Traverse City Record-Eagle


Tracking Ezra Winter to TC

By Loraine AndersonOne of my all-time favorite local history detective stories over the last three years has been the Ezra Winter’s tale, the cover story in the Winter 2011 reflections by the bays quarterly issue that came out this week.

Ezra Winter was born in Manistee in 1886, the son Augustus and Sarah (Bright) Winters.  His father, a German Lutheran minister, died five months after Ezra was born.  His mother was the daughter of a Leelanau County homesteaders.  Ezra grew up near Traverse City and went off to Olivet College to study engineering after graduating from Traverse City High School in 1905.

It turned out he had a great a talent for larger-than-life art and eventually became a well-known and respected neoclassical American muralist during the 1920s through the 1940s, best known for a 60-by-40-foot mural winding up the Grand Staircase in the foyer of Radio City Music Hall in New York City.

I will write more about Ezra in an upcoming Jan. 17 column in the Record-Eagle, but I wanted to alert readers to a slide show about downtown Detroit’s Guardian Building, which is part of the Ezra Winter story and is now available online on the Record-Eagle’s web site. You can view the photo slide show here »

Winter is best known in Michigan for his three-story mural he painted in the late 1920s in The Guardian Building, downtown Detroit’s famous art deco skyscraper.  The slide show offers a detailed look at this incredible Michigan building, which is considered a fine example worldwide of art deco architecture.  It also gives reader a colorful perspective and peek into Winter’s work and talent.

The 40-story Guardian Building has been a National Historic Landmark since 1989.

More on reflections

The Winter 2011 reflections issue brims with a wonderful mix of local history stories by Record-Eagle and area writers.

Mike Terrell writes about the transforming impact of the Civilian Conservation Corp during the Great Depression.

Local author Kathleen Stocking’s weighs in on the CCC subject with a first-person account her father Pierce Stocking who joined the national ”Tree Army” and the effect his experiences in a Harietta camp had on him.  He developed the Pierce Stocking Drive during the 1960s in what is now Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore.  Kathleen Stocking is a former Record-Eagle staff writer and author of “Letters from the Leelanau: Essays of People and Place.”

Record-Eagle business editor and Traverse City native son Bill O’Brien calls up the intriguing history of the century-old Peninsula Telephone Company, a mom-and-pop operation run more than 60 years by Jack Solomonson and wife Vi, who are selling it to a Minnesota telecommunications company.

Local historian Richard Fidler chronicles the dawn of electricity in Traverse City in 1889.

Record-Eagle columnist and former feature editor Kathy Gibbons traces the region’s wine history in northwest Lower Michigan.

And Charlevoix Ann Kelly tells us the legend of the “Christmas Tree Ship.”

reflections magazine is available by subscription, via single copy at the Record-Eagle downtown office, or at area newsstands.  For more information about how to subscribe, where to purchase, or to read some excerpts and past issues, visit

  • Rcurtis

    I have an original study done by Ezra Winter, given to my mother who worked for Patricia Winter, widow of Ezra.  The painting is not signed but shows Ben Franklin in his printing shop.  There are other people, six men, two women there also.  I would love to know about the final product that this study was for.

Record-Eagle Blogs is proudly powered by WordPress
Entries (RSS) and Comments (RSS).