90 North Main St.

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East side of street

The current Independence Township Hall and former Library building.

In 1840 Nelson Washington Clark built a large two story wooden building on this site for use as a private academy. He lined the front walk with trees. Clark sold the property to Professor Isaac C. Cochran who ran a "select school" here until it was sold to the public in 1862. In 1910 the wooden building was dismantled and a new two story brick building with a domed belvedere, which was later removed, was constructed. By the time a new school building was constructed in 1934 this building housed grades K through 12. In 1938 bids were taken from the public for the property. Clarkston doctor, Harry B. Yoh bid with the hope of making it his home & a hospital. F. J. Stine planned to convert the building to apartments if his bid was accepted. Mr. F. E. Webb wanted to convert it to his residence. Former Independence Township Supervisor Washington Irish purchased the property in 1938 with the hope of converting it to apartments. At the time "Wash" was living in the home at 71 N. Main where he had lived since retiring from his Independence Township farm. He & daughter, Fanny moved into the small building, built in 1925, which stood to the south of the school building. He died a year later. The building was sold to Henry Ford who opened a apprentice school here. The building at the rear was constructed to house the power generator. Ford had also purchased the Clarkston mills property and built a small factory on that site with the hope of running the plant with the water power provided by the Millpond dam. In 1950 the building was purchased by the citizens for use as a Community Center, later becoming the Township Hall. The small building on the south part of the lot was the residence of Washington Irish & daughter, Fanny, after he purchased the property with the hope of converting the large two story building, formerly a school, to apartment use. He died in 1939 with out accomplishing this plan. In 1955 this building, built in 1925 became a library, with a collection of 500 books. Mrs. Esther Smith was the librarian with 3,000 books by 1957. At one time this building had a stucco finish.

Official Property Description: 
  • Lots 1 & 2 Block 23 & Jefferson St., a part of Nelson W. Clark's Original Plat of the Village in the Southeast 1/4 of Section 20 in Independence Township.
  • Lot 26 of the Supervisor's Replat of the Northwestern Addition & part of the Original Plat.
Significant Property History: 
  • 1840 Nelson W. Clark built a large frame private school on this site.
  • 1844 Nelson W. Clark, Block 23, assessed value $60.
  • 1846 Nelson W. Clark, Blocks 23 & 24, assessed value $250.
  • 1847 Nelson W. Clark, Block 23, assessed value $50.
  • 1848 Nelson W. Clark, Block 23, assessed value $15.
  • 1849 Nelson W. Clark, Block 23, assessed value $50.
  • 1862 The school was sold to the public circa
  • 1863 The Union School.
  • 1872 Map of the Village shows the footprint of the"school house". 1883 The school was made a ten grade school. Principal, Abram L. Craft. See 2/22/1967 Clarkston News article by Constance Lektzian.
  • 1896 Map shows the schoolhouse building footprint.
  • 1898 The school was made a twelve grade school. Professor Clarence Vliet.
  • 1910/1912 The wood building was dismantled & the new brick building with a domed belvedere was constructed.
  • 1935 The new Clarkston School was opened on E. Church St.
  • 1938 Washington Irish purchased the property.
  • 1939 Washington Irish died.
  • 1940 Ford purchased the property.
  • 1950 The building became a Community Center.
Historic District Commission Documents: