Sunday, November 13, 2011

Holstein's Bull, Charles Glaser & the Biker Ward

This may be the best story you ever read concerning Eloise. A man found incapacitated in a Buffalo, New York ravine in 1905 identified himself to police as John Holstein from Cincinnati. The problem is when police investigated his claim, nobody in the part of Cincinnati where he came from knew who he was. That's when they began to theorize that he might not be who he said he was. Due to his condition they suspected that he might be confused or stricken with amnesia.

Though the police were confounded by the circumstances surrounding Holstein, the man himself was certain exactly who he was, John Holstein, and seemed more bewildered by the fact that it was June and not September, as it had been when he departed Cincinnati.

Compounding the matter was word from Eloise that he had worked there several months as a baker known as George Gibbs. Having been at Mercy hospital in Detroit for 5 weeks previous in a semi-coma he was sent to Eloise where he stayed before being discharged with $50 for services rendered and ventured off to Cincinnati and eventually to Buffalo.

There, a similar scenario played out where he was found unconscious in a park. He said that he was John Holstein, a mechanical draftsman from Brooklyn.

Also, a woman from Toronto claimed that he was her husband and contacted the Wayne County Hospital. After being sent a picture of Gibbs-Holstein by Dr. Marker at Eloise she never responded. Marker was of the opinion that Holstein-Gibbs was simply trying to hide his identity.

I wish I could track down more info on the story but other than a few snippets beyond the article there's nothing to be found.

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Lately, a good source for blog material has been the Google Books section of their search engine which allows for free previews and in some cases free e-books with the complete text of both books and magazines.

I'm preferential to the magazines section and a few of the free ones include Billboard magazine, which is referred to in the publication as The Billboard, and American Motorcycling magazine which I will feature briefly below this mention of Charles Glaser, whose obituary appeared in the August 4, 1945 issue of The Billboard.

At first I didn't really think much of the mention that Glaser was a cafe operator because many Joe Schmoes owned and operated greasy spoons. Luckily, I did a Google search though because I came up with some good finds for any Detroit history buff.

That is, unless the Charles Glaser mentioned in The Billboard obituary isn't the same one who operated the Edelweiss Cafe (The grill Room). The dates would seem to coincide though as an article from the March 10, 1914 Detroit Free Press concerning a protest by a Charles Glaser of the Edelweiss Cafe on a dance ban edict put out by the city of Detroit suggests. Many major cities of the time had movie censors and laws against lewd behavior concerning women bearing portions of their body such as their scandalous gams! below are a few pictures of the aforementioned Cafe circa 1912.

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Finally, there's the matter of the American Motorcycling magazine. I didn't really research it and won't offer up any detailed information on the publication because it's not that important to my Eloise quest outside of the clips posted here but I do find it interesting.

More interesting because three of its devoted readers, and apparently motorcycle riders, were hospitalized at Eloise due to accidents and requested mail be sent there to cheer them up.

They were all situated in ward C-102 and occupied the bed space between November 1960 and December 1961. A fraternity of busted up motorcyclists led by George Demaree (old timer) of the Old Motorcycle Riders Club, Charles Burdick, president of the Knights of the Road MC Detroit and Russ Brokenshire, who apparently had no affiliation or at least didn't state one.

Since I didn't really search these out and only happened upon them there might have been even more. I'm sure that I'll get back to them at some point.

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