Williamston in Ingham County, Michigan — The American Midwest (Great Lakes)
Downtown Historic District
Williamston grew where two Native American trails crossed. In 1834, settlers Hiram and Joseph Putnam built the north-south road that became Putnam Street. Construction of the Grand River Turnpike from Detroit to Grand Rapids in 1851 created Grand River Avenue. Starting in 1840, brothers Oswald, Horace and James Williams built a dam, saw mill and grist mill on the Red Cedar River. By 1871, when rail service came, the town had become a farm market center and boasted more than twelve hundred residents. After a short boom, the population declined until Grand River Avenue was paved circa 1923. The improved road encouraged auto tourism and allowed residents to commute to work instead of moving.
The Williamston Downtown Historic District reflects changes in small town commercial architecture from the 1870s to the 1950s. Some buildings date to 1874. One housed a hardware store continuously from 1888 through the time this marker was erected. The building styles include Second Empire, Italianate, Late Victorian, and Commercial Brick. In 1895, and again in 1915, fire destroyed several downtown businesses. Locals committed to preservation began refurbishing structures in the 1960s. In 1971, businessmen purchased the Andrews Hotel, built in 1887, to save it from demolition. The Williamston Downtown
Erected 2014. (Marker Number L2260.)
Marker series. This marker is included in the Michigan Historical Commission marker series.
Location. 42° 41.343′ N, 84° 16.892′ W. Marker is in Williamston, Michigan, in Ingham County. Marker is on State Highway 43 0.1 miles east of South Putnam Street, on the left when traveling east. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 161 East Grand River Avenue, Williamston MI 48895, United States of America.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within 10 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. Saint Mary Parish (about 300 feet away, measured in a direct line); Williamston Center United Methodist Church (approx. 4.2 miles away); Grand River Trail (approx. 4.3 miles away); Haslett (approx. 7.2 miles away); Chief Okemos / Okemos Village marker (approx. 7.7 miles away); Chief Okemos (approx. 7.8 miles away); Reference Mark for Michigan Center of Population (approx. 8.6 miles away); Bigelow-Kuhn-Thomas House (approx. 9.7 miles away).
Categories. • Settlements & Settlers •
Credits. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016. This page originally submitted on June 19, 2015, by Joel Seewald of Madison Heights, Michigan. This page has been viewed 233 times since then and 4 times this year. Photos: 1, 2, 3. submitted on June 19, 2015, by Joel Seewald of Madison Heights, Michigan. • Bill Pfingsten was the editor who published this page.