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Hotel Gus: 1905

Hotel Gus: 1905

St. Clair Flats, Michigan, circa 1905. "Resort sightseers on dock of Gus. Trautz's Hotel." 8x10 glass negative, Detroit Publishing Company. View full size.


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Engine picture

There are some decent picture of a Wright "make and break" of about the correct size here.

Y'all ain't read enough

That's a one-cylinder make-and-break gas engine in the smaller boat. E. B. White describes running such a boat and engine in his childhood (ca. 1908), in his essay "Once More to the Lake."

Filming a Musical ?

You get the feeling all these wonderful characters are about to break into a song and dance number. Surely one of the finest Shorpies yet.


Seems like a gas engine to me, Wade. No smokestack, nothing big enough to be a boiler in that time period and still leave room for the engine, no obvious coal supply; boilers rarely burned liquid fuel in that time period. While 1905 does seem early for an internal combustion engine, that's sure what it looks like. A steam launch would probably have been bigger to provide enough room for the people. In that period all steam engines had to have a licensed engineer to run them, which also led to larger sizes.

One other possibility is that it's a naptha engine. Those were equipped with a much smaller boiler than a steam engine and used the fuel as the working fluid in the cylinders. However, they usually also had a prominent funnel.

Boats - Inquiring minds etc.

I noticed the little runabout in the lower right hand corner. I would guess that circa 1905 that is a steam powered launch. Anyone on here familiar enough with steam powered small vessels that would know?

Is that the boiler in the middle of the boat or a small one cylinder gasoline engine? Just seems a bit early for gasoline engines in boats.

And 107 years later, the building is still there...

Built in the 1870's, this hotel was bought by Gus Trautz in 1898. It was known by many names: Kehl's Public House, St. Clair House at Willow Grove, Trautz's, Forester's, Kulow's, Seaway, 4-B's, and Jacob Harsen's Harbor Club. Today, the beautifully restored hotel is part of the South Channel Yacht Club.

If you use the Zoom tool on the building you can see that aside from paint and a couple of minor architectural changes, the building still looks remarkably the same.

Ladder on the roof

I wonder whow long it took them to find that ladder. I love these deep, rich prints for the wealth of detail in the parts of the photograph that were unintended at the time.

Ready to dock

Another great Shorpy photo -- I wonder how many copies the newsboy sold from that big bundle of newspapers?

It appears the photo is being snapped from the stern of an excursion ship, moving away from the dock (hence back wash in lower left.) I think most of these people would be facing us and awaiting arrival if that were the case, but most of these seem to have bid friends goodbye... and are on their way back to Gus' hotel or elsewhere for more fun in this resort area.

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