The building, first to be constructed on the West Side Water Power Canal, was originally built in the 1867 for William Henry Powers and Ebenezer Morris Ball after they sell their sawmill north of Leonard Street located at the terminal of Water (Front) St (Ave) and Webster St. Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT) Grand Rapids Division is located there now. It will open for business in January 1868.
In 1870 the firm W. H. (William Henry) & E. K. (Ebenezer Kendall) Powers manufacturers of Doors, Sash, Blinds, Window and Door Frames, Moldings, Flooring and Beveled (clapboard) Siding. William Henry Powers and his uncle Ebenezer Kendall Powers (former confectioner and baker) went into the lumber business at the northeast corner of Pearl and Water (Front) Streets.
They also manufactured Bristol’s patented Water (Hydraulic) Elevator. I would love to know more about this. Could this have to do with the Otis hydraulic tower tests in Bristol, Connecticut in 1872?
The Powers & Walker Burial Case and Casket Factory. — This is the only factory of the kind in the State. This firm, comprising William Henry Powers and Joseph H. Walker, was organized in 1875, and commenced the manufacture of burial-cases in the building (portions destroyed by fire a few times) built and operated for several years by William H. Powers and Ebenezer Morris Ball, a nephew of John Ball, in the manufacture of sash, doors and blinds, this being the first factory erected on the West Side canal. The business now carried on by this firm has grown until its buildings are of insufficient size to accommodate its requirements, although a new brick building, 23 x 92 feet on the ground, and four stories high, has been constructed this year (1881). Another will probably be added next season.
1867 — Powers’ & Ball Lumber Mill often referred to as Powers’ Planing Mill
1868 January — Opens for business
1870 — Ebenezer Morris Ball sells his half interest to Ebenezer Kendall Powers, William Henry Powers’ uncle
1870 — W. H. & E. K. Powers – Doors, Sash & Blinds
1871 July — Ebenezer Kendall Powers retires
1873 — Joseph H. Walker replaces Daniel Heath Powers, William Henry Powers uncle, as treasurer of Powers’ Lumber Company
1874 — Lucas, Walker & Company Burial Case Factory on East Side Water Power Canal
1875 — The Powers’ Lumber Company reorganizes as Power & Walker Casket Company with Joseph H. Walker acquiring half of the business
1878 — Lucas, (Joseph H.) Walker & Company Burial Case becomes Grand Rapids Burial Case
1878 — Fire April 15
1879 — Fire December 16
1880 — To keep the business afloat, Grand Rapids Burial Case Company merge into a new stock company, Powers & Walker Casket Company
1895 — Sarah L. (Bradford) Powers becomes partner after the death of her husband, William Henry Powers
1910 — Joseph H. Walker dies May 18 at the age of 80
1910 — Sarah Louisa (Bradford) Powers becomes president of Powers & Walker
1900 — by now Frederick Powers is vice-president
1912 — Fire
1914 — Dismantled for construction of Michigan Railway Kalamazoo Interurban bridge
Sources: © 1881, History of Kent County, Chapman’s, Furniture, page 915. History of Grand Rapids and Its Industries, Volume 1, Dwight Goss, 1906.