CIRCLE TOUR - The history of everything you can see around the Brooks Memorial Fountain circle at the center of Marshall.
1 Brooks Memorial Fountain
In 1929, one year before the Centennial Celebration, Marshall mayor Harold C. Brooks announced his gift to the city of an “electric fountain in memory of his later father, Charles E. Brooks.” Architect Howard F. Young, landscape engineer Herman Swanson, and engineers from General Electric collaborated on the design. At its dedication on April 26, 1930, some seven thousand people applauded with “exclamations of surprise” and “wonderment” when the mayor’s son, Craig, turned on the fountain and its multi-colored lights.
Also at this location: Established in 1829, Calhoun County made Marshall its county seat in 1831. It built its first courthouse on this site between 1837 and 1840. Designed in the Greek Revival style, the building had a rectangular footprint with four columns on each end. Structural problems became apparent in 1855 when a column collapsed. In 1872, after county offices had moved to nearby buildings, the courthouse was demolished. The city repurposed the site into a park featuring a bandstand and a fishpond.
To learn more about Harold Brooks and his impact on Marshall, visit the Marshall Museum at the GAR during their open hours. April-December: Saturdays & Sundays 12pm-4pm
2 Bell in Front of City Hall
On June 8, 1985, which would have been the one hundredth birthday of Harold C. Brooks, John S. Twist (son-in-law of Harold) presented to the City of Marshall the Fire Department’s old fire bell which dates to 1881. Dedicated to the memory of Harold C. Brooks, they placed the bell on a concrete foundation in front of the Marshall City Hall. During his life, Brooks was involved in many projects in the community. He had saved the old bell from the original Marshall Fire Station on main street which he had purchased to get the city started on the Town Hall project. He later presented the antique bell to his daughter and son-in-law, John and Emily Twist.
3 Marshall City Hall
Around 1857, William Pringle built this structure as a livery stable and exchange point for stage horses. He named his new business the Pringle Livery Stable with the Martin and Clemon’s Blacksmith Shop located on the east side of the building. Interestingly, in the late 1800s, the upper floor of the livery building was used as a roller rink. Used as a livery stable for over sixty years, the building switched hands multiple times under the 1909 owner, John McNames sold the building to Herbert L. Holmes who transformed the livery into an Auto Inn. Reportedly, the Holmes Gas Station was the first drive-in gas station in Marshall.
Harold Brooks, a Marshall benefactor, historian, preservationist, and mayor of Marshall, promoted the idea of the city purchasing the building and remodeling it for a town hall. In 1930 during the Centennial Celebration, this building became the Town Hall. The former blacksmith shop in the wooden frame building on the east side of the stone hall was moved to 210 Exchange Street in 1924.
Also in 1930, the Marshall Fire Department moved to the remodeled Town Hall and was stationed in the central portion of the building and drove out through a door on the north side of the building now an archway.
4 Crary School
On October 8, 1932, the Third Ward, or Park School, burned beyond repair. The Park School which was erected in 1873 at a cost of $12,500 was replaced by the Crary School in 1925 at a cost of $60,000 and was named after Isaac E. Crary, cofounder of the present Michigan public school system. From 1971-76 it functioned as a school for handicapped students under the Calhoun County Intermediate School District. The property was purchased in 1977 and converted into five condo units.
5 120 S Parkview wood/2 Queen Anne ca 1880
6 114 S Parkview stucco/2 Colonial Revival ca. 1910
Along South Park View Avenue, there was a blacksmith shop at the rear of Park School around 1889 operated by Jack Waltz and Jim Butler. Park View Avenue was formerly called Walton Way or Walton Avenue.
7 National House Inn
In 1835, Andrew Mann built this structure which is reported to be the first brick building in Calhoun County. In 1836 and the early part of 1837 the circuit court and most of the county meetings were held at Mann’s Hotel. In later years, after the Court House was built, it continued to be a meeting place for county officials. According to an old letter, those who spent the night there found the outhouses unsurpassed by any in Michigan. In 1837, Andrew Mann leased his hotel to Volney S. Allcott who renamed it the National House. It became a rallying point of the Lower Village and headquarters for the Democratic Party. The building changed hands several times in the years that followed. In 1840, Colonel Alvah Mann Bought the hotel and his manager offered “Board to village gentlemen at $2.00 per week.” In 1841, Manlius and J.B. Mann became join owners. By 1845 Randall Watrous was the new owner, followed by Platner the same year and in 1847 the owners were Bennett and Phelps. In 1851, A. L. Merritt sold the hotel to Thomas L. Acker at which time it was renamed the Acker House. It carried this name until 1855 when Dr. Facey purchased the hotel and renamed it the Facey House. Since then, the building has been restored to its original use and appearance as an Inn.
