((from Ypsilanti Commercial, May 23, 1874)This early history first appeared in the Ypsilanti Commercial on May 23, 1874 and was written by Charles Rich Pattison. Mr. Pattison was Editor-Publisher of the Commercial 1864–87.
This is a continuation. Part I appeared in the April, 1981 “Gleanings”.
In July, 1838 the Ypsilanti Republican came into existence but lived only eighteen months. The Ypsilanti Sentinel Was issued by J.W. Van Fossen, in December, 1843. Charles Woodruff soon after became its proprietor and has since continued to publish and edit it, with the exception of two years during which time it was known as the “Chronicle” and was published by Aaron Guest. It is democratic in politics. The office has a liberally patronized job department. The size of the paper is 28 by 40 inches.
In 1858, Norris & Follett started the Ypsilanti “Herald” in opposition to the “Sentinel”. After publishing it for about two years they sold it to Mr. McCrachen who in turn sold it to Captain Wilsie. The Captain went into the army at the commencement of the war and the paper died, Mr. Woodruff renting and running the office in connection with his own.
January 1, 1864, C.R. Pattison purchased the material of the office and the first week in March issued the first number of the Ypsilanti “True Democrat”, which at the end of the first volume he changed to the Ypsilanti Commercial the name it now bears. For three years he occupied a rented office in Worden's block then moved to a larger room in Moormon's block over Cornwell & Hemphill's Bank, but his rapidly growing business compelled him to seek still more commodious quarters, and at the end of six months he bought and fitted up his present office and began to run his presses by steam. He has a superb three horse power engine, the celebrated Baxter patent. In addition to his paper which has a good and constantly increasing circulation he has an unusually large amount of types and presses, and facilities for job work largely in excess of the present demands of the city and vicinity. Of job work a large amount is done, pamphlet-book work is done at this office, and the “School” mentioned below is printed here. Mr. Pattison has just sent for the type and is about to print Prof. Bellows' Algebra. At the present writing the transactions of the State Teachers' Association are being printed here. There is a good book bindery in connection with the printing office. The office is 22 × 58 feet, two stories with a capacious basement and filled from top to bottom with printing and binders' material. He gives employment to six skilled workmen. The size of the paper is 28 × 40 inches.
Is a monthly journal 20 large pages, devoted to educational interests, published and edited by C.F.R. Bellows & Co. It is gotten up in excellent style, and is in all respects a first class educational journal. The Faculty of the Normal School are generous contributors to its pages.
Hon. Schuyler Colfax will deliver the semi-centennial address in this city the coming 4th of July.
We confess that we are surprised to find so much being done as there is, and that the facilities for increasing the amount are so much better than we had anticipated, for we had already formed a high opinion of them; and we wonder, considering the success of existing works that a more general attention from abroad has not sooner been called in this direction. Why should capital be allowed to drift by us to less favored regions, when what we possess in the way of natural and acquired advantages, needs only to be made known, in order to secure it?
The Pioneer, is situated on the east bank of the Huron river near Congress street bridge. This in earlier days was the model mill of Michigan, and while it cannot now claim any superiority over other first-class mills, yet it is second to none, and in the hands of its present proprietors the Deubel Bros. is turning out 12,000 barrels of flour, and grinds for the people of the vicinity 24,000 bushels of grain per year. It contains six run of stone and gives employment to four men. Its machinery is driven by water-power, and the mill has a capacity much greater than the work being done. The proprietors will probably work it up to its full force again as soon as the markets get into a normal condition.* Detroit and the East afford a ready market for its products. The mill and its equipments represent $20,000 capital.
On the West bank of the Huron, above Cross Street bridge. It, or rather the mill of which this is an enlargement was built in Territorial days. In 1865 it came into the possession of the Ypsilanti Woolen Mill Company, and by this company was sold to T.C. Owen, Esq., a nephew of E.B. Ward, of Detroit, who is also an interested party. The mill is an immense structure. It contains seven run of stone, and at present is turning out 250 barrels of flour per day. It, in addition, grinds 30,000 bushels of grain per year, for the farmers of the vicinity. Prior to the panic last October, it was turning out three hundred barrels per day, and Mr. Owen expects to be doing the same again very soon. A side track from the Michigan Central Railroad runs to the door of the mill, and cars loaded with wheat from the far west are left there in the morning and the next morning the flour from this wheat is barreled and in the same cars on its way to the distant east, having been delayed but a single day on the route. The mill gives employment to some eight or ten men. It represents a capital of $65,000.
