2008 E-M-F 100th Anniversary Homecoming
July 13th - 19th, 2008
Chelsea, MI and Surrounding Area

Hasselback 1909 EMF at Hotel
Dick Hasselbacks 1909 EMF provided a welcome for tour participants at the Chelea Comfort Inn.

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The E-M-F Registry, an affiliated registry of the Horseless Carriage Club of America gathered in Chelsea, MI (West of Detroit, MI) the week of July 13th – 18th to celebrate the 100th Anniversary of the E-M-F. Members were present from around the world with the furthest traveling from South Africa to attend this once in a lifetime event of fun, fellowship and history. The E-M-F Registry is made up of owners of E-M-F 30’s, Flanders 20’s and Everitt 30 automobiles and contains approximately 200 members’ world wide.

The centennial event had been in the makings for many years and the planning committee had been meeting via weekly conference call since February to ensure that attendees would be able to experience not only great tours, but other events that they would not normally be able to do while visiting the Detroit area. The committee consisted of William Flanders Spencer, the great grandson of Walter Flanders, Clay Thompson, Daryl Kemerer, Floyd Jaehnert, Dick Hasselback and John M. Daly.

Sunday July 13th, 2008 – Registration Day

EMFs at Clock Tower
Cars at the Clelsea Clock Tower for ice cream social.

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Sunday was registration day and the planning committee gathered early to assemble the attendee’s goodies bags and prepare for the weeks events. As registry members arrived, they were checked in with many then gathering in the hotel parking lot to start kicking tires. In the evening, cars were driven to the Clock Tower in Chelsea for an ice cream social to give the members a chance to meet each other and for the public in Chelsea to view the cars. The Clock tower is part of what once was a large manufacturing complex that Walter Flanders had. In this complex he built the Flanders Motorcycles and possibly the Flanders Electric Cars. What is left of the complex is now being renovated to contain shops and condos. Registry members were treated to a tour of one of the buildings that is currently under renovation and were able to see the insides of the factory. This, coupled with the period pictures of inside of the motorcycle manufacturing facility, made for a fantastic trip backward in time.

Monday July 14th, 2008 – Tour to Manchester

EMFs at Clock Tower
Tour Participants enjoy the several tables worth of E-M-F related objects on Monday nights Memorabilia presentation.

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Monday was the first day of touring which took us to the Manchester area. Our first stop was the Sharon Mill. Henry Ford had converted the mill into a village industry to manufacture car parts. This beautifully restored mill provided plenty of picture opportunities and a place to stretch out legs. Our next stop was Bob Anzelone’s restoration shop where we saw approximately 20 cars in various stages of restorations. This 5 person crew must have spent weeks cleaning there shop in preparation for our visit because my shop has never been that clean.

Leaving the restoration shop, we proceeded on to the small town of Manchester, MI where we stopped for lunch and walking. The town had blocked off an area for us to park in and it was impressive seeing 10 E-M-F 30’s all lined up on one side of the street.

After lunch we proceeded on to the Weaver car collection. This collection had cars from the 20’s up to the 80’s including cars like Packard, McLaughlin-Buick and Chrysler. My favorite in the collection was the 1931 DeSoto SA Roadster, which is similar to my own 1931 DeSoto SA 4-Door Sedan. The owner said I was the first person to view the collection who also had a 1931 DeSoto.

In the evening we had a presentation by John Bluth on the auto industry in Detroit in 1908. This presentation included little known facts about the city and greatly prepared us for our Tuesday trip into Detroit.

After the presentation, EMF Registry members brought out all sorts of memorabilia and displayed it on tables in the conference room for all to view. Everything from complete EMF tool kits, original advertisements, owner’s manuals, rare oil cans and even a Christmas card that was sent out to a friend by Barney Everitt, the “E” in E-M-F.

Tuesday July 15th, 2008 – History Unplugged Tour Unplugged

Metzger Grave site
Metzger Grave site in Woodlawn Cemetary as seen from the tour bus.

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Our Tuesday event had us loading two busses and proceeding into Detroit for a guided tour of important automobile historic sites in Detroit. Most of the sites had some tie into the E-M-F Story. We started with a visit to the Woodlawn Cemetery where we saw the gravesite of Bill Metzger, James Couzins and the Dodge Brothers, whose tomb looked like it should contain an Egyptian ruler.

