(Publisher’s note: There were two people holding signs. This mistake has been corrected in the story.)
The Daniels Showroom demolition began Monday, Oct. 29 about noon.
The building, which is part of the Longworth Complex, is owned by the Downtown Development Authority, which tried to find a viable developer to rehabilitate all the buildings, but was unsuccessful.
The DDA voted in September to demolish the auto dealership addition to the Mack Building, and Smalley Construction, Inc. of Scottsville, MI was the low bidder.
The western wall windows and entry of the Mack Building are to be restored to its historic character as nearly as possible. While the openings of the remaining front facade will be closed and secured, according to the bid. For more information, click here.
Here are some thoughts about the showroom’s history from John Frank, president of Preservation Chelsea, who was one of
several two people holding signs protesting the demolition while it was taking place.
Frank said the showroom was an important part of transportation history.
“Cars were sold differently back then. They were sold with a beautiful showroom that held two cars,” Frank said. “Mr. Daniels might have had a Buick Roadmaster and an Olds ’98 convertible on that beautiful tile floor with spotlights on them outside at night.
“A man would go by and stop and look at those cars and then if he were a good family man, he’d go inside the next day and buy a family sedan. Back then, they didn’t hold the inventory that they do now. They ordered a car from a ‘branch house’ and it was delivered in about a week.”
Frank said, “This was a different method of marketing and selling cars, one that’s gone now.”
He called the demolition of the showroom “very regrettable. It’s a shame that this wasn’t re-purposed because it’s right on the sidewalk and it maintained the rhythm of the store fronts. And, it’s the only ‘art moderne’ building in Chelsea.”
Built in 1947, he said, the showroom made an attractive representation, adding that there were a lot of people who have wanted this building to come down for a long time.