Fischer and Finnell Building: 1910 and Now

Fischer and Finnell Store, 1910
(Click for larger view.)
Photo montage by Kim Scarborough. Comments, below, by Wystan Stevens.

An interesting partnership -- Fischer was the son of German immigrants, and James Finnell was Irish, from a Northfield Township family. Although most of Ann Arbor's German settlers were Protestants, Fischer was a parishioner of St. Thomas Catholic Church. He and Finnell probably had gone to the parish school together. Finnell later became a traveling auctioneer, in the style of Braun and Helmer of these latter days.

The horse-drawn delivery van was one of a fleet of dozens operated by the Merchants' Delivery Company. A housewife could shop downtown on foot, or by way of the trolley, and not have to lug her packages home --the Merchants' Delivery took care of that chore.

The donkey was a photographer's prop. He would lead the docile animal through the neighborhoods, getting parents to pose their children with it. He probably charged a fee up front, then delivered the prints in person or by mail. As a child in the '30s, my brother posed in a cowboy outfit on the saddle of a pony led around in just this way. (My parents lived on Marshall Court, just a few blocks from this intersection.)

In the 1920s, this building was called "The Delta" because of its shape, but I don't know if that was the original name.


Regarding the two photos you have on your website - Fischer and Finnell 1910 / Campus Corner across the street from the Blue Front Book Store. This corner drug store was also the home to several drug stores over it's history. Before campus corner (not sure how long before?) it was owned by Mr. Bert Fletcher of Ann Arbor (part of a 3 store chain). The chain was managed by E. R. "Russ" Dyer of 1918 or 1718 E. Stadium Blvd. 1952-1959 or 1960. Bert also owned the xx Drug Store at the intersection of University /E. University across from the diagonal. The store was part of a very large drug store and then was split into two store fronts one = Flecher Mack Drug and Folletts Book Store (c 1954). Flecher Mack lasted until Bert's death in 1958 or 59 when the chain was dissolved and the assets sold. Russ Dyer moved to Folley AL at that time. I worked at both of these stores while I lived with my Uncle Russ and attended Tappen Jr. High and AAHS and was part of the first graduating class in 1959.

submitted by Bradford "Bill" Henderson