Holly’s Historical Happenings

Battle Alley

Formerly titled “Martha Street” after Ira C. Alger’s daughter, Martha, locals began to call the street “Battle Alley” when numerous brawls continued to break out on the street in late 1800s. Eventually, Holly changed the name permanently to Battle Alley. In the early 1900s, Battle Alley became the first brick street in the Village of Holly. Battle Alley is home to the Historic Holly Hotel, Arcade Antiques, the Holly Candle Shop, Carry’s, and more.

Carry Nation comes to Holly

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Carry A. Nation with her hatchet.

In the late summer of 1908, Pro-Temperance movement advocate Carry Amelia Nation came to Battle Alley and the Holly Hotel, breaking glasses of spirits and beers and clubbing patrons of the hotel with her umbrella. Ms. Nation came to Holly after accepting the invitation of Holly resident Winifred Mott, president of the local Woman’s Christian Temperance Union. After being thrown out of the Holly Hotel, she continued to make her way to other saloons and pubs down Battle Alley. The following morning, she gave a sermon to a crowd of about 200 people. She caused quite the ruckus and destruction while in Holly, causing her to be arrested and held in the local jail for a short time. At the time, Oakland County was lawfully a “dry” county, but the officials of Holly refused to uphold the law,┬ábeing home to more than 18 saloons and bars. For some time, it had only been here-say as whether she had been to Holly or not. After much research, the village began to celebrate her visit annually on Labor Day weekend for nearly 40 years at the Carry Nation Festival. Sadly, the festival no longer runs due to inadequate funding.

Carry Nation Festival in Holly, Michigan.
Carry Nation Festival in Holly, Michigan.