The Backstory: About Peter C. Andre and His Buildings
After completing the three-story building on Court Street in 1872, P.C. Andre turned his attention to improving his vacant lots next door and around the corner.
At the corner of Court Street and N. Michigan Avenue, Andre built a one-story building.
Inside were five retail spaces - two facing Court Street, two facing N. Michigan Avenue, and one large space on the corner in which druggists William Keeler and John C. Hogeboom opened their drug store in November 1879.
Other spaces soon filled with merchants, including William Biesterfeld who sold dry goods and Eli Loeb who sold millinery and fancy goods.
And in the space where Bauer's Jewelry is today, Andre's son-in-law George S. Lockwood, together with his brother, owned a crockery and glassware store until about 1894 when George opened a real estate and insurance business next door.
The photo of George and his brother in front of their store and the photo of the building around 1910 reveal the beautiful architectural details that Andre incorporated into the building.
In the largest space on the corner, druggists - all local residents - sold their remedies from 1879 until 2007. And they often sold candy, cigars, toiletries and other goods in addition to their medicines which - in the 19th and early 20th centuries - consisted of tonics and potions that druggists often mixed themselves. It wasn't until 1933 that drugs had to be proven "safe and effective" in order to be sold.
By then, William E. Hinds and Louis G. Weinberg were operating as Hinds and Weinberg, advertising in the City Directory as sellers of "Drugs, Sundries, Toilet Articles, Cigars, Tobacco, and Soda Fountain Services."
In 1946, Hinds sold out to Reynold Pankonin and the business became Weinberg-Pankonin which operated until 1953 when Pankonin became the sole owner and partnered with Rexall to become Rexall Pankonin.
And that year, the building lost all semblance of its vintage. In order to give it a "modern" look for Rexall, cornices, brackets and other defining details were removed and the building was covered in metal panels.
In 2014, when Andre's great-great-grandson Tom Germain and Alex de Parry formed a partnership to restore the building, it looked nothing like the original. Below are photos of the Pankonin Rexall Drug Store in 1993 and when we acquired the building.
Removal of the metal panels was like discovering hidden treasure! A peeling mural on the Michigan Street side emerged, likely painted in 1946 when it became the Weinberg-Pankonin Drug Store. And in the frieze on the Court Street side appeared the name "Hinds & Weinberg," the drug store that operated from 1921 until 1946.
Most exciting - and most challenging - was restoring the exterior to its original facade, including replacing the original cornices and bracketry. And determined to restore both badly damaged murals, we turned to long time Saginaw resident and artist Jim Fives who instantly recognized them as the work of prolific Saginaw artist Ike Kozak.
Using paint chips to match the original colors, Jim set about recreating the murals, much to the delight of many Saginaw residents who remembered them from their childhoods.
Today, businesses are once again thriving in the building, including Bauer's Jewelry which, except for a 20-year period from 1952 to 1972, has flourished in the very same space since the late 1890's!
The store was originally founded in 1891 by Charles F. Bauer who, in 1916, hired 13-year-old Laurence Schultz, affectionally known as Laurie, who bought the store when Charles died in 1929. It has continously been owned by the Schultz family since.
Below, Charles Bauer (left) and Laurie Schultz (right) pose in the store. Current owner Steve Schultz, Laurie's great-nephew, stands behind the counter in 2022.
Restoring this historic gem was an opportunity to preserve a part of Old Saginaw's rich heritage, an opportunity we welcomed. And we hope that its original builder, P.C. Andre, would be proud.
- Betsy de Parry, VP, Sales and Marketing