Monroe in the Time of Typhoid

This post is not about beer, it’s about water. So why is a beer blog doing a post about water? One; beer imageis mostly water. Two; beer was often drunk as an alternative to polluted water. St. Arnold of Soisson’s miracle was to get local peasants to drink beer, “gift of life”, instead of water. His parishioners survived the plague. Okay, stories similar to the last one were possibly myth. But in the book “Last Call“, Daniel Okrent does mention that one of the many factors in passing the 18th amendment was better sanitation leading to clean reliable drinking water.

The summer of 1915 was still young when local physician and Monroe Health Officer Dr. J.J. Siffer noted that between June 25 and July 12 seven patients came to him showing the symptoms of typhoid: high fever, diarrhea and a red rash. It became clear thatimage the 7 thousand citizens of Monroe were in the midst of a typhoid outbreak. Initially the reason for this outbreak was unclear but by the time he tended to his seventh patient he felt that the water supply was to blame. At this point Dr. Siffer imagecontacted the State Board of Health and requested a sanitary engineer be sent to Monroe. And so James W. Follin was dispatched to find the cause of the outbreak. One that would grow to 44 cases by the end of the summer.

Typhoid is caused by the bacteria Salmonella Typhi which is transmitted by ingesting the feces of an infected person. The fight against disease causing pathogens was just getting started. Water treatment processes such a filtration and chlorination were becoming more widespread. State and local health departments were opening up. The famous case of Typhoid Mary was eight years previous and Wilbur Wright died of typhoid just 2 years earlier to Monroe’s outbreak.

In 1915, the water was supplied by Monroe Water Company which had been granted a 30 year franchise in 1889. This was not the first time water quality had been an issueimage for them. A large majority of the water tested since 1908 was deemed unsafe for domestic purposes. Water pumped in from the lake was not treated in any manner. Fish would come out of hydrants and block service lines diminishing water pressure. Untreated Lake Erie water is very inconsistent and was considered undrinkable by customers during certain times of the year which drove the citizens to the 5 public wells located throughout the city. But people were mistaking clear water for clean water and the water from the well was no safer to drink.

The well at Wadsworth and Second that some called “the old sulphur well” was the oldest well in Monroe. The well had a few cases of typhoid tied to it dating back to 1914. By June 26 the well had six cases directly attributed to it. When the test came back from Lansing the Wadsworth well plus the one at Noble and Tremont were badly contaminated. Byimage July 19, three public wells in total were closed never to open again leaving only the public wells at Harrison and 6th plus the Rapp Park well open.

This did not end typhoid outbreak. The bacteria was being carried in untreated sewage that was dumped straight into the river. It then flowed out to the lake. And when the wind blew in a certain direction it headed straight for the intake.

The state issued a boil water warning and demanded that emergency treatment of city tap water with hypochlorite of lime on July 21. The Monroe Water Company set up a chemical feed system and maintained a chlorine residual throughout the system. These actions contained the outbreak to 40 people until Monroe Water Company decided to cease feeding chlorine for three days without notifying the public. This caused four more cases. Meanwhile, city officials were talking seriously about improvements they could make and the need for more oversight.

James W. Follin’s thorough investigation led to the conclusion that the city needed toimage build a filtration plant. Chlorine can only purify the water but it can’t clean it. Without the removal of organics, the water would still be unpleasant to drink creating a lack of confidence in Monroe’s water supply. Eight years after the outbreak a new city run Filtration plant was dedicated on March 1, 1924. The plant is still is in use today.

I recommend checking out Follin’s “Report on the investigation of the typhoid fever epidemic at Monroe, MI occurring during the summer of 1915″. Because of the report’s depth and wealth of information, it is impossible to condense it into a blog post. The report includes maps, test results, pictures and a list of every case in Monroe. If you enjoy nerding out on how life used to be please click the link. To me it’s just more proof that the good old days weren’t so good.

 

Mon-Roll: Bicycle to Beer

There is an event in Detroit called Slow Roll. Every Monday night bike riders gather for a pedal through Detroit’s neighborhoods. I got me thinking, why can’t we do this in Monroe? We can! So Mon-Roll was created. We did add a slight twist so we included a stop for Michigan craft beer.

