In Zachariah Chandler’s neighborhood

Detroit Free Press Building (where Chandler's house once stood)

Detroit Free Press Building (where Chandler’s house once stood)


View of Fort Street Presbyterian Church on Fort Street

View of Fort Street Presbyterian Church on Fort Street


Zachariah Chandler’s residence once stood where the Detroit Free Press Building now stands. The location is Fort Street and Second Avenue in Detroit. I recently went to the intersection downtown. As I stood on Fort Street looking at the Detroit Free Press building, I was struck by how close Chandler’s house was from his church-just across the street! I don’t imagine Zach had to even use a buggy or a coach. So there I stood at the intersection thinking about him…

Author Richard Bak traces the steps of Chandler’s career in the book A Distant Thunder- Michigan in the Civil War (page 15):

“A transplanted New Englander, Chandler made his fortune in the mercantile business while also maintaining an active interest in public affairs. He impressed many citizens during Detroit’s great cholera epidemic of 1834, helping to care for the sick and burying the dead. As a member of the Whig Party, Chandler “worked the polls on election days, and when opposing Democrats became hostile, was not slow to take off his coat and exchange blows when needed,” recorded one admirer. In 1851, in his first political campaign, he defeated seven-term incumbent John R. Williams to become Detroit’s mayor. The following year he lost the gubernatorial contest. The defeat caused him to become one of the chief organizers of the Republican Party, which he would serve in a rousing and distinctive manner during his four terms in the U.S. Senate.”

Nice description Mr. Bak!

I wish Mr. Chandler was here. He would be pleased to know his church is still where it was in his day- and is still active.  But for now it is good enough for me just to be here in his neighborhood. Good day Mr. Chandler!


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