NW Michigan Tavern Still Has Bullet Hole from 1890s Shootout
The Blue Slipper in Onekama, Michigan has been around for a long time - more than 130 years - and to this day, still operates serving food and drinks to its regular patronage.
Although it hasn't ALWAYS been a bar and restaurant, the building does have a colorful past that makes it unique to Onekama and Michigan. Today, you'll find live music, local pours, and an incredible menu of food.
Believed to have been built in the mid 1880s, on the corner of Main and First in northwest Michigan's Onekama Township, this building has quite a colored past.
Built some time in either the late 1870s, or early 1880s, the Blue Slipper wasn't always called the "Blue Slipper," but has almost always been a bar... and then some.
In the 1890s, the most infamous incident happened at what was then called "Hansen's Saloon." A Murder took place in the bar, with some slight variations in the story, depending on who you talk to about it.
According to the paper, a large crowd of drinkers were enjoying themselves at the saloon after leaving the county fair on Sept. 24, 1890. Several "disputes" and fights broke out as the night went on, and saloonkeeper Hans Hansen called the police.
When the Deputy Sheriffs arrived, and tried to quiet the disturbances, Seth Aiken, a local carpenter (and known troublemaker) drew his revolver and aimed at the Sheriff and fired. The bullet missed, hitting another resident, local farmer Charles Brown, and killed him. Aikens again tried to shoot at the deputy sheriff, but was quickly subdued and arrested.
Fast forward 132 years, and the bullet hole from that missed shot on the Deputy Sheriff can still be seen in the bar at the Blue Slipper to this day.
Nothing quite as exciting ever really happened at the bar since then, but it was rumored that the upstairs was turned into a brothel during the 1930s.
The establishment was bought in the 1970s and turned into the "Blue Shoe Zoo" which was a favorite hangout for locals. Appropriately titled a "zoo," there were stories of the place getting a little rough, with customers breaking beer bottles against the brick walls, and even riding motorcycles through the building.
The bar was shut down for a while after that, but re-opened in the early 2000s as the establishment it is today.