So here’s the plan. Every Monday at 6:30p we will meet at Loranger Square, located in downtown Monroe. Then we will take a moderately paced ride out to a local bar. Drink a beverage of your choice. My choice will be a Michigan craft beer and you will not be shunned if you have a soft drink. You will be if you order a Coors Light. I’m just kidding? We will then ride back to one of the downtown bars for one more beer.

Now for the rules… First rule of Mon-Roll is talk about Mon-Roll. Second rule is about helmets. I wear a helmet but I will not make you wear one. That decision is yours and your alone. We will obey the rules of the road. And no rider will be left behind.

For updates on weekly rides click here.

Partyville Beer Event for the Humane Society

Monroe is having a beer and wine event! Actually the number of beer events are on the rise over the last few years but they are usually scheduled on days when I can’t make it… And this is no different. But I remember the days when there was not a lot going on so I get excited when I see local beer events.

It’s brought to you by Partyville  with partial proceeds going to the Humane Society of Monroe. So you have good local beer and wine plus a good cause. I did verify that Rave will be there so that means Bell’s and Founders.

Here are some details. Please check out the flier for more…

Saturday October 26, 2013 6 to 10pm

Location: Monroe Golf & Country Club 611 Cole Rd, Monroe (734) 241-5190

$25 per person advanced $35 per person at the door

Partyvill

Summer at the OG

If I were to open a brewery in Monroe it wouldn’t be much different from Original Gravity in OG Logo F1Milan. The would be different. Probably some horrible pun like “The Nash Tun”, “Decoction Nash” or even “No-Beer-Named-After-General-Custer Brewing Co.” The latter would just be to get that question out of the way.

There is so much to love about Original Gravity in addition to their tasty beer… and that should be more than enough. The atmosphere is relaxed and family friendly. OG believes in cultivating community. On Wednesdays OG has a farmers market set up so you can buy your veggies for the week.  It is the type of place that you can’t believe there was a time before it existed.

I particularly love going there in the summer. The patio is open and you can sit in the shade and enjoy a beer . It’s something man has done since civilization began. Or at least since man invented patios. It’s engrained in us.  When you think of how many summers you have in your life time why would you sit inside when drinking a great summer beer like Two-Wheeler?

OG turns five this year and so does my oldest daughter. I joked the other day that I remembered that Maggie turns five because Original Gravity does. Everyone is invited to OG’s party this Saturday, June 15. You aren’t invited to Maggie’s but a gift of beer for her Dad would be appreciated.

Below are just a few of the highlights of what looks to be a great summer at the OG…

OG 5-year Anniversary Party on June 15th!
10 IPAs on Tap!
Beer Inspired BBQ provided  by Ypsilanti’s Red Rock BBQ from 2pm til gone!
 Live Music on the (soon to be renovated) patio from Valentiger wsg Steve Leaf @ 5pm!
Additional outside seating and bar will be available.
No Cover!

Original Gravity Farmer’s Market!! Wednesdays
The farmers Market is now OPEN for the Season. Thanks to Zilke Vegetable Farms, Erie Bread Company and everyone else who helps make the Wednesday Market awesome!

 

May 11, 1933

I’m reposting my article from a few years ago in commemoration of the amended Volstead Act on this day at 6pm.

It’s Thursday, May 11th 1933 at 6pm. What would you as a beer drinker be doing? Most likely waiting in line to buy your first legal beer in Michigan for 15 years. Since the beer law was signed on April 7th, the state was preparing for this moment. Trucks and trains full of beer had been delivered to warehouses around the state for the sale of 3.2 beer. Yes, in spite of Michigan being the first state to repeal the 18th amendment on April 10, 1933. You could not sell beer until May 11th. Detroit got its first taste of legal beer on May 10th. One hundred and fifty barrels went on sale that night at a special charity ball by the American Legion. Now, it was the rest of the state’s turn.

Tax on the sale of beer was not the only way the government made money. License fees also brought in revenue to the state. While beer sat in warehouses, license seeking business owners like bar owners, retailers, restaurants hotels and clubs lined up at government bureaus hoping to get one before the flag dropped on selling of beer. In Escanaba the licenses were actually flown in by airplane to insure that beer could be sold on May 11th.

