Another Mystery


As a child, I loved sharing moments with my grandmother. She had a treasure box of photos that she would often take out of her closet, and she would talk about the people in each print. This photograph was part of my grandmother’s collection, but she never shared about the people in this image. I always wondered if this “Lion Pub” was a family business. Although no place description was listed, this photo was among family pictures from Detroit, Michigan, and Cherryvale, Kansas., and my grandmother’s family lived in these areas; however, she was also known to collect old photographs. Although this photo has remained a mystery, I love his picture, for it tells a story.

The bar’s name appeared to be Lion, for it was displayed on the signs next to the entrance. A placard in the upper right-hand corner presented a picture of a lion; however, the words below the sign were obscure.

Gathered in front of the bar, a diverse group of people posed for this photo shoot. Above the bar, a woman I believe, glanced from her window perch, standing behind a shuttered window. With their hair slicked back and parted in the middle, two barkeeps stood in front of the saloon doors. Another person stood partially concealed behind them. On the far left, two men stood. Both men wore vests and similar hats with a band, and the man on the far left had on a jacket, and his ensemble included a pocket watch. One man was African American, so it highlighted the diverseness of the neighborhood.

On the far right, five people gathered. A lone man stood apart from those on the sidelines. He wore a vested suit, which included a pocket watch, and a derby. The two older men gentlemen, one was Caucasian and the other African American. Although standing side-by-side, the two leaned away from one another. The two younger boys almost seemed to have appeared by accident. One is a blur with distorted facial features, for he most likely was moving into the scene as the photographer started to capture this image. The other child stood off to the side head down with a hand to his face.

This old photograph has continued to haunt as the ghosts from this photo call out to me, awaiting discovery. Maybe someday, I will find the location of this pub, but until that time, I will simply enjoy this vintage photo and wonder about its tale.

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