I was very excited to find your site through Facebook. I am from Saginaw and do miss it. I'm sorry to see how our town has declined over the years, but Saginaw is not alone. I was in the trucking industry for years on and off, and it was amazing to see how many drivers knew of Saginaw. I even had a driver from Nevada tell me he was at Tony's on Genesse!
I still have to show people my hand to let them know where we are! I have lived all over this great nation and each place has it's own good and bad points but Michigan has so much to offer. The Great Lakes, Mackinaw Island, the contributions of the auto industry, the poetry of Theodore Roethke, Al Hellus, and the music scene are next to none.
My fondest memories are of working at the old Fordney Hotel back in the mid-80's. I had just left Georgia and returned home to Saginaw. Work was scarce, and I was living in the Fordney. I went down to The Old Town Saloon that the Furlo's were reviving into a new "entertainment complex." I had made friends with James (Rusty) Furlo, and he told me he might know where I could gain employment.
Two days later as I sat in my room eating an Intermission Deli sub and watching the Tigers, there was a knock on my door. I opened the door and there was Rusty. He said they needed a bouncer at the lounge and would I like to work? I put my sandwich down, and thus started my three-year tenure with the Fordney Lounge.
In the 80's Hamilton Street was a rocking music mecca. Quite a few bands were making their mark: My Dog Bob, Water 4 The Pool, Valentine, and our house band, The Mick Furlo Band. We got bands from all over, Detroit, Grand Rapids, even Ohio. I don't know if anyone remembers "Invisible To You" by Mick Furlo. They got quite a bit of airtime on the old Z-93. They went to Chicago to record, made a tape and almost hit the "big time."
It was an experience to live and work at a hotel built in 1822 on the site of Fort Saginaw. Jim Perkins's wife at the time, Karen, was our #1 bartender, and she always said there were ghosts in the hotel. I never believed her 'til one night I was downstairs pulling beer out of the cooler and saw a white energy source cross through the hall and disappear into the wall. Say I'm crazy but, I know what I saw.
I also saw a lot of great bands at The Hamilton Street Pub. The Fordney was a place where friends could gather and have a drink and dance to the greatest music. I was living in Las Vegas when the hotel burned. I got a package from my brother, and in it were two pictures of the hotel on fire. My heart sank, as I knew I would never be able to step in that place again.
Now there is a new generation of kids, going to Retro Rocks, The Pub and The Schuch. I hope they remember those who helped pave the way. There is a big space where the Fordney used to be, but when I look that way I will always see "Rusty" saying; "Hey, Mike You looking for a job?"
God Bless Saginaw!