Monday, October 17, 2011

1877 Wooden Palmerton Block

The New Palmerton Block

One of the Most Imposing Structures in Livingston County

Now that the Palmerton block is completed, it becomes our duty as the editor of a local paper to give a description of the building and a little history of its proprietor and occupants. Mr. Geo. W. Palmerton, the proprietor, we have spoken of before as having been one of the business men of Fowlerville in an early day in his history. He first commenced business as a notion dealer in the small building just east of the Review office, sometime during the year 18-- and from that time to the present day, by a strick attention to business, has been speedily rising and growing into favor with the public. Though Mr. Palmerton commenced on a very small scale, by his earnestness and untiring efforts, he has managed during these years to have one of the finest pieces of property in the county.

The new building is built of brick manufactured in Fowlerville, is three stories high and fronts 44 feet on Grand River street running back on Grand avenue 82 feet with two fronts on the latter named street, and a fine basement under the whole, half of which is reserved by Mr. Palmerton for his own use. The first floor is divided into three rooms. ONe, in the southeast corner, 22x34 is occupied by the private and enterprising banking firm of Gay & Ellsworth, and which for completeness in every point of taste and convenience cannot be beaten, being provided with a modern fire proof vault and a burglar-proof, time-lock chest. Next on Grand avenue comes the east entrance to Mr. Palmerton's general merchandise establishment, which also has an entrance from the south on Grand River street. In this spacious apartment of the building we find Mr. Palmerton located with a very large and varied assortment of dry goods, clothing, piece goods, hats and caps, boots and shoes, groceries, queensware and notions. The counters are very tastily built and finished up with black walnut tops, white fronts and cherry paneling with black walnut mouldings.

All the counters, except in the grocery department, have sunken showcases, the tops of which form the tops of the counters and prove to be a very tasty and convenient arrangement. The boot and shoe department occupies the space at the right of the east entrance and the dry goods the left as you pass around toward the south entrance, the store room being the shape of a T, while the south half of the west side is occupied by the hat, cap, clothing and piece goods department and the north half by the grocery department and between the two last named departments, immediately opposite the east entrance is a very neat and conveniently arranged office, which is occupied by Mr. Frank Palmerton as bookkeeper and teller. Frank has only recently risen to the dignity of this position and is fast coming into favor as a young man of promise into whose hands a good share of the business of his father's establishment is already entrusted.

Off the north-east corner is a neat room 20x22, which is occupied by Mrs. C.T. Power as a millinery and dress-making establishment, which is fitted up in such a neat and attractive style as to attract the passer's eye at once. The stock in this establishment is quite extensive and needs no comment from us to commend it to ladies of our village as a location where their wants can be satisfied to a T.

Access is gained to the second story by a spacious stairway leading up from Grand avenue between the bank and the east entrance to Mr. Palmerton's store. The east half of this floor is divided into four fine offices, each about 20 foot square, the one in the south-east corner, over the bank, being occupied by Dr. Walton's dental parlor. Another is occupied by Drs. A.S. and Geo. O. Austin and another by Prosecuting Attorney Cruickshank. The other remains unoccupied. The south room in the west half of the building will probably be reserved by Mr. Palmerton for his own use, and the one in the rear is now used by him as a queensware room. These rooms are each about 20x35 feet with a woodroom between the two. The third story is divided into three rooms, the two in the east half being each 22x35 feet. The one in the southeast corner is designed to be used as a public library room and the other remains yet unoccupied. The west half of this story which is reached by a separate stairway is fitted up and used by the Masonic and Odd Fellow fraternities as a hall and is one of the finest in this section of the state. The drafting and architectural work was done by Mr. J.V. Smith of Detroit. The carpenter work was superintended by Mr. L.H. Beebe of Pinckney, assited by his son Adelbert, R.H. Fowler, S.S. Abbott and brother, G.F. Harman and others of this village, all first-class workmen. The mason work, carpenter work and painting was done by the day and overseen by Mr. Palmerton himself, and shows an excellent exhibition of taste.

The cost of the building is estimated by Mr. Palmerton to be about $13,000.

This brick structure, so fully described by G.L. Adams of the local paper, was built after a devastating fire the year earlier that destroyed the wooden structure known as the Palmerton block. From the above, it would appear when this brick structure was destroyed by fire in 1891, the third Palmerton block was built with a similar floor plan as the above-described aptly shows how the building currently stands.

No comments: