Sunday, July 1, 2012

We almost lost the Old Homestead Roadhouse to fire, but Michigan landmark saved by firefighters. Norton Shores.


It happened during the smoking and drinking hours of the evening. At blame, a cigarette tossed casually away, landing in an opportune place to catch the siding on fire. Patrons expressed gratitude that the fire began during hours of operation. After closing, the fire could have progressed unnoticed and reached the asphalt shingles. A woman discussing the near loss pointed out the location of a church, a short walk hardly any one takes from the back door. If no walls of the Homestead were left standing after a conflagration, that house of worship's nearness could prevent rebuilding, all other things equal.

I was talking with a fellow who performed much of the modifications to one of Muskegon's oldest bars. The site once served as a stage coach stop on the once single route between Grand Haven and Michigan. A house was built, after the stagecoach stop and livery was lost, and that house offered chicken dinners and began serving beer and wine and cocktails on a limited basis. Of course, all these facts come from bar rail historians. A black and white picture posted in a frame near the booze bottles hows the house, with early 20th Century automotives, with two peaked roofs left and right. The area inside with the dance floor, the high ceiling and the pool tables were all added after the date of the black and white picture.

What if the fire demolished the historical property? Many of the patrons said they would have met in the parking lot with coolers full of beer on ice. The bathrooms are slated for a total upgrade to increase capacity. Then, the City of Norton Shores will approve plans for an outdoor patio, a must for a biker bar, observation deck mandatory. Change keeps coming to the Old Homestead. Hopefully 95 cent beer night will never change.

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