In 1855, Dr. R. A. Facey purchased the former National House Inn (Mann’s Hotel) and immediately began renovations. Facey added a long frame addition on the west side of the building towards Sycamore Street. Editors of the Marshall Expounder wrote that, “The Facey House is now long being repaired and enlarged. An addition on the west of 40 by 60 feet, two stories high, enclosed with matched pine. The first story is designed for shops, the second for a dancing hall and concert room.”[i] Allegedly, the cost of the renovation and the addition was over $7,000. The frame addition had an outside stairway on Sycamore Street that led up to the dance hall. The lower level of the structure was to be used for shops and was incorporated into the hotel. Through the years, the National House was used for a wagon and windmill company, the Page Bros. Buggy Company, and the frame structure was used as a grocery store. In 1936, the frame section was removed and, by 1975, the building had fallen into disrepair. However, in 1975, Harold and Jacque Minick and Norm and Kathryn Kinney decided to purchase to old building and create a bed and breakfast.
8 Circus Location Site
The land west of the National House Inn was owned by Colonel Alvah Mann and used for years as a circus ground, becoming one of P.T. Barnum’s favorite stops.
9 Sibley General Store 424 W Michigan Avenue 2brick Federal ca 1840
Dr. Joseph Sibley who moved to Marshall from Wilmington, Connecticut in 1836 built this large brick building on the corner of Michigan Avenue and Sycamore Street in 1838. He began a large general store and business offices at this location and at that time, the front of the building extended to the sidewalk with wings extending on both sides to the rear. Dr. Sibley lived in one wing and Andrew Mann, builder of the National House, in the other. Around 1858 William Holmes went to work for Sibley and Phelps who had formed a partnership at that time. In 1861, Sibley bought out Phelps and gave Holmes one-half interest in the business. Holmes ran the general store until Sibley died and then, with his brother Charles Holmes, moved to 214 W Michigan Avenue in 1862. Max Stulberg purchased this building in 1946 and remodeled it for apartments.
10 416 W Michigan 2/wood Queen Anne ca1900
11 109 N Parkview wood/2 Queen Anne ca 1880
12 111 N Parkview stucco/2 Bungalow 1914
13 First Store Location Site
The first store in Marshall was a small log cabin located on what is now the south lawn of the Honolulu House. It was a general store operated by Charles Smith. Later the cabin was converted into a small frame building, said to be the first in the village. Smith was the second postmaster after George Ketchum, and the post office was literally “a cigar box” operation which was housed in Smith’s General Store. J. L. Collins who arrived in Marshall in 1835 wrote a letter to the local paper reminiscing about the early post office in the Smith General Store. Smith apparently had a potbellied stove in the store that was a favorite gathering place for the pioneers, including John Pierce and Isaac Crary. A contemporary remembered listening to the pair discussing politics by the stove. In 1836 Smith moved to a new building on Michigan Avenue (then called State Street) where he ran a seed store and lending library. At this time he left the post office in his old building which he sold to Chauncey Brewer and Charles T. Gorham. The post office remained there until Brewer and Gorham moved to a new store on State Street at which time the post office was moved to the Smith Seed Store. The empty building was then rented for a time and then was moved to South Eagle Street where it became part of the framework for the Marshall House Hotel run by John Hartman.
14 Weeping Mulberry Tree
Marshall is home to an interesting blend of native Michigan trees and plant life. Start at the sycamore tree near Grand Street Park to go on a walking tour all about trees.
15 Honolulu House Museum
Judge Abner Pratt, a US Consul to the Sandwich Islands (Hawaii) 1857-1859 built this home in 1860 upon his return from the islands. With memories of his recent trip in mind, he carefully designed his new home with contractor William Buck to reflect his previous life in Honolulu. The house itself is built of Marshall sandstone and faced with vertical boards and battens. The seven-foot-high elevated veranda contains nine bays with the center bay serving as the base of the observation tower. Inside, the central hall contains a spiral freestanding staircase leading to the balcony platform. The interior rooms have fifteen-foot ceilings with ten-foot-high doorways. Abner Pratt died in 1863, not long after his first wife’s death, and appears to have not left a will. As a result, the house, and his personal effects, including furniture, books, paintings, engravings, seashells, and “curiosities” were sold at auction in May 1864.
