Saturday, July 18, 2009

Main Street Stories: 223-227 S. Main

The building at 223-227 S. Main can trace its roots back to a livery stable opened by Clayton C. Barnes about 1900, on the lot just south of the Detroit Hotel at the southwest corner of Third & Main streets.

By the mid-1920s, the livery stable had given way to the Rochester Lumber & Coal Company, and the building was modified to suit the new business use. The Clarion described the renovation work in July of 1927: “The Rochester Lumber & Fuel Co. [sic] have torn out the front of the old former Barnes livery barn, adjoining the Ford garage, and will replace the same with a 60-foot brick front of modern type, overhauling the remainder of this large structure for the storing of interior finish etc., in connection with their present yard on Water Street" [the Water Street yard referred to here later became Nowels' Lumber Yard].

Nine years later, the building changed purposes again and was remodeled once more. William Woolcott Motor Sales, which had been doing business as a Buick agency at 119 S. Main since 1934, leased the former Rochester Lumber & Coal building at 223-227 S. Main in September of 1936. Renovations began immediately. The Clarion reported that the front portion of the building was left intact (this would be the brick front erected by the lumber company in 1927), while the entire rear of the building was demolished and replaced by a cement block and steel structure to be used as an automotive sales room and service garage. Woolcott Motors moved into its new home in 1937.

The following year, in October of 1938, the dealership was reorganized and renamed Community Motors. Zeno Schoolcraft was president of the company, and the other officers were Grover J. Taylor, Al Michalka and William Woolcott. Eventually, Harold Hopkins took ownership of Community Motors, and also operated a used car lot at the corner of North Main and Romeo streets (later the site of a Sunoco gas station and now a Seven-Eleven store).

In 1959, Harold Hopkins sold the business to Clarence E. “Bud” Shelton, who operated his Pontiac-Buick dealership there briefly before moving to the South Hill location that the company occupies today. A tire shop was subsequently located in the building, and in 1971, Clarence Whitbey's Avon Printing Company moved in. For about a decade during the 1970s, the Sea & Sky Pet Shop was also located there.

After Avon Printing closed in 1996, the building was once again remodeled, this time for restaurant use. Today, it is the home of the Fieldstone Winery, Give Thanks Bakery, and 227 Bistro.

The building celebrates its 72nd birthday this year - although to be technically correct, the front is 82 years old.

Photo: This view of the building shows Community Motors occupying the space during the World War II years, when new vehicles were not available. (Notice the brick pavement on Main Street). My thanks to James Hopkins for sharing this photo from his family collection, and for providing me with details about the history of Community Motors.

No comments:

Post a Comment