Plank Road, 1870s (North Main Street today)


Plank Road, 1870s (North Main Street today)

From the hill above Plank Road in the 1870s (North Main Street today), you could look back toward where you are now standing and view sources of Ann Arbor's early power and transportation. In the panorama, find your location, along with the dam, the millpond, and the millrace.

Frame location: on Broadway Bridge

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Ann Arbor Milling Co.


Ann Arbor Milling Co.

Frame location: on Broadway Bridge

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Agricultural Works, 1866


Agricultural Works, 1866

In 1866 Lewis Moore and his son Eli began building an agricultural implement factory on the north bank of the river on the site of an old paper mill. By 1896 the Ann Arbor Agricultural Works, seen above in a fanciful drawing, covered three acres. It was one of the largest employers in town with a machine shop, warehouse, lumber yard, and its own railroad spur. The machinery was powered by water from the millrace, later supplemented by steam. The headrace ran under Broadway and the tailrace flowed out next to the foundry.

Frame location: on Broadway Bridge

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detail millrace map 1874


detail millrace map 1874

Detail from the 1874 map shows the millrace, the woolen mill, Sinclair's flour mill, the agricultural works, and the location of Moore's home. Slaughter houses owned by downtown butchers lined the bank downriver from the agricultural works.

Frame location: on Broadway Bridge

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View of lower town from accross the river, ca 1900


View of lower town from accross the river, ca 1900

Anson Brown's building in this view of lower town from across the river around 1900. The large building on the left behind the iron bridge is Argo Mills. To its right is the Agricultural Works.

Frame location: East side at north end of bridge

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Argo Mills and Agricultural Works


Argo Mills and Agricultural Works

Across Broadway from Argo Mills, the agricultural Works (right) made farm machinery, horse-drawn mowers, plows, rakes, and hay tenders. It was the city's largest employer in the 1890s.

Frame location: entrance to Broadway Park

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1870 map


1870 map

On this 1870 map, the mill race runs from above the dam, circled left, to power the woolen mill, flour mill, and the agricultural works, circled right

Frame location: entrance to Broadway Park

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Ann Arbor gas company, 1858


Ann Arbor gas company, 1858

The Ann Arbor gas company, established in 1858, built a plant to manufacture gas from coal at a site bounded by Beakes, Summit, and Depot near the foot of Detroit street.

Frame location: Corner of North Fifth Avenue and Detroit Street

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Miller's Planing Mill, 529 Detroit Street, 1874 (later the Treasure Mart)


Miller's Planing Mill, 529 Detroit Street, 1874 (later the Treasure Mart)

In 1869 John G. Miller built this large steam powered planing mill, which specialized in windows, doors, shutters, and gingerbread trim for the growing city. Detroit Street hummed with industrial activity that took advantage of the nearby railroad and lumberyards. Herman Krapf bought the mill in 1878 and ran it until 1905. Like Miller before him, he lived in the house on the left. E. J. Knowlton briefly rented space from Krapf to manufacture his nationally advertised collapsible "Universal Bath."

The automobile changed the neighborhood. A gas station replaced Schmidt's carriage factory at Detroit and Kingsley streets. At the Division Street end of the block, an auto dealership opened next to what had been the Ferguson Cart Company. In 1960 the Treasure Mart opened a consignment shop in the old mill. It was the first of many businesses that would become the Kerrytown shopping district.

Frame location: Corner of North Fifth Avenue and Detroit Street

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Used cars


Used cars

Used cars were sold at 514 Detroit Street in the last part of Andrew Schmidt's carriage factory buildings, before it was demolished in 1933. Schmidt and his wife had lived upstairs.

Frame location: Corner of North Fifth Avenue and Detroit Street

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