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Tiki Central Forums Ľ Ľ Collecting Tiki Ľ Ľ Waitoma Grotto - Holly, MI
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Waitoma Grotto - Holly, MI
Chub
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Joined: Jan 26, 2005
Posts: 264
From: Detroit, MI but now in sunny Los Angeles
Posted: 2009-03-15 11:13 am   Permalink

I just noticed a small detail in one of the pictures I posted the other day. On the roof there are some cool little guys in a boat.

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Humuhumu
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Joined: Aug 22, 2002
Posts: 3623
From: San Francisco
Posted: 2009-03-15 1:56 pm   Permalink

Years ago, I added this place to Critiki, but at the time the only information I could find was about the mobile park home (I didn't even have the address, just the name "Hawaiian Gardens" & the town). I remember it driving me crazy that I was coming up empty... I am entirely puzzled about missing this whole thread (maybe due to the "Waitoma Grotto" disconnect?). Years later, I've now made the connection! What a relief, this was making me nuts. I've beefed up Critiki's record:

Hawaiian Gardens Resort in Critiki


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bigbrotiki
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Joined: Mar 25, 2002
Posts: 11245
From: Tiki Island, above the Silverlake
Posted: 2009-03-15 2:16 pm   Permalink

Quote:

On 2009-03-15 09:10, Bongo Bungalow wrote:
I happen to have a sister who lives there and is a city council member. I'll see if she's interesting in doing some sleuthing. What would help?



Well...like what happened to the owners, Fred and Jane Barton, and the architect, Jim Livingston, and the other collaborators mentioned in the text below:


Apparently they were inspired by a trip to the Pacific islands to build this place:


(These menu texts courtesy of Mimi's Arkiva Tropika)

When did the place shut down, and why? Was it something else before the Motel became an AA meeting hall? And was that motel always in that gingerbread style? What were the shifts in the infrastructure of Holly, Michigan that made the Hawaiian Gardens an anachronism? (perhaps Auto-industry related?)




[ This Message was edited by: bigbrotiki 2009-03-15 14:20 ]


 
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Bongo Bungalow
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Joined: Aug 20, 2007
Posts: 1275
From: Indiana
Posted: 2009-03-15 5:45 pm   Permalink

Assignment received... hope to report soon!

 
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ukutiki
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Joined: Feb 25, 2009
Posts: 197
From: Michigan
Posted: 2009-03-15 5:59 pm   Permalink

Here is a matchbook cover from the Hawaiian Gardens.



 
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bigbrotiki
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Joined: Mar 25, 2002
Posts: 11245
From: Tiki Island, above the Silverlake
Posted: 2009-03-15 7:17 pm   Permalink

Wow, that is a great rendering! With the lake, it sure looks like Waikiki!

 
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Bongo Bungalow
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Joined: Aug 20, 2007
Posts: 1275
From: Indiana
Posted: 2009-03-16 11:32 am   Permalink

My sister, Jan Bungalow, says she is only too pleased to add to our information pile. She has a couple of meetings this week that may produce some info. Her first phone call, and she turned up this:

"Well, I got so excited when I saw those postcards, I couldn't wait to ask around at my meetings. I called Don Winglemire, the eighty year-old owner of a 150 year-old furniture store here in Holly, and asked him. That turned out to be a good call, because he provided all of the the furnishings for the Hawaiian Gardens complex.

Fred Barton founded the company Bar's Products (still located here in Holly), which makes Bar's Leaks radiator sealant, in 1947. Sometime after that he became very wealthy when a patent infringement lawsuit against Dow Chemical was decided in his favor. Needing to lose some money for tax purposes, he began his hobby business, Hawaiian Gardens.

The multi-million dollar complex included a restaurant, entertainment lounge, banquet room, and motel. It attracted guests from all over the country, many to make use of the motel's honeymoon suites. Most of the interior furnishings were custom-made. The "talking volcano" bar in the lounge was made of real lava stone embedded with colored lights and topped with glass. Recorded sounds of an erupting volcano emanated from it. The custom-made carpet was black with iridescent scarabs in the pattern that glistened in the darkness. A girl scout troop was employed to string the thousands of beads that hung floor to ceiling. Mr. Winglemire no longer remembers the name of the company that produced the bamboo furniture used throughout, but the metal furniture was produced by a company called Metalcraft. He has no idea what has become of all of the furnishings and fixtures.

The resort was still a going concern when Mr. Barton sold it to retire to Hawaii. Mr. Winglemire isn't exactly sure when the sale took place. Based on my friend's recollection, I'd say the sale occurred in the late sixties or early seventies. It changed hands twice more and ended its life as a drug rehab center. The owner of the rehab center died about ten years ago, and the business was shut down and the buildings torn down shortly thereafter. I have no idea why the buildings were destroyed. All that is left is the remains of a parking lot with weeds growing through the cracks.

Mr. and Mrs. Barton have passed on, but they have a daughter, Barb Soloko, who still lives here in town.

Here's one more tidbit from Mr. Winglemire I forgot to mention. Because the image of the tiki character is supposed to bring good luck, the Bartons had tiny plastic tiki images scattered on the tables so that every guest could take home a tiki, and thus take home good luck."

