Marshfield, April 1899: Manistique to Marshfield
Brothers Harry and Leo Rose open a new store
By Kris Leonhardt
Receiving enthusiastic letters from his brothers Jacob and Leo, Harry Rose made the journey to America to join them in 1884. After mastering the English language, Harry and Leo Rose opened a clothing and dry goods store in Manistique, Mich., one of Upper Michigan’s oldest cities, in 1892.
The brothers found success in Manistique after the Minneapolis, St. Paul and Sault Ste. Marie Railroad made the city an important stop on its line. Soon, the duo looked to expand.
As luck would have it, Marshfield’s William Upham was looking to unload his company’s general store. The Upham Manufacturing Company Store sat on the southwest corner of Central Avenue and Second Street — in what was then referred to as the Upham Block.
The colossal brick building was erected following the devastating Marshfield fire and housed a great deal of merchandise the Rose Brothers distributed.
After purchasing the property and its inventory, Leo and Harry made plans to open the Marshfield location.
The businessmen diversified their inventory, adding to both quality and quantity, and opened the store in April of 1899. They promoted their opening as a transition between “Marshfield’s oldest trading place” and “Marshfield’s greatest trading place.”
Back in Manistique, the brothers outgrew the confines of their rented space and constructed a new building to accommodate their needs.
As the two stores thrived, Harry assumed proprietorship of the Manistique business while Leo took over the Marshfield store.
Three years after the Manistique store opened at the new location, fire would claim the store and all its contents. Harry rebuilt as quickly as possible only to be obliterated once more when a second fire destroyed the building on Christmas Day of 1906.
In Marshfield, Leo’s business was attracting customers from all over the region. With a staff of approximately 20 employees, the store carried a large variety of men’s and women’s clothing, which included some of the latest in New York and Paris fashions and a large millinery department.
However, Harry would not be the only Rose brother plagued with difficulties. Leo’s proprietary career in Marshfield would be afflicted by accusations and charges of insults and abuse from the women that worked for him.
The charges culminated in the more serious charge of a statutory offense by an 18-year-old clerk that would force Leo to sell his Marshfield store.
On May 23, 1921, the store was purchased by C.E. Blodgett and later became the McCain-Johnson store.
Kris Leonhardt may be reached at [email protected].