16 Crary Home
This location (107 N Park Ave) was originally the home of Isaac E. Crary and his wife, Bellona (Pratt) Crary. Judge Abner Pratt built this home in 1841 as a wedding gift for his daughter, Bellona who married his law partner, Isaac Crary. Southwest from this location, Crary built his law office in 1832 and, in 1895, Crary’s office building was moved to 316 South Linden Street where it is now a private dwelling. Crary served as Michigan’s first congressman and lived here from the early 1840s until his death in 1854. Arriving here in 1831, Crary was a member of Michigan’s first constitutional convention. He was three times elected to Congress, and twice to the legislature.
17 War Memorials
Monuments honoring Marshall’s soldiers through the years.
18 Bayberry House
Isaac Crary, Michigan’s first Congressman, owned four lots east of the West End Park and in 1834 he built a home on the first lot. He and his first wife lived at this location until her death in 1839. Crary then married Bellona Pratt, daughter of Abner Pratt, and moved to their new home in front of this location. When Crary passed away in 1854, his former home passed into the hands of his second wife who owned the property until 1869 when she sold it to George H. Smith for $3,000. The home went through several owners until 1911 when E. A. Hoeltzel moved a portion of the home to 111 N Linden Street. The remainder still exists on 108 N Park Avenue. This portion of the home is known as the “Crary Fragment” and was the servant's quarters.
19 Crary Law Office (Law office located between Bayberry and gas station, tnot there now)
Southwest from the Crary house location, Crary built his law office in 1832 and, in 1895, Crary’s office building was moved to 316 South Linden Street where it is now a private dwelling.
20 First Baptist Church
Followers of the Baptist faith first met in this area around 1840 in Marengo and established the Baptist Church of Marshall and Marengo. Meetings were held alternately in Marshall and Marengo until the church was incorporated in 1842 and they changed their name to Marshall Baptist Church. Reverend T.Z.R. Jones served as their first pastor. This early congregation met in the Court House, Mechanics Hall, and the old schoolhouse on Mansion Street. In 1850, the congregation started to build their own church on Michigan Avenue (then called State Street) at a cost of $7,000 and dedicated it in 1852. The congregation rebuilt the church in 1876 and the entrance was changed from the center of the north side to its present location. The structure suffered a fire in 1902 and a tall spire was erected and removed around 1915 after being struck by lightning. In 1974, the congregation undertook a $25,000 restoration program which restored the original bricks. The First Baptist Church, the oldest church edifice in Marshall, was designated a historic sight by the Michigan Historical Commission in 1985.
21 Circle Business District
In Marshall’s early years, there were perhaps ten to fifteen small wooden stores located around the early Court House (Fountain Circle). Most of these buildings were moved but one of them remains today. Across the fountain circle from this location, you can see the Great Michigan Insurance building that once served as a private home for William B. Church built in 1873. He was part owner of a drug store built in 1866 that sat on the south side property of the Honolulu House. When Church completed his home, he had the store moved across the park and attached to his home. The site is now a store front and insurance agency and features the last of Marshall’s covered sidewalks. This structure is a fine example of one of the many ways Marshall has utilized adaptive reuse with historic structures.
22. William B. Church Home
William B. Church constructed this Italian Villa in 1873 and, upon completion of his home, had his drug store across the street moved and attached to the east side of his home. Years later, David Sherman converted this once private residence and the attached1866 doctors office into offices and a second floor apartment.
23. Marshall’s Last Covered Sidewalk
As mentioned previously in “First Store Location Site” above, the Italianate home on this site was built by William B. Church built in 1873 as a private dwelling. He was part owner of a drug store built in 1866 that sat on the south side property of the Honolulu House. When Church completed his home, he had the store moved across the park and attached to his home. The site is now a store front and insurance agency and features the last of Marshall’s covered sidewalks. This structure is a fine example of one of the many ways Marshall has utilized adaptive reuse with historic structures.
While every effort has been made to ensure accuracy, if you find any errors please let us know by calling the Marshall Welcome Center at 269-781-5163 and asking for Kimber, or CLICK TO EMAIL.