Carrie Nation and Her Hatchet Comes To Holly, Michigan: 1908
One of Michigan's most historic streets is in the town of Holly in Oakland County.
Do you recall the tales of that feisty old woman, Carrie Nation? Oh, yeah…she wielded a hatchet and would go from saloon to saloon, busting up the place, chopping like there was no tomorrow.
Carrie and her trusty hatchet came to the Michigan town of Holly in 1908. The victimized saloon this time around was in the Holly Hotel (later named the Allendorf).
Now why would a sweet little old lady like Carrie want to cause such havoc, panic, distress, and destruction? Mainly because she was a radical member of the temperance movement, vehemently against alcohol, traveling from town-to-town smashing saloons with her trusty hatchet. She was against anyone who drank alcohol and very rarely – if ever – showed any sympathy for them. In fact, believing that President William McKinley drank alcohol, Carrie actually applauded when McKinley was assassinated, spouting “drinkers get what they deserve”.
The Holly Hotel sat in Battle Alley that has its own Historical Marker. In part, it reads: "In 1880, an uproar between local rowdies and workers of a traveling circus rendered so many bruised, beaten and jailed, that this street was thus named Battle Alley. Carry A. Nation, 'Kansas saloon smasher,' came to Holly on August 28, 1908…..Wielding her umbrella, she strode through the alley's bars bellowing about the 'Demon Rum' and its sins". She sure did…and reportedly smashed up the Holly Hotel's saloon, even though the marker doesn’t mention that.
"Battle Alley" runs east-west, connecting S. Saginaw and S. Broad streets...the Battle Alley area is also referred to as a vintage ghost town site and has cool little shops up and down that you should really make a point to visit. It’s located at 105 Battle Alley, Holly.
Not only was Carrie against alcohol, but also frowned on women who wore tight-fitting clothes. She tried to coax women to NOT wear corsets by telling them it could damage their inner organs. She was so adamant about her feelings toward alcohol and tight female clothing that she referred to herself as "a bulldog running along at the feet of Jesus, barking at what He doesn't like”.
Carrie was born in 1846, making her 62 years old when she arrived at the Holly Hotel saloon. She passed away at the age of 65 in 1911, just three years after admonishing that particular Michigan establishment.
But did she really smash it up or did her past deeds dictate this particular tale?
Some say yes.
Some say no - all she did was arrive, screaming about the wages of sin.
Will we ever know for sure?
Carrie Nation Comes To Michigan
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