Tuesday, April 7, 2015
Drinking at Beer in the Clam Lake Brewing Company, Wilbo Reflects on Changes in Cadillac @PureMichigan. This Pub Will Lake Forever.
Company on Mitchell Street has a gorgeous view of the moonlit waters
of that lake. Makes me think that the full moon after St Patrick's Day
attains totality early Easter Day. The Christian fathers knew their
astrology when drawing up the calendar of red letter days. Now an
eclipse that turns the moon blood red on the observance of Christ's
resurrection. Nobody thought of that, and hardly Nostradamus.
I have yet to look at the moonlit waters tonight. I know they are
gorgeous. I've passed a few beautiful afternoons in the long narrow
space that once belonged to Shay Station Coffeehouse. I have enjoyed
coffee and journaling in that window. And listened closely to a
companion. Maybe I am making up facts; didn't Lake Cadillac once bear
the name Clam Lake?
Make little mistake. Clam Lake Beer Company is far more than a tap
room forty taps from across Michigan. History and sheer American
ingenuity has stamped this destination for as long as hospitality is
practiced here. We hope for generations. The McGuire family started a
hamburger stand in 1949 on nearby Mackinac Trail. The resort's run
wrapped recently, the hotel, conference center and championship golf
course re-opening as the Evergreen Resort, totally empty tonight and
booking as a fifty dollar a night value, Priceline Express Deals.
McGuire's was dependent upon the phenomena that built it as Cadillac's
Irish answer to Frankenmuth's German playground. People drove together
as a family to have a week a year frolicking as a family, often as a
multi-generational event. People can't drive that far thanks to gas
prices and blended families with visitation schedules and lawyer bills
are lucky to pitch a tent for a weekend's camping. And then there's
the romantic getaway, and for that, a Holiday Inn works better.
The McGuire Family enjoyed 65 years before the family car trip
dwindled. Many Michigan businesses that depended upon a family driving
long distances together in a car dwindled; just check the Upper
Peninsula. Clam Lake will fare better. Shay Station honored Cadillac's
rise as an industrial power. A steam locomotive designed by an
engineer named Shay was built here, although it wasn't just Cadillac
that built them. The owner of Clam Lake inherited all that industrial
moxie and preserved it. He rescued a local foundry and, an inventor
with patents to his name, moved the product mix from commodity
forgings to custom forging. And that keeps money in town and
disposable incomes around to spend on the finer things in life, such
as better beer. And everybody brings the young ones to the tap room
now in the day of staycations and home town touring.
Cadillac has plans to stay smart for the future. Follow the Clam River
upstream and uphill to the highlands east of the highway. Mitchell
Street has an eight percent grade as one drives towards downtown, one
with the lakeshore. In those highlands, you'll find smart
institutions, the technical centers for young seekers of practical
skills and campuses for Baker College and university extensions.
Cadillac might still be a vacation destination; the town, however, has
its bags packed for a trip to a prosperous future.
Now WHERE does Louie Richardson purvey short order lunches on the
shore of Lake Cadillac?