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“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”

Ann Arbor in Washtenaw County, Michigan — The American Midwest (Great Lakes)
 

Architecture & Business on Courthouse Square

 
 
Architecture & Business on Courthouse Square Marker image. Click for full size.
By Joel Seewald, August 30, 2020
1. Architecture & Business on Courthouse Square Marker
Inscription.  
By the late 1870s, Ann Arbor was a thriving and prosperous business center. The streets facing Courthouse Square contained some of the town's grandest commercial buildings. Originally, the northwest corner of Main and Huron was the site of a small, two-story, log block house built by town founder John Allen in 1824. Later expanded and painted red, Allen's former home was called "Bloody Corners." It housed a tavern, inn, and store before being replaced by Ann Arbor's first large hotel, the "Franklin House."

The imposing Gregory Block was built on this site in 1862. For over a century it provided space for a wide variety of establishments, including a hotel, banks, bars, bookstores, a post office, and Municipal Court offices. It became known as the Masonic Block when Masonic lodges occupied the second and third floors from 1885 to 1926.

By the time of its destruction in a 1971 fire, the Gregory Block's rich architectural details had been hidden under a facade of blue and white metal panels. The present building was constructed in 1986.

Top image caption:
Gregory Block
ca. 1868

Top
Architecture & Business on Courthouse Square Marker image. Click for full size.
By Joel Seewald, August 30, 2020
2. Architecture & Business on Courthouse Square Marker
image inset caption:

Franklin House Hotel, ca. 1856.

Bottom image caption:
The Glazier Building still stands across Main Street to your left. It was built by Chelsea Stove manufacturer and State Treasurer Frank P. Glazier (right) to house his newspaper and offices. A symbol of his wealth, ambition, and influence, it became instead a reminder of personal failure. Bankruptcy—followed by a prison term for embezzlement—forced him to resign as state treasurer before the building was completed in 1908.

Except for the loss of the elaborate pressed-metal cornice, the exterior of what was once Ann Arbor's tallest building has changed little from the time of its construction.

Photos courtesy of the Bentley Historical Library

Sponsors:
One North Main, LLC/Broder & Sachse Real Estate
Comerica Bank
Bruce and Patricia Arden · Beth and Joe Fitzsimmons · Miller, Canfield, Paddock and Stone
Maya Savarino and Ray Tanter · Richard Shackson
 
Erected by Ann Arbor Historic District Commission.
 
Topics. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: ArchitectureIndustry & Commerce.
 
Location. 42° 16.893′ N, 83° 44.901′ W. Marker is in Ann Arbor, Michigan, in Washtenaw
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County. Marker is at the intersection of East Huron Street and Main Street, on the left when traveling east on East Huron Street. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 101 East Huron Street, Ann Arbor MI 48104, United States of America. Touch for directions.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Hospitality on Courthouse Square (here, next to this marker); Departing Heroes and the Home Front (a few steps from this marker); Courthouse Square: A Center of Civic Life (a few steps from this marker); Politics and Processions on Courthouse Square (a few steps from this marker); Michigan Becomes a State (a few steps from this marker); Building New Around Old: The Construction of the Present Courthouse (a few steps from this marker); Centers for Communications on Courthouse Square (within shouting distance of this marker); Ann Arbor's New "Streamlined" Bus Depot (about 300 feet away, measured in a direct line). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Ann Arbor.
 
Also see . . .  Site 7c. MAIN and HURON: northeast corner. Marker on the Downtown Ann Arbor Historical Street Exhibit site. (Submitted on December 31, 2020, by Joel Seewald of Madison Heights, Michigan.) 
 
 
Credits. This page was last revised on December 31, 2020. It was originally submitted on December 31, 2020, by Joel Seewald of Madison Heights, Michigan. This page has been viewed 31 times since then and 8 times this year. Photos:   1, 2. submitted on December 31, 2020, by Joel Seewald of Madison Heights, Michigan.
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Feb. 27, 2021