The Ramsdell Building

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  7. The Ramsdell Building
399 River Street, Manistee, MI, United States

ARCHITECT: F.W. Hollister
CONSTRUCTED: 1891-1892

Once the site of a wood framed building which housed a popular general store called “Lumberman’s Store”, ownership of this lot eventually landed in the hands of local lawyer and philanthropist, T.J. Ramsdell. Ramsdell had the general store torn down in April 1890 and began construction of a new building. Famed Saginaw architect, F.W. Hollister (who also drew up the plans for the Manistee Fire Hall) drew up the plans for the building you see today.

Work continued on the structure through 1891 and when it was finally complete in early 1892, the red pressed brick, granite and terracotta-trimmed building was considered one of the most ornate buildings in all of Manistee.

One of the first occupants of the Ramsdell Building was the Manistee County Savings Bank which had leased the second floor of the new building. This news came as a surprise to the community because Mr. Ramsdell was president of the First National Bank which was located directly across the street.

The upper floors were originally occupied by the law offices of T.J. Ramsdell, E.E. Benedict, and George Hilliker.

On the lower floor of the building, Jacob Hanselman opened the City Drug Store with stock he had purchased from another pharmacy.

About 1898, one of Hanselman’s employees, A.J. Piotrowski, purchased the drug store business, which he operated inside the building until 1975. In 1976, City Drug Store moved to 401 River St.

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