East Jordan and the Little Brown Jug

The Big Jug Farm, located on the edge of East Jordan, came to be known in the 1930’s. It was home to three giant brown jugs, two of them were visible from the road, located on each side of the driveway to the farm. John Seiler, the owner of the farm, enjoyed making up stories about the jugs. He told people he got them in Arabia on an extravagant trip that he enjoyed describing to anyone who asked about the jugs in his yard. Seiler teased that “the jugs were the ones in which Ali Baba’s 40 thieves hid!” Although this makes for a very exciting story, the true story of how the jugs came to be in his yard is interesting enough on its own. In fact, the jugs were fabricated in 1920 by the General Ceramic Co. of New York City and sold to the East Jordan Chemical Plant to hold acids. The jugs were never used; and, after the Chemical Plant closed, Seiler bought all three jugs and put them on his property.

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Pictured above is John Seiler standing next to one of his brown jugs. Courtesy of “East Jordan Remembers”

Many Michiganders – especially U of M fans – are familiar with the “Little Brown Jug” trophy – a prize for the winning team of the game between the University of Michigan and the University of Minnesota. In 1936 one of the jugs on Seiler’s farm was sold to the University of Michigan, where it was used in the half time show for many years during the rivalry game between the University of Michigan and the University of Minnesota. Only one jug is left standing in East Jordan, after a drunk driver crashed into one of the jugs out by the road. John Seiler’s son, Parker, is now the owner of the farm.


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