Of these there are several in the city, the most extensive of which belongs to Mr. Henning and is situated on Cross Street east. This shop turns of 15,000 apple barrels, 1,000 cider barrels, and a large number of flour and half-barrels per year. The shop is 30 × 80 feet, and is built of brick. Near this are two large buildings each two stories high, in which are the office, store rooms, etc., etc.; adjoining are four large sheds used for sheltering “stock”. Mr. Henning furnishes twelve men with employment.
Of all the industries of the city the manufacture of paper has assumed the most gigantic proportions. At no one locality in the State does this interest employ so much capital as at this point.
Cornwells & Co,
Near the southern boundary of the city, on the east bank of the river stands the mill of this enterprising firm. Twice has its mill been destroyed by fire, yet no whit daunted but made braver by former disaster, the company now occupies a machine room 66 × 130 feet, an engine room 36 × 120 feet, and a stock room 50 × 107 feet. These buildings are united under one roof, and are built of brick in the most substantial manner. In the machine room stands three first class machines which manufacture of news-print (the only paper made here) from three and one-half to four tons per day all of which is taken by the Chicago Times, the Detroit Post, and the Detroit Tribune. In the manufacture of this paper there are consumed each day five tons of straw, one and one-half tons of rags, one and one-fourth tones of dry-wood pulp, 1500 pounds of soda-ash, 1000 pounds of bleach, seven cords of wood, 2000 pounds of lime, besides many other articles in lesser quantities. There are six rag engines, each of 500 pounds capacity, two large steam boilers, and four large rotaries, each with a diameter of seven feet, and a length of twenty-two feet.
Nearly all the paper made at this mill is shipped in large rolls, of from 250 to 300 pounds each, to be cut at the office of the newspaper where used. The mill gives employment to forty persons. Its water power is abundant, and a steam engine of 30 horse power stands ready to aid in case of emergency. The mill is lighted by gas manufactured on the premises. To Mr. Cornwell is due the credit of being the first to initiate the manufacture of paper at this point. His first mill was erected about sixteen years ago, and was destroyed by fire in 1871. This company is largely interested in the Ypsilanti Paper Co.
Peninsular Paper Co, at the north western extremity of the city near where the Huron enters the city limits, and occupying one of the most beautiful sites to be found on the river, stands the works of the Peninsular Paper Company. These consist of two massive brick buildings two and three stories high, with their equipments, and a shipping or freight-house which stands at the side track of the company.
The first building which was completed in 1867 stands upon the south bank of the river. The second building stands upon the north bank of the stream, and was completed in 1873. Its dimensions are nearly the same as those of the first.
Both these buildings are well lighted and thoroughly ventilated. News-press and book paper are manufactured, for which only first and second class rags are used. The machinery is in every respect the best that can be made, and the quality of the paper cannot well be surpassed. Six tons of rags are consumed, and four tons of paper are manufactured on an average each working day in the year. This paper finds a ready market in the State, and at Chicago. Some of the finest toned paper in the market is manufactured here, and good judges have pronounced this the best “book” mill in the country. Water power is employed to the amount of 315 horse-power, and this can be increased almost indefinitely as the company has the right to raise its dam which has at present a head of ten feet, three feet highter. This, however, will not be necessary as it does not use all the power it now has. Eighty persons find employment at these mills. A capital of $200,000 is here re-presented.
Ypsilanti Paper Co,
About one mile above the Peninsular Mills a new mill is being erected, which when completed will be similar in size and equal in capacity to the mill of Cornwells & Co. The mill is built like all the others, of brick with solid stone foundations, and will when completed represent a capital of $100,000. The company possesses as fine a water power as can be found in the State, and it will be sufficient to work two mills equal in capacity to the one being built. The dam now building by the company will be a model for strength and durability, and the water will have a head of sixteen feet.