We proceeded down Woodward Avenue over what was the first mile of paved road in America past the Ford Highland Park Plant. The remnants of the plant still had the Pewabic tile decorating the exterior of the building. From there we continued on to the Ford Piquette plant (after passing by one of the Fords homes one the way). This plant is one block down from where the E-M-F Plant was which burned down in 2005 leaving only a vacant lot behind. Inside the Piquette plant, we heard a presentation on the history of the plant including the plans for the future. We also heard a presentation by Gordon Matson on E-M-F Racing which included the 1911 E-M-F Factory Race Car 33 which placed 3rd in the 1911 Teidemann cup race in Atlanta, GA.

Flanders Hall of Fame Info
Walter Flanders Automotive Hall of Fame information display.

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Before leaving Piquette, several E-M-F Registry members walked down the block to the site of the E-M-F plant to pay their respects and possibly pick up a brick or two as a reminder of the plant.

From Piquette, we continued on to many other historical sites until we ended up at the automotive hall of fame. Walter Flanders was inducted into the hall of fame in 1994 and we learned that William Metzger would be one of 2008s inductees.

Wednesday, July 16th, 2008

We had another beautiful morning on Wednesday as we headed out for the Ypsilanti area. Once in Ypsilanti, we toured the Michigan Ladder company, The Ypsilanti Auto Heritage museum, and the Michigan Firehouse Museum. While there, we also found the location of Preston Tuckers house and drove by it. Preston Tucker was responsible for the Tucker Automobile. Inside the Ypsilanti Auto Heritage Museum there was a full size fiberglass model of a Tucker that was used in the movie “Tucker: The Man and his Dream” for the scene where Tucker was being chased by the police to the courthouse. I was amazed at how rough the model was up close. I now need to go back and watch the movie to see how it looked in the scene.

Thursday July 17th, 2008

Flanders Historical Marker
The Unvailing of the Flanders Garage Historical Marker. E-M-F Registry President Daryl Kemerer on the left, Walter Flanders Great-Great-Great Grand Daughter Haley Spencer to the right of sign, and Walter Flanders Great-Great Grandson William Flanders Spencer as they unvail the Michigan historical marker.

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This was the day that I have been looking forward to since this tour was first conceived: The trip to the Walter Flanders mansion and garage. As cars arrived, they were lined up around the driveway near what was Flanders’ garage. The building now serves as the community center for the local housing development. When Walter Flanders lived there, he was able to drive his car into the garage onto a turntable, which would turn the car around so he could drive it straight out. The turntable was removed many years ago, but other interesting aspects of the garage have remained. This garage was really more of a party house for Flanders and his fiends, with a two lane bowling alley on the first floor and a giant open room with a fireplace on the second floor. The bowling alley is still in operation having been recently restored by the homeowners. E-M-F Registry members were allowed to bowl some balls on the same alley that Walter Flanders may have entertained the Dodge Brothers, or Louis Chevrolet. We had lunch upstairs in the great room and all wandered who may have also done the same thing as we were over the years. After lunch, we gather outside in front of the garage to dedicate a Michigan State historical marker for the Walter Flanders Garage and for a talk by Dr. William Flanders Spencer, the great-grandson of Walter Flanders. The presentation included some little known historical facts about Walter Flanders.
EMFs On Tour - at least some
E-M-Fs on the lawn at the Flanders Mansion.

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After all the presentations, we moved the cars in front of the mansion for a photo to commemorate the 100th anniversary celebration It was impressive to see so many E-M-F’s, Flanders’ and Everitt’s in one place. The addition of a Wayne and two Flanders Motorcycles put it over the top.

In the evening we were treated to a talk on Women in early motoring given by Jane Grove which included a fashion show of early dusters. I had been looking forward to this presentation so that I would have a better idea of what to look for when we are looking for period clothing. I especially liked the duster that could be buttoned into a pair of coveralls for working (or maybe I just liked watching Daryl Kemerer as he attempted to get it all buttoned up).

Friday, July 18th, 2008

Fitzhugh EMF on Clark Lake
Gil Fitzhughs 1909 E-M-F 5-Passenger Touring parked at Clark Lake Yacht Club

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Our final day of touring sent us out in the direction of Jackson, Michigan where our first stop was the Sandhill Crane Vinyards. This Winery was responsible for the bottles of E-M-F 30 wine we had been selling throughout the week. From there, we proceeded on to the Ye Ole Carriage Shop private car Collection where we were all in information overload as we strolled through an amazing collection of everything from automobiles built in Jackson, MI, to Coca-Cola products, peddle Cars, literature, and more antique stuff than I could ever possibly describe. All of us agreed that this was an amazing collection that we all felt fortunate to be able to see. I could have easily spent a few more hours there.

