Anson Brown Building, 1832


Anson Brown Building, 1832

1001-1007 Broadway

Anson Brown Building, 1832

This building, the oldest surviving commercial structure in Ann Arbor, has a symmetrical front facade, and parapet end walls characteristic of eighteenth century Dutch-influenced buildings on the east coast. Hand-hewn timber framing of oak is visible in the attic.

Anson Brown had worked for seven years on the Erie Canal before he arrived with his fortune in Ann Arbor, where he became the principal landowner of Lower Town, north of the river. He wanted his business district to be the commercial center of a fine metropolis, and he named his streets Broadway, Wall, Maiden Lane after the major avenues of the Empire City of his native state. He erected as a merchandising center this building and two similar blocks (The Exchange Building and, across the street, the Ingalls Block, replaced in 1959 by a motel and restaurant). The Washtenaw Hotel nearby was one of the largest hotels on the route from Detroit to Chicago, a comfortable stop before crossing the Huron River. The new buildings were an attraction to trade, and Brown was successful in securing an appointment from the Territorial Governor to be postmaster of the town. His brief but intense rivalry with the "hilltoppers" for control of Ann Arbor's development ceased abruptly when Brown died in the cholera epidemic of 1834.

The upper town regained political dominance, the new University of Michigan drew development in that direction and the railroad came through on the south side of the river. Brown's building outlasted all the other commercial structures of his time and is the only survivor of the town he envisioned and partially built.

The well-maintained building, somewhat European in flavor, was owned by the Colvin family for more than sixty years until it changed hands in 1989.

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Photos used to illustrate Historic Buildings, Ann Arbor, Michigan / by Marjorie Reade and Susan Wineberg.



Kellogg-Warden House, 1835-1839


Kellogg-Warden House, 1835-1839

500 North Main Street

Kellogg-Warden House, 1835-1839
Museum on Main Street

The building that now houses the Washtenaw County Historical Society's Museum on Main Street (MOMs) was once a private residence on Wall Street, in the section of Ann Arbor across the Huron River known as "Lower Town." It is a rare survivor of the first decades of life in Ann Arbor.

The house exhibits interesting construction features that disappeared from use shortly after the 1830s including the accordion or split lathe backing for the plaster walls, very wide plank floors, and brick "nogging" in the walls???_an early form of insulation. Fancy detailing on the exterior includes the front entrance, which is a complex unit of sidelights and transom, and the returns on the side gables. Channel and corner block trim grace the front parlor and the beautiful curving staircase in the front hallway is reminiscent of New England. A small ivory knob on top of the newel post, called an "amity button" or "mortgage button," was an indication that the house was free and clear of debt.

The house was built by members of the Kellogg and Ethan Warden families (Warden's wife was a Kellogg), pioneers from Cayuga County, New York. The house was constructed in various stages in the 1830s, the last being in 1839 when the patriarch of the family, the Honorable Charles Kellogg, moved to Ann Arbor. The Kelloggs had been millers and merchants in New York and ran similar businesses here.

The Kelloggs did not "strike it rich" and only one member of the family remained in Ann Arbor (the others either died here or went back to New York). The house stood empty after Charles' death in 1843 until the Ruthruff family purchased it in 1853 and occupied it for three decades. In the 1890s it became the property of Charles Greiner, a gardener, whose descendants remained in the house for nearly a century. In 1989 the Washtenaw County Historical Society intervened to save the house from demolition, and moved it to its present site. The City of Ann Arbor provided the land for the new location while the University of Michigan donated the building and some funds for moving it.

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Photos used to illustrate Historic Buildings, Ann Arbor, Michigan / by Marjorie Reade and Susan Wineberg.



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