Situated on the corner of Parsons and Park streets is the mill and factory of Parsons Bros. Their main building–independent of office, paint shop, and shed, is 60 × 64 feet, and is two stories high. Their machinery is all first class and is driven by an engine of 25 horse power. Here are made dressed lumber, sash, doors, blinds, moldings, scroll work, casings and all other work usually done in a first class manufactory of this kind, and did the proprietors confine themselves exclusively to this class of work they would be rated among the heavy firms. But in addition to their extensive works in this direction they manufacture per year 1500 Monitor washing machines, 500 dozens axe handles, 75 gross of base-ball bats, and neck-yokes, whiffletrees, stone cutters, mallets, etc., etc., in an almost unlimited number. All these articles, as we can testify from a personal examination, are made from the very best of material, and finished in the most perfect manner. Parsons Bros. employ eighteen men.
Edwards, Mc Kinstry & Van Cleve,
On Congress street west stands the planing mill and factory of the above firm. This is the old firm of Edwards & Cooper so well and favorable known throughout the State. The buildings of the Agricultural College at Lansing, Cook's Hotel at Ann Arbor, and many other large buildings in the State were built by the old firm. When Mr. C. left the city Mr. Edwards associated himself with the above named gentlemen, and the new firm still continues to merit the reputation acquired by Edwards & Cooper. Their factory is of brick, 56 × 64 feet, two stories high, and is supplied with first class machinery which is run by a 40 horse power engine. In addition to their regular work as builders and manufacturers of dressed lumber, sash, doors, etc., they are turning out 30,000 ball clubs per year. This firm employs on an average fifteen men. We may be permitted here to remark for the comfort of fathers and mothers that there seems to be no danger of the “National game” becoming extinct very soon, as Ypsilanti alone ships about 45,000 base ball bats every year, independent of home consumption.
Just above Cross Street bridge are the planing and saw mills of
Follmor & Scovill,
This company confines itself exclusively to the manufacture of hardwood lumber from the logs cut in the vicinity, and of dressed lumber. Water power is employed, and the company owns and occupies three buildings. This is the oldest establishment of the kind in the city.
On Cross Street east may be found the factory of
Whitmore & Co.,
who confine themselves almost exclusively to the manufacture to the manufacture of sash doors, blinds, and general building materials. They make use of a ten horse-power engine to drive their machinery, and employ four men.
Foundries and Machine Shops
On River Street at its intersection by the Michigan Central Railroad is located the extensive works of
Ferrier & Son.
This enterprising firm occupy a large brick building 60 × 130 feet, and two stories high, besides an adjacent shop and foundry both of brick. They make a specialty of mill machinery, and are at present constructing the machines for the paper mill now building, and of which mention has elsewhere been made; they also manufacture between 1500 and 2000 corn shellers per year. For these they find a quick market in the west. They employ twenty men; an engine of ten horse power drives their machinery. They are located on River street, near the depot.
J. & W.L. Mc Cullough,
This firm east of Congress St. bridge, manufactures agricultural implements, and does a general custom business. They manufacture about 100 plows, 75 wheeled cultivators, and many other implements per year; they also do a considerable business in the manufacture of large kettles. They use a six horse-power engine and employ five men. Their building is of brick and is two stories high.
Ypsilanti Novelty Works,
On Grove St. Near the railroad, and soon to be joined to it by a side-track are the buildings, built and owned by John Gilbert, Esq. They are built of brick and are in all respects first-class. The main building is 60 × 60 feet and is three stories high, attached to this is an engine room 20 × 60 feet, and a boiler-room 10 × 30 feet. The foundry is 30 × 60 feet, and there are two workshops, one two stories high 24 × 40 feet, the other one story high 24 × 40 feet. Two engines are used, one of 40, and the other of 15 horse power. The works occupy two acres of ground, and when in full operation give employment to a large number of men. The name of the works sufficiently indicate their character. The Eureka safe, the settees used by the Michigan Central Railroad for its waiting rooms, water tanks, hay-presses, ladders, bureaus, tables, bedsteads and chairs are some of the articles manufactured here. Mr. Gilbert also builds a large amount of fences for the railroad each year, all the material for which is prepared at these works.
The Beach Carriage Manfactory.
This firm, which takes its name from the inventor of the celebrated shifting carriage seat, represents a large and growing interest. Its buildings (east side of N. Washington) are of brick and consist of a factory 40 × 60 feet, three stories high, a large blacksmith shop in which are five fires, and the building which it occupies for offices, paintshop, store-room, etc., on Washington Street, which is 80 × 75 feet, and two stories high. The machinery in the factory is driven by a ten horse power engine and the Company employs forty men.
