Chelsea Area Historical Museum to Host Historian Grace Shackman


Chelsea Train Depot c.1910. Courtesy CAHS.


Local historian Grace Shackman will present “Transportation's Major Role in Chelsea's History” on Monday, November 7, at 7 p.m. at the Chelsea Depot, 125 Jackson Street.

Bill O’Reilly, program coordinator for the Chelsea Area Historical Society, is excited about bringing Shackman to Chelsea because her knowledge of all things Washtenaw County is deep and fascinating.

“Grace has a great track record of interesting and informative presentations with the CAHS,” said O’Reilly. “Plus the fact that the historic Chelsea Train Depot is the perfect setting for a presentation about the important role trains, as well as the automobile, has played in Chelsea’s history.”

Her presentation will share the stories of how transportation has shaped the Chelsea we know today, beginning with how the Congdon brothers, Elisha and James, settled land where Chelsea is located and encouraged development by offering land to the Michigan Central Railroad for a train station in 1848.

With train service, farmers could sell their produce further afield. A major industry, the Glazier Stove Works, built their factories across from the railroad station making it easy to bring in supplies and workers. The interurban connected Chelsea with nearby towns. In the twentieth century the automobile changed people’s lives as it opened up Chelsea to a wider choice of jobs and activities.

Grace Shackman is a historian of local Ann Arbor places and people who has written numerous historically-oriented pieces for the “Ann Arbor Observer” and speaks around the county at organizations. She has authored three books on local history, including “Ann Arbor in the 19th Century.” A collection of her stories, under the title of “Then and Now” is archived at the Ann Arbor District Library. Shackman has authored three books on local history.

Registration for “Transportation’s Major Role in Chelsea History” is through Eventbrite, link below, or cash/check at the door. Free for Members, $10 for non-members. Membership forms will also be available. Proceeds benefit the CAHS. For more information, contact the CAHS at 734.476.2010.

The mission of the Chelsea Area Historical Society is to gather and preserve Chelsea area history, 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, at 128 Jackson St., across from the Chelsea Depot. For more information, visit or call 734.476.2010.

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