The Last Engineer
The house was actually owned by the university, and the men received treatment each day at the speech clinic located directly across the street at 1007 E. Huron. My grandma's place, along with a couple of other large houses, sat high up on the north edge of Fletcher Park (the front lawn of today's Power Center). The park had several large, old elm trees in the middle and a row of lilacs on the slope bordering Washington, which at the time continued on past Fletcher toward Observatory Dr.
I can vividly recall lounging in the private family room, watching Bozo the Clown on TV and staring out the large front window at the traffic and pedestrians on the busy street below while my grandma fed the men their breakfast. I was always impatient for the meal to be over on those special days when I knew that afterward I would meet my dad at the university powerhouse down the block.
The large brick edifice, built in 1915, was a city landmark from its beginning, with a towering smokestack reaching high into the sky. The facility was enlarged in 1924 and a second smokestack added. Naturally, I was most intrigued by the railroad tracks that ran along the west side of the building. They headed south past the end of the building, across a bridge over Washington, and almost to North University Ave., ending about 200 yards behind the old homeopathic hospital (today's North Hall).