Ann Arbor in Washtenaw County, Michigan — The American Midwest (Great Lakes)
Changing Retail Patterns
In 1896 the Crescent Works, manufacturers of custom-made corsets and "comfortable waists," moved into the upper floors of the new Pratt Block (above). For a few years the corset salesroom was in the central bay on the street between the Portland Café — "Open All Night" — and Hendrick Millinery, one of nine Ann Arbor shops fashioning hats for ladies. By 1909 Schumacher Hardware to the left had expanded into two storefronts of the Pratt Block. They sold everything from bathtubs and sporting goods to toys and vacuum cleaners.
In 1930 Klines Department Store took over the entire Pratt Block. It was the first chain store to challenge local businesses like Mack & Co. with cheaper, mass-produced goods. Next door, Sears Roebuck built a sleek new store in 1940. Until the 1970s Main Street was able to support both chains as well as Goodyear's, the remaining locally owned department store.
Sears left downtown in 1974 for the Briarwood shopping mall. Goodyear's closed soon after. Left to itself downtown, Klines expanded into the old Sears space before closing in 1994. By then, most of Main Street's stores had been
Upper right image inset caption:
Klines was known for its continuous sales.
Sponsored by The Shaffran Companies, Ltd.
Photos courtesy of the Bentley Historical Library
Erected by Ann Arbor Historical Foundation.
Topics. This historical marker is listed in this topic list: Industry & Commerce. A significant historical year for this entry is 1896.
Location. 42° 16.78′ N, 83° 44.902′ W. Marker is in Ann Arbor, Michigan, in Washtenaw County. Marker is at the intersection of East Liberty Street and South Main Street, on the left when traveling east on East Liberty Street. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 223 South Main Street, Ann Arbor MI 48103, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Downtown Movie Theaters (here, next to this marker); Main Street Shopping Expands (a few steps from this marker); The Main Street Shopping Experience (within shouting distance of this marker); First National Building (within shouting distance of this marker); Business and Banking (within shouting distance of this marker); Hardware (about 300 feet away, measured in a direct line); Dry Goods (about 300 feet away); Eating and Drinking in Ann Arbor (about 400 feet away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Ann Arbor.
Credits. This page was last revised on September 19, 2020. It was originally submitted on September 13, 2020, by Joel Seewald of Madison Heights, Michigan. This page has been viewed 139 times since then and 25 times this year. Photos: 1, 2. submitted on September 13, 2020, by Joel Seewald of Madison Heights, Michigan.