Marshall History

Historic Downtown Walk (Red Dots • 1.4 miles)

Follow the red sidewalk markings around Fountain Circle and along Michigan Avenue, the Old Territorial Road. Look for historic buildings, museums, landscaped public areas, State Historic Markers and Michigan Milestone Plaques for 100+ year old businesses, and the Saturday morning Farm Market (May-Oct.). Visit businesses, shops and restaurants located in historic buildings from the 1800s. Follow the Red Dots for the primary walk which is 1.1 miles in length, or continue onto the Red Diamond section (an additional 0.3 mile) to explore further.

From 1834 to 1838 the first Calhoun County Court House could be seen in West End Park (the fountain circle). It was demolished in 1875 when the second court house was built on Green Street. The fountain was a 1930 centennial celebration gift to the City from Harold C. Brooks. It’s a replica of the “Temple of Love” in Marie Antoinette’s garden at Versailles, France. Marshall’s section of the Old Territorial Road was named State Street until 1923 when the state requested that all towns along US 12 from Detroit to Chicago rename their main street Michigan Avenue. The architectural styles of the downtown buildings include Italianate, Greek Revival, Second Empire, Romanesque, Colonial Revival, and Beaux Art Classicism. In 1860. the unusual and famed Honolulu House was built by Abner Pratt.

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There are 5 MUSEUMS along the Downtown Walk

Honolulu House Museum (107 N. Kalamazoo Ave.) The house has a unique combination of Gothic Revival, Italianate and Polynesian influences and was constructed of Marshall Sandstone and faced with vertical boards and battens. The structure is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and the Historic American Buildings Survey.

Walters Gasoline Museum (220 W. Michigan Ave.) A fascinating collection of memorabilia related to Midwestern cars, service stations, and the history of Marshall. The museum is housed at the old Marshall Interurban Railway Depot, which was built in 1903. Large exterior wall murals were added in 2010.

American Museum of Magic (107 E. Michigan Ave.) Houdini, Thurston and Michigan’s own Blackstone are among the hundreds of magicians whose treasures are showcased in this amazing museum. Explore the largest collection of magic artifacts on public display anywhere in the world. The museum also operates a research center in the former Marshall library open to magic historians and researchers.

United States Postal Service Museum (202 E. Michigan Ave.) The largest collection of U.S. Postal memorabilia outside of Washington’s Smithsonian Institution, the Postal Service Museum houses thousands of items spanning the entire history of U.S. mail delivery. Among the highlights are an 1890s storefront post office, a horse-drawn mail buggy, and an original 1931 Model A mail truck that was driven in the inauguration parade of President George H. W. Bush.

Marshall Historical Museum at GAR Hall (402 E. Michigan Ave.) The Grand Army of the Republic Hall was built in 1902 to honor Marshall-area veterans of the Civil War and as a meeting place for its veterans and their sons. It features artifacts from the Civil War, Spanish-American War and the World Wars. The focus of the museum also highlights goods made in Marshall such as the Hinkle Automatic Theater, a marionette and puppet stage created and constructed locally.