Saturday, October 1, 2011

1912 Spencer Block

In all of the research done for Fowlerville, the Spencer block (built in 1880) seems to be a bit of a mystery as to when it was torn down and a large garage and house built at the corner of North Second Street and East Grand River. (The house and office that then stood there for many years was torn down in 2010. A cement wall can still be found at the back of the property which was probably part of the large garage.) In a 1922 surveyors map, the house is shown, and some research has noted it was probably torn down in 1915-16.

Well . . . as I continue to research, I finally came across the following blurb published in The Fowlerville Review in 1912. Was this the beginning of the end of the Spencer block?

Agent G.A. Newman has sold the Spencer block to George A. Peckens who will convert it into a feed mill. Mr. Peckens started a few years ago at feed grinding in a small way and his business has outgrown his present quarters and he has decided to make the purchase and branch out still more as the business increases.

So then, the following week:

The item in this paper last week stating that George Peckens had purchased the Spencer block and would install his feed mill there was a little premature. Mr. Peckens had purchased the property of the agent, G.A. Newman, and the deed had been sent for the signature of the owner, but Mrs. Burr Grover purchased the property direct of the owner and has a deed of the property. (Ultimately George Peckens bought property in the northwest quadrant.)

And then, a few weeks later,

For sale, the building known as the "Spencer House" at a reasonable price. Good chance to get a good barn cheap. B.D. Grover.

Months later, still in 1912,

R.T. Sprague has purchased the corner of Grand River avenue known as the Spencer corner of B.D. Grover and will erect a storehouse 30x75 on the north part of the lot at once for auto storage and expects to build a residence on the corner in the spring.

So, it would appear by 1913, a large garage and house replaced the Spencer block. The house that was built had a Craftsman-style look to it, which would be indicative of the 1910-20s when these houses were in high style and affordable. Additionally, by 1917, R.T. Sprague must of needed to expand as that was the year the Ford garage was completed, which still stands in the southwest quadrant.

I love a solved mystery!

No comments: