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KNOW MUSKEGON   By Charles H. Yates

Muskegon Chronicle, June 14, 1947

 

Submitted by Bill Moore

 

Ryerson Came in 1836

 

The year 1836, which saw the first white man, Henry Pennoyer, establish a permanent home on the shores of Muskegon lake, was the year in which also came, Martin Ryerson, who was to be prominently identified with the early days of the era which was to establish Muskegon as “the lumber queen of the world.”

Ryerson first worked as an Indian trader with Joseph Troutier, and in 1839 started with T. Newell and company in the same business.

Newell and company also started a sawmill in 1839 on the shore of the lake west of the stream later named Ryerson creek, by which name it is still known.

Starting in 1841 Mr. Ryerson, in association with S.J. Green, operated the Newell mill for two years on a contract.  The next two years he managed the mill on a salary.  Then he bought the Newell interest and became a mill owner.

The name Ryerson was associated with the lumber operations until 1892.

 

Property Owner

 

                Martin Ryerson  early owned the lot on which the Regent theater now stands.  Mathias Weiskopf bought it from Ryerson  in 1867 for $375.

                Weiskopf had a two-story frame building erected there and with his family lived on the upper floor.  On the ground floor he made and repaired boots and shoes.

                Lyman G. Mason purchased the property, with 66-foot Western avenue frontage, in March, 1890.  He planned erecting a hotel, but in June, 1891 deeded the property to Hackley and Hume.

                In 1904 the Weiskopf building was torn down, and three one-story buildings erected.  William D. Hardy had purchased the property between this lot and the Hills Masonic temple at Second street.  A row of one-story buildings was erected by him.  These just now are being replaced by a three-story building to be leased to Sears, Roebuck and company.

                The Regent theater was built in 1915, and opened January, 1916.

                Leases in the Hardy row were being made in September, 1904, and Frank Norton, tailor, advertised in The Morning News Oct. 16, 1904, that he was ready for business at 88 W. Western avenue.

 

Savings Bank Corner

 

                N. A. Barney in 1869 built a stable at Western and Second street, where the Muskegon Savings Bank building now stands, as a service for patrons of the Occidental hotel.  Horses were kept for hire and those traveling in buggies and wagons were given accommodations.

                A new stable was built in the rear of the Occidental in 1870, when the three-story section was built.  Henry Brasted purchased the stable at Western and Second and it was moved across Second street.  Moving was done on a Sunday by Burnett Ripley and John Dibble while Mr. Brasted was out riding with Thomas W. Ferry of Grand Haven.

                The building was reconditioned and brick-veneered.  It was last used as a stable by James Balbirnie, Sr. who kept a hearse and carriages used in his undertaking business there.

                The corner was purchased by the newly organized Masonic Temple association in July, 1892; the new temple, to be known as Hills Masonic temple, was started in 1899.

                Henry Brasted and family lived at Western avenue and First street until the property was sold to the Muskegon National Bank in 1874.  He then built a home on the northwest corner of Clay avenue and Jefferson street.

 

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