Sunday, July 5, 2009

My Town Monday: Pettysville Junction

Everyone in the Pinckney area of Livingston County knows the Pettysville Junction. Located near the corner of M-36 and Pettysville Road, it's a convenience store with one of the best selections of candy I have ever seen in my life. I think they have some of the other convenience store fare, too, but since they are nestled in near the shores of Rush Lake, it's the kids walking up from the many, many houses crammed in around the lake that make up much of the business, I'm sure.

Pettysville Junction-- as it's known today-- also has a gas station. But what many people don't know is that Pettysville Junction was a town. It was also a stop on the Ann Arbor Railroad. Hence the name...

Since there is no Pettysville anymore, finding information on this little place is difficult. The man behind the town was Seth Peteys (somewhere along the way, an E was lost. Maybe someone should dredge Rush Lake.) He settled first in Putnam Township and worked at the mill in the village of Pinckney. There's actually no town of Putnam, nor can I find any such record. Which is odd because every other township around here has a town of the same name.

By 1880, Petteys had moved his mill to a waterway east of of Pinckney. Studying a map suggests that he built his mill along Chilson Creek, which is part of a set of creeks and that eventually drains into the mighty Huron River. This location is actually about a mile North/ Northeast from where the road Pettysville meets M-36 today.

In the 1880s, Pettey mill was befriended by a grist and flouring mill, a cider mill (with all the imrpovement, the author of the 1880 history of county make certain to point out) a blacksmith, and carriage shop, two stores, a post office, shoe shop, school and church. There were 15 or 20 families in the village.

Today, what remains is a old stone mill with it's water wheel.

It's now the Hood Mill and it still looks cool.

There are some other buildings near by, perhaps the old school or the old stores, but it's impossible to tell now that they are private residences. I didn't knock on any doors to see if the owners know the history of their homes.

The railroad didn't come through until nearly 1900. And, alas, the last comprehensive history book for the county was in 1880. I don't know what affect the railroad had on the town of Pettysville. I don't even know if Pettysville had a depot or was just a stop. My research has shown that not all stops got raildepots.

Which 'modern improvement' spelled the demise of Pettysville? The rail? Or perhaps the automobile. Whenever M-36 was deemed a state road and maintained, perhaps the out-of-the-way little town of Pettysville fadeda way as small towns are prone to doing. My guess is that with the advent of the car, it was too easy for people to skip stopping at the little shops in Pettysville and instead go to Pinckney-- a bigger small town-- or into Brighton, or even south into the large city of Ann Arbor.

What's left today is the Pettysville Junciton gas station and convenience store. Beside that was a pizza place known as Checkboard Inn. And of course, Cap'n Frosty, the ice cream shop. The last time I went there... okay, I'm not going to think about how many years ago that was! Sometime before I got married. But when I ordered a "double" scoop, as I would at most ice cream places, I got a towering scoop that was very likely twice as big as a double scoop at other ice cream shops. And you could also get a little container of gummy bears for a quarter. More than once my friends and I would pool our change after buying candy at Pettysville Junction to get some gummy bears.

Oh man, I almost forgot! Part of walking up to Pettysville Junction was collecting pop and beer bottles because in Michigan, these have a 10c deposit. We'd scour the streets looking for bottles to supplament our candy-buying power.

I have taken over the reigns of collecting My Town Monday links, so if you'll hop over to the new My Town Monday website, you can leave a comment there for inclusion in this lovely hometown, world-wide project.


pattinase (abbott) said...

You do live in a lovely place. I'll have one up first thing tomorrow. Not a great one, but one. I have a better idea for next week.

Barbara Martin said...

This was an interesting post, Clair. A nice step back into history. I liked the mill photos, and of course, your visit down memory lane with the ice cream 'scoops' and the 'gummy bears'.

debra said...

Is the round(ish) stone building the

Barrie said...

Pettysville Junction?! Hey, I'm all about candy!

Patti said...

Having trouble posting on the MTM website but one went up am instead of pm.

日月神教-任我行 said...