Thursday, June 17, 2010

Smith B's and Yellow Jackets

Two questions from readers that need an answer:

1. What was the address of Smith B's on Saginaw Street?

2. Anyone remember a bar on the far northend out in the middle of nowhere called the Yellow Jacket?


  1. I think the Yellow Jacket was on Clio Rd. North on the right side. Bikers liked the bar back in the sixties. At Dort field where Central played home games, I rode a couple of homers into the parking area behind Whittier in the boys baseball program in the early fifties. I played hockey for the Raincheck hawks in 1970. We won the slow puck trophy that year. If it hadn't have been for the Canadian players that worked at the Flint Journal at that time, we would not have won that league championship. Those guys could skate circles around everyone else. Pepsi workers helped support the Raincheck back in those days plus they served at lot of people from the I.M.A. sports facility.

  2. Smith-Bridgeman's address was 435 S. Saginaw St.

  3. I think in the 40s the Yellow jacket was on Clio Rd.It was yellow with black trim .Later it was on N.saginaw1/2 mile N of Coldwater rd according to the cover story on a Dec. 20 1963 Hi-Spots magazine I have in front of me.

  4. I got to thinking about the Yellow Jacket again and I remember it was on the west side of Clio Rd. It may have changed to the Jack of Diamonds later, but don't listen to me, I'm starting to get hazy in my old age. They did have some wild week-ends there, I do remember that......

    the building at one time took up several actual street addresses. 419-421 South Saginaw Street

    I found an earlier address of 83 Saginaw from 1877

    My brother has some old maps but I can't get him to answer his phone. If I do, I will let you know what he has.


    Read about half way down. The reference to the original date I gave you may have been about this UNION TRUST AND SAVINGS BANK which changed names about that time and isn't related as such to the address of the store.

  7. I can remember a bar called the "Yellow Jacket" way out on Dort Hwy near Mt. Morris. When I first met WTAC's newsman Joe Franks -- he asked me what my Dad's name, because he knew someone by the last name of Frost...and according to Joe Franks -- when my Dad wasn't working for the Sheriff's department -- he did some side line work as a bouncer at the Yellow Jacket. And according to Joe -- my dad didn't take any $#!+ from anyone there.

  8. Smith Bridgeman's was originally two separate buildings (very common in older downtowns). As I recall, some floors were more smoothly combined than others. But if you explored, you could see the evidence of two separate buildings.

    There were two separate stairwells, one of which was interrupted around the second or third
    floor. I believe that was the remodeled stairway at the north? end of the front of the store that led up to the mezzanine level.

    If you're bored with your companion's shopping, it is fascinating to explore and piece together what has happened archetecturally to such older buildings.

  9. There was a floor above the seventh floor of Smith Bridgemans. I could never figure out what was up there or how you got there. It could have been offices, elevator and building plant equipment, etc.

  10. Crazy as it sounda,I think it was illegal to dance in a bar in the city until late 50s early 60s.most of the dance bars were at the city limits or as close as they could get.the limit line goes thruu the parking lot at the wagon Wheel,palace gardens is across the street from the limits,on saginaw just past hemphill Rd.was The Plaza and Stardust? And at pierson and Clio was The Mayfair with the Yellow Jacket down the road.just past Carpenter on Saginaw was Beecher Gardens and Knickerbocker Gardens and maybe a couple more.
    A lot of bars had music but you could not dance.People would get up and sing and every one had a favorite band or singer.It was something like Karaoke but you better know the words.

  11. Smith Bridgman's was far from alone.

    Herpolsheimer's held out a little longer, but while the building apparently remains, it's no longer retail space.

    I wonder if the same fate befell Knapp's in Lansing, and just about every other town that had their own major downtown depatment store.

    And if you count Hudson's, its downtown location is gone and of course, the other locations are now Macy's.

  12. Here is a good link to many of the old department stores, including Smith Bridgman's.

    I doubt that more than a handful remain, and of those that do, most have been merged into much larger chains.


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