Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Meet Me at the Corner of Cottage Grove and Bluff Street

The recent Chevy in the Hole post reminded my mom of her old friend Pat Lindner, who used to live on Cottage Grove Avenue near Bluff Street and lived for a time with my mom in New York City in their younger, crazier days. Pat's mom was a nurse at Chevrolet Manufacturing and used to walk to work. If anyone has any memories, thoughts or recollections of those streets, please chime in. One thing I was wondering was if there were other options for crossing the river besides Stevenson Street before the big flood control project turned the river into a cement culvert near Chevy in the Hole. My mom seems to remember some steps leading down to the river from Bluff Street. Thanks in advance.


  1. Wasn't that area near the old location of the Soap Box Derby? Cottage Grove Drive kind of rings a bell. I watched the races back in the early fifties, but now can't get a mental fix on it. My mental data base has a lot of dust on it these days. Also, when I worked at Hamady's meat department during high school, I sliced up a lot of lunch meat and the clear winner for sales was Koegel then Salay and Cloverdale and one other that escapes me....another dust event.

  2. The old soap box derby was on Cadillac St. Every year they would erect a wooden ramp to start the cars from and run down Cadillac towards Third Ave. I grew up on Cottage Grove about a block away where it intersected with Gladwyn. There was a giant field behind Durant-Tuuri-Mott which was bordered by these streets.

  3. Yes, the old Soap Box Derby was on Cadillac St., a few blocks from and parallel to Cottage Grove.

    In between Cottage Grove and Matthewson was a street that was a cul de sac, off Third Avenue, called McAras Ct. It didn't go all the way through to Bluff St. In an interview with Dave Barber on WFDF, now quite a few years ago, Casey Kasem, who was also mentioned in the Chevy Mfg. thread, related his experiences spending a summer with relatives who lived on McAras Ct. So there was at least one famous person who actually spent time near there, although perhaps not famous at the time.

  4. > One thing I was wondering was if there were other options for crossing the river besides Stevenson Street

    I think in order westward:

    1. Grand Traverse Street bridge
    2. RR bridge at the confluence of Flint River and Swartz Creek (mid-river pier remains today)
    3. Stevenson Street Bridge
    4. RR bridge for Chevrolet Manufacturing siding (pier remains)
    5. Light-traffic bridge (just about aligned with Cottage Grove, but not intended as a public road bridge)(pier remains)
    6. RR bridge for Chevrolet Manufacturing siding (pier remains)
    7. Chevrolet Avenue bridge
    8. RR bridge for Chevrolet Manufacturing siding (no sign today)
    9. Third Avenue/Sunset Drive Bridge (Third Avenue is University Drive today)

    As to the Soap Box Derby: the times I saw that event, it was held on Cadillac Street in the block between Gladwyn Street and Third Avenue. Cadillac is the southwest side of the Durant/Tuuri-Mott school grounds, Cottage Grove is the northeast side.

  5. I sent you the photos of the bridge that your mother remembers. "Plus a very good closeup", that is directly south of Cottage grove and west of Stevenson. Hope this helps. I know "when I hired in" I crossed a foot bridge there, but I don't think it was the same one shown in this older photo. I sent them to your global mail.

  6. Cottage Grove ran N/S, crossing 3rd avenue somewhere between Atwood Stadium and GMI. Had friends that lived on Cottage Grove a few houses north of 3rd ave. It was a great area and was filled with good working class people. We used to go down to the river near there and generally do what young boys do near the water, tempt fate. I can remember the entire river-bottom area being flooded between Mott Park and Downtown (the early 50's).

  7. Uncle Buck, In the 1950s and early 1960s the Soap Box Derby was held on Cadillac Street coming down the hill from Gladwyn Street toward Third (University) Avenue. It was adjacent to the large field behind Durant-Tuuri-Mott Elementary School. Mark.

  8. Thanks Anon...When you mentioned Durant-Tuuri-Mott, a light went on in my head and I could remember it plainly. I worked at that school, I should have remembered that. Cottage Grove keeps ringing a bell for something, but I know not what.


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