Grichar’s Market (aka the Kitti Building)

Our last stop along Oak’s 700 block is a rather small brick veneered building sitting on the corner of Cedar Lane – the alley the cuts through the center of the block. The building was originally built by the Kitti family (along with the rest of this side of the block save the Arlington) and is commonly known as the Kitti Building. It originally housed the odd combination of a cigar and candy shop, and then later a saloon and barber. By 1916 the building became home to a meat market operated by Joseph Grichar, whose family lived on the second floor of the building.

The Kitti Building is a rather small building, but it features a nice collection of rather interesting architectural details. The most notable of which is its corner turret…

The use of these corner turrets are actually quite common throughout the village, but such architectural flourishes are not usually used in buildings sitting buried within the middle of the block. However the Kitti building utilized the presence of the neighboring alley to warrant the turrets inclusion, as if it was facing a major corner intersection.

In addition to that turret the building also features a pair of interesting oriel windows, one which faces the neighboring alley and another which faces the street. The one seen above faces the alley.

Here’s the other oriel window, the one that faces Oak street. This one looks much different then its alley facing brethren, which makes me think that the two were perhaps built at different times. Of course the more ornate nature of this one might be due to its position alongside a major thoroughfare.

Though heavily covered by decade’s worth of paint, the building’s ornate trim can still be appreciated over the first floor storefront.

One last detail of note is the building’s second floor entrance, which features a rather nice arched opening and transom window.

Today the old Grichar’s market is long gone, and the building currently sits empty and unused. Luckily the current owners have done a good job of sealing up the old building and protecting it from any further deterioration. It’s a good thing too, considering the old building is the last business block to survive along the 700 block.

8 comments

  1. also worked part time at Michigan house when I worked at Kingston mine–cleaning up filling beer in coolers–jim Thomas had bought it and just finishied remodeling the building–and built a party hall down basement he called Kingston room–al utzman built the tables–all the bars in town had there brlls of beer dropped down those tunnels in front of bars also–they had piles of old tires for full brlls of beer to land on when dropped–beer was tapped down basments of most bars then–ps my uncle mike and cousin Bernie shute—sutej in Croatian— operated shuts bar 1915-1990—4 shuty brothers ended up with diff spellings of sutej–joe had bar in copper city in 1916–got picture of joe in 1916 golobich wedding—-puppy gresnicks mother and father are in it—my dad gave puppy–great calumet hockey player— rides on his 1920s motor cycle when he was young boy–puppy told me—tony

  2. I was upstairs of kitty building–went to buy his 1948 Plymouth –we went to Ishpeming -calumet football game with it–on way back it threw a rod about where the calumet state police post is now–the sudent bus also threw rod closer to school on return trip also-was fall of 1954–drove laundry truck then also for walt kitty–walt was track–basketball –football-gym coach for few yrs also athletic directer–wonder what walts pay was then –doing 4 jobs–walt was great guy and friend–don’t no if related to bob–tony

  3. CCexplorer: Thank you for this site. Well done!

    A note on the Kitti:

    Coal was delivered to the rear of the store through a chute.
    The entrance on the sidewalk was indeed THE entrance to the barbershop, among other things I’m sure, which occupied a small rental space under the store along the west wall of the basement. We are not aware of any tunnel at the sidewalk, but if walls could talk …….

    A friend of mine, (retired engineer here in Calumet ), says there is enough thermal heat flowing through the tunnels of Calumet to not only heat the entire village, but cool it during the summer months as well.
    – All connecting to the mines… wouldn’t that be something.
    – A thermal village.

    I would love to see the tunnels restored instead of permanently filled with concrete – which is what the village council is considering.

    mktees

  4. Yellow Jacket Refugee

    The space under the sidewalk was used for the delivery of coal. There were double steel door coverings for access. In the 1970′s the Michigan House used these spaces for dinning areas.

  5. I think the building was home to multiple businesses at times. (A business owner doesn’t necessarily imply building owner.) For example, I heard at one time there was a barber shop downstairs. I only know for certain that my great aunts and uncles worked for their dad at this family store. There’s a family anecdote about Henry Kitti giving a free can of peaches with a furniture purchase and hence why my grandpa, Peder, wouldn’t let my dad close on a deal when shopping for a couch without the salesman throwing something in for free. So many hints, but the sales man didn’t get it…all he needed to do was give a free pencil or something. Sheesh!

    Here’s something I would like to know…is there a map of the underground tunnels? The sidewalk is hollow in front of the three Kitti buildings. The entrance you can still see covered up in front of the store. I wonder does this connect to the St. Jerman building? I don’t think it bends to connect with Randy’s on 7th, but that’s just a guess. I’m a bit concerned because what’s holding the sidewalk up these days? I can imagine T-shaped wood supports and that’s a bit disconcerting.

    • I didn’t know the original owners of the building when I wrote this post, so I named if after the only tenant I knew about. I think it’s safe to say that we can call this little beauty the “Kitti Building”. I’ll fix the post to reflect…

  6. The first window you mention was worked on a two summers ago and matches the newly constructed porch in the back. I think it most likely looks just like the second window underneath and was just covered up.

    I have never heard of the name Grichar’s. I have only heard it called “Kitti Store” or “Building.” Are you sure that Grichar’s was not just an occupant in 1916? My great grandfather, Henry Kitti, was known for assisting Finnish immigrants by sponsoring their immigration and providing housing for them. My mom describes it as importing his own customers because he would then sell them furniture etc! I also bet he was collecting rent too.

    • Polk directory lists a “Grichar Joseph” meat market at 706 Oak, which according the Sanborn’s of the same time period was the address of the building seen in this post.

      It’s possible the market was short lived, or changed owners before or after the 1916 Polk. Or the address is wrong, though if it is I don’t know what other building along the 700 block could have been the market.

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