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Building torn down to make way for drain

Building torn down to make way for drain
The building at 17-19 N. Main Street was torn down this week. Photos by B. Powell.

By Judy Reed

The building at 17-19 N. Main Street, that many remember as the old Red Flannel Insurance building, was demolished earlier this week as part of the reroute of the Cedar Springs drain.

The building has not housed a business for at least four years; some of the more recent ones included Mercantile of Yesteryear; Hidden Treasures; Red Flannel Insurance and Barber’s Jewelry and Rau’s Real Estate. Even earlier ones include The Cedar Beauty Studio, and the office of the Rudell Creamery, later the Cedar Springs Creamery.

The building before it was torn down. Google photo.

The building originally was built to house a dentist office after a fire in 1909. According to information in both the Cedar Springs Story, by Sue Harrison and Donna DeJonge, and the Making of a Town—a historical journey through Cedar Springs, Michigan by the Cedar Springs Historical Society, Dr. George Ferguson’s office was destroyed in the fire, and he and young lawyer Thaddeus Taylor built the new brick building on Main Street with offices for both of them. 

Dr. Ferguson originally came to Cedar Springs after he became a railroad telegrapher for Grand Trunk Western Railroad in the spring of 1891 at the age of 19. He served various communities but later became interested in dentistry and earned his degree from the Detroit College of Dental Surgery. He practiced in Cedar Springs from 1907-1940. He was very active in the community, serving on the Board of Trade (Chamber of Commerce); the CS Board of Education; the local theater association; and others. His son, Ardale Ferguson, later had a gas station (Ferguson’s Super Service) built next to Dr. Ferguson’s office (in the 1920s), in the area now used as parking for Chase Bank (northwest corner of Cherry and Main St).

Thaddeus Taylor came to Cedar Springs in 1909. In 1910, he ran for the state legislature and won the right to represent 13 townships in northern Kent County, including the Village of Cedar Springs. He was only 23 years old and served from 1911-1913. He was only 23 years old, the youngest to ever serve. In 1976, he was honored by the legislator for that distinction. Taylor also served as Village Clerk, and in 1922 he moved to Grand Rapids to serve as a prosecuting attorney. He later was appointed a judge of the Superior Court and held that position for 27 years. 

To learn more about the Dr. Ferguson and Mr. Taylor, or the buildings on Main Street, purchase a copy of the Making of a Town from the Cedar Springs Historical Society.

The Post asked Kent County Drain Commissioner Ken Yonker for an update on the drain project.

He said they have secured all the easements needed for the re-route. “Our last permit needed is from EGLE to relocate the outlet a few hundred feet downstream of the current outlet,” he explained.

He added that they are expecting to have this project bid by the end of November with a completion date by the end of next summer.

“Once we get the bids and get the job awarded, we can get the bonding to finance the project,” he said.

Watch the Post for more updates on the project.

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