Special sesquicentennial section in today’s paper

ESCANABA – Ever wonder what downtown Escanaba used to look like when an electric streetcar made its way down Ludington Street?

To commemorate Escanaba’s sesquicentennial celebration, the Daily Press is publishing the first edition of a special pull-out section in today’s paper, “Then and Now.” The section highlights historical buildings and icons in the Escanaba area. This will precede a second, glossy souvenir edition of “Then and Now,” which will be inserted the week of July 15.

“Escanaba has a very rich history, and this section celebrates that history,” said Daily Press Publisher Dan McDonald.

Many Escanaba residents know that Hereford & Hops first opened in the city as the Delta Hotel in the early 1900s. Several residents probably also know the history of The House of Ludington, formerly the Gaynor House hotel, built in 1864. But how many know the building at 1200 Ludington (now Design Cents, and Economopoulos Law Firm) used to house Montgomery Ward – first opened by Isadore Kratzstein (later shortened to Kratz) in 1880?

It was first called Kratze’s department store and was located at 610 Ludington St. Directories reveal the store was destroyed by fire in 1898. Kratze’s sons continued the store after Isadore committed suicide in late 1898. The building at 1200 Ludington was built in 1910.

This is just one example of the stories you will find inside “Then and Now,” along with photographs of what places used to look like and how they look now.

Advertising Director Ann Troutman said the section is captivating.

“When we sat down to proofread this section, it was so interesting, it was hard to pull away from,” she said.

Daily Press staff began work on the section early in the year. The project was a massive joint effort across many departments at the newspaper, according to McDonald.

“This project is a great example of the kind of teamwork the Daily Press is capable of,” he said. “From editorial staff compiling photographs and sifting through historical data, to design teams putting the finished product together, to members of advertising and graphics creating ads for local businesses – everyone really came together.”

Information was gathered from the National Register of Historic Places. Staff members collected historic photographs from both the Delta County Historical Society and the city of Escanaba Assessor’s Office.

Once the historical photos were located, staff members visited the historical sites to take photographs as close to the original photographs as possible.

Once the information was collected, design work began, melding Escanaba’s past and present into one book.

Many area businesses also got behind the project.

“Without the support of advertisers, the section could not be as big as it is,” Troutman said.

“Then and Now,” an 88-page special section of the Daily Press, will be inserted in today’s Daily Press. Watch for the souvenir edition next week.