How Colon, Michigan Became “The Magic Capitol of the World”
The Michigan town of Colon has been dubbed “The Magic Capitol of the World” where seemingly all the magicians seemed to flock. But many other Michigan towns and cities gave birth to other masters of prestidigitation, as well as novices, amateurs, professionals, and visitors from other places around the world. But how did Colon get involved with magic in the first place?
According to Colon's website, it all started in the early 1900s when a traveling medicine man visited the area and staged some magic shows. Once he mesmerized the crowds, he proceeded to sell his snake oils and other medicines. Some of his tricks were performed with chemicals, like turning water into wine and back, which was picked up by local druggist Charles Niendorf. Niendorf started doing more tricks along with his assistant, Monk Watson. Then Monk began putting on HIS magic shows, as did his friend Neil Sweet.
Colon's destiny was sealed when world famous magician Harry Blackstone Sr. moved to Colon in 1925. It was here where Blackstone and his troupe put together their shows and perfected their tricks.
In 1927, Blackstone invited another magician friend to come to Colon, Percy Abbott. Together they opened the Blackstone Magic Company which was kaput after 18 months, thanks to a heated falling-out between the two magicians. Abbott then started his own magic factory, 'Abbott Magic Company' which became the largest magic company in the world and is still open today at 124 St Joseph Street.
Abbott used many magic tricks that were invented by Lester Lake, who, in 1934, gave Colon the nickname “Magic Capitol of the World”.
Percy Abbott passed away in 1960, followed by Blackstone in 1965. Blackstone Jr. continued in his father's footsteps up until his death in 1997 at age 62.
But as wonderful as Colon was (and still is) it (by far) was not the only place in Michigan where we saw magicians. They visited elementary schools, performed at assemblies in the high school gyms, local carnivals, town halls, theaters, and anywhere they were asked to be. Even the great Houdini came to Michigan, where he unfortunately met his demise. (You can read about that here).
The gallery below shows a bevy of Michigan magicians, as well as a few others who visited our state.
Magicians in Michigan
MORE MICHIGAN WIZARDRY!