From the Ashes (p8) – The Therrian Building

The great fire was a wake up call to Lake Linden, prompting the village to institute new rules and regulations when it came to what could be rebuilt in the fire’s wake. After the flames were doused and the wreckage cleared the village instituted a strict fire code along its main commercial avenue. The code called for any new structure erected downtown to be built out of fire proof materials – stone or brick. It was an attempt to keep those fateful events of May from ever happening once again. The irony of it all, however, was that the great fire originated in just such a fire proof building, and ended up destroying a few other brick and stone blocks along the way. In the end it might have all been just lip service to quell the nervous insurance companies and keep rates down to hasten the rebuilding process. But whatever the true motive might have been, the results were still the same. Within a year the village had rebuilt, and had populated its main commercial thoroughfare with a line of impressive stone and brick business blocks.

No where is this more apparent then here in the heart of the village, where an almost unbroken line of brick and stone buildings occupy the street-scape. A total of four of these buildings were in fact built the same year as the fire, an amazingly quick turnaround for a village that had just suffered such destruction.

One of those early pioneers to the block was this rather modest brick commercial block known as the Therrian Building. Charles Therrian was yet another victim in the great fire, having lost both his saloon business and residence on that fateful day. Yet like most Lake Linden residents, the businessmen was determined to rebuild. The result was this iron framed two story brick building just down the street from the Bosch Building. Therrian apparently did not re-open his saloon, but instead rented out the two first floor storefronts to house various other business. He did, however, use the top floor for his own residence.

Amazingly the first floor of the Therrian Building looks to be remarkably intact, having been spared from any unfortunate “modernization” efforts during its lifetime. While some new siding may have been applied to the buildings transom windows above the storefronts, the entries to those storefronts managed to still feature their prism glass transom windows.

Another interesting item that seems to have survived the years are the pair of pole mounted insulators sitting right above the upper floor entrance. This seems like an awfully dangerous place to connect power lines to a building, so perhaps they just appear to be a pair of insulators hanging off the building and served some other purpose instead.

Without the blasphemy of exterior modernization, the building’s original iron posts can also still be seen in all their painted glory along the front of the building. One of the posts is stamped with the name and address of its maker, which happens to be a local firm. The S.F. Hodge Lake Superior Iron Works was a foundry in Ripley that dealt primarily with stamp shoes and other mill equipment. Hodge himself was a Cornish immigrant that had already built himself a successful foundry and engine works shop in Detroit, opening a satellite business here in the Copper Country around 1870 to serve the burgeoning mining industry. A business that apparently also dealt in structural posts and beams.

Upstairs the building is rather plain and uninspiring, its only piece of flair being sandstone sills under the windows and segmented brick arches over them. A rather plain dentil style cornice tops the building.

The Therrian Building was originally joined by a small iron sheathed building to the north and a warehouse to the south. Both structures are now gone, and have been replaced by the quintessential 20th century contribution to the landscape – parking lots.

As we continue on we find ourselves staring at a long line of buildings finishing off the block – buildings that were all connected together by a rather awful modern facade. We tackle that tomorrow…

To Be Continued…

Discuss…

  1. Another bit of trivia about Mr. Hodge… the man earned the money to start his first blacksmith and machine shop working on the completion of Fort Wayne in Detroit. (The star fortification version I believe)

  2. interesting…where did you read about Mr Hodge at?

    (can’t say i remember offhand who he is)

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