When she digs up more I'll post it here. In the meantime, I'll thank Jan on everyone's behalf.


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uncle trav
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Joined: Apr 27, 2005
Posts: 1818
From: Kalamazoo
Posted: 2009-03-16 12:04 pm   Permalink

Fantastic stuff Bongo. Your sister is doing a great service. The cracks are starting to fill in and the story is coming out. Great job. I can't wait to hear more. Many thanks from us up here in Michigan.

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bigbrotiki
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Joined: Mar 25, 2002
Posts: 11245
From: Tiki Island, above the Silverlake
Posted: 2009-03-16 12:39 pm   Permalink

Yes, thank her from me, too. It sounds like Barton was a small version of Henry Kaiser. Those decor details are great. So if the Bartons DID retire to Hawaii, how come the daughter is still in town...and WHO were the other two owners....

And if the daughter kept any, nice B&W P.R. photos with the owners posing in their place are always great finds!

[ This Message was edited by: bigbrotiki 2009-03-16 12:51 ]


 
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uncle trav
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Joined: Apr 27, 2005
Posts: 1818
From: Kalamazoo
Posted: 2009-03-16 3:39 pm   Permalink

A side note to his invention that I thought was noteworthy. From the Bar's Leaks website. I believe this dates to the early 50's Cold war era. Make a fortune and start a Tiki Palace.

"Founded in 1947 by Fred Barton, Bar's Leaks was more than just a stop leak, it was history in the making!

The True story of How Barís Leaks Saved the USS Nautilus.


Bar's Leaks Yesterday:

In an automotive radiator a tiny leak might not mean disaster: But on a U.S. nuclear submarine during a top-secret mission under the Arctic ice cap, a tiny salt-water leak would have proven deadly for the sailors aboard the USS Nautilus were it not for the amazing stop leak capability of Barís Leaks.



Here is their true story:


En route to the polar ice cap, the engineering crew discovered that a small salt-water leak had developed on one of the nuclear reactor steam condensers. The leak was spilling sea water onto a critical piece of machinery, causing noxious fumes to fill the Engine and Maneuvering Rooms. A submarine is a labyrinth of tubes and pipes, so pinpointing the leak while at sea would have been impossible. Something had to be done.


In Seattle, the subís last port before embarking north, the commander had an idea to save the mission: He sent his men out to buy as much Barís Leaks as they could find. Dressed in civilian clothes, the crew covertly spread out over Seattle to purchase the legendary stop-leak solution.
With the Barís Leaks safely on board, sailors poured 70 quarts of it into the submarineís condenser system.


It worked!


With the leak stopped, the USS Nautilus was able to complete its top-secret mission, becoming the first submarine to cross the North Pole underneath the Arctic ice cap."




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[ This Message was edited by: uncle trav 2009-03-16 15:40 ]


 
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Bongo Bungalow
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Joined: Aug 20, 2007
Posts: 1275
From: Indiana
Posted: 2009-03-16 4:36 pm   Permalink

Trav- So once again, tiki saved the day! I love it!

 
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uncle trav
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Joined: Apr 27, 2005
Posts: 1818
From: Kalamazoo
Posted: 2009-03-16 6:19 pm   Permalink

Cold War intrigue, The fate of a nuclear submarine hangs in the balance, A revolutionary invention and the owner of a Tiki Palace. Sounds like the plot of a good 50's movie for sure. I bet his gentleman had allot of stories to tell.

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bigbrotiki
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Mar 25, 2002
Posts: 11245
From: Tiki Island, above the Silverlake
Posted: 2009-03-16 8:48 pm   Permalink

Bongo, in case your sis does ask the daughter for photos, maybe she can impress her by the fact that her parents' place is in a book -in Tiki Modern page 178. I doubt she'll have the book handy but here is a j-peg:



Quote:

On 2009-03-16 11:32, Bongo Bungalow wrote:
Here's one more tidbit from Mr. Winglemire I forgot to mention. Because the image of the tiki character is supposed to bring good luck, the Bartons had tiny plastic tiki images scattered on the tables so that every guest could take home a tiki, and thus take home good luck."



That is a great detail, too! Those plastic Hei-Tiki were THE tourist item back then, and came in all sizes and uses. They probably imported them by the barrel:



This and the description on the back of their menu really shows that they must have become Polynesiacs on their Pacific trips:



It must have made quite an impression on the customers, too. How exotic!


 
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Bongo Bungalow
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Aug 20, 2007
Posts: 1275
From: Indiana
Posted: 2009-03-17 03:07 am   Permalink

You know the buttons to nudge people, don't you Sven? I agree that knowledge of your book might help loosen some people up. The residents of Holly are quite proud of their little burg.

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uncle trav
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Apr 27, 2005
Posts: 1818
From: Kalamazoo
Posted: 2009-03-17 09:52 am   Permalink

A little archeology from up above. The black and white photo shows the buildings still there in 1999. The lake can be seen to the back of the compound.

This is a recent shot. All gone.





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