“I will not allow a liquor saloon to live in the village that bears my name.” declared James Ludington in his original plan. Last night, local historian James Jensen presented “The History of Ludington and Mason County in 6 Glasses” entertaining the audience by connecting our local community to the various drinks and the impacts thereof. Attendees were provided history of stimulants, including coffee, tea and soda and intoxicants, which included beer, wine and liquor. Although James Ludington did not intend to have alcohol in his village, saloons were common, and Mr. Jensen guided the audience on a visual pub crawl from the 1890’s, with some locations still serving as bars today. Mr. Jensen said,“The hardest thing to research is the saloons, because they didn’t advertise, there was no records kept of where they were. A lot people didn’t even want talk about saloons, so finding the locations and when they were in existence was one of the more challenging things that I did.”
The impact of the temperance movement was felt in Mason county, as Mr. Jensen described the various ways the community responded, including becoming a dry county and throwing a “Ludington Whiskey Party” by throwing unwanted whiskey in the lake.
During the presentation, Mr Jensen encouraged questions and comments from the audience, citing their participation as “A way for him to learn,” MOM News asked him what he meant by that, “I love history. My family goes back to 1850 in this community and every time I give one of these presentations, someone says something that adds to my knowledge and I use it in my presentation.”
There will be two more speakers in this series provided by The Sable Point Lighthouse Keepers Association and Mason County Historical Society. Todd Reed will provide a Multimedia presentation on Lighthouses of the Great Lakes on February 16th. The series will conclude on March 16th with Steve and Grace Truman, authors of Sands and Storms, presenting on local shipwrecks and the Coast Guard Station.