graceland ballroom lupton mi purple gang
David M Brown

Vail, AZ

#103 Mar 11, 2012
LuAnn wrote:
Hmmmm. I have lived in Ogemaw County all my life and am a history nut. Yes we had a beautiful wood structure called Graceland. Built by Mike Gelfand aka One-arm-Mike, a former purple gang member. I'll leave the pic in your mind as to the one-arm.
Mike actually purchased the property for one dollar from his sister who had inherited it from an uncle's estate. No one knows where the money to build the ballroom came from - speculation is the purple gang. We do know the man who physically built the beautiful structure, and he also built the Roseland Hall in Rose City as well as many cottages around the lakes in the Lupton area.
Graceland burned from a fire. Roseland was torn down.
As far as the info on the South Branch Ranch. I have never heard of it before but will be digging into the archives at the Ogemaw Genealogical & Historical Society. I will state this much, there was in the 1920's and throughout the 1930's a lot of suspicious activity in that northeastern area of Ogemaw County.
The cemetary, Pere Chenney, is not anywhere close to where the aforementioned South Branch Ranch would have been. There is a good thirty to forty mile distance between the two. Pere Chenney is in Roscommon County.
Take into account that at the time of Graceland being built and during the heyday of the Purple Gang there were very few roads leading into northern Michigan and those that were had few gas stations for service. Most of the area where the Graceland was built near Lupton and where the proported South Branch Ranch was only had narrow two-track trails running through 2nd growth forests.
One tidbit of information. It is ironic that One-arm Mike chose to build a dancehall serving alcohol where he did, just outside the town limits of Lupton. It is written into the first plat of the town-and still holds lawful today-that no alcohol be made, served or sold within the towns limits.
Hmmmm.
Nothing is stranger than reality!
Pere Cheney is in Crawford County, about 5 miles WSW of the site of the old South Branch Ranch (now Forest Dunes).
wil

Traverse City, MI

#104 Mar 12, 2012
how about member names? purples
Peter Jay

Southgate, MI

#105 Mar 27, 2012
In Livonia there was a 2 story decrepit building that was the club house for a run down golf course. Rumored to be a Purple Gang night club which back the would have been deep in the woods. One time I snuck off through a doorway and found myself in this incredible ballroom with old burgundy velvet curtains and killer deco treatments with a stage in the center. Cob webs everywhere. The garage was huge as well I guess to fit those big cars..The old guy at the counter always said the place was always a public golf course period! Upstairs lived an old lady that would yell out the window to "tee off already!" True stuff. It's long gone now. it was around the 7 mile and Beck Road? area
Mary Huber Klug Allison

Sterling Heights, MI

#106 May 6, 2012
JRG wrote:
I have been told my Great-grandfather Otto Gutt was a member of the Purple Gang. If anyone recognizes the name or knows how I may be able to get some more info I would be very grateful. I was always told he ran booze from Canada to Detroit, it would have been around 1924-25 until he saved enough money to buy back the farm he lost in a poker game, which he did, and my brother and I now own the farm. We are 4th generation, I do know he had a 32cal. pistol he always had that had the Wayne County sheriff emblem on the grip, he was not on the sheriff's dept. thats for sure, any info would be great.
My father also worked for Al Capone during prohabition. My dad was born in 1889. He came to Detroit from South Dakota as a young man.
His name was George Huber. After my husband and I had visited Graceland, we told him about it and he said "I Know where it's at because I used to deliver whiskey there during prohabition to Al Capone. My father passed away in 1970 at the age of 81.
Mary Huber Klug Allison

Sterling Heights, MI

#107 May 6, 2012
To JRG: My father also worked for Al Capone during prohibition. When my husband and I visited Graceland Ballroon in the 60's we told my father about it. He said "I know where it's at. I delivered whiskey there during prohibition many times to Al Capone. I was working for him running whiskey from Canada to Detroit and Chicago." My father was born in 1889. He came to Detroit from South Dakota as a young man. His name was George Huber. My father passed away in 1970 at the age of 81.
Shaun

Grand Rapids, MI

#108 May 10, 2012
I have been camping up in RRR since I was young (i'm 30 now), and dad always told me stories about all this up there. Going through all the comments I see here, I never see reference to the one story he had been told from a local lupton guy that used to own a store in the area that had some photos and stuff before he closed up shop... that would the the FBI Shootout with the Purple Gang in Ranch Camp of RR where a big mansion used to stand. At one point, I remember seeing a book make reference to that, but I havent been able to come across that information since either.
comfort

Oak Park, MI

#109 May 14, 2012
tidbit on this purple gang. my mother dated jack purple from the purple gang in the 1950's.(i would have been about 2 or 3 years old). he really had been attached to the gang, but he was an old man then. i have no idea what his "job" was in the gang. he drove a pink Cadillac and smoked a smelly cigar. he didn't have much hair and he was pretty overweight. my mother worked as a hostess and sometime singer in a club he either owned or frequented in downtown Detroit. i find it odd that there are no more references to him online. there are books that mention him that are about Detroit at that time. the most interesting thing about this to me my father was a Detroit policeman (divorced from my mother) when she was dating mr. purple.
T Burke

Flint, MI

#110 May 15, 2012
In reference to Shaun,
I grew up in the area (Lupton)And been all over RRR but have never heard the story about the FBI Shootout with the Purple Gang in Ranch Camp of RR,I thought I had heard them all.
Whats the name of the book you mentioned? I would be interested in reading it.
Sharon Cleveland Alderton

Rose City, MI

#112 Jul 12, 2012
T Burke wrote:
In reference to Shaun,
I grew up in the area (Lupton)And been all over RRR but have never heard the story about the FBI Shootout with the Purple Gang in Ranch Camp of RR,I thought I had heard them all.
Whats the name of the book you mentioned? I would be interested in reading it.
There was NEVER a shootout between the FBI and the Purple Gang.
Sharon Cleveland Alderton

