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)

Friday, September 14, 2012

Letter from John Frank, President of Preservation Chelsea (published in The Sun Times & The Chelsea Standard

September 10, 2012
To the Editor:
In news coverage last week of the Chelsea City Council's plan to sell the old police headquarters building at 104 East Middle Street, City Manager John Hanifan was quoted as saying, “We're not particularly interested in driving the development of a historical building. We've not been good at that, but we can always improve.” I respectfully suggest that driving the development and repurposing of Chelsea’s historic downtown buildings should be a priority for both the City and the Downtown Development Authority (DDA). The DDA-enabling Michigan Legislature Act 197 of 1975 lists the objectives of DDAs as maintaining the economic growth and encouraging preservation of the historic character of downtowns. The City of Chelsea now enjoys being listed on the National Register of Historic Places. This honor can help in our efforts to make Chelsea a Destination City. Indeed, the Chelsea First marketing initiative ( was created by our Chamber of Commerce to promote this objective.
The old police headquarters building contributes to that character. It was built in 1910 to house the Holmes and Walker furniture and hardware business, replacing a two-story building that was destroyed by fire in 1909. Built in the late commercial Victorian style, this building is one of only two three-story buildings in Chelsea. Historic photographs show the store-front’s elaborate details and large first-floor display windows. The building was later owned by Margaret Gates Vogel who rented it to Paul Grafson for his supermarket. Beginning in 1946 it housed the municipal and fire department offices on the first floor and the Chelsea Library on the second floor. The third floor was used as a community hall. In 1971 the Chelsea Police moved in after a remodel that included the heavy brick façade on the first floor. This façade could be removed to restore the historic storefront, again making this a very attractive building for a retailer. The second and third floor façades remain unchanged from 1910: a trio of large “Chicago” windows fills the entire second story façade and the third floor is topped with a paneled and stepped brick parapet.
Preservation Chelsea urges the City to indeed drive the restoration and repurposing of this beautiful historic building and not leave its fate up to the whims of a developer who may or may not value its historic appearance and its 100-year significance to Chelsea.
John L. Frank
President, Preservation Chelsea

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