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Message in Bottle Found After 97 Years Has Good Timing

Image: Message in Bottle Found After 97 Years Has Good Timing Photo taken sometime between 1900 and 1920 of the steamship Tashmoo delivering visitors to Tashmoo Park, St. Clair Flats, Michigan.

By Alexandra Ward   |   Tuesday, 18 Jun 2013 11:16 AM

After finding a message in a bottle lodged in the bottom of Michigan's St. Clair River last year, local historians are searching for the descendants of the women who penned the note in 1915.

"Having a good time at Tashmoo," read the message that diver Dave Leander found last June. The bottle was buried at the bottom of the river near where the Tashmoo steamship used to dock when it brought travelers to the amusement park in the late 1800s and early 1900s.

Tashmoo Park, which closed in 1951, was a favorite summer destination for Detroiters with a dance pavilion, amusement rides, bathhouse, and swimming beach, according to the Detroit Free Press.

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Selina Pramstaller and Tillie Esper scribbled the note on the back of a White Star Line deposit ticket and included their addresses in Detroit. After bringing the bottle to the surface and drying it out, Leander shared his find with the Harsens Island St. Clair Flats Historical Society, which is, ironically, planning a "Tashmoo Days" event next month to commemorate the time when Detroiters traveled to the park.

"What's cool about this, it’s a document that’s been preserved, sent nearly 100 years ago, and never got delivered," Bernard Licata, president of the Historical Society, told the Free Press.

Licata is hoping to find the authors' descendants in time for the event.

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Michael Brodzik, president of the Metropolitan Detroit Antique Bottle Club, is helping to hopefully find Pramstaller and Esper's relatives.

"I do a lot of research on bottles in the Detroit area," Brodzik said. "This was just an interesting aspect. You have names and addresses. This is kind of an interesting project to do."
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