Chelsea Area Historical Museum events to highlight local history


From the Chelsea Region Historical Society

The Chelsea Area Historical Society and Museum is planning two events in September to share information about Chelsea’s unique architectural ancestry.

First, “Insiders look at the Old Mack/New Agricole building.”

Chelsea developer and visionary Joe Ziolkowski will share how he and his wife Abby Hurst transformed an old historic building into a beautiful new business home. In doing so, Ziolkowski was able to preserve much of the building’s history, which began in 1903 as the manufacturing site for the Welch car.

Ziolkowski will share how he worked with the city and state to secure funding from a variety of sources to create Agricole, an asset to the city and buyers,” said Jan Bernath, chairman of the Chelsea Area Historical Museum. “It’s a win-win story about Joe’s tenacity and collaboration. It is a good model for future projects that involve our historic buildings.

The Mack Building before renovation.

After Ziolkowski’s presentation on Monday, September 12 at 7 p.m. at the Chelsea Depot, attendees will walk around to visit the ground floor of Agricole’s home in the Mack Building.

Registration for this program is by email ( or by phone (734.476.2010). The event is free for CAHS members. A $5 donation is suggested for non-members.

Later in the month, CAHS is partnering with the Chelsea District Library for a program designed to help homeowners discover the history of their home. “Become a Home Story Detective” will take place on Tuesday, September 27 at 6 p.m. in the McKune Room of the Library.

“We get so many people asking for the history of their homes,” Bernath said, “Unfortunately, we just don’t have the volunteers to do that type of research. That’s how we came up with this idea: we should show people how they can be their own detective.

She adds that people need to know that the process can be long, but it’s a labor of love and can be very satisfying. Co-presenter Shawn Personke, the museum’s communications manager, agrees. After several years of upheaval, Personke has found most of the answers she was looking for…and many surprises.

“It was a lot of work, but it was totally worth it,” Personke said. “We discovered our house built around 1911 by the Kantlehner family. We found out that the oldest living Civil War veteran had died in our house and the owners of the Grove store had lived there for 30 years.

Personke adds: “However, perhaps the most amusing was browsing through old Chelsea newspapers where I discovered that ‘our neighbour’ Mr. Staffan had added a bathroom to their Main Street house in 1913. And our other 1913 neighbor Mr. Richards’ had a cement floor poured for his shed.

In this workshop, Personke, Bernath and Gabrielle Hopkins of the Chelsea District Library will share tips and resources for uncovering details such as previous owners, when a home was sold, aerial views of the property at over the years, anecdotal stories from a neighborhood and phone calls. numbers of former residents.

Registration for “Become a Home Story Sleuth” is through the library’s website, www.chelseadistrictlibrary.orgor by visiting the library.

Insiders look at the Old Mack/New Agricole building

Monday, September 12, 7 p.m.

At the Chelsea depot

Registration is requested by e-mail ( or by telephone (734.476.2010). The event is free for CAHS members. A $5 donation is suggested for non-members.

Become a house story detective

Tuesday, September 27, 6 p.m.

Chelsea District Library

Registration is required at

The Chelsea Area Historical Society‘s mission is to collect and preserve the history of the Chelsea area, educate the public, and promote the restoration and preservation of historic buildings and sites for future generations. The museum is located in the 1853 Boyd House, 128 Jackson St., across from the Chelsea Depot. For more information, visit or call 734.476.2010.

Photos courtesy of CAHS

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Patrick F. Williams