W. Harvey Greene Building
Furniture dealer and undertaker W. Harvey Greene built this store in 1883 to house his undertaking parlor and furniture warehouse. The building housed a combination furniture and undertaking business under various owners for the first forty years of its existence. Covered in the 1960s by a faux-Chalet exterior, the building was restored to its 1918 appearance in 1997, using award-winning plans drawn by architect John Dziurman.
Backstory and Context
W. Harvey Greene began construction of this building in the summer of 1882 and the Rochester Era reported in August of that year that "the cellar-wall of Harv. Greene's new block is completed and brick-work will soon commence." By the next spring, the Era was carrying advertising for Greene's Furniture Emporium at his "new brick store on Main Street." Undertaking services were also available. (W. Harvey Greene was the son of Calvin H. Greene, the Avon Township man who commissioned an 1856 daguerreotype portrait of Henry David Thoreau that is now part of the National Portrait Gallery collection.)
In September 1886, the Rochester Era reported that Greene had sold his business:
"W. Harvey Greene, our furniture man and Funeral Director, has received an offer for his entire property, including stock, household effects and building, which offer has been accepted and the transfer will be made about the first of October. The purchaser's name is Woodworth, of Flushing, a son-in-law of Rev. Mr. Swaine, formerly the Baptist pastor of this place."
In early 1887, P.M. Woodworth advertised in the Era that he was the successor to W. Harvey Greene and invited the patronage of his furniture and undertaking parlors, noting that the undertaking department furnished the free use of a hearse to customers. In 1896, Woodworth's widow took a partner and the business became known for a brief time as Woodworth & Lintz. In September of 1899, Woodworth & Lintz sold out to Thomas C. Severance, who advertised that W. Harvey Greene would once again be associated with the firm.
Severance died in 1903 and his widow sold to Edward R. Metcalf in December of that year. E.R. Metcalf ran the furniture and undertaking business (adding a Ford automobile agency in 1910) in the 311 S. Main location until
early 1911, when he left the state and sold to Dr. Vernor M. Spaulding.
Between 1920 and 1925, the building became the home of the Terry Sanitary Bakery. Terry was succeeded in 1931 by the Service Bakery, operated by C.C. Terrell, who remodeled the building. In May of 1936 the Rochester Clarion reported that 311 S. Main had been leased to Mrs. Edwin Behm, who held the grand opening of Behm's Dairy and ice cream parlor on May 23, 1936. The dairy store occupied the building until 1961.
After Behm's Dairy closed, 311 S. Main became home to David's Salon, which occupied the space for nearly three decades. In 1997, Paul R. Haig moved his custom jewelry business into the building and completed an award-winning restoration of the exterior, returning it to its 1918 appearance. John Dziurman was the architect of the restoration project and won the Engineering Society of Detroit's 1997 Outstanding Achievement Award for Building Design and Construction for his work.
L. D. Morse and Clarissa S. Morse to W. Harvey Greene, June 26, 1882, consideration $250, north 26 feet of lot 41, Original Plat of the Village of Rochester, Oakland County Record of Deeds, liber 138, page 300.
"The cellar-wall of Harv. Greene's new block is completed and brick-work will commence soon," Rochester Era, August 17, 1882.
"Great Attractions at Greene's Furniture Emporium at the New Brick Store on Main Street," [display advertisement], Rochester Era, May 10, 1883.
"W. Harvey Greene, our furniture man and Funeral Director, has received an offer...," Rochester Era, September 17, 1886, p.1.
"Woodworth & Lintz have sold their furniture and undertaking business...," Rochester Era, September 8, 1899.
"Mr. E. R. Metcalf, late of the firm of Wm. E. French & Co., Orion, has purchased the Severance furniture stock and will continue the business...," Rochester Era, December 18, 1903.
"Service Bakery to Hold Opening Sat.," Rochester Clarion, October 16, 1931, p.1.
"Students to Lose Their '2nd Home'," Rochester Clarion, March 23, 1961, p.1.
"Historic Design is Back in Style: Haig Galleries Blends the Old With the New," Rochester Clarion, March 13, 1997.
"Local Architectural Firm Awarded for Historic Restoration Project," Rochester Clarion, July 31, 1997.