History of Holly, MichiganOne of the most interesting facts to discover when visiting a new place is the rich history that has given the town character and life. Holly, Michigan has deep roots originating back to the mid 1800’s. Before taking your trip to Holly, read more to find out the history of this quaint village.
The first settlers of Holly, Michigan arrived in 1831 where the Holly Township is nestled in the northern and western most corner of Oakland County. The town of Holly got its name from Jonathan T. Allen who gave it inspired in Mount Holly, New Jersey. It has been said by many current residents that the name could be contributed to the red berries of the Michigan holly. The first settler was Ira C. Alger who also built a log cabin in the modern day Broad Street. Allen constructed a saw mill, dammed the Shiawassee River, and a grist mill, making this the first official business district.
Due to John T. Allen’s success of establishing a small town, the rail lines were made to go through Holly and made it the place for the first rail junction in this state in 1855. These were rails of the Detroit and Milwaukee Line. The lines brought more than 25 trains full of passengers, railroaders, freight, and transients into the village. The rails also brought white pine to the eastern United States. This joined the busy streets with saloons and bars to form Battle Alley, so named because it was the location of many brawls between the men of the saloons.
Unfortunately, all of the historic buildings on the east side were destroyed by a massive fire in 1875. Soon after the fire, all of the buildings and most of the frame structures that remained in the downtown were removed and in its place brick structures were put. These brick structured buildings are still here today. The boom of railroad customers faced a decrease after the invention of the car. This switched the business flow to Saginaw Street since cars could reach this location easier. Most of this historic downtown has been in place for over 100 years and is a wonderful place to visit in Holly, Michigan.
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