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The Hennes Look Back On Long History

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What do a shoemaker shop, i a grocery store and three paint stores add up to? For members of the present I generation of the Henne fami I ly, it adds up to almost a I sesquicentennial celebration I of their own in this year of I Ann Arbor's celebration of its ll50thbirthday. i .fc John Henne started it off in 1849 when he moved into the village of Ann Arbor and entered the shoemaking business at 114 W. Washington. John was brought by his grandmother from New York. They lived on a farm in the wilderness in what is now Scio Township until he bought a home at 617 W. Liberty in 1850. John closed his shoemaker shop in l911. Two nephews, Sam and William, owned Henne and Stanger Furniture on W. Liberty around 1900. William Henne later dwned his own store at the corner of Liberty and Main. Years before John closed E his shop, his son, Jacob, I opened a grocery store business at 304 S. Main. The E store, which was opened in I 1890, closed in 1914. Jacob had one fault - he I didn't want people to go hunI gry, according to Jean Henne,' [ an administrator at Clague E Middle School and the family I historian. In the backroom of [ the store was a place where I U-M students could always I find something to eat when I their food allowances ran nut. I The store closed in 1914 partly i because too many people I couldn't pay their old food I bilis, Miss Henne said. For many years Jacob received letters from students f rom all over the world , ing him for seeing that they didn't go hungry, Miss Henne said. A few years ago the family received a letter from a man in New York. His mother had just died and in her belongings was a grocery , bill dated 1912 from the J. ! Henne Grocery store and a note pinned to it. The food had kept her young family alive but times were too difficult then for her to pay the bill. Accompanying the letter was a check to cover the bill, 50 years after the bill had been received. Jacob had his groceries delivered to his customers by his. son, Walter D. Henne, who was also clerk and bookkeeper. Walter drove his horse and wagon close by certain window sills where his customers put their hot pies to cool. Often there would be something special there just for him, Miss Henne said. When the grocery store closed Walter became the bookkeeper at Wenzel's Paint Store, 207 E. Liberty. He soon became the manager and then in 1929 he opened his own paint and wallpaper store at 333 S. Main. In those days lead and oil were the main paint sales. Miss Henne said. Ready mixed paints came latr .- ■ er, she said. To have a choice of colors the painters bought dry colors to mix their own. Wallpaper had to be hand pasted. A good paper cost 25 cents a roll. Walter W. Henne began working in his father's paint store almost as soon as he could walk, Miss Henne said. j In 1939 he officially joined the business when he graduated from Ann Arbor High School. Today he still manages that paint store whicji is now known as Pittsburgh Paint Center and is located in the Maple Village shopping center.


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