The seed for our saga began before 1895, before this building became known as The Commercial Exchange, and 10 years before this brick and timber frame structure appeared on Jackson’s main artery, East Michigan Avenue.
It was 1885. Samuel Collins had a vision. His vision required space. Collins had been producing agricultural tools: spades, shovels, and pitch forks at this location when it burned to the ground. Collins recognized a need. It took him 10 years to secure investors, rebuild this structure on the ashes of his old building, and begin production on a visionary new product: horse-drawn wagons and buggies.
A decade later Collins Manufacturing employed 300–400 men producing 20,000 vehicles a year. Yes, all from this building.
Another Jacksonian manufactured one of the first automobiles in this building. It was called the Jackson. Early radio tubes were built here. Radios came next, then phonographs, and black and white televisions. Soldiers’ helmets, bomb release mechanisms and pilot training devises were made here and shipped overseas during WWI & WWII. Women’s girdles were crafted here. Then splints and wooden legs. Today one of our tenants builds guitars for professional musicians.
The creative energy that brought about multiple startups and business expansions in this building, plus the engineering and industry advancements achieved here were recognized in June of 1993 by the U.S. Department of Interior. They honored this complex as an example of American ingenuity and progress by listing it on the National Register of Historic Places. (Ref#93000622).
We at The Commercial Exchange are part of this story. We have vision. We understand needs. We supply clean, affordable, office and co-working space, manufacturing, and secure warehousing to forward thinking people who make the thingamabobs that improve or save our lives.