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Darwin and I headed into downtown Clare to see what we could see.  And we continued to be delighted and surprised.

Along the way, we paused to dissect a number of buildings.  Darwin and I love doing this together.  We're both amateur architectural historians, and we like to pick apart buildings to figure out when they were built, and how they were renovated, or what their original purpose might have been.  Since there's rarely anything to tell us what the actual history might have been, we can always be right!

Anyway, a great deal of small town America west of the Appalachians was constructed in the early 1800s. There was a pause during the Civil War, and then another boom in the late 1800s.  If you look closely, you can often see what buildings were done in the early 1800s, and which were done--or redone--in the late 1800s.  Look up when you go into these buildings.  Many of them have the original lathe or tin ceilings.  Then there was another pause, followed by a boom in the 1920s, when poured and molded concrete was all the rage.  This was replaced with brick and mortar during the WPA and PWA period of the 1930s.  (This was when many of those big, b!usiness-like post offices were built.)  The 1940s were still using brick.  The 1950s shifted to that awful stacked stone and aluminum.  The 60s decided slim and blue was the way to go (ugh), and the 70s went for that awful, nasty dark brown crap.  (Sorry, but nothing good came out of the 70s.)  Darwin and I have become adept at spotting these things, and it's great fun, especially when we find a cornerstone or plaque that proves us right.

Clare had a bunch of fun buildings to dissect, and then we came across:


Cops and Doughnuts is a bakery, though saying the place is a bakery is much like saying Cedar Point is a park.  The bakery was originally called Clare City Baker and was started in 1896, and it remained a fixture in downtown Clare.  It fell on hard times several years ago, however, and was in danger of closing.  Rather than let it vanish, all nine of Clare's police officers pooled their money and bought the place to keep it going.  They renamed it Cops and Doughnuts.

The place includes a bakery (open 24 hours); a diner (open until the bakers need the cooking facilities in the evening); a store that sells t-shirts, cop memorabilia, Amish baskets (no, really), coffee mugs, and bumper stickers; and a police museum.  The latter is a little gem for all you law-enforcement buffs.  They have police equipment dating back a hundred years (including some scary looking handcuffs, a handcuff ring, the jail door from the original Clare city jail, and one of the first breathalyzer machines), uniforms, hats, photographs, radios, and rows and rows and rows of patches from police forces all over Michigan.

But the bakery.  Oh, the bakery.  I worked at a bakery in college, so I know for bakeries, and this place had it down.  The doughnuts and fried cakes were clearly made by hand, not by a machine.  The glaze was high quality.  The pies and breads were fresh, fresh, fresh.  The air smelled of sweet sugar and fresh fruit.

Darwin and I spent more than an hour there.  I bought a basket.  And a doughnut.



( 3 comments — Leave a comment )
Anne Seebaldt
Jul. 8th, 2016 03:53 pm (UTC)
bakery work
Steve, what bakery did you work at in college?
Jul. 9th, 2016 02:36 am (UTC)
RE: bakery work
I worked at Robaire's in Mt. Pleasant.

Edited at 2016-07-09 03:10 am (UTC)
Anne Seebaldt
Jul. 9th, 2016 02:40 pm (UTC)
RE: bakery work
So did my roommate Karen.
( 3 comments — Leave a comment )
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