This exceptionally handsome and symmetrical Italianate house, with its bracketed eaves, segmental arched windows and brick detailing, was built for John Adam Volz in 1873. The intricate carving of the wood entry porch is still in fine condition. A summer kitchen to the rear was converted to a dining room and a new kitchen added in two stages in 1880 and 1890.

Also in 1873 Voltz built his brewery next door. A magnificant building, the larger of the two wings is a simple example of Commercial Italianate style with arched windows and projecting brick window hoods. The gable roof and foundation of square-cut fieldstone are unusual for this type of building. Below the building are several brick vaults which were used for laagering beer. The upper level was used to process and distribute the beer.

The brewery business had expanded rapidly after the Civil War and the Ann Arbor Central Brewery ran successfully until the depression of 1873. This economic decline along with prohibition laws forced Volz out of business. The brewery ceased operations sometime in the late 1870s. By 1883 the building had been converted to Bert Stoll’s Ann Arbor Pop Works, specializing in ginger ale, root beer, and excelsior water. From 1886-1890 it was Ross and Welch’s Bottling Works.

In 1899 it was converted from commercial to residential use (a year after the construction of the brick veneer on Summit Street). In the early 1900’s it housed German families. From 1921-1956 an Italian clothier Daniel Camelet owned the building. Daniel housed Italian immigrants helping them to acclimate to the US. During this time the building was known as “Little Italy.” In the 1940’s when the wave of Italians subsided, Mr. Camelet took in Japanese released from US detainment camps. Again Daniel gave them shelter until they were established.

The property was then sold to Mallory Thomas, a local realtor who ran the building until 1970 when it was condemned. Using funds from HUD for code repairs and with help from David Byrd, a local architect, Mr. Thomas tore off the shutters and front porch, put up aluminum storm windows, and refinished the interior with linoleum, dry wall, and pink bathrooms!

In 1975, Mr. Thomas sold the building to John Hollowell and Robert Harrington, The Old Brewery & Associates, who worked to preserve the buildings character while transforming it into loft apartments. Today the building remains as loft apartments adding a new chapter to the buildings rich history.

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