A Quartet of Former Vintage Barber Shops

Former Russell’s Barber Shop in Northport, MI (now “Enjoy Michigan”)

As a follow-up to my previous post of old barber shops still operating, here are four (4) that no longer are used as barber shops. Two (2) are currently empty though the barber shop in Honor was a sign shop for a while, one (1) is now a Doggie Dayspa, and one (1) is a cute Enjoy Michigan gift shop.

Former barber shop in Honor, Michigan (shop name unknown – currently empty)

Adaptive reuse of former barber shops is an important way to maintain an active store front, often in the heart of the community, even though the new use may not necessarily constitute a “third place”. Visual links to several books on the topic(s) of adaptive reuse and third places are provided at the end of this blogpost.

Former Jonas Neihardt (later Chancey’s) Barber Shop in Traverse City, MI (now “Doggie Dayspa”)

Hopefully, the two (2) currently empty former barber shop locations pictured in this blogpost will soon find owners/tenants who will revitalize them and bring life back to their little corner of Main Street, America. Peace!

Former Phil’s Barber Shop in Kingsley, Michigan (currently empty)

Here are visual links to books that are available through Amazon on adaptive reuse and third places.

Posted in adaptive reuse, Animals, architecture, business, Cities, coffee shops/cafes, culture, downtown, economic development, economic gardening, entrepreneurship, food trucks, geography, historic preservation, history, land use, Pets, pictures, placemaking, planning, product design, Small business, third places, Uncategorized, urban planning, zoning | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

A Quartet of Old Barber Shops

One of the traditional and original third places of most small towns and larger cities is the barber shop. They often serve as a natural gathering spot for local news, discussion, gossip, and small talk. I can’t think of a more appropriate post topic for Father’s Day!

The Barbershop (formerly H. Peterson Barber Shop) in Beulah, Michigan

Floyd’s Barber Shop from the Andy Griffith Show in fictional Mayberry, North Carolina is the most famous example, but at one time nearly every small town in American had at least one. Today, as chains and spas/salons proliferate, the traditional barber shop is much rarer than it once was.

Mike’s Barber Shop in Schoolcraft, Michigan

I’m pleased to say that Tom’s Barber Shop here in Traverse City is my go-to place for both a hair cut and good conversation (see photo at the bottom of this post).

George’s Barber Shop in North Webster, Indiana

As I wander about the countryside, each time I have a quartet of these existing and former local icons to share, I will post them as a four-photo harmonic salute to their contribution towards placemaking. Also, feel free to forward a photo of your favorite local barber shopper posting.

Happy Father’s Day!

Tom’s Barber Shop in Traverse City, Michigan

Here are two visual links to books on the history of traditional barber shops that can be found on Amazon.

Posted in architecture, business, Cities, civics, entrepreneurship, geography, historic preservation, history, land use, placemaking, planning, Small business, third places | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

A Sad Place Where Mass Incarceration Thrives

Florence Federal prisons – Source: bend bulletin.com

While there are many famous prisons and penitentiaries in the United States including Leavenworth in Kansas, Sing-Sing in New York State, Alcatraz in California, and Huntsville in Texas, there is one county that contains so many prisons, it can rightfully be considered the epicenter of mass incarceration. This place is Canon City-Florence, Colorado (Fremont County), which is home to no less than thirteen (13) such facilities (9 state and 4 Federal) housing approximately 7,600 prisoners or nearly 17% of the county’s entire population.

Source: fremontco.com

The community is apparently very proud of its status, as they market themselves as “Colorado’s Correctional Capitol.” The area has also been monikered as “Prison Valley.” Here’s the list of incarceration facilities located here:

STATE: with capacity of 4,700 prisoners

  • Colorado Territorial Correctional Facility
  • Colorado Women’s Correctional Facility
  • Cañon Minimum Centers
  • Skyline Correctional Center
  • Four Mile Correctional Center
  • Centennial Correctional Facility
  • Arrowhead Correctional Center
  • Fremont Correctional Facility
  • Colorado State Penitentiary

FEDERAL: with capacity of 2,900 prisoners

  • Florence Prison Camp
  • Florence Federal Correctional Institution
  • Florence United States Penitentiary
  • Florence Administrative Maximum Penitentiary

Admittedly, prisons in some form are a necessary evil. But, to be boastful of them, particularly about being home to so many, comes across to this author as shallow and cold. Whether they are prisoners or not, the residents of these facilities are human beings. Many will spend a large proportion of their lives in this community without freedom. No matter how well run, they will likely suffer abuse, cruelties, and indignities.

