel free to share this with anyone, like the archives and Ann Young, and as comments on your blog post, all of which I enjoy immensely!

Best regards,

Denver, CO