Saturday, April 14, 2012

Old inn coming down

What's going on here?

Coldwater, Mich. — Newcomers to Branch County may not connect, but with the facade down from the former restaurant by the Branch County Memorial Airport, “Airport Inn” is revealed, a hugely popular eatery in days gone by. The food was good, about as close to home cooking as one can get in a restaurant.

What’s going on?

The building has been through a number of incarnations in recent years, none of them successful, and Airport Manager Ron Dooley said due to the poor condition of the structure, the airport board is tearing it down. This is expected to take all summer, since despite the condition, there is material to be salvaged.

Scene of tragedy

Joanne Macklin, sister-in-law of Wesley Macklin, who established “Mack’s Airport Inn,” recalled Thursday the circumstances of his murder. Macklin also ran a catering business, and In 1976, he was there one night waiting for a truck to return when in an attempted robbery, he was shot and killed. Joanne said there were two or three involved in the crime, and they all got off “lightly.” She said services for Wesley brought people from all over.

Lesson to be learned
Steve Macklin said his uncle Wesley worked hard for his money, and the killer somehow knew he carried around a lot of cash in his wallet. When the perpetrator demanded his money, he refused. Said Macklin, when one’s life is in danger, give them whatever they want.

Leaving the diner
Steve recalled that as part of a divorce settlement in the early 60s, Wesley’s ex-wife had it as part of the decree that he could not operate a restaurant in the city of Coldwater. So, he left the diner, in what is now the Chicago Pike Florist, and established the Inn 500 feet west of the city limits. Steve said his “smorgasbord” buffet was a novel concept in the area.

Another place to eat
So what’s a hungry aviator to do? The new Prop Blast Cafe, with a menu full of fresh food, is open for those who fly or those who stay close to the ground. Prop Blast is at 302 Airport Drive,

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