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View northeast from Courthouse Tower, 1879

View northeast from Courthouse Tower, 1879 image

By the 1880s the area between downtown and the railroad along the Huron River supplied lumber, carts and carriages, stone work, coal, oil, and gas. Business owners and workers lived nearby amid a changing ethnic and racial mix. Agricultural Hall (above center with awning), built in 1856 at the intersection of Catherine, Fourth, and Detroit, is the second-oldest surviving commercial building in Ann Arbor. During the Civil War the building housed the agricultural implement store and factory of Moses Rogers. The Soldiers' Aid Society for Civil War Relief and other local groups met in the large third-floor hall.

When the photo above was taken in 1879, John Finnegan lived upstairs in Agricultural Hall and sold mowers and reapers there, many of which were made at the Ann Arbor Agricultural Works' large factory just across the river east of Broadway. After 1892 the internationally famous Ypsilanti Jersey Fitting Underwear was made here when the building was one of Hay and Todd Manufacturing Company's factories. In 1908 the building became the White Swan Laundry, a name that stuck long after the use had changed.

By the 1920s much of the neighborhood industry was gone. Changes in transportation and power sources had reduced the need for suppliers to be near the railroad, the river, or the center of town.

Frame location: In Sculpture Park, southeast corner of Fourth and Catherine, facing northeast down Detroit Street

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