Had we space, it would be interesting to trace the origin and growth of this firm which, like so many of the other interests of the city, began in weakness, but which, under the auspices of the favorable surrounding advantages, and by the guidance of the intelligent gentlemen who have had it in charge, has grown so rapidly in extent and value.
At present the Company manufactures one thousand carriage bodies, six hundred sleigh bodies, and one hundred finished carriages per year. Nor does it yet appear what it will become, since the firm own the patent for Beach's Shifting Carriage Seat for the United States, and this seat seems destined to supersede all other styles of seats. The Company represents a capital of $40,000, and finds a ready market in the West for all the work it is able to turn out. Hon. S.M. Cutcheon, President; A.G. Starr, Secretary; S.W. Beach, Superintendent.
Curtis' Carriage Factory is situated on Congress Street west. Mr. Curtis makes a specialty of light work, principally “Gents' Driving” buggies.
His building is a large two story brick, built in the most substantial manner, and together with his blacksmith shop, has a front of four rods. He gives employment to 10 skillful workmen, who complete 40 carriages and twenty sleights per year. He established himself here in 1868, and finds his business constantly increasing.
In addition to the two firms mentioned above, E.H. Jackson, on Huron Street south, turns out fifty new wagons per year, and William Freeman, and Wortman & Co., do considerable new work, besides the large amount of repairing which is done at their shops. These three firms give work to some two or three men each.
Adjoining the Novelty Works of Mr. Gilbert, stands the Chair Factory of
Maynard & Flinn.
These gentlemen give employment to seven men, who manufacture five hundred chairs per week, besides tables and bedsteads. These gentlemen have an eighteen horse power engine, which drives their machinery. Their building is two stories high, and is about 30 × 50 feet.
The largest firm in the city is that of
Mc Andrew & Co.
Mr. McAndrew settled in Ypsilanti and began the manufacture and sale of cabinet ware at an early day. He has since associated with him the gentlemen Wallace and Clark. The new firm manufactures nearly all of its finest furniture, and any one visiting its salesroom is obliged to confess that it would be difficult to surpass its work. From six to ten men are employed, and an eight horse power engine drives the machinery. The factories are in the rear of the salesroom on Congress Street.
This gentleman has lately bought the cabinet works of D. Coon, on Congress Street, and is making a general reconstruction of the place prior to beginning business, which he will do speedily.
In addition to the above we may mention
who, while he devotes the most of his time to repairs, still finds opportunity for some new work of excellent quality.
Nearly opposite the office of the Beach Carriage Factory on Washington Street, is situated the Marble Works of
D. C. Batchelder.
Mr. Batchelder has for several years possessed an enviable reputation, not only in Ypsilanti, but in sister cities, on account of the excellent quality and beautiful designs of the work done at his factory. Some of the finest monuments in the cemeteries of Detroit, and many other places, testify both to the superior work done here and to its appreciation by the general public. Besides his work in American and Italian marbles, Mr. Batchelder deals largely in the beautiful granites of New England, and is a special agent for the famous Scotch Granite. The best workmen to be found are always employed. Mr. B. richly deserves the extensive patronage he has acquired. His building is built of brick, and is large and commodious.
Of these, Ypsilanti has two.
Crane's Tannery is situated on Congress Street, just west of the bridge. Here 1200 calf skins, 500 kip* skins, and 1500 hides are tanned per year. Mr. Crane employs from eight to ten men, and has earned for his leather a reputation of which he may feel proud. He finds a market for the most part in Michigan, but fills orders both from the East and West. His building is of brick.
*A “kip” is used when referring to assorted small animal skins.
Near the railroad bridge is the Tannery of
J.N. Howland & Co.
This firm is not doing so large an amount of tanning as it has been accustomed, for the reason that is is directing a portion of its time and means to the manufacture of mittens. It turns out about 800 calf skins, 200 kip skins, and about 4000 sheep skins per year. This year it will manufacture 200 dozen mittens. This last industry is but just begun, the Company having manufactured its first 100 dozen last year.
These firms have leather stores connected with their works, and do a good business as merchants in addition to their manufacturing interests.
On the west bank of the Huron, just below Forest Avenue bridge, stand the buildings of the Ypsilanti Woolen Mill Company. The main building is a mammoth brick structure 33 × 108 feet, and is five stories high, with a wing 40 × 50 feet, three stories high. The wool house is built of brick and is 40 × 50 feet, two stories and basement. The mill and its equipments cost over $100,000, and is destined to be one of the most valuable adjuncts of the city. No one member of the Company being a practical manufacturer, and all being largely engaged in other pursuits, the mill has been closed until such time as a party can be found who will take a sufficient pecuniary interest in it to secure its economical management and who has such practical knowledge of the business as to be able to take charge of it. There is no doubt but the right party can obtain as good a chance here for making a profitable investment as can be found in the States. The mill, or an interest in it, is being offered at a bargain which cannot help netting first-class percentage.
The mill is a “five set” one, with all the machinery complete, and of the most approved make. It is capable of manufacturing six hundred yards of cloth per day. The machinery is run by water power. We are satisfied that there is not a better opportunity for making a profitable investment to be found west of New England.
Something like five or six years ago, Mr. Curtis, proprietor of Curtis' Carriage Factory, invented a whip-socket, and secured it by letters patent. This patent he sold to the
who at once went to manufacturing them, hoping by so doing to “get their money back,” and if possible, “turn an honest penny.” Three stately brick dwellings, with Mansard roofs, today testify that they must have succeeded in both their desires. In fact, their success has astonished both themselves and their friends. They have their factory on River Street, which consists of a brick building 32 × 44 feet, and a two story wooden building 20 × 50 feet. This factory furnishes employment to ten men, and turns out 616 gross of whip-sockets per year. The machinery is driven by a ten horse power engine. In addition to their whip-socket manufactory, and in connection with it, the Worden Bros. manufacture “Worden's Improved McCoy's Automatic Steam Cylinder Lubricator,” which is daily coming into very general use wherever steam engines are employed, and which will give to these gentlemen, who have bought the patent for the United States, another high road to wealth.
Just off Huron Street, in the rear of Joslin & Whitman's Law Office, is a large brick building, a portion of the upper story of which is occupied by the
Ypsilanti Whip-socket Co.
This Company manufactures a whip-socket invented by Mr. Beach, the inventor of “Beach's Shifting Carriage Seat.” Seventy gross per month are made and shipped from this factory, which gives employment to four men.
In the same room with this Company, but separated from it by a neat railing, may be seen the machinery of
R.H. Wilson & Co.,
Manufacturers of Telegraphic Instruments Fire and Burglar Alarms, etc. These gentlemen have won for themselves a very desirable reputation for the excellence of their work.
Occupying the whole of the first floor of this building, and a portion of the second, is found the Gas Governor Manufacturing Co. which manufactures "Horne's Automatic Gas Governor". This is one of the most valuable inventions of the day, and Mr. Horne, the inventor, and the gentlemen associated with him in the manufacture of it, cannot fail to reap large fortunes. The Company is making preparations to manufacture on a large scale, and will soon increase the number of its employees to fifty. It now has eight men at work, and a ten horse power engine to work the machinery. Already has it received orders from the East and the West, and though but a few weeks old has begun to receive unsolicited letters of valuable commendations. Ypsilanti is fortunate in securing its establishment at this place.
The Gas Company
has its works located on Forest Avenue east and adjacent to the river. It furnishes the city a good quality of gas, lighting not only our public and private buildings, but the streets.
Of these the city has two, both of which are doing a good business. Mr. H. Haskins, and J.A. Wilson are the proprietors.
There is also an establishment kept by Mr. Geo. Hirths, where the purest of confections are made.
Near Curtis' carriage factory stands a new building built by E.W. Grant, Esq., which is intended for
General Wood Work
This factory has a central part 28 × 80 feet and two wings each 20 × 40 feet. It is supplied with costly and superior machinery, and an engine of 30 horse power. It will be opened for work about the first of June.
Rogers pump factory,—is located on Congress street east, and turns out 200 well-pumps, and 100 cistern-pumps per year.
Corey's factory—On Congress street west turns out about two-thirds of that number. In addition to his pump business Mr. Corey does quite a business in scroll work.