Most Detroit breweries would not have their beer ready till late June or early July. One exception was Stroh’s. They were prepared for selling their beer. They had 15 to 20 thousand cases ready to compete against the out-of-state breweries. In spite of breweries from other states and Canada pouring in shortages were expected.

Why did it take so long after the U.S. government amended the Volstead Act to make 3.2 beer legal? Obviously, Michigan wanted alcohol to be legal. The state was the first to repeal the 18th amendment on April 10th. It was basic government bickering over how to legislate beer. They didn’t want the problems that they had before prohibition. Also, the business had been ran by the mob for the last 15 years and they needed that to be addressed. Unfortunately, what they created was a lot of bureaucracy that is still handcuffing breweries in this state today.

Here is just a sample of the new laws enacted. Beer must be sold to a customer seated at a table. There is no free beer with food, no curb service, no free lunch and no gambling, drunkenness or idling on the premises. All packages must have the state tax stamp put on before it is turned over to retailers. No sales between the hours of 2am and 7am. No wholesaler or brewery can make deliveries to homes. The last law mentioned still hurts MI’s brewing and wine industry today. One thing of interest was that the drinking age was 18.

The May 12, 1933 Monroe Evening News reported that sales were disappointing here in Monroe. I blame Ohio. They had legal 3.2 beer on April 7th. In Detroit though the party was big. Woodward Avenue was the scene of a party that was compared to an holiday parade. Fortunately, there were only 15 arrests.

So this May 11th at 6pm raise a glass to legal beer in Michigan. It was beginning of a Michigan’s great brewing industry. A brewing industry that is respected and apprecaited all over the world. Oh… and when you do toast, please don’t use 3.2 beer. Toast with one of the finest beer’s Michigan has to offer.

St Patrick’s Day at Original Gravity

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Below is information about St. Patrick’s Day at Original Gravity from Brad Sancho.

I do want to add one thing about
the Oatmeal Stout pumpernickel beer bread from Erie Bread Company. It will have cheddar cheese and onion baked in. Their bread has become as much of a part of our St. Patrick’s Day as stouts. It will be available at Erie Bread on Saturday.

Looking forward to a great time this St. Patricks Day @ Original Gravity Brewing Company on Sunday March 17th! We will have extended hours this year since it is Sunday. We will be open from Noon until 11pm. Lumpy (Oatmeal Stout) will be on tap later this week to also enjoy on Sunday. We will also have (6) additional small batch stouts on tap for Sunday.

Imperial Chocolate Mint Stout
Dry Stout
Foreign Extra Stout
Milk Stout
Coffee Stout
Ginger Dry Stout

We will be serving huge corned beef sandwiches made with house cooked Grobbels corned beef on Oatmeal Stout pumpernickel beer bread from Erie Bread company. Served with a side of homemade baked potato salad from Erie Bread Company.

Muskrat Mashers’ Beer On Tap at Corner Brewery

There are many things that I love about Corner Brewery but the top of my list is their sense Muskrat Mashersof community. They even let local homebrew clubs come in and brew on their rat pad system so they can show off their beers during their annual Rat Fest. A lot of beer is brewed for this event and even though every ticket is sold there is still beer left over. That is good news for anyone that couldn’t get to Rat Fest in January. Starting February 27 the remaining beer is released every Wednesday night at 6pm. Growlers are available after 9pm if there is beer left.

The Muskrat Mashers, Monroe’s homebrew club’s release party will be on March 6. I would like to invite anyone interested in coming out to join us. It doesn’t matter if you brew or not we would love to share a beer with you.

Here is our beer list…

  • Bourbon Oak Brown Ale: Chocolate, vanilla, hints of oak and bourbon.
  • Chocolate Rye Porter: Delicious chocolate malt flavors with hints of rye spices.
  • Citra Bomb: Crisp grapefruit citrus flavors shine through this India Pale Ale.
  • Cayenne Cherry Rye: Tart, sweet cherry, spicy rye notes with a subtle cayenne heat finish.

Click here for the Rat Pad release dates.  There will be a lot of fantastic beers released during this series. Check it out.