Rose City, MI

#113 Jul 12, 2012
Oops, I mean there was never a shootout between teh FBI and the Purples in or near the Graceland Ballroom or Lupton area.
Jeff Selesky

Ishpeming, MI

#114 Aug 7, 2012
I grew up in the Rose City area (M33 and Oyster Rd from 1951 to 1969.
My father operated an airplane out of the old Lupton Airport. The south end of the runway was just off the Graceland property with the north end behind the lumber yard (LarryKay's I believe). On rainy days there was a bit of hanger flying at the Graceland by area pilots. They had shuffboard and pooltables. My dad was good friends of Mr Pastula. I was quite young but remember the dance floor. There was a balcony on the south end in which a mannequin dressed up as a gangster complete with a replica Thompson machine gun stood watch. All very exciting stuff for a youngster.

I think there was a movie theater in the lower basement level as there was a 16mm projecter in there for private viewings.

The Rose City Flying club maintained a hanger for a few years until a windstrom knocked it down. Over the years many tourists flew into that tiny little field which is now grown over. The timeline here would be 1955-1962 thereabouts.
jackie kohn

Saint Petersburg, FL

#115 Aug 7, 2012
Helen wrote:
<quoted text>
I know how to get you a Bass Lake Farms Butter Box. Please e-mail me with any info about Bass Lake Dairy Farms as I live in the old farmhouse and would LOVE to know its history. I have been trying to find anyone who can give me owners names, dates,etc....Apparently it was a broom factory after the Farm! [email protected]
havent heard from you in several weeks. did you get the last email i sent with quite a bit of info???
Steven Beck

Fort Pierce, FL

#116 Jan 14, 2013
Mary Huber Klug Allison wrote:
<quoted text>
My father also worked for Al Capone during prohabition. My dad was born in 1889. He came to Detroit from South Dakota as a young man.
His name was George Huber. After my husband and I had visited Graceland, we told him about it and he said "I Know where it's at because I used to deliver whiskey there during prohabition to Al Capone. My father passed away in 1970 at the age of 81.
My grandfather and his brother were both sheriffs in Detroit and were killed by the Purple Gang, when my father was about 3 years old. Floyd and Cloyd Beck were gunned down in a drive by shooting.
Tony Albisani

Walled Lake, MI

#117 Feb 17, 2013
I remember going somewhere with my dad and brothers at about 5 yrs old. Remember gangsters with guns up over door(fake) blood shelaqued into the floor? Remember I was a 5 yr old worm! I'm 45 now and want to know if it still exists, take my worms! Any information would be great. [email protected] thanks!
Ellie123

Royal Oak, MI

#118 Feb 18, 2013
T Burke wrote:
In reference to Shaun,
I grew up in the area (Lupton)And been all over RRR but have never heard the story about the FBI Shootout with the Purple Gang in Ranch Camp of RR,I thought I had heard them all.
Whats the name of the book you mentioned? I would be interested in reading it.
Purple gang: The FBI Files
Karl

Lake Geneva, WI

#119 Mar 30, 2013
comfort wrote:
tidbit on this purple gang. my mother dated jack purple from the purple gang in the 1950's.(i would have been about 2 or 3 years old). he really had been attached to the gang, but he was an old man then. i have no idea what his "job" was in the gang. he drove a pink Cadillac and smoked a smelly cigar. he didn't have much hair and he was pretty overweight. my mother worked as a hostess and sometime singer in a club he either owned or frequented in downtown Detroit. i find it odd that there are no more references to him online. there are books that mention him that are about Detroit at that time. the most interesting thing about this to me my father was a Detroit policeman (divorced from my mother) when she was dating mr. purple.
I have a press photo dated 8-23-55 showing Jack Purple in front of his home in Marquette, MI. Do you have any other info about Jack Purple? Please email direct to [email protected]
Peggy

Thompsonville, MI

#120 Apr 1, 2013
Hi,
I was reading this and seen your log on name, My Mother always talked about her dads brother was part of the Purplr gang.
Don't know what his brothers name was but my G pa's name was
Art Kenyon
Fallster

Southfield, MI

#121 Apr 19, 2013
Peter Jay wrote:
In Livonia there was a 2 story decrepit building that was the club house for a run down golf course. Rumored to be a Purple Gang night club which back the would have been deep in the woods. One time I snuck off through a doorway and found myself in this incredible ballroom with old burgundy velvet curtains and killer deco treatments with a stage in the center. Cob webs everywhere. The garage was huge as well I guess to fit those big cars..The old guy at the counter always said the place was always a public golf course period! Upstairs lived an old lady that would yell out the window to "tee off already!" True stuff. It's long gone now. it was around the 7 mile and Beck Road? area
Seven Mile and Newburgh in Livonia
Carl Allor

Hastings, MI

#122 Jul 28, 2013
I also remember Graceland Ballroom the same way Patricia Hockin remembers it, with the machine guns setting in the catwalk around the top, with the mannequins posted at them. I could not wait to spend some of my summer up at Clear Lake and take a few trips over to Lupton for a visit to Graceland Ballroom...... Good memories...
Diane

Sherman, TX

#123 Sep 14, 2013
Growing up I always heard stories about the "Purple Gang". My Unlce Frank (Frank Elbers) was a member - heard it all my life. According to stories he was Frankie J. He was a small man no taller than 5ft 7in and maybe 150 lb. He taught my sisters how to shoot a handgun. As for me he was a sweet old man (sisters were old 11,17 & 18 years older than me.
What I don't understand is why a Catholic Boy/Man would belong to "The Purple Gang"?

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