Note—Quite an extensive business has sprung up in our city, in the line of pump manufacturing, among which is the celebrated Elastic Rubber Bucket patented by Wm. Cooper. This pump seems to give universal satisfaction. It was patented in 1872, and wherever it has been tried it has been found to fill the bill completely. The systematic introduction of this useful invention, in this State, is in the hands of Charles Holmes, Jr., agent for Michigan; and judging from the number seen manufactured, and the loads constantly seen going out into the country, it promises to be a complete success. Over five thousand of these pumps were sold last year. Parsons Brothers manufacture the curbs. The patentee Mr. Cooper, our fellow townsman is also the inventor “of several other articles of great usefulness.” We notice that this pump receives the endorsement of our friend J. Webster Childs, who knows when he sees a good thing.
E.R. Forsyth's factory on River street gives employment to four men. It turns out forty dozen brooms and brushes per week, for which a ready market is found.
A. Gilmore & Co.'s factory on Huron street, north, is doing a lucrative and thriving business.
Independent of the hardware stores three in number, there are three establishments devoted to the manufacture of tin ware, that of
A.S. Yost is located on Cross street west. Mr. Yost employs fourteen men in the manufacture and sale of tin ware, and uses 250 boxes of tin per year.
C.P. Damon employs from six to eight men and uses about 150 boxes of tin per year. His factory is situated on the west side of the river.
Lang & Gregory, a new firm just started with flattering prospects. They are located on Huron street, opposite the post office.
Guild & Son on Huron street, employs about fourteen men and boys, and manufactures about 30,000 cigars per month. Their brands of cigars equal the most famous of Detroit manufacture.
Shemeld & Cook employ seven men and boys, and manufacture 16,000 cigars per month. They are located on Cross street near the depot.
Brewers and Malters
The Grove Brewery of Foerester Bros. stands at the foot of Grove street. These gentlemen have large cellars which are well stocked with beer which is manufactured here from the best of material and after the most approved manner. So long as beer is used by any class of citizens “tis better that it should be well rather than illy made.” This brewery with its equipments represents a large sum of money.
The only other brewery in the city is owned and worked by Jacob Grob who does a good local business. His brewery is located on Forest Avenue, west.
Wallington & Swain's malt house is situated on Forest Aveue east, is of brick 50 × 70 feet, and is three stories high. It has a capacity of 25,000 bushels per year but has not yet been worked beyond 15,000. The firm is composed of young men, and they have already acquired a reputation that brings them orders far beyond their ability to fill. A steam engine of eight horse-power runs their malt mill and elevator, and does their pumping. This property has been established and created here within the space of two or three years.
There are two extensive
C. McCormick's at the west limits of the city, and M.P. Holmes & co. a mile south. They both turn out hundreds of thousands of brick annually. The latter also manufacture a splendid article of tile.
The Masonic Order is represented by “Phoenix Lodge, No. 13,” organized in 1846. The Lodge numbers about one hundred and thirty members. The hall is situated on Congress Street.
Ypsilanti Lodge–No. 128, which was organized in 1855, and which has a present membership of one hundred. This lodge occupies its large hall in Masonic block situated on Cross street east. Both of these Masonic lodges are increasing in numbers, wealth and moral power.
The Good Templar are represented here by the Ypsilanti Lodge No. 282, organized in 1865, it is one of the most thriving societies of the kind in the State. It numbers one hundred and thirty members and embraces some of the most intelligent citizens in this city. It holds its regular weekly meetings every Monday evening and affords independent of its other work a pleasant resort for the young people, where cheerful intercourse, music, readings, and speeches, take the place of those questionable influences which would surround them were no such place as this provided for their entertainment.
One of the most flourishing Granges in the State was organized last Fall, holding its meetings at Batchelder's Hall. It numbers many of our ablest and most intelligent farmers.
North of the city, on the high bluff of the Huron, and one of the most beautiful sites in the vicinity is the Cemetery, which has already been made beautiful by the judicious aid which art has given nature; nearly one-half of it is covered by a forest of second growth oak trees, and the multificity of evergreens and hedges, is rapidly converting the remainder into a grove, lovely to the eye and grateful to our sense of what is due to the dead. The many fine monuments already erected show from afar where the loved ones whose memories they commemorate lie buried. Ypsilanti in this, as in all things else to which she has laid her hands, has shown no miserly spirit.