Remember When …



Have you ventured out yet? It is wonderful to actually get out and have some kind of normalize back, as schools and businesses are opening.

The Purple Cow was a chain of restaurants in the Midwest and at the Durant Hotel. It had the coolest decorations since General Motors was founded in Flint, in 1908. As you can see in the photo of the, Purple Cow Café there are Chevrolet car parts for the decoration which made this location very unique.

My parents and other friends have told me they went there too and enjoyed the history there. Does your family also enjoy and have many memories of walking up and down Saginaw Street in Flint, and others places in Genesee County.

My current diner favorite is Starlite Diner & Coney Island in Burton. Starlite has been family owned since 1966 and is best known for its Koegel hotdogs with Flint-Coney sauce. I have grown up going to local owned businesses with my parents. What is your favorite family hangout?

The first known restaurant was in Paris about the 1600s and “Pic-nics”, started for the aristocrats’ class only, before the French Revolution. People have been gathering in groups to share a meal in the U.S.A. since the country was settled.

The Purple Cow Café in Flint. Photo provided

The Purple Cow Café in Flint. Photo provided

We do it differently, by not having just picnics (potluck) for upper classes, but for neighbors, like in after church gatherings, neighborhood barn raising, and taverns or even at a school lunchtime meal.

Pique, means leisurely eating (or picking) a variety of food, (nique rhymed) so it is called “Picnic.” Throughout history sharing a meal with your family and friends has always been the best.

March 8, 2021 is International Woman’s Day. It started in 1911, 110 years ago, for all women to have the rights to vote like men – more about that next week.

The old boarding houses or hotels in the 1800s were found across America as our country was settled; miners, outlaws and lawmen stayed there while traveling across the country. There were usually good home cooked meals there.

Today, hotel and food chains around the country love travelers and they have changed with the times. There are approximately 2,400-3,500 miles to travel coast to coast in our country. Now that America is opening up from the lockdown, we are preparing our spring and summer vacations, enjoy and be safe.

Remember the light will be left on for you, especially in Michigan with the 129 lighthouses still working.

Remember When is a weekly column in the Burton View featuring historical stories about the community from the Burton Area Historical Society. If you have some Burton history to share, email