Monday, March 22, 2010

Toasting Detroit history with a bottle of Vernor's

In answering the age-old question, "War...what is it good for?", how's this:

It helped create Vernor's.

It seems that Detroit pharmacist James Vernor had concocted a new drink made of ginger and vanilla when he was called off to fight in the Civil War in 1862. When he left, he stored the beverage in an oak cask in his pharmacy on Woodward. Four years later, he returned, opened the wooden keg, and found a drink that he was daring enough to sample. He liked it. He called it Vernor's Ginger Ale. In time, so did many others, and Vernor's grew to became a Detroit original, available only at Vernor's pharmacy on Woodward near Clifford.

The placard pictured above, part of the Woodward Avenue Cultural Heritage Tour, stands in front of the original Vernor's pharmacy location, and is part of a series of similar markers that recall some of the really cool things that once made up Detroit's most-famous street. Want to check it out sometime this summer? Start at Campus Martius Park and walk north on Woodward. Every half block or so you'll find one of these pink signs.