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Early Twentieth-Century Commercial Architecture of Rochester, Michigan
Item 2 of 10
The Edward Samuel Barnes Building is an excellent local example of an early twentieth century commercial building. It was built for Edward Barnes in 1903 to house his jewelry business. After Barnes retired from business, the building housed at various times a barber shop, paint and wallpaper store, and other jewelers. In 2020 it is the home of the Legends in Time Native American Gallery.

  • Edward Samuel Barnes Building, east elevation, 2020
  • Photograph, Monochrome photography, Rectangle, Black-and-white
  • Edward Samuel Barnes Building, 1903 Newspaper Advertisement

Edward S. Barnes, an agent of the Michigan Central Railroad with a side business repairing watches, bought this property on Main Street in early 1903. The Rochester Era announced his new building venture on January 30, 1903: "E.S. Barnes has bought seventeen feet adjoining the Severance store on the south, together with wall privileges and will erect a brick block next season which he will occupy as a jewelry store."

Barnes broke ground for his new store in the fall of 1903, and according to the Rochester Era, opened his doors to customers in time for Christmas:

"E.S. Barnes has his neat new store nearly ready for business and will open next week with a fine new line of jewelry and be ready for the holiday trade."

Barnes was born in New Jersey in 1857, the son of Samuel and Ann Moore Barnes. He came with his parents to Avon Township and was employed for a number of years at the Barnes Paper Mill. He also learned telegraphy and worked as a telegraph operator and agent for the Michigan Central Railroad. In 1903, he decided to leave his former occupation and go into the jewelry business, and continued in that line until 1925.

In that year, Edward S. Barnes sold out to Frank M. Deschaine, who briefly continued the jewelry store. In 1926, Deschaine sold to A.D. Brown, who ran a paint and wallpaper store in the location. In 1929, Lloyd E. Hanna opened his barbershop at 309 and conducted it there for many years. By 1950, the building was home to Cameron's Barber Shop and the Clara-Ann Beauty Salon, and in 1953 it once again housed a jewelry store when Lloyd Lake opened his business there. Lake Jewelers was a fixture at 309 S. Main until the mid-1980s, and had the longest tenure in the building of any business to date, including Barnes himself. After Lloyd Lake's retirement, the building housed a number of businesses including Charlotte's Boutique and Legends Of Time Native American Gallery.

"E.S. Barnes has bought seventeen feet adjoining the Severance store...," Rochester Era, January 30, 1903, p.1.

"E.S. Barnes has resigned his position as M.C. agent at Rochester Junction, which he has held 15 year [sic]. He will engage in the jewelry business here," Rochester Era, October 2, 1903.

"E.S. Barnes' new block is under fair way toward completion and he expects to be ready for business November 15," Rochester Era, October 30, 1903.

"E.S. Barnes has his neat new store nearly ready for business and will open next week...," Rochester Era, December 4, 1903, p.1.

"E.S. Barnes opened his neat new jewelry store last Saturday...," Rochester Era, December 11, 1903, p.1.

"E.S. Barnes Dies in Village Mon.," Rochester Clarion, November 27, 1931, p.1.

Image Sources(Click to expand)

Deborah Larsen

Rochester, Michigan 1907 (Rochester, Mich.: W. A. Fox, 1907) [public domain]

Rochester Era, December 11, 1903, p.8.