— PART SIX —
Wales Road is a north-south road running from Bordman Road southward to McKail Road. Wales Road was named for Willard W. Wales (1788-1862) and Orpha W. Wales (1792-1852) and his son Charles E. Wales (1825-1906) and his wife, Electra Wales (1829-1895). Prior to 1874 Wales Road extended north from Bordman Road to Hough Road. Their farm was at the northwest corner of the intersection of Hough Road and Sandhill Road and Wales Road extended southward from their farms southwest corner. Willard and Orpha were born in Vermont and moved to Canada for a period of time. While in Canada, their son Charles was born. They established their farm in the mid-1840’s. Willard, Orpha, Charles, and Electra, along with several children, are buried in the Sandhill Cemetery on Sandhill Road.
Webster Road is an east-west road running westward from Van Dyke to Hannan Road. Webster Road was named for Elisha Webster (1807-1873) and Harriet Thompson Webster (1812-1882). Elisha and Harriet were born in New York but were married in Macomb County, Michigan in 1831. They settled in Almont and constructed a sawmill and farm on Webster Road. Not only was the road named for them but also the cemetery on Webster Road that bears their name. The one-room schoolhouse that was constructed in front of the cemetery was named for their son, W. S. Webster. Their home was on the south side of the road across from the location of the cemetery. They are buried in the Webster Cemetery. The schoolhouse no longer exists.
Wells Road is a northwest-to-southeast road running from Hipp Road to 37 Mile Road. In 1943 or 1944, the path of M-53 was altered to its current location. M-53 originally curved westward to the south of Kidder Road and went onto what is now 37 Mile Road and then curved north on what is now Wells Road. It then ran along Hipp Road until Hipp connected back to M-53 at Bordman Road. Wells Road shows on the 1875 Macomb County plat map so it existed before the paving of Van Dyke in the 1920s but its name at that time is unknown. To date the source of the Wells name is unknown. There were families named Wells in both Bruce and Almont townships in the 1840s and 1850s but it cannot be determined with any certainty that they lived near the location of Wells Road.
Weyer Road is a north-south road running southward from Bordman Road to 37 Mile Road. Weyer Road was named for Herman Weyer (1886-1965) and Jessie Woodburn Weyer (1884-1957). Herman came from Germany as an infant in 1887. He established his farm at the southeast corner of the intersection of Bordman Road and Weyer Road about 1915. Herman and Jessie are buried in the Scotch Settlement Cemetery on Scotch Settlement Road.
In April 1876, the Village renamed several streets.
“Almont Avenue” runs east from Currier Street to Juliet Street. Almont Avenue was named after the Village and Township. It was originally platted in 1893 but not built until the late 1950s.
“Bristol Street” runs north-south from Water Street and dead ends north of Washington Street. It was intended that Almont Avenue would extend from Currier Street to Bristol Street but that has not yet happened. Bristol Street was named after Oliver Bristol – the township’s first supervisor.
“Black Court” runs east off of Bristol Street and dead ends. When the village was platted in 1836, Daniel Black’s home and tavern were on the west side of Main Street between West Street and what would become School Street. Directly across from his tavern in the middle of the block was “Black’s Alley. Black’s Alley went from Main Street to just beyond Bristol Street. It was on the extension of Black’s Alley east of Bristol Street that Mr. Black and Garry Goodrich established a pearl ash factory on what is now Black’s Court. The portion of Black’s Alley between Main Street and Bristol was removed after the 1894 fire.
The street running from Van Dyke to the high school (now “The Bells”) was renamed “Centennial Avenue”, in honor of the nation’s Centennial year.
“Church Street” runs north from West St. Clair Street (originally West Street) and ends at North Street. It was named Church Street because Almont’s first church building was built on the northwest corner of Church Street and West St. Clair Street –the Methodist Episcopal Church.
The Methodist Church Society later built a brick church on the northwest corner of Church Street and School Streets. The original church building was converted to a house and moved to 115 Church Street. The present owners have just completed a renovation of the exterior of the building.
The section of Church Street running north from Centennial Avenue angles to the north-northwest. In 1915, the Detroit Urban Railway was extended from the corner of Branch and West St. Clair Street to Imlay City. The railway angled on a straight line from Branch Street to Van Dyke. The angle of Church Street is the result of following the railway line. Looking at the telephone lines that run along the railway, the lines run through the back and side yards of the houses instead of along the street. This indicates the route of the railway between West St. Clair and Centennial Avenue.
About 1958, the subdivision was constructed in the northeast corner of the Village and new streets were created. At the eastern end of Washington Street, “Currier Street” was constructed to run north-south between Hamilton Avenue and Almont Avenue. Currier Street was named for Frederick P. Currier who founded the Currier Agricultural Works and built the Octagon House, which is on East St. Clair Street.
“Hamilton Avenue” runs east from Currier Street to Kidder Road. Hamilton Avenue is named after the Hamilton family–Frank, William, Eunice and others. William and Eunice, respectively, were the first Boy Scout and Girl Scout leaders in Almont.
What is now “Johnson Street” was originally named Johnston Street after Benjamin F. Johnston who lived at 305 Johnson Street. Benjamin Johnston was a survivor of the Sultana steam boat explosion at the end of the Civil War. Johnson Street runs north from School Street for four blocks to Maple Street.
“Mill Street” runs east-west from Bristol Street to Cherry Street. It got its name because the Almont Roller Mill was at the southeast corner of Mill Street and Van Dyke. The first electric power plant in Almont was in the back of the Almont Roller Mill building in 1914. For as yet unknown reasons, in 1863, Mill Street was called Church Street
“School Street” runs west from Van Dyke. It was originally called Peninsular Street because Michigan was the Peninsula state. In 1876 it was changed to School Street. In 1834, the Village built the first schoolhouse–a log cabin –on the southeast corner of Branch and West St. Clair Streets (location of the Old Town Hall). In 1844, that building was replaced by a wood frame schoolhouse on the southeast corner of Church and School Streets. It is from this second school that the street gets its name.
“Stone Street” runs east-west from Bristol Street to Cherry Street. It was originally called Mechanics Street. It was renamed for Dr. Benjamin Stone who lived and worked on the street at the northeast corner of Stone and Van Dyke (site of the Almont Theater). Dr. Stone was a veteran of the Civil War.
“Sullivan Street” was probably named for John B. Sullivan who was a Village trustee in the 1870s. Sullivan runs east-west between Van Dyke and Church Streets.
“West Road” was the original name of both West St. Clair Street and General Squier Road.
Copies of the Almont Historical Society’s various books can be purchased by contacting Jim Wade at 810-796-3355 or jrwade49@ gmail.com or stopping by the museum on Saturdays from 1-4 p.m.