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|Quiz #289 Results
January 23, 2011
Easy: Approximately Jan 20 -Feb 13, 1914
Medium: Ann Arbor, MI
Hard: 717 N. University Ave.
|Easy: What month and year was this photo taken?
Medium: What city was it taken in?
Hard: What location in this city was it taken?
|The idea for this quiz was submitted by Ed Vielmetti
|Comments from Our Readers
|Many Great Ways to Solve This Puzzle!
I searched D Hope Leonard and got a book seller with an
original program from the Alice in wonderland play in the
Whitney Theater Feb. 13 and 14. The book seller was in Ann
Arbor. From that I learned a lot about the Whitney and
Orpheum Theaters. I found a site that showed pictures of
the Overland Automobile for each year of manufacture.
Unfortunately, I didn't save it and can't return. The Days of
Days picture was released Jan 20, 1914. The Whitney
Theater started showing pictures in 1914. If the Traffic in
Souls add can be located at ground lever in early March, the
snow will probably be gone by the end of the month.
I found Polk's Ann Arbor, Ypsilanti and Washtenaw County
directory, 1914 at ancestry.com. A T might be peaking out
from the barber pole followed by a R and O. The list of Ann
Arbor barbers had only one with first name John. He was
John P Trojanowski at 717 North University Ave.
I had to really dig on this one. The Key was finding the
Overland Ad thus fixing the approximate year. I used Cyril
Scott Ad to nail the date down. Then finding which years
had a Friday 13th. Next finding a reference that zeroed in on
Ann Arbor and finally a Ann Arbor directory that listed
Barber Shops which fit the name John (X)RO(?)
I expect it more likely taken in January than Feb because of
the theater ads would be up at least two weeks prior to the
showing. Keep 'em coming, it starts my Sundays off.
This was a little harder than usual. Close inspection of
everything turned up no overt clues about the town.
After googling around on several of the advertisements with
no luck, I tried "oswald dietz barrel house" and found it in
the Ann Arbor, MI, 1916 city directory. There were also a
City Bakery, and Orpheum and Whitney theaters. So I
decided the town was Ann Arbor.
Looked in that city directory for "john" and "barber" and
found "John Trojanowski" at 717 University Ave North, as
the only barber with a name that starts "TRO" (as on the
awning at lower right).
So the location is 717 University Ave North, Ann Arbor, MI.
This is currently a parking garage. The steeple in the
background appears to be on the site of the present day First
United Methodist church on State St., about 2 blocks NW.
Returning to your "Easy" question, I googled Cyril Scott in
"The Day of Days" and found it came out in 1914. The
movie "Traffic in Souls" came out on 24 November 1913,
but the poster at lower left has a Mar 9 date on it. So I
would guess the date of the mystery photo is during
Feb-Mar 1914. The "Alice in Wonderland" ad has a date of
"Friday, Feb 13" (as best I can make out), and a perpetual
calendar says that Feb 13th was on Friday in 1914.
There is no way to determine if the posters are old and
outdated, but I suspect not. I think they were covered by
new posters as soon as the run was over.
So, all in all, I think the picture was taken between Feb 1 and
Mar 16, 1914. The "Alice" stage show could have run longer
than a movie, and movies probably weren't advertised a
whole month in advance, so that could narrow it down to
late February, 1914.
If one had access to historical weather data for this place,
the scraps of snow in the gutter would be a good clue: it
snowed an inch or more a few days before the picture was
taken. That could narrow the window considerably. I didn't
find a free archive of data.
(I also think the time was around 9 or 10 a.m., because
Univ. Av. is an east-west street, and the shadow of the
barber pole is pointing at a substantial angle to the street,
about 45 degrees northwest, I would judge. This means the
time would be around 9 a.m., give or take.)
(This analysis took me about 4 hours, including time for
lunch and composing this note.)
|Are you sure the “Easy” question was really easy? If so,
there is some really big clue that I missed.
I started with the “Medium” question. A search of Oswald
Dietz Barrel House came up with this: Oswald Dietz, Dietz
Barrel House, 122 West Washington Street, Ann Arbor,
Michigan “Mail Orders Solicited”. [1916 Polk city
directory] To double check, the Gillette Company appears
in the same directory. Interestingly, someone had crossed
out the name in the image I was looking at. I had to wonder
if they had gone out of business. That was a wild guess on
my part, but if I was correct then the date the picture was
taken would likely have been some time before that.
Then for the “Hard” question: As long as I was in the 1916
Polk city directory, I searched for barbers. [There were a
lot of barbers in Ann Arbor in 1916.] In the photo I can see
on the awning the name John followed by a space (covered
by the barber pole, and the letters RO, possibly TRO, in that
order. In the directory there was a John P Trojanowski,
barber, 717 N University Avenue. Google maps puts that
address on or across the street from the University of
Michigan campus in Ann Arbor. I vote for across the street
from the campus. There were two old Methodist churches
with spires similar to that in the background of the photo.
