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Tiki Central Forums » » Collecting Tiki » » Waitoma Grotto - Holly, MI
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Waitoma Grotto - Holly, MI
uncle trav
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Apr 27, 2005
Posts: 1791
From: Kalamazoo
Posted: 2009-04-01 6:06 pm   Permalink

[quote]
On 2009-03-29 08:04, bigbrotiki wrote:
"Fred Barton was sort of a local Don The Beachcomber, as his daughter said an idea man, a doer who grew tired of a thing once it was finished and needed new challenges, it seems. Also, he burned himself out, if he died in 1975 -or he was already an old timer by then."

Fred Barton. 1907-1975. Puts him at only 68 when he passed away and 53 in 1960 when the resort was built. I'm still trying to track down a copy of the 20's topo map myself. Strange how the owner chose to build his Hawaiian resort so near Lake Mauna Loa and then built Lake Oahu. Maybe the exotic name of lake Mauna loa inspired his travels to Polynesia and the South pacific if it did indeed exist much earlier than 1961.


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bigbrotiki
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Joined: Mar 25, 2002
Posts: 11159
From: Tiki Island, above the Silverlake
Posted: 2009-04-01 9:55 pm   Permalink

"He chose Holly because his grandparents lived here when he was growing up, and he spent a lot of time here as a kid."
"...Fred said that he remembered coming down there with his grandma in the early 1900s – I’m guessing around the 1920s or so..."

So little Fred probably spent some summer afternoons splashing in Lake Mauna Loa, and curious about the funny name, heard his first stories of Hawaii, which fueled his imagination...


 
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Bongo Bungalow
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Joined: Aug 20, 2007
Posts: 1273
From: Indiana
Posted: 2009-04-03 04:55 am   Permalink

More pictures with captions by reporter Amy Mayhew. She will be doing a follow up article in a couple of weeks based on an interview with HG employee, Joyce Semmens Merriweather who worked during the Fred Barton years and well after.

Hawaiian gardens luau table Jan. 1969
This is a picture of a table that Joyce set up, complete with the pig with a lei around his neck. She said this was a typical luau night in the geo dome room shown on the postcard.


Bay and Vachon Hawaiian Gardens Jan. 1969
This is a picture of Raymond Bay (left) and Maurice Vachon and his wife dining at the Hawaiian Gardens. The picture was dated Jan. 1969 so who knows when the actual picture was taken - maybe New Year's Eve of '69, I don't know. Bay was the Manager of the Hawaiian Gardens, and Vachon was the Vice President.


Hawaiian Garden kitchen 1966
This is a picture taken in 1966 of the Hawaiian Garden kitchen. All the guys were bus boys - no male waiters at the Hawaiian Gardens. The lady wearing the sarong with her back to the camera is Joyce Semmens Merriweather - the lady I interviewed.


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grovjff
Member

Joined: Apr 03, 2009
Posts: 1
Posted: 2009-04-03 09:03 am   Permalink

Thank you, to all who have posted this wonderful information and nostalgia.

I did a Google search on my in-laws last name and found that you had been posting about them on this forum. Seeing the information inspired me to join, so I could post you all and thank you.

I married the oldest daughter of afore mentioned Barb, daughter of Fred Barton.

I am thrilled to learn more about the family that my children will want to know about as they grow. It is unfortunate that the family is so private about it's past that they even feel uncomfortable speaking about it with their own son-in-law. I am afraid that I don't have anything of value to add and if I did, it would not be my place to do so.

I did notice a couple of questions or comments that I might add some insight. I will take notes and comment once I have read through all the posts. For example, there was a picture of a woman shopping and holding a dress (I believe on pg 2 or 3 of the string). The poster questioned if it was Mrs. Fred Barton the third wife. My answer is probably not. I don't know for sure, but I believe at that time his wife was an Asian mail bride named Aching (sp?). Once again, I may be wrong on the timing and which wife, but this is because it just is not talked about in the family.

Good luck in your continued searches and postings. I am enjoying the good reading materials I have found here.


 
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bigbrotiki
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Joined: Mar 25, 2002
Posts: 11159
From: Tiki Island, above the Silverlake
Posted: 2009-04-03 3:27 pm   Permalink

As unfortunate as it is, it makes sense that a mother (and with her her child) that have been left by a man for another woman (if that's how it happened) have unresolved, ill feelings about that period in their lives. One would wish that with the passing of time folks could achieve a more pragmatic and adult view of matters, but that is not always the case, and so matters remain a shut book. That is too bad for people like me, when they try to write one.

