Thursday, January 24, 2013

219 Prospect, Alma, Michigan

For the last couple months I've been negotiating with the credit union next door to me on Prospect St; they want to buy my building to demolish it as part of their expansion project this year.  The building has certainly gone through a lot of changes over the years!  The abstract documents that the property was deeded to Ralph Ely in 1855. At the time the settlement that would become known as Alma was called Elyton.  It is my understanding that the old wood frame house that is still part of the structure was built by the controller of the Republic Truck Plant. Republic built something like 80% of the trucks used by the US in WWI.  I bought the building in 1972 from Opal and Ed Waber. By the mid 1970s I took off the top of the house and covered the house and attached concrete block garage (the section with the large windows) with end-support trusses and one large roof.   The complex is currently about 4000 sq feet.  The photo here was taken shortly after the new roof was put on in the 1970s; that is my first brand new car, a Chevy Vega ($2,900 sticker price) and my loyal tri-color collie Stormy. We were still living in the house portion at this time.  The first business was Cook Christian Supplies, a Christian Bookstore that sold a few musical instruments. Out of that grew Cook's Music. Eventually the business grew until there were Cook's Music locations in Alma, Mt Pleasant, and Midland, and Cook Christian Supplies stores in Alma and Mt Pleasant.  Currently the building houses Rebeats.  Where will Rebeats go?  Probably the core operations will be moved to my residence, the "Bahlke House," a historic site mentioned in another blog entry. The third floor is currently unoccupied except when Will is home on vacation; I may have to reduce his living area from the entire third floor to one bedroom.  
The transaction has been delayed because the deed was never properly recorded in my name. Shortly after selling me the business, the Wabers moved to California.  The 15 year land contract was paid off in 1987. In 1993 both Opal and Ed Waber were killed in a car crash in California. Their only daughter, Janet, and her husband John Hopkins died in 2008 and 2004 respectively.  We have started a "Quiet Title Action" to straighten out the title.

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