Chelsea, Michigan: Then-and-Now Photos, 1800s-2000s
Chelsea is a favorite mid-Michigan town, sitting in Washtenaw County between Jackson and Ann Arbor.
The first settlers arrived here from New Hampshire in the 1820s; Cyrus Beckwith started his own farm in 1830, on the land which is now the fairgrounds. Two other early settlers were Elisha and James Congdon from Connecticut. It was those two who wrangled a deal with the Michigan Central Railroad to build a station in the community in 1848.
This village was named Kendron, but when the depot began operating in 1850, the village was platted and re-named 'Chelsea', after the Congdon's hometown in Connecticut.
The first store began operations in 1849, followed by a blacksmith, hotel & tavern, and hardware store.
1852: First Congregational Church.
1854: first schoolhouse.
1856: first cider mill.
1860: the McKune House, now used as the library.
1862: first drug store
1868: first bank.
1871: first newspaper, the Chelsea Herald.
1874: photographer studio.
More churches and businesses kept on coming. Chelsea was the perfect place: it not only was a stop on the railroad, but the old stagecoach trail (now US-12) went through south of town.
Chelsea remains one of Michigan's favorite towns, and many people flock there on weekends to peruse the different downtown stores, boutiques, coffee shops, and cafe's.
The photo gallery below contains Chelsea scenes from over 100 years ago, with some “then-and-now” comparisons. If you've ever been to Chelsea, I think you'll enjoy 'em!
HERE ARE A FEW MICHIGAN SMALL TOWNS:
The Small Town of Chatham
The Small Town of Brant, Michigan
The Barely-Recognized "Village" of Pearl, Michigan