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"Ginger Blue" Coffee Bar
Saginaw, Michigan
(6 August 1970)

The "Ginger Blue" was a coffee house situated at 116 South Hamilton Street, Saginaw Michigan.  This booking was probably arranged through the folk at Our Saviour Lutheran Church, Saginaw, and the Rev Bob Henkel.

I have since learnt from the Saginaw Library Service that the "Ginger Blue" existed at 116 S. Hamilton between the years of 1967-1972 (which includes the time we were there), and was owned by Mary E Cady.  She changed the name of the establishmment to "Still Waters" in 1973 - presumably it was still some sort of coffee bar.

It is now (2000+) a pub called "J B Meinberg's", which I took pictures of in 2009.

The e-mail at the bottom pf this page (below the photographs) sheds some interesting light on The "Ginger Blue", and a particularly important artist who played there.



John, Eddie, Tony, Sam (Joe/drums) at the Ginger Blue, 1970
 
A view of the same 'stage' area in 2009 at J B Meinberg's
 

In January 2007, I received the following e-mails (combined and edited into one) from Matina Coulouris (San Bruno, CA) shedding some interesting light on The Ginger Blue Coffee House.
 
21 January 2007

Dear Eddie

The website for the Crossbeats at the Ginger Blue Coffee House was sent to me by Les Irvin, who heads up the Joni Mitchell Discussion List website.  I happened to be browsing the site and noticed an entry for 1967 as the year Joni performed at the Ginger Blue.

Anyway, I was at Joni's Ginger Blue performance in 1967.  The place was quite empty, Saginaw not being particularly hip at the time.  We were seated four feet from her.  She sang and played like an angel.  I was riveted to her presence and sound, knowing that I was witnessing true artistry.  So, Les and I were trying to nail down the exact date of her performance, and all of this lead to his finding your website, which he forwarded to me.  A friend of mine at the Saginaw Library is doing some research for me regarding the former owner Mary Cady.


I'm a musician and currently live in California.  I was born and raised in Saginaw.  Seeing that photo of the Ginger Blue and the Crossbeats was such a treat, although I am sorry to say I never heard your band.

(and later)


I have just learned that Mary Cady, the former Ginger Blue owner, might still be living in the Saginaw/Bay City area.  I'll see what I can find out.

As far as the Ginger Blue is concerned, during the time-frame 1967-70 I recall there being more local bands performing, with the occasional major artist.  I was in Saginaw recently, and Old Town is still there.  J.B. Meinberg is also there; I didn't go in, but will on my next visit.  The atmosphere of the few clubs/bars on S. Hamilton is now much louder/edgier than the Ginger Blue was, but Old Town is still the only interesting place in Saginaw.

Saginaw was once a bustling blue-collar auto town, as was most of that part of Michigan.  The entire downtown area was just great.  All the shops were busy.  Now, the entire downtown is a ghost town.  There are literally no shops or other business there anymore.  It's so sad.  All business have moved to outlying shopping malls.  It's such a shame, because Saginaw's downtown is right on the Saginaw River bank, which divides the east and west sides of town.  My dad owned a bar/restaurant downtown from the time I was 7.  We had jazz trios playing nightly.  Those days are long gone.


I'll send any new information I can find about the Ginger Blue

Anyway, take care, and I hope all is well with you in Liverpool.

Matina Coulouris
San Bruno, California

 


In March 2012, I received the sad news that Mary Cady had recently passed away. E-mails from Matina Coulouris (somewhat edited), which add some detail to the news, are shown below
 
22 March 2012

Hello Eddie

I just received this news from a friend of a friend of mine. Mary Ellen Cady, the former owner of the Ginger Blue Coffee House in Saginaw, Michigan, has died. She had lived in a small home on Saginaw Bay for many years, and spent the winter months in Florida.

She had had another surgery for heart blockage, but put it off for too long. She was too weak, and told Don Jr. on Sunday, she had had enough and was ready to go on.....she passed @ 1am. Monday. No service in Fl. or Mich. Ashes to be scattered in Saginaw Bay later


Take care, and all the best to you and your family

Matina Coulouris


 

Here are some 2009 photographs of J B Meinberg's

J B Meinberg's - and the pub next door in 2009


J B Meinberg's in 2009
 
A view through the front window - the stage in the background

Finally, I should say that, even though I was only a short time in Saginaw in 2009, I have to agree with what Matina has said (above) about the city.

Downtown Saginaw is rather 'sad' - and that is despite the fact that some businesses are really trying hard to keep things going; we had a lovely lunch at a small cafe on N Michigan Ave.

It seems clear, though, that the whole place has lacked investment for some time. Clearly the demise of manufacturing industry has been a big factor, but also I guess investment has been elsewhere in the area. There is a fine mall to the north of town, and the business district to the east looks to have been modernised, or even 'created'.

Much as I like malls, I am so glad that my own city, Liverpool, resisted the temptation to build a mall out of town, and instead re-invested in the city centre (a section now called 'Liverpool One'). Yes the parking is a 'drag', but the city is alive and 'buzzing' and a pleasure to be in.

If you can help to supply any extra information, please get in touch. Email

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