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Bygones of Monroe:

Power House Corner Sold for Civic Improvement

This picture [picture of power house can be found on front page of the Monroe Evening News for Tuesday, May 21 st , 1929] shows the old power house with its towering smoke stack on north Monroe street.

This corner, together with the other holdings of the Eastern Michigan Toledo Railway Company in the same block, was purchased by John S. McMillan to make way for the widening of North Monroe street. Approximately half of the power house property, or a strip 71 feet wide and 134 feet deep will be deeded to the city for the widening of the street. The remainder of the 110,000 spare feet involved in the entire purchase will be sold and the profits turned over to the Monroe Industrial Commission.

Besides playing an important part in Monroe's program of civic development this spot has a romantic and historic background. It was the site of the old River Raisin blockhouse around which were enacted some of the most dramatic and vivid chapters in the long history of pioneer struggles here.

A tablet on the face of the present building bears this inscription.

"First American flag raised on Michigan soil in Frenchtown by Captain Porter, 1796.

Site of River Raisin blockhouse occupied by American troops, burned by British Capt. Elliott under Col. Proctor, Aug. 1812."

Just after the close of the Civil War Major Edmund D. Chapman bought the Charles Noble home on this corner. Major Chapman was the father of Mrs. George M. Landon of 327 Washington street and it was here that she was married to Judge George M. Landon in 1884.

.The power house was built in the summer of 1900 by the J. G. White Company of New York for the old Monroe and Toledo electric line. In those days the line ran only to Toledo and to the Monroe Piers and it was not until some time later that the company became the Detroit, Monroe & Toledo Short Line Railway.

The local power house was maintained after the lines became a part of the D. U. R. system and continued to furnish electric power for the running of all cars between the city limits of Detroit and Toledo. The plant was discontinued here June 10, 1924, when the company began using Detroit Edison current. Dismantling was begun in 1927.

In the early days all cars ran out of Monroe and the local car barn housed all or most of the [indecipherable]. Recently only two trains and a work car were kept here and the importance of the plant here dwindled almost to nothing.

For a great many years the power plant was in charge of Thomas Lloyd and was considered one of the most efficient stations in the D. U. R. service.

The little brick building now used for the office was once the voting place for the fourth ward and was also used as a storage place for the old hand fire pump. The tower, which was recently removed, will be remembered by the old residents as the place where the hose was hung to dry after a fire.

This property was previously the location of a private school operated by the late John L. Davis, father of Mrs. Charles A. Maurer of 606 West Front Street.

(Monroe Evening News, Tuesday May 21 st , 1929.)



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