Prisons are not something to be proud of, but what they really are is the following:

Prisons are a sobering and somber reminder that numerous tragedies have taken place; that lives have been torn apart, lost, or ruined; that society may have failed some manner; that some may be wrongfully imprisoned; that some may have unjust trials, sentences, or parole hearings; that some many be imprisoned for petty crimes to help maintain artificial occupancy rates and profits; that many of these prisoners are simply being stored away to be forgotten; and that mass incarceration is not a solution, it is a lazy approach to crime and punishment.

If you would like to learn more about the topic of mass incarceration, here are visual links to a couple of books on the topic via Amazon.


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“Just Mercy” Will Rip Your Heart to Shreds

In all my years, I have never read a more disturbing, yet compelling book. The injustice and inhumanity described in Just Mercy will literally rip your heart to shreds and bring tears to your eyes. Just Mercy must be made mandatory reading all American high schools and also in all law schools worldwide.

The number of innocent lives that have been wrongly been taken and/or ruined in the name of anger, fear, bigotry, hatred, meanness, abusive power, or vengeance is simply staggering. Such actions, in the name of justice, are a stain on our nation’s identity and should not be acceptable in any form or manner whatsoever. Have we as society not progress an inch since slavery, or is mass incarceration just another form of human bondage?

America’s, oh so pious justice system is largely a joke when it comes to the poor, minorities, immigrants, and the underprivileged. Bryan Stevenson’s (founder of the Equal Justice Initiative) magnificent book is an indictment on America’s justice system, particularly if you are not white or rich. Our legal system is definitely NOT blind, as justice must and should in order to be truly fair and impartial.

  • It’s inherently unfair and abusive.
  • It’s often bigoted and prejudicial.
  • It’s often incompetent.
  • It’s certainly not impartial.
  • It’s harsh and cruel.

Here are a couple of terrific quotes from Just Mercy.

“My years of struggling agains inequality, abusive power, poverty, oppression, and injustice had finally revealed something to me about myself. Being close to suffering, death, executions, and cruel punishments didn’t just illuminate the brokenness of others; in a moment of anguish and heartbreak, it also exposed my own brokenness. You cannot effectively fight abusive power, poverty, inequality, illness, oppression, or injustice and not be broken by it.” Page 289

“Walter made me understand why we have to reform a system of criminal justice that continues to treat people better if they are rich and guilty than if they are poor and innocent. A system that denies the poor the legal help they need, that makes wealth and status more important then culpability, must be changed.” Page 313

Lastly, anyone who ever says that there is no such thing as white privilege or something to the effect of “All Lives Matter” (instead of “Black Lives Matter”) is either uneducated on the topic, brainwashed by right-wing media, lying, bigoted, an imbecile, or just plain blind to the truth. Please consider reading Just Mercy – many lives are depending upon it.


Posted in Advocacy, art, book reviews, books, charities, civics, Civil Rights, civility, culture, diversity, history, human rights, humanity, inclusiveness, injustice, literature, politics, poverty, reading, social equity, Statistics, writing | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Great ‘Reverse’ Migration May Be Disastrous for Many Northern Cities and States

Between 1916 and 1970, more than six million African-Americans migrated northward to work in factories and live in cities across the Northeast and Midwest. Today, there is mounting evidence that this great migration has reversed itself, as those who can afford to are moving back south in greater and greater numbers.
While some of the reasons for this reversal can be attributed to better job opportunities, retirements, and preferences to be closer to relatives, sadly a fourth and ironic factor has to be considered – the abundance of segregated cities and increased racism found in those states that once fought to end slavery. This can be seen from both an economic opportunity perspective, as well as from the geography of prejudices being depicted by segregation in urban areas.
The following list clearly shows that the ten best metropolitan areas for African-American job opportunities can all be found south of the Mason-Dixon Line. When employment and advancement opportunities are lacking in the North for African-Americans, then why stay if you don’t have to?

