Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Exploring Chelsea

One of the other things I would like to do on this blog at some point is to do a post on the various cities, towns and villages that make up Michigan.  Last week, I did a post about Saline, Michigan and I enjoyed looking up the history and stuff.   I hope that my readers enjoyed it as well.
 At it's heart, Chelsea is an agricultural community.  Just outside of town are a number of farms and in town are some things that come about as a result of those farms.  It was first settled in 1820 by Cyrus Beckwith along with the brothers Elisha and James Congdon.  It was named after Elisha's home town of Chelsea, Massachusetts.
In 1848, the Congdon brothers offered this land to the Michigan Central Railroad in order to build a train station here.  The first structure was a freight station and the first cargo of a barrel of eggs was sent in May of 1850.  For a while, more wool was shipped from Chelsea than any other point in the state of Michigan.  Although I haven't confirmed it but I would imagine some of that wool was shipped to Ypsilanti to be used by the Ypsilanti Underwear Company.
 In 1880, the Michigan Central Established Passenger Service to Chelsea.  The Depot was built with two waiting rooms, the east for women and children and the west for men.
 A fairly distinctive landmark in Chelsea is the Clock Tower.  There aren't too many places in town where you can't see it.  It was orginally a water tower for the Glazier Stove Company in the early 1900's.  After a fire at the plant, the clock tower was built to mask the 35,000 gallon cistern used to store water in case of a fire.  The tower no longer is used as a water tower but pieces of the water tower remain.
 The Chelsea Milling Company is the home to Jiffy Mix.  The mill itself has been milling flour for over 100 years.  In the spring of 1930, Mabel White Holmes (grandmother to the current President of Jiffy) introduced the baking mix to the world.   The Mill itself makes everything, the flour, the mixes and the boxes to store the mix.  Jiffy Mix is shipped throughout the country and parts of the world through the US Military.
 The Glazier Stove company was established in 1891 by Frank P. Glazier.  This particular building was used as a recreation facility for the workers of the company.  There are other buildings associated with the company around town.  Shortly after its construction, the company went bankrupt amid a political and financial scandal.  This building was built in 1906.
 A sign for the Chelsea Station.
 Another angle of the Glazier Welfare Building.
 One of the details of that building.
 In 1880, this station was used by the Michigan Central Railroad to improve the appearance of their rural stations.  Mason and Rice of Detroit were the architects for this building and it is a Victorian Style.  This building was used by the Michigan Central until 1975 when Amtrak took over.  In 1981, Amtrak discontinued service to this station and it was bought by the Chelsea Depot Association in 1985.  Restoration was done in 1986.  Maybe if some aspects of the transportation network take off, this might see passenger service again.
 Looking up at the clock tower.
 There are many little shops around Chelsea.
 I love the classic Midwestern look.
 Another look at downtown Chelsea.
 I'm assuming this a Pontiac
 Another block of Chelsea.
 The McKune Library.
 The Methodist Episcopal Church in Chelsea was established in 1853 and was serviced by travelling clergy from Ann Arbor.  In 1859, a wooden church was built on this site to serve the growing congregation.  The first minister at this new church was B.I. Ives.
 In 1899, the wooden church burned down and was replaced by the current stone structure by 1900.  Over the years, the church has been expanded, renovated and updated.
Probably one of Chelsea's most famous native sons is the actor Jeff Daniels.  In 1991, he decided to give back to his community by established the Purple Rose Theater.  One of the missions of the Theater is to keep ticket prices low.  I will have to say that is a pretty cool idea.
 A purple heron in front of the theater.
 A closeup of his head.
 In 1852, the First Congregational Church was built on this spot through land donated by one of Chelsea's founders.  That church burned down in 1894.  This church was designed by Sidney Osgood of Grand Rapids.
 It reflects Italian and Romanesque Design.
 I really liked the look of the stained glass.
 And this one.
 Looking up at the tower.
 A classic barber pole.
 A window display of some jewelry.
 As I was taking pictures, I saw this Hot Rod pass by.  I'm not sure what model this is.
 Close to Chelsea is Chrysler's Proving Grounds.  This particular monstrosity is the new Jeep Cherokee.  I'm not sure what I dislike the most...the running lights near the hood, the headlights or the fog lights.  Throw all of those things together and you've got a hideous looking vehicle.
 I don't know why I took this picture, but I kind of liked how the shadows were forming.
 Another window display.
And one last window display.

One other thing I may try in the future is going to these places around lunch time to sample the local food.  For instance, Chelsea is the home of a number of pretty good restaurants I hear.


Christopher List said...

I was talking to one of the business owners and she said there was talk that the proposed high speed rail to Detroit might extend as far as Chelsea.

Rob said...

I came across your blog accidently and was happy too as Chelsea is my hometown, though I haven't lived there in about 16 years. Great pics! Brings back happy memories.