I really would like to know if Fred ever talked about his inspiration for the Hawaiian Village in Holly: Did it happen early when visiting his grandparents, and did he ever play in lake Mauna Loa? Did he frequent or see other Polynesian restaurants while living in San Francisco? Or did he take a cruise vacation in Hawaii and New Zealand and that was his sole inspiration..?

We may never know...


 
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bigbrotiki
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Joined: Mar 25, 2002
Posts: 11159
From: Tiki Island, above the Silverlake
Posted: 2009-04-03 3:45 pm   Permalink

Thanks Bongo!
First, it's great to see they had a mural, that has not been pictured in any postcard or brochure we saw so far:

Quote:

On 2009-04-03 04:55, Bongo Bungalow wrote:


>>Title "Wahine on a beach stroll happens upon a Luau pig"<< ed.

Bay and Vachon Hawaiian Gardens Jan. 1969
This is a picture of Raymond Bay (left) and Maurice Vachon and his wife dining at the Hawaiian Gardens. The picture was dated Jan. 1969 so who knows when the actual picture was taken - maybe New Year's Eve of '69, I don't know. Bay was the Manager of the Hawaiian Gardens, and Vachon was the Vice President.




It makes total sense that Fred was not running the place himself. Wonder if those guys worked for him and took it over when he opted out in '65.

Bongo, what about the sign question? Maybe he wanted to put up huge neon signs and that was the city's red tape mentioned in the article?


[ This Message was edited by: bigbrotiki 2009-04-03 15:49 ]


 
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Sabu The Coconut Boy
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Joined: Aug 20, 2002
Posts: 2793
From: Carson, California
Posted: 2009-04-03 7:20 pm   Permalink

Here's the dinner plate from the Hawaiian Gardens. It has the signature hei tiki logo and that airbrushed finish under the glaze typical of Jackson China pieces. It is a large plate - a full 12" in diameter.

I bought this from the same eBay seller who sold me the postcards in 2004. He told me that at the local Holly, MI swap meet, one dealer had been bringing in Hawaiian Gardens merchandise week after week to sell. He evidently bought the plates, postcards, teacups, etc from the restaurant when it closed. My eBay seller bought them from the swapmeet dealer, (after he had built his own complete set of china).




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uncle trav
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Joined: Apr 27, 2005
Posts: 1791
From: Kalamazoo
Posted: 2009-04-04 5:03 pm   Permalink

Great job guy's. I was wondering if anyone can make out the sign in the photo that Chub posted. I messed around with the image but could no make it out?


Also would anyone happen to have a copy of the Huki Lau menu from the HG as I believe there is an artist rendering of a bird's eye view of the whole complex on the back. This was posted earlier in the thread but to hard to make out.

Another item besides signage not shown on any of the renderings that we have seen is the honeymoon cottage. Looks as if the renderings shown so far are artist concept drawings as they do not match the layout of the actual photos in the thread
such as the period postcards. Would be good to see them all together including the menu and compare. Still trying to lock down when Lake Mauna Loa was named. No answer yet but found this USGS survey map which shows the complex. Thanks.







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bigbrotiki
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Joined: Mar 25, 2002
Posts: 11159
From: Tiki Island, above the Silverlake
Posted: 2009-04-06 7:11 pm   Permalink

I believe the B&W view is past the TALL moai on the far right in the postcard, towards the motel, so it seems they built a SECOND canoe-topped A-frame entrance, with a light pole and a smaller sign pole.

Whatever that sign says, it is still kind of small, considering how far back from the road the place was. The sign for the lounge could have run across the whole wall, like this:



...and the tall sides of the oracle tower would have been a great place for a sign, too, a la Julian's:



Without swooping signature signs, the place looks sort of barren...industrial. But like I said, either Fred was anti big neon signage...or the city was!


[ This Message was edited by: bigbrotiki 2009-04-07 07:33 ]


 
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uncle trav
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Joined: Apr 27, 2005
Posts: 1791
From: Kalamazoo
Posted: 2009-04-08 1:46 pm   Permalink

Just had a nice conversation with a lady from Holly. It turns out that she used to go to the Hawaiian Gardens in it's prime. She had many fond memories of her visits there "truly a wonderful place". She also remember that after the Bartons sold the HG that Fred Barton set up a store in a vacant store front downtown and sold off the contents of the resort! Everything was sold, dishes, furniture it all went. All of the money that was made from the sale went to a local church charity and then the store front was vacant once more. I would have loved to have been at that sale.

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Bongo Bungalow
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Joined: Aug 20, 2007
Posts: 1273
From: Indiana
Posted: 2009-04-10 11:00 am   Permalink

Jan's source says the sign over the door said "WELCOME". Also, a follow up article will come out about Fred Barton this weekend. With luck, we'll have more pictures.

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uncle trav
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Joined: Apr 27, 2005
Posts: 1791
From: Kalamazoo
Posted: 2009-04-10 11:11 am   Permalink

Well there you go. Now looking at the crappy blow up I did I can read it clear now. Great to hear they are doing a follow up to the story Bongo. I am waiting on some info from the library, a little long distance archeology.

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bigbrotiki
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Mar 25, 2002
Posts: 11159
From: Tiki Island, above the Silverlake
Posted: 2009-04-10 12:43 pm   Permalink

Oh goody! Can't wait to find out more!
Hopefully the next article will put Barton's Hawaiian Village more into the context of the WHOLE phenomenon of Polynesian pop and Tiki culture on the mainland --AND mention who was obviously a role model (with his model project) for Fred:

From TIKI MODERN, Chapter 8:
"...Another Polynesiac that shaped the face of 1950s Honolulu was aluminum magnate Henry J. Kaiser. Coming to Hawaii at age 72 to rest, he fell in love with the islands. He promptly bought up acres of beachfront property, built the HAWAIIAN VILLAGE HOTEL and used Buckminster Fuller’s GEODESIC design to construct the KAISER ALUMINUM DOME.....the Tahitian Lanai bar lay at the end of the Waikikian’s Tiki gardens, BY A LAGOON THAT HAD BEEN DREDGED OUT for Henry Kaiser’s Hawaiian Village Hotel."

After all, Fred Barton was not the only mainlander who after that adopted Henry Kaiser's concept of "if you don't have any beach front property, just make your own!" by getting a bulldozer and making a lake:

Quote:

On 2008-02-03 22:36, 8FT Tiki wrote:
The building and grounds were all designed and built by Mr. William Parkhurst....he used a bulldozer to dig out this massive lake and create the island upon which the Tiki House is perched...:





http://www.tikiroom.com/tikicentral/bb/viewtopic.php?topic=27235&forum=2

...and of course the very recent Lake Loreen/LAKE KALIKOA find:

http://www.tikiroom.com/tikicentral/bb/viewtopic.php?topic=31832&forum=1&start=0&42


[ This Message was edited by: bigbrotiki 2009-04-10 14:27 ]


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uncle trav
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Joined: Apr 27, 2005
Posts: 1791
From: Kalamazoo
Posted: 2009-04-11 10:57 am   Permalink

I just received some information in the mail from the kind folks at the Holly Public Library. The name of Lake Mauna Loa has been driving up the wall for a while now. The hunt for when the lake was named has been my focus on this one. An earlier post on this thread talked about an eBay auction for a 1920 topo map with Lake Mauna loa on it. Stick with me on this one as I time trip a bit. This first map is from 1872. Yes 1872 is a little pre-Tiki but shows the lake as Mud Lake.

Fast forward to a 1922 topo map of Holly Township and we have Mud Lake. I put a red circle where Lake Oahu would later be built by Fred Barton. This map is two years newer than the ebay map, which I do not have a copy of. Up until 1961 there were 262 lake with the Mud name in Michigan alone. After 1961 only 261. I have read in three different sources that the lake was renamed Mauna Loa by Mr. Barton to further the appeal of the Hawaiian Gardens Resort and the Hawaiian Gardens Village which had Hawaiian themed street names and Lake Oahu.

1922 topo map.

The next map is a more current one that shows the street name of the mobile home park and some streets to the west influenced by the space program of the sixties. The resort is marked in red.

If Fred went swimming in this lake as a kid it was named Mud. So I am not sure where is inspiration to travel to Polynesia came from other than the cold Michigan winters. The only reason for the mention for the lake Mauna Loa on a topo map from 1920 maybe that in the early 60's mapping satellites were not yet developed and older topo maps were reisseude with updated place names as the topogrphy would not change that much. I have topo maps dated 1989 which were reissues of early 1970's maps. A big part of the fun of Tiki archeolgy is digging deep. Thanks for looking.



 
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bigbrotiki
Tiki Socialite

Joined: Mar 25, 2002
Posts: 11159
From: Tiki Island, above the Silverlake
Posted: 2009-04-12 09:29 am   Permalink

Great work, thank you. Trav. That pretty much rules out the earlier turn of the century "Owyhee" naming theory of mine. Wonder what Fred thought was wrong with the name "Mud Lake".

And now to the sign ordinance theory...?

Do we know who was responsible for the mobile home park development? There are several mobile home parks in L.A. and Palm Springs which have used that Hawaiian place name concept for their streets.



[ This Message was edited by: bigbrotiki 2009-04-12 10:07 ]


 
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