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“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Chelsea in Washtenaw County, Michigan — The American Midwest (Great Lakes)
 

Park Street, East of Main Street

 
 
Park Street, East of Main Street Marker image. Click for full size.
Photographed By J.T. Lambrou, June 24, 2021
1. Park Street, East of Main Street Marker
Inscription.  
Once the site of a livery, a blacksmith shop, dairy bars and a garage

Park Street was created when Elisha Congdon's second land addition to the village was added in 1861. If was the first of three streets, south of the original village limits and east of Main Street, that was graded and developed. It replaced the east section of South Street, which ran parallel to the railroad tracks, and became an alley, that today, leads from the municipal parking lot to Harrison Street. Grading was completed in the area during the mid-to late-1870s by M.J. Noyes, a Civil War engineer and surveyor, as well as the banking partner of George Glazier.

By the first decade of the 20th century, Charles Martin was running a horse livery and feed barn on Park Street next to Freeman & Cummings grocery. By the early 1920s, Martin remodeled the livery building to handle taxi cabs and horse drawn carriages. Later, the building was sold to A.B. Clark and converted, as well as expanded along the east side, to house a grocery and warehouse.

During WWII, the building became the Tower Cafe where dancing was popular amongst the locals.
Park Street, East of Main Street Marker image. Click for full size.
Photographed By J.T. Lambrou, June 24, 2021
2. Park Street, East of Main Street Marker
It is the marker on the right
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By the late 1940s, a series of ice cream and sandwich shops filled the west portion of the building starting with Ely's Dairy bar. During the 1950s and 60s, Onie's and Weber's were two of the many dairy bars which featured tableside juke boxes. Since the 1950s, A.D. Mayer, and later Springer, insurance offices have occupied the east side of the building. Ralph Guenther's photograph studio was located at the parking lot level of the building for 50 years.

Jacob Schumacher moved the blacksmith shop (show in photo) from its Main Street location to the middle of the Park Street block in 1889. His son, Henry, used handmade tools at his worn anvil and box forge; and learned the craft alongside his father before he was in his teens. Henry Schumacher retired as Chelsea's last downtown blacksmith in 1953. The blacksmith shop, a dwelling and a garage were demolished in 1957 after being purchased by the village.

A Depression-era state ruling changed angled parking to parallel parking on Main Street. This resulted in a local ordinance leaving fewer downtown parking spaces, and led to the creation of Chelsea's first municipal parking lot in 1940 with enough spaces for about 100 cars. But first, the area behind the Park Street stores had to be cleared of the existing ice houses, butcher shops, the Klingler barn, agricultural implements and a multitude of rats claimed to
Park Street, East of Main Street Marker image. Click for full size.
Photographed By J.T. Lambrou, June 24, 2021
3. Park Street, East of Main Street Marker
Inset photo (Upper left) Caption: A typical day on Main Street ca. 1912 near the corner of Park Street. Note the car and horse drawn carriage, and the lady entering the shop below the sign for Mary Haab's Millinery. A boy is leaning on a metal hitching post while a man is carrying a market basket of food from Freeman & Cummings grocery store.

The area is part of the Chelsea Commercial Historic District and was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in February 22, 2011.
have numbered somewhere between 60 to 1,000.

Further east of the livery and blacksmith, local businessmen William Schenk and Ezra Tisch had built a dealership showroom and garage during War World I. David Mohrlock first used the building for his garage in 1928, followed by Wally Grossman and other businesses. By 1989 it was purchased and remodeled as the Garage Theatre, and under the leadership of actor and musician Jeff Daniels developed into the acclaimed Purple Rose Theatre in early 1991.
 
Erected 2012 by Downtown Historic Plaque Project.
 
Topics. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: Industry & CommerceRoads & VehiclesSettlements & Settlers.
 
Location. 42° 19.035′ N, 84° 1.218′ W. Marker is in Chelsea, Michigan, in Washtenaw County. Marker is at the intersection of Park Street and South Main Street, on the right when traveling west on Park Street. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 125 S Main St, Chelsea MI 48118, United States of America. Touch for directions.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within 5 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. First Congregational Church (about 500 feet away, measured in a direct line); Chelsea / Chelsea Depot (about 700 feet away); The Welfare Building (approx. 0.2 miles away); Oak Grove Cemetery-Chelsea (approx.
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0.3 miles away); Oak Grove Cemetery Civil War Memorial (approx. half a mile away); Jerusalem (approx. 3.6 miles away); John Cassidy House (approx. 4.2 miles away); North Lake Methodist Church (approx. 4.8 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Chelsea.
 
 
Credits. This page was last revised on August 23, 2021. It was originally submitted on August 22, 2021, by J.T. Lambrou of New Boston, Michigan. This page has been viewed 72 times since then and 10 times this year. Photos:   1, 2, 3. submitted on August 22, 2021, by J.T. Lambrou of New Boston, Michigan. • Mark Hilton was the editor who published this page.

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Jul. 3, 2022