But lunch was awaiting us at the Clark Yacht Club. The Club house for the Clark Yacht Club use to be the home of the Haynes family of Kelsey Haynes wheel fame. It was said that at one time, Haynes wheels where on 95% of all the cars on the road. Some of the families took advantage of the chance to swim in Clark Lake while we where there as well.

Anthony Yanik Speaking at closing banquet
Author Anthony Yanik spoke at our closing banquet and signed copied of his book.

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In the evening we had our closing banquet which was topped of by a presentation by Anthony Yanik, the author of the book “The E-M-F Company: The Story of Automotive Pioneers Barney Everitt, William Metzger, and Walter Flanders”. Registry members were encouraged to bring their own copies of the book to be signed by the author. It was a fascinating presentation that I will remember for a long time.

Some awards were given out to the members who traveled the furthest (the Middlemann’s from South Africa), trailered the furthest (“Mac” McPherson from California), the LeRoy Award for the best write-up in the spirit of LeRoy Pelletier (Judy Wildman) and the award to the participant who went to the greatest length to keep the car on the tour (The Jim Gorel Family enduring wheel problems, gas tank issues etc ).

The tour is over now and the years of planning appear to have paid off. Everyone seemed to have a great time. It was hard to come home after such an exciting week of fun, history and friendships. I realize now that there is a new meaning to the E-M-F Acronym – Extreme - Mucho – Fun.

Centennial Photos

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Kathy Kemerer (Left) and Amy Daly (Right) handle registration check in. Notice the Wine glasses which all tour members recieved and the bottles of E-M-F Centennial wine for sale.
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Some of the E-M-Fs on tour lined up in front of the hotel on Sunday afternoon.
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Pete Davies 1912 Flanders Touring on Sunday as cars were arriving at the hotel. This car performed very well all week except when they were coming out of Hell, MI on Wednesday. Seems the cars run better with gasoline than without.
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The Clock Tower Commons in Chelsea, MI use to be part of the Flanders Manufacturing in Chelsea. The Flanders 4 Motor Cycles where built here. We had our opening night ice cream social here and gave folks in the area a chance to see the cars.
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This picture shows both of the Flanders Motorcycles that participated in the tour with the Chelsea Clock tower commons in the background. These motorcycles were built in the buildings at the Chelsea Clock Tower Commons.
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This picture shows the 1912 Flanders 4 single-cylinder Motorcycle owned by John Fretschl. This motorcycle is as close to perfect as I have ever seen. It was neat to see it and the other cycle back at the place they were built.
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This ia a picture of the Flanders Twin-Cylinder motorcycle owned by Dr. William Spencer Flanders. It is the only Flanders twin known to still exist and is in beautiful shape.
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A shot looking down the headlights of the cars on one side of the parking lot at the Chelsea Clock Tower Commons on the Monday night of the tour.
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"Mac" MacPherson's 1909 E-M-F 5-Passenger Touring at the Clock Tower Monday Night. This was one of my favorite cars on the tour. It is always nice to be able to see a car with so much in origninal condition. This car was driven every day of the tour.
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A local historical group was making a video about the E-M-F's coming home to Chelsea. John Daly was interviewed and described what the tour was planning todo through out the week.
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Some of the cars on tour lined up on the street in Manchester, MI. This town opened it arm to us and welcomed us on Monday around lunch time.
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This picture shows the Dodge Brother Grave site in the Woodlawn Cemetary in Detroit. Our Tour bus went through the cemetary on Tuesday as tour directors Bill Spencer and John Bluthe pointed out interesting auto related grave sites.
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This picture shows what was the E-M-F Factory site on Piquette Street in Detroit. All that remains is a vacant lot now. This picture is taken looking north as we drove east on Piquette.
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This picture was taken looking at the vacant lot that was the E-M-F factory from the 3rd floor of the Ford Piquette plant. You can see that Ford could keep an eye on his compeditors E-M-F right next door.
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This 1909 E-M-F 5-Passenger touring is owned by Del DeRees. The picture was taken the Thursday of the tour at the Flanders Mansion.
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This 1912 E-M-F Demi Tonneau is owned by my neighbor, Bill Day. The picture was taken the Thursday of the tour at the Flanders Mansion.
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The Cars on tour lined up at the winery we stopped at on Fridays tour. This same winery is where we had the E-M-F Centennial bottles of wine made.
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Daryl Kemerer, the president of the E-M-F Registy, spoke at the closing banquette on the importance of the history associated with these cars and the priviledge we have in being the caretakers of these pieces of history.

More Centennial Photos Coming Soon...

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John M. Daly

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