By 1925, when Theophil Aprill joined with Albert Larmee to found Ann Arbor Exide Battery Service, this neighborhood was already a center for automobile sales, garages, parts, and service — much of it owned and staffed by German Americans. It was a natural transformation from carriage works, blacksmiths, and liveries.
The first auto was offered in 1900 at Staebler’s bicycle store across West Washington from here. By 1925 you could buy a Dodge at Alber’s — a former livery at 206 West Huron — or, within a block, a Pontiac, Maxwell, Chrysler, Hudson, Essex, Reo, Oakland, or Franklin. Trucks, as well as cars, were sold at Ann Arbor Buick on Ashley and Huron.
Between 1916 and 1925, Motor Products Corp. manufactured windshields in both the former Allmendinger Organ Works and the former Krause Tannery. King–Seeley took over the tannery in 1925 to produce the nation’s first dash-mounted gas gauges. American Broach, manufacturing auto-machining parts, replaced Schlemmer’s Fluff Rug factory next to the railroad on West Huron.