Sunday, March 21, 2010

My Town Monday: Brighton's Four Corners, part 3

The remaining two corners of Brighton's Main Street/ Grand River Intersection are harder to track the history of.

On the South-east corner, across Main Street from where the Eastern House Hotel stood, there is currently a two story jewelry store. (The building itself looks too expensive for someone like me...) I missed my chances to get the last shots of the former building when it was torn down a few years ago.

Before the jewelry store, for a good many years-- back into the 60s or 70s if I'm not mistaken-- this corner was home to Cap'n Corky's (sp?). It was a liquor store-- probably what we call a Party Store around here. The terminology matches what my students use to define a party: not a party without alcohol. Anyway, with the opening of the CVS, as well as a good many other chain stores in the vicinity, it appears that the Cap'n Corky store couldn't really keep up. Add to that the ever-present problem in the downtown: parking.

The store closed. And-- I wish I'd had time to stop and take pix-- the construction crews gutted the buildings. I believe only the two walls that abut the neighboring buildings were left standing. Then they added the second story, the new front facade, and all the fanciness.

I have to wonder how long the jewelry store will last in this economy... especially since a long time local favorite is about two doors down. Or will locals go for the "brand name" over the locally owned and operated place. (Sadly, I'm voting for people to go with "brand name" over local. It's happening in so many other places. But I wish it wasn't so.)

Going back through history, all I can find is that this corner was home to Brighton's Foundry for a while. Though, there's some indication that the foundry was actually not right on the corner. Other records indicate that some part of the time, this corner was a private residence. It's a little mind boggling for me to think of people living in houses on Grand River... in my life time, Grand River has always been the main business drag through Brighton. Only when you get out WAY past the edge of Brighton's business stretch are there houses.

More My Town Monday!

Sunday, March 7, 2010

My Town Monday: Brighton's Four Corners, part 2

Across Grand River from the Eastern House Hotel once stood a grocery store.

Some time later, the building was torn down and a new store opened. Eventually it was the Brighton Drugs store. Later, in 1937, had bought the Brighton Drug store with Baldwin. For some time it was Leland and Baldwin Drugs. Then, Leland bought out Baldwin and renamed it Leland Drugs.

Leland had the second floor of the building removed and large shop windows installed. Leland's Drug Store became the first building in Livingston County to boast a Frigid-aire air conditioning unit. I believe this distinction came in the 1930s.

Tracing the history of a rather unremarkable set of businesses on this corner is quite difficult. The next information I have is that during the 1980s and 90s various eating establishments were attempted on that corner. One of the problems with that corner-- at least in this modern era-- is that parking is limited and not terribly convenient. There is a lot across Grand River, a few parallel parking spots, and another lot about a block away. These are not far or difficult, however, this is Livingston County, not Ann Arbor. Here, people don't like to walk any farther than necessary. (See in Ann Arbor, you don't drive. You find a place to park, and walk the several blocks. That's just "How it is.")

But, in the early 1990s, this corner of Brighton opened a new eatery. A place called Lu and Carl's that has thrived. Thrived to the point where, in summer months, they have seating on the sidewalk. Like, right alongside Grand River where one can breathe in the lovely aroma of car exhaust and listen to the rumble of hundreds of cars rolling up to and eventually through the traffic light. (Um, you couldn't pay me to eat on the sidewalk of Grand River, but anyway.) My never-humble theory as to why Lu and Carl's has thrived while other restaurants did not is slightly cynical: Lu and Carl's is the first eatery on that location to have a liquor license.

My Town Monday