One had two spires, the other had only one. That one was
at the corner of East(?) State and East Washington. [Again,
1916 Polk city directory.] There is still a Methodist Church
there, but the spire is gone. To see that spire in the
background the photo would have had to have been taken
from the school campus looking north. That puts 7!
17 N University Avenue across the street from the campus.
Now for the “Easy question. [Ha!] I started by looking for
photos of Overland cars. But, alas, when they were passing
out skills at birth, they missed me when it came to
bestowing the ability to recognize automobile details. Then I
went on to the Alice and Wonderland play at the New
Whitney. A dead end as it relates to Ann Arbor. I could
have searched for the product posters, but the sale of a
product is not likely to narrow down a specific month and
That left the theater posters. Although the poster for the
New Whitney Theater is partly obscured, we have to be
talking about a year that included a Friday the 13th in the
month of February. In the early part of the 1900’s, the only
years that contained a Friday the 13th in a February were
1903, 1914, 1920, 1925 and 1931. In the current day and
age, those types of posters could stay up for decades before
they were removed or replaced. There are too many other
place to get the same information. The posters get
forgotten. But, in the early part of the 20th century, I
suspect they were replaced more frequently so people would
know what is coming up.
The Whitney Theatre was constructed in 1871 and was used
for stage productions. It showed its first movie in 1914.
The Whitney didn't switch to a movies-only program until
the mid-30s. The movie poster in the bottom left of the
photo is for “Traffic in Souls” which was released on
November 24, 1913. So, it would have come to the Whitney
after that date. The Orpheum Theater poster shows Cyril
Scott in “The Day of Days”. That came out January 24,
1914. That puts the picture in the winter of 1913/1914.
And, posters provide advance notice of what’s coming up,
but not too far in advance lest we forget.
There are traces of snow on the ground. In Ann Arbor, the
winter of 1913/1914 had only 3.8 inches of snow…no
snowmen! I see no sign of Christmas decorations in the
barber shop, so I’m eliminating December 1913. That
leaves 1914 before February 13th.
Lots of assumptions on my part!
|Many Clues to the Date
Thanks to Talea Jurrens for providing much of the solution to this week's puzzle.
|The Cyril Scott movie poster for The
Day of Days gives a clue for the year
and a further clue to the date .
According to the January-March 1914
issue of The Moving Picture World, it
was released on January 20th, 1914.
|Another clue as to the year is given by
the New Whitney Theatre poster
announcing the New Alice in
Wonderland production. The date of the
show is February 13 which falls on a
Friday in 1914.
|More info about Alice
|Many Clues to the City
|I believe the picture was taken
in either late January or early
February 1914. I came to
this conclusion because of
“The Day of Days” movie
poster and the “Friday Feb
13” date directly above and
|The Orpheum Theatre was
found in the 1917 Ann
Arbor, Michigan City
Directory. According to the
Ann Arbor Digital Library
website, it was constructed
by clothier J. Fred Wuerth
and opened in 1913. It was
the first theatre in town to
|Undated photo of Orpheum Theatre versus present use as a restaurant.
|Oswald Dietz c 1890
|One Good Clue to the Address
|The best clue to the location is the
partial name of the barber that
appears on the awning to the
right. The barber's name was
John __ro__, and the first letter
of his name is probably a T.
|This ad is from the 1912 Michiganensian.
|It’s very hard to see here, but
there is a sign that is partially
visible and you can just make out
the word had. Since the
Stenographic Institute is listed at
711 N. University Avenue in the
1911 Polk Directory, one can
assume that this was short for
|The location today across from the campus of the University of Michigan.
|The church steeple can be identified from the Polk's directory as that of the
First Methodist Church on State St.
|behind it. The date of the photo couldn’t be earlier than
January 20th, 1914 since that was when “The Day of Days’
movie was released, and I don’t believe the Gillette Company
would have left the advertisement up for “The New Alice in
Wonderland” show very long after the Friday and Saturday
(the 13th and 14th) presentations. The theatres where “The
Days of Days” and “The New Alice in Wonderland’ were
presented were the Orpheum and the New Whitney theatres,
respectively, which were located in Ann Arbor, Michigan.
The exact location of the photograph is on the central
campus of the University of Michigan in the 700 block of
North University Avenue. The barber shop in the photo was
owned by John P. Trojanowski which Ann Arbor City
Directories indicate was at 717 N. University Avenue. I’ve
attached a photo, which you may already have, called “Otto’
s Band Marches West On North University, Memorial Day,
1914.” The barber pole in your photo can be seen in the
“Otto’s Band…” photo at the top center. Here is the link to
the photo if you don’t have it:
Daniel E. Jolley
|List of Related Links
Courtesy of Robert W. Steinmann Jr.
Polk's Ann Arbor, Ypsilanti and Washtenaw County Directory
Arcade Theatre and Arcade Theatre
Day of Days
Traffic in Soles
History of the State Street Area near the First Methodist Church
|While I was doing a search on Ann
arbor in google images I found a
picture of my great great uncle John
McPherson who was a shotput
champion . He died in 1895 when he
fell from one of the gates at the Soo
Locks in Sault Ste. Marie Michigan.