We ran across this unique picture postcard of Zingarella on Facebook. Due credit to Barry Holdship, who collects old photographs of the Upper Thumb.
Is the Daredevil Zingarella in Coney Island New York or Bad Axe?
The daredevil Zingarella postcard is inscribed with Bad Axe Fair 1912 on the bottom. Doing some research, we found this image listed on eBay, but it is denoted as being from Coney Island Amusement Park in New York in 1909. In the distance, we can see a tall domed building. If it was taken in Bad Axe, then I assume that to be the Huron County Courthouse. The tallest structure in town.
Sideshows at the Bad Axe Fair
We have found little information on the performer Zingarella. The stunt appears to be that the girl walks a ball down the steep circular ramp while waving a flag. I’m sure that a piece of chilling music accompanies the act.
The Huron Community Fair took place September 17 – 20, 1912. If this was a postcard of the fair, it was likely taken by J. G. McDonald studios. McDonald’s studios were known for taking many postcard shots of subjects in Michigan’s Thumb during the heyday of sending postcards in the early 1900s.
Here is the story of when President Nixon visits Bad Axe. During the Spring of 1974, the Watergate break-in and subsequent cover-up were still unfolding but yet to fully engulf the nation. However, the break-in was in the news and the President wanted to hit the road with a campaign day. A special election was to be held for a House seat pitting popular Republican James M. Sparing against Democrat J. Bob Traxler in Michigan’s Eighth Congressional District. It was an opportunity for some good news that Nixon was desperate for.
President Richard Visit to Michigan’s Thumb
The trip started in Saginaw and then crossed the Thumb with stops in Bad Axe, Cass City, and Sandusky. The New York Times coverage of the event describes the crowds as curious and numbering in the several thousand as the President spoke at each stop.
This Diary of events comes from the Nixon Presidential Library in California.
President Nixon Visits Bad Axe – April 10th, 1974
9:12 am – The President went to the South Grounds of the White House.
9:16 am – The President flew by helicopter from the South Grounds of the White House to Andrews AFB, Maryland.
9:31 am – The President flew by the Spirit of ’76” from Andrews AFB Maryland to the Tri-City Airport, Freeland, Michigan.
10:55 am – The President deplaned.
11:11 am – The President addressed members of the crowd assembled for his arrival
11:29 am – The President flew by helicopter from Tri-City Airport, Freeland to Huron County Airport, Bad Axe.
12:06 pm – The President participated in a campaign motorcade through Michigan’s Eighth Congressional District from Huron County Airport, Bad Axe to Sandusky City Airport. The President’s accompanied by James Sparling, Republican candidate for Michigan’s Eighth Congressional District.
12:11 pm – The Presidential motorcade arrived at the Huron County Courthouse, Bad Axe.
12:23 pm – The President addressed members of the crowd.
1:20 pm – The Presidential motorcade arrived at Cass City.
1:27 pm – The President addressed members of the crowd.
2:45 pm – The Presidential motorcade arrived at the Sanilac County Courthouse, Sandusky.
2:50 pm – The President addressed members of the crowd.
3:00 pm The Presidential motorcade arrived at the Sandusky City Airport.
The President bade farewell to Mr. Sparling.
3:02 pm – The President flew by helicopter from Sandusky City Airport to Bay City Airport.
The President greeted local Republican officials:
Creighton Holden, Republican National Committeeman
Ranny Reicker, Republican National Committee
Jerry Rpe, State Republican Executive Director
Mildred Dunnell, Republican State Vice-Chairman
Jerry Nissley, Saginaw County Republican Campaign Director
Mrs. Elmer Smith, Co-Chairman of the Republican National Committee
3:52 pm – The President flew by the “Spirit of ’76” from Bay City Airport, Michigan to Andrews AFB, Maryland.
The President met with Senator Robert P. Griffin (R-Michigan), Congressman Elford A. Cederberg (R-Michigan)
4:56 pm – The President deplaned.
5:05 pm – The President flew by helicopter from Andrews AFB, Maryland to the South Grounds of the White House.
5:17 pm – The President returned to the second-floor Residence.
This shot was found in a stack of digital shots from our research. It appears to be a pony parade taken in Bad Axe, Michigan, in the 1930s.
The Garber Buick Company
In the background, it shows the Garber Buick Company dealership. Its founder, Guy Garber, was an automotive pioneer. At age 23, Guy was mentored by Billy Durant, founder of General Motors. Durant asked Guy to organize a retail network, opening dealerships in Battle Creek and Saginaw. In 1910, Buick withdrew from the Saginaw market, and Guy, along with a partner, bought Buick’s interest, establishing Garber Buick Company. Bad Axe Michigan.
Flannery Buys Out Garber
In 1938 Guy Flannery bought the Bad Axe dealership. After World War II, Flannery’s son, Mark, joined his dad to run the dealership as Flannery and Sons. The pair sold both the Buick and Pontiac brands.
Both families, Garber and Flannery, are still operating auto dealerships in Michigan. Guy Garber passed away in 1965.