The Way It Was


1957 Many companies once emblematic of Detroit are long gone, but one that has remained — for 112 years — is Pewabic Pottery. Founded by Mary Chase Perry and Horace J. Caulkins in 1903 (though the name Pewabic wasn’t used until 1904), Pewabic’s first location was in an old carriage barn on Alfred Street. John R. Perry was the artistic force behind the business, but Caulkins invented the Revelation Kiln (originally made for dental enamel) that also proved ideal for firing pottery. The two remained close friends until Caulkins’ death in 1923. As the company grew, it needed larger quarters, so architect William Buck Stratton was hired to design a Tudor Revival-style building on East Jefferson Avenue at Cadillac Boulevard, which today is still home to Pewabic Pottery. In 1918, Stratton and Perry were married at Caulkins’ home on Parker Avenue, just a stone’s throw away from the Pottery. Stratton died in 1938, but his wife forged ahead, working essentially to the end of her life. Here she is, age 90, at Pewabic Pottery as the company marked its 50th year at its East Jefferson location. According to Lillian Myers Pear’s 1976 book, The Pewabic Pottery: A History of Its Products and Its People, Stratton in her final years made her way to Pewabic in a wheelchair from her Cadillac Boulevard home, just doors away. Born in 1867 in the Upper Peninsula town of Hancock, Mich., Mary Chase Perry Stratton died at 94 in 1961. The name “Pewabic” stemmed from a Chippewa word for the copper mine in Stratton’s girlhood home of Hancock. At the close of her life, “Her mind was alert and her interest never faltered,” wrote Pear.


Edit Module
Edit Module Edit ModuleShow Tags

Archive »Related Content

The Way It Was

Better Made Snack Foods, 1971

Do Good

The Greater Detroit Philanthropy Awards are back with eight new recipients

AFP Interview Series: Nominee Tracy Utech

With over 20 years of experience, Utech and her team have championed funds that have seen benefit outside of Wayne State’s campus.

AFP Interview Series: Nominee Karen Smithbauer

A career as a preschool teacher and battle with breast cancer, ground Smithbauer's philanthropic efforts

An Hour with ... Faith Duede

Founder, Rocky Horror Preservation Society
Edit Module
Edit ModuleShow Tags

Most Popular

  1. Top Docs List 2018
  2. Memories of Miya
    Citizen Yoga founder, Kacee Must Leeb reflects on her sister’s suicide, its impact on her...
  3. Introducing the Piekie
    These cookie-shaped pies win big on-screen and off
  4. The Sixth Man
    A youth basketball coach teaches lessons on and off the court
  5. Seeking Support
    Like many metro areas across the U.S., finding a therapist in and around Detroit can prove to be...
  6. Therapy in the Digital Age
    New innovations that revolutionize traditional approaches to counseling
  7. Food Recipe: Chili
    Michael Keys, of Red Crown in Grosse Pointe Park, shares his favorite chili recipe
  8. Author's Cuisine
    At M Cantina in Dearborn, Junior Merino is creating a new kind of Mexican cuisine that is...
  9. Seeing Clearly
    The co-founders behind Genusee on making eyewear with a mission
  10. Mending Migraines
    Nausea, excruciating head pain, sensitivity to light and noise: The oppressiveness of the list of...