YouTube: Grand Rapids, Michigan City

Chicago South Shore and South Bend Coach No. 4

Image by vxla via Flickr

 A person could spend all their online time viewing nothing but YouTube videos. In fact, a writer (such as myself) could focus a column totally on YouTube video reviews without ever running out of new uploads to watch. I’ve tended to avoid talking about YouTube in this column. Now I am wondering why. Could be because my 7-year old laptop just doesn’t have the oomph to play a complete video without buffering at least six or seven times. And that is very annoying.

Somehow, I was patient enough to withstand the buffering when watching a few videos from YouTube recently. And that’s the subject of this week’s column, so let’s get to it right now.

Grand Rapids Lip Dub ( We might as well as “lip dubbing” to the dictionary, since it is a popular way to express creativity and to get a community of people together for some fun. As I write this, I have just watched the Meredith Viera sendoff from the Today show. Their lip dub was nowhere near as cool as this production from Grand Rapids. I found it via a tip from Bits & Pieces, a blog I often read. The Grand Rapids Lip Dub evolved from a comment in Newsweek that referred to the Michigan town as a “dying city.” Well, now. The citizens of that fair city northeast of us were offended. But rather wallow in hurt emotions, they made lemonade by producing a 9-minute movie that Roger Ebert has called “the greatest music video ever made.” It is, by all means, a top-notch production. Go view it. You’ll see what Roger Ebert means. It’s well worth being patient during buffering, if your computer is slow like mine.

Michigan City Blizzard of 1958 ( As long as I was feeling extraordinarily patient, I decided to search YouTube for some local fare. I had done so a little over two years ago, but had not been back. I am glad that I reconnected. Comcast’s local access channel 3 has been putting together old film footage of the city’s past. Last year they uploaded this video. What’s particularly fun is looking at the old ’58 Fords and Oldsmobiles (and others) with four feet of snow on their roofs, travelling the barely-passable streets in town. According to city folks who remember, the storm dumped four feet of snow upon the city and region, and the National Guard was called in to help clear it. Watching this old footage helps me realize (in moments of homesickness) why I moved to Arizona. I could drive up to Flagstaff and see the same thing in the winter, if I wanted to.

South Shore 1958 ( Another video from Comcast and the MAPH Foundation lets us look at Franklin Street at 11th Avenue, when the South Shore had not one, but two tracks running the length of the street. As a young child riding through the town during a family outing, those pair of tracks used to scare me. I could not figure out how cars could travel the road if a train was approaching. Apparently so did a lot of other people. The South Shore tore out the set of tracks and re-set just one pair of rails in October, 1958. You can watch that footage. And we can thank the person behind the movie camera who shot the footage for all of us to reminisce about.

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~ by IndianaDunesPoet on June 15, 2011.

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