In 1925 King-Seeley, inventor and manufacturer of the first dash-mounted gas gauges for autos, moved into the old Krause tannery building with its tall smokestacks on Second Street (right rear). By 1940 the factory had expanded east to First Street with the five-story facility shown above. It was downtown's last factory in 2005, when the tannery wing was demolished and the remainder remodeled for housing. Allen Creek and its westside tributaries once provided water for mills, tanneries, foundries, and breweries.
The Ann Arbor Railroad, which followed the creek valley, attracted manufacturing, warehouses, and lumber and coal yards. Dean & Co., Main Street's premier grocery, had warehouses on the creek near the railroad. The creek also provided recreation. Early residents bathed in a "little, octagonal, white frame building with a sharp little spire in the middle and Victorian scrolls" that was built over the creek near the corner of West Liberty and South First. Downstream, they skated on the millpond north of Miller and First.
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