The Mission of Preservation Chelsea

It is our mission to preserve Chelsea as a village rich with history and charm, reflected by historic buildings, surrounding farmlands, and as found in our beautiful and vibrant village center. We aim to work through education, offering to ourselves and the community the history of Chelsea as well as the issues shaping our future. We intend actively to preserve historic landmarks and to have a voice in all issues that affect any possible de-centralization of our village. It is our intention to pursue this mission with full involvement and input from merchants and citizens of Chelsea and to act in ways that make sense for the preservation of Chelsea's charm and historic integrity while supporting a vibrant and successful downtown.

Federal Screw Works

Federal Screw Works
This property has been under threat of total demolition since 2008--there are historically signficant and architecturally interesting sections that should be preserved!

Jackson Street Panorama

Jackson Street Panorama
The DDA voted at the meeting on 9.20.12 to demolish the Daniels Addition Car Showroom despite the letter from the State Historic Preservation Office. (please read below)

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Chelsea Standard July 29, 2010 ( p. 12 - A)

History Highlighted at Jackson Street Jam
By Kathy Clark
Pick your mantra, This Place Matters, Save These Buildings, Keeping Our Past Present. They all speak to the hopes of many national and state preservation leaders, local citizens and organizations to preserve the historic character of Chelsea in the Jackson Street corridor, by saving the three Longworth Buildings on Jackson Street, and adaptively reusing them.
A celebration and free concert on Friday, August 6th will take place just west of the Chelsea Train Depot, sponsored by Preservation Chelsea. Two Chelsea youth bands will be jamming at the “Jackson Street Jam” to “keep our past present.” Dr. Dwayne and the Bad Boys from Spain and The Poor House bands will be performing jazz and classic rock with a fusion of modern pop music. Jackson Street will be blocked of west of the depot for the evening. A few local leaders and citizens will speak between musical numbers about why these buildings matter, their past, present and future.
Remarkably, an entire complex of buildings representing the history of our community is still present today on Jackson Street. Along with our 1880 train depot, the cement block Chelsea House Livery, Feed and 10 cent Barn; a brick factory building known as the ‘Mack Building’; and the ‘Daniels Buick-Olds Showroom,’ which fronts on Main Street, remain. These three “Longworth buildings,” as they became known, were purchased by the City of Chelsea, Downtown Development Authority in December of 2008. These buildings represent the hub of the economic beginnings of Chelsea and are interconnected in history.
Nineteenth-Century Chelsea grew up around this intersection of a major north-south wagon road (current M-52) and a new Detroit-Chicago railroad line. It became a major shipping point for agriculture and milling products with its freight depot, passenger depot, hotel and livery. Manufacturing was advantageously located here in 1891 with the Glazier-Strong Stove Co. Another factory was built in early 1900 to make bicycles, gadgets and the first Welch automobile prototypes.
Jackson and Main streets remained the economic center of town until better paved roads and then expressways facilitated other transportation networks.
Rapid change over the years altered the look and function of the buildings. Chelsea House Hotel replaced their wooden livery with a concrete block one in 1906. The factory, now known as the 'Mack Building,' saw many owners and adaptive re-use of space-- first retooling for stoves, then auto parts followed by newspaper publishing, hatcheries, warehousing and more. In 1917 it became an auto dealership. The 'Daniels Buick-Olds Showroom' was added in the 1940s.
In 1952, the Longworth family purchased the Livery, and some years later purchased the auto dealership buildings. The buildings were eventually connected and served as home of the family’s metal plating business for 50 years.
These buildings are a significant and unique part of Chelsea’s rich heritage. Quoting a letter to Preservation Chelsea by Janet G. Potter, author of Great American Railway Stations: “. . . Such auxiliary buildings tell the story of a [railroad] station and vastly increase its historical and educational significance. Few places retain them. Chelsea is extraordinary and, in my view, literally unique in retaining not only the first hotel but also the livery. In my research, I uncovered no equivalent situation.”
Jackson Street Jam will take place on Friday, August 6th from 7 to 10 p.m. Posters by local artist John Pappas advertising the event are posted in storefronts throughout the City of Chelsea. Food and beverages will be sold by vendors. All are welcome.

(Further information, contact: Tom Girard, president of The Chelsea Connection LLC at 475-3632, Michelle McClellan, president of Preservation Chelsea at 475-7565, or Jan Bernath at 475-5753)

Longworth Site Timeline
Dec. 2008 – DDA purchases former Longworth buildings.
April 2009 - DDA proposes demolition of Livery and Daniels showroom addition.
Summer 2009 – Save The Livery Coalition collects hundreds of signatures in support of adaptive reuse of the complex.
Jan. 2010 – DDA issues Request For Proposal for redevelopment of the site. RFP was initially due in February, and later and later extended to July 15, 2010.
Feb. 2010 – Preservation Chelsea/The Chelsea Connection submits proposal for adaptive reuse, with the DDA retaining ownership.
April 2010 and July 2010 – The Chelsea Connection LLC submits proposal to purchase and redevelop through adaptive reuse.

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