1. Washington, DC and Atlanta, GA

3. Austin, TX

4. Baltimore, MD

5. Raleigh, NC

6. Charlotte, NC

7. San Antonio, TX

8. Houston, TX

9. Miami, FL

10. Richmond, VA

Secondly, the following map depicts the sad state of affairs for social equity and justice in many northern cities, as nine (9) of ten (10) of the most segregated metros in the nation are in the North. Not only is segregation immoral, but devastatingly harmful to the economic well-being of the cities that are being abandoned. Many northern cities/states are literally shooting themselves in the foot by not combating segregation and racism more forcefully.
How and why many locales in the North have turned into such unwelcoming places for African-Americans is not entirely clear, but the results are very evident. Causes could include:
  • More welcoming and inclusive residents have moved elsewhere for retirement and jobs, leaving behind a greater percentage of those who harbor prejudicial feelings.
  • Pent up anger leftover from factory closings, downsizing, job displacement, and economic malaise.
  • Brain drain of the young – semi-related to the first reason.
  • Growth of alt-right media, politics, and hate groups.
  • Prolonged and entrenched resistance to change or new ideas.
  • Lack of exposure to other cultures and ethnic groups, particularly in smaller cities and rural areas.
Regardless of the reasons, states, counties, and municipalities across the Northeast and Midwest need to accelerate their efforts to stem the tide of this migration by addressing gross inequities in policies, laws, justice, economics, and commerce, or face a bleaker and bleaker future. By thwarting opportunities for resident African-Americans, as well as immigrants, stagnation and decline are a likely result in many areas. Communities absolutely need the influx of new blood and new ideas to grow in population and thrive both economically and culturally.
Here are examples of why inclusivity is important beyond the obvious fact that being a friendly and welcoming community is simply the right thing to do:
  • “More than one-third (35.5 percent) of U.S. innovators were born outside the United States, even though this population makes up just 13.5 percent of all U.S. residents.”itig.org
  • “Immigrants born in Europe or Asia are more than five times as likely as the average native-born U.S. citizen to have created an innovation in America.”itif.org
  • “Other demographic segments have identified Blacks as a driving force for popular culture, with 73% of Whites and 67% of Hispanics who believe Blacks influence mainstream American culture.”blackentrepreneur.com
  • “The reverse migration continues as younger, college-educated Black professionals head South. Entrepreneurs have an opportunity to develop a ‘southern strategy’ to connect with the more than 10 million African-Americans in 10 key southern markets.”blackentrepreneur.com

It is long past time for the general citizenry, as well as cities and states in the North to wake up and stand up for what is right! Challenge those who promote hatred, bigotry, prejudice, and racism in any form – including politicians…or family and friends. Every person on this planet is equal regardless of race, gender, ethnicity, orientation, or spiritual belief – no ifs, ands, or buts. It is not debatable! Peace.

6/11/18 Update – Today’s Supreme Court decision on a voter roll law from Ohio is an example of the kinds of actions that help spur African-American migration out of Midwest and Northeast.

If the Great Migration is of interest to you, here are visual links to two (2) books on the topic that are available on Amazon.

Posted in Advocacy, cities, civics, Civil Rights, civility, culture, demographics, economic development, economic gardening, Economy, education, entrepreneurship, family, geography, government, history, Housing, humanity, immigration, inclusiveness, planning, politics, poverty, social equity, Statistics, urban planning | Tagged , , , , | 2 Comments

Ten Planning Lessons From Warsaw, Indiana

Source: flickr.com

Warsaw, Indiana may not be the first place on most folks lists of planning trend setters across the nation, but in most any community one can find both good and bad lessons to learn from. This prosperous city along with adjacent Winona Lake contain of approximately 21,000 residents. Warsaw is the county seat of Kosciusko County, and is situated roughly midway between Fort Wayne and South Bend in the Northeast lakes region of Indiana.

Source: landsat.com

Here’s my list of ten from the “Orthopedic Capital of the World.” They are presented in no particular order of importance.

  • Street trees and landscaping are needed along all sidewalks to make them more pedestrian friendly and welcoming.
  • An historic Carnegie Library can be enlarged tastefully and keeping with the original architecture.
  • Having major corporations headquartered in a smaller city can be a boon to more than the economy, provided they are socially responsible.
  • Warsaw is the smallest city where I’ve seen a bike share program established and operating.
  • When your city is blessed with freshwater lakes, it is critical to make them accessible all residents.
  • Even smaller cities like Warsaw can be an economic powerhouse when the the right entrepreneurial seeds are planted.
  • Smaller cities can suffer from the ill effects of sprawl just like larger ones.
  • Smaller cities need to identify workable and reliable transportation alternatives to single occupant cars, as their downtowns seem particularly susceptible to surface parking craters.
  • Preserve as much of your original historic downtown as possible, for it’s harder and more expensive to re-create.
  • Rural roadways without shoulders may actually be an unexpected traffic calming technique, as the roads feel much narrower.
Posted in bicycling, bike sharing, business, Cars, cities, commerce, Communications, demographics, downtown, economic development, environment, geography, Health care, historic preservation, history, infrastructure, land use, landscape architecture, placemaking, planning, revitalization, spatial design, sprawl, Statistics, technology, tourism, traffic, transportation, urban planning, walking, zoning | Leave a comment

