Business Section

By dhowell - Posted on 28 December 2007

Manchester House was at the corner of Main and Clinton. Note watering trough for horses.

Exchange Place from the river to the Goodyear House, was the business center of the village although on the eastern extension of the street there were a number of brick houses devoted to mercantile business with other blocks being erected.

The first brick building was a general store owned by W. S. Carr and built in 1837. Log lime was used for mortar. Factory made cotton cloth cost $0.24 a yard and tea cost $1.25 a pound. The first brick store on the east side of the river was that of J. D. Corey and is now the corner tavern. The second brick store erected on the west side was that of John Keyes in 1838.

The store occupied by Case & Corey was built in 1852 by Andrew Spafford. The "Gleeson Block" was built in 1863 by J. Gleeson, and Chauncey Walbridge built the store west of the Gleeson block. The Hoy Block was built in 1866, the Goodyear Block in 1869; Goodyear House in 1869. The Kirchgessner and Lehn Blocks were erected in 1873, and the Bank Block by Peabody and Baxter. The Conklin Block, on the north side of Main Street next to the river on the east,was built by Dr. Amariah Conklin in 1880-81. The northern part of the Daly & Unterkircher Block was occupied by Postmaster Walbridge, who purchased it from Unterkircher. That was the site of the post office (now Brown T.V. Service) before it was moved to the present location on Madison Street.

The Burkhart Block was immediately south of the post office. In March, 1881, Conrad Lehn and John J. Clarkson erected a large building on the north side of Exchange Place which was occupied by Mack and Smith, according to the Washtenaw County History.

By 1838 the town had added a cabinet shop and a distillery was run by Barnabas Case. He must have been a shrewd character for he replied to an apostle of temperance who questioned Case on the propriety of establishing a distillery in this way: "I am doing more for the cause of temperance than he who advocates total abstinence. I sell the pure article; it will hurt no one. Manufactured as it is on the banks of the pure water of the Raisin, it is as pure as the water you drink. No one need fear of being injured by it."