101 West Michigan Avenue, Marshall Michigan, also known as the Cronin Building.
The Cronin Building is the red building on the corner in the upper right of the photo above. Just further back on the left is the Marshall Middle School, where many Albion students now attend from 6th – 8th grades.
150-year-old J.H. Cronin Building downtown will be converted into a restaurant and upper-floor apartments and extended stay suites. See article below. For some background…
In the 1840s a Farmer’s Market was located here, and by 1845 there was some sort of building at this location as Marshall’s first telegraph office was location here with Jabez Fitch as the first telegraph operator. According to a later history, the telegraph office was located where the S.E. Cronin Building was later built. In 1849, the Marshall School Board rented the Comstock Building for temporary classes, also remembered by a pioneer who attended school on this corner. In 1851 Jeremiah Cronin and Oliver C. Comstock held a mortgage for this property. In 1853 Comstock moved his business to this building from Exchange Square. The building must have been two stories as the Expounder newspaper moved in above Comstock in 1853. In 1856 Comstock discontinued his business and the newspaper moved to a new location at 201 East Michigan. Jeremiah Cronin moved to a wooden frame building across from the Post Office on the corner of State and Jefferson streets in 1857.
In 1869 Jeremiah Cronin built a new brick block building and the Expounder moved to the third floor. About this time there was a confusion of numbers for this location. Part of the time it was 77 State Street and sometimes 81 State Street. In 1872 the Billings Millinery and Sewing Machines Business located on the second floor. Billings moved to Jefferson Street in 1874. In 1878 the Great Western Novelty Company operated by Sherman and Company was located at 77-79 State Street on the second floor. In 1885 the Expounder moved out and the Knights of Pythias Lodge moved to the third floor of the Cronin Building in 1895.
Jeremiah Cronin died in 1889 and the store was run by his wife Susan and children under the name of S.E. Cronin Store. The Cronin Building was enlarged in 1889 and Mrs. Merrill’s Millinery moved to the Cronin Building in 1893. In 1894 the S.E. Cronin Department Store and Grocery were advertised at 103 State Street. This included 101 (the department store) and 103 (the grocery). The Marshall Business College was also located on the second floor. The store was remodeled and an elevator was added in 1903. In 1905 the Knights of Pythias Lodge moved from here to their new building at 108-110 East Michigan.
Susan Cronin died in 1907 and the store was operated by a son, Jay H. Cronin, William and Charles Duffield, and Fred Cuzzins. Jay Cronin became sole owner in 1915 and after he died his daughters, Virginia and Elizabeth Cronin, became the owners and managers.
Source: A History of Marshall Michigan by Richard Carver. Used with permission. Learn more about this book here.
Read more about recent developments in this article by the Battle Creek Enquirer by clicking here.