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Business Interests

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The first settlers carne to Ann Arbor ja February, 1821, and established what ivas known as the " Washtenaw Coffee House." This was the flrst tavern built on the site of the present city. The firet store, striotly speaking, was opened tv John Harford,later in the same year. Others follovved, so that in the year 1827, the little village boasted of three [uil iledged stores and four taverns. From these small beginnings the mercantilO interests of Ann Arbor have grown to large proportions. A little survey of tho field will clearly show the reason for this growth. Ann Arbor is located nearly in the center of Washtenaw county, and, as before reinarked, is surrounded by some oí the finest farming country in the world. Farmers are prosperous. They live in good houses, eat good food, and wear good clothes. Having money to I spend, they naturally go where they may get the best goods for the least money. This fact, together with the excellent roads throughout the county, causes a large number of the farmers to trade in Ann Arbor. There is still a furth&r inducement - that of a good market for their producís, for Ann Arbor has three large flouring milis, and several hirge grain strippers. Fruit growers also bring a large part of their produce to the city or shipment, and when they have reeeived their pay, invest it in the necessities or luxuries of life. A glance at the main business streets on a Saturday afternoon would soon convince one that Ann Arbor merchants were doing a large business with the farmers. The citizens in the neighboring towns also do much trading in Ann Arbor. Even Ypsilanti people. especially since the motor line was constructed, have come to patronize the merchants of this city considerably, for they are sure of finding here a larger assortment and better prices in almost every line than they can find at home. The city trade is also vexy large, as, in fact, it always is in places where the wealth per capita is large, and poverty ifl almost unknown. The trade brought by the 3,000 transient students is also a large factor in mercantile calculations. lts influence is feit particularly in the clothing, grocery and tailoring business. If a visitor in Ann Arbor ten years agoshould walk down one of our business streets today, he woula see a pronounced change. Many old buildings have been feconstructed, renovated and modernized, and many entirely new blocks I have been erected. Plate glass windows I have taken the place of ordinary panes, I and elevators have replaced long ñights ' stairs. This hypothetical visitor would also I e another thing, and that is this, that I almost every establishment in the city I kas become more metropolitan. Larger I stocks have been purchased, new departI nents have been introduced, and the I policy of specializing has become promiI tent. It is no longer necessary for a I ótizen of Ann Arbor to go to Detroit, if I te wishes to buy the best goods. He I can find them here. So far as variety is I Wncerned, many Ann Arbor establishI "ents have no trouble in competing I ith stores in the larger cities. Ann Arbor, in reality, has three busiI -88 centers. The largest, by far, is I 'cated near the court house and postI Ece. It occupies live squares on MainI ;'■ four on Fourth-ave and Detroit-st, I od from two to three squares on the I '"owing "cross" streets: Liberty, Washington, Huron and Ann. The 'Wond business center, in size, includI ?g sorne fifteen stores, is located on I ' 'Me-st, near the University, while the I '?ird is to be found across the Huron I ", in what is variously called the '"wer town," fifth ward, " north side," ?' "old town." The store buildings I M are quite picturesque, as well as % many of theni having been built I "Wording to the Dutch style of archiI ture. I , good idea of the extent of business I ?n in Ann Arbor may be gained from efoilowing figures. There are now in is city six dealers in agricultural imI Jements, eight bakeries, two bazars, I r book stores, ten boot and shoe I SoreBjflve clothing establishments, eight I ' and wod dealers, about a dozen I J"fectionery establishments, seven rSKists, nye dry goods stores, three I "8e furniture stores, about thirty-five I "ries, fiye hardware establishments, I 'nteen meat markets, seven merchant I ï', eight millinery stores, seven otograph galleries, rive jewelers, and I Sanï other retail establishments. The total nuniber of persons or firma trans acting a retail business in this city is upwards of 250. On the following pages we shall attempt to describe some o: theni in detail. ASM ARBOE BANKING. The mercantile activity of every city to a oertain extent, centers around the banks. The amount of business done by them gauges with considerable accuracy that done by the community at large. Ann Arbor has three banks The First National, with a capital stock H.00,000, and 125,000 surplus; The Savings, with 850,000 capital and 8100,000 surplus, and the Farmers' and Mechanica', with 850,000 capital ant 110,000 surplus. The roal amount o: banking capital is, it will be seen, upwanls of 1335.000. The deposits amount to about 81,200,000 annually, and the loans and discounts reach ?1 .00,000 The directora comprise the strongesi and wealthiest men of the city, thus virtually guaranteeing the soundness ol every bank.


Old News
Ann Arbor Register