Fishy Town Names

Here’s my working list of cities, towns, and villages that are named after fish, fish related activities, or include some form of fish terminology in their name. Please note that in some instances the place name may not have originally pertained to a fish topic, but just happens to use a term related to fish. The list also includes shellfish such as oysters and clams.

As I am certain this list is not comprehensive, any additions, corrections, or clarifications are most welcome. Enjoy!

  • Agawam (a fishing station), Massachusetts
  • Apopka (bass or trout eating place), Florida
  • Baixo (bass) Guandu. Brazil
  • Bass, Victoria, Australia
  • Bass Harbor, Maine
  • Bass Lake, Wisconsin
  • Bass River, New Brunswick, Canada
  • Bonita Springs, Florida
  • Bullhead, South Dakota
  • Bullhead City, Arizona
  • Camero’n de Tejeda (shrimp of the tiles), Mexico
  • Camarones (shrimp), Chile and Argentina
  • Cape Porpoise, Maine
  • Carp, Minnesota and Nevada
  • Carp Lake, Michigan
  • Catfish Paradise, Arizona
  • Chinook, Montana and Washington
  • Clam Falls, Wisconsin
  • Clam Lake, Wisconsin
  • Clam River, Michigan
  • Cohoes, New York
  • Fish, Georgia
  • Fish Creek, Florida and Wisconsin
  • Fisher, Minnesota
  • Fisher Branch, Manitoba, Canada
  • Fishers, Indiana
  • Fishers Island, New York
  • Fish Haven, Idaho
  • Fishhook, Alaska
  • Fishing River, Manitoba, Canada
  • Fishkill, New York
  • Fish Town, Liberia
  • Gila Bend, Arizona
  • Grayling, Michigan
  • Jack Fish, Ontario, Canada
  • Kaukauna (pike fishing ground), Wisconsin
  • Keego (fish), Ontario, Canada
  • Keego Harbor, Michigan
  • Kegomic (abundance of fish), Michigan
  • Kegonsa (little fish), Wisconsin
  • Kenosha (pike), Wisconsin
  • King Salmon, Alaska
  • Labuan Bajo, Indonesia
  • Lobsterville, Massachusetts
  • Marlin, Texas
  • Maskinonge (Muskellunge), Quebec, Canada
  • Nahma (King of fishes), Michigan
  • North Spearfish, South Dakota
  • Oconto (pike), Wisconsin
  • Olustee (blackfish), Florida
  • Oyster Bay, New York and Alabama
  • Oyster Creek, New Jersey
  • Pikesville, Maryland
  • Piketon, Ohio
  • Pikeville, Kentucky
  • Pompano Beach, Florida
  • Rabo de Peixe (tail of fish), Azores, Portugal
  • Salmon, Idaho
  • Salmon Beach, New Brunswick, Canada
  • Salmon River, Nova Scotia, Canada
  • Salmon Valley, British Columbia, Canada
  • Spearfish, South Dakota
  • Sturgeon, Pennsylvania
  • Sturgeon Bay, Wisconsin
  • Sturgeon Falls, Ontario, Canada
  • Sturgeon Lake, Minnesota
  • Sturgeon Point, Ontario, Canada
  • Tarpon Springs, Florida
  • Trout, Louisiana
  • Trout Creek, Michigan and Ontario
  • Troutdale, Oregon
  • Trout Lake, Michigan
  • Tracheas (trout), New Mexico
  • Whitefish, Montana and Ontario
  • Whitefish Bay,Wisconsin
  • Whitefish Falls, Ontario, Canada
  • Whitefish Point, Michigan
  • White Salmon, Washington
  • Whiting, Indiana and Wisconsin

Here’s a visual link to the Peterson Field Guide to Freshwater Fishes.


Posted in Animals, cities, environment, fun, geography, history, Language, nature, place names, Wildlife | Tagged , | Leave a comment