Manufacturers of the Boston-Edison Historic District
Lewis Burton Alger
Lewis Alger was born in Elyria OH in 1873. His family moved to St Joseph; he then attended Albion Chllege and the University of Michigan; he graduated with a Bachelor of Philosophy in 1897. He was superintendant af schools in Gaylord and Nashville Michigan, then attended Columbia to receive his Master of Arts. He was principal of the state Normal School in Washington, then returned to the University of Michigan to becone a Junior Professor of pedagogy for two years. He left U of M to go into business, founding the Detroit Soda Company, which made baking soda, as well as water softeners and borax. The Detroit Soda plant was located in Wyandotte. Lewis Burton Alger lived at 1602 Edison in the early 1920s.
Albert E. Badger
Albert E. Badger was born in Detroit in 1880. His father was the first lighthouse keeper of the Belle Isle lighthouse and was later stationed in Grosse Pointe. Albert was educated in Grosse Pointe and Detroit, and attended the Detroit Business University. After graduation, he joined the Pere Marquette railroad as a clerk in 1899. He worked his way up the ladder at the company, becoming a stenographer, then advancing to positions in the engineering, operating, and executive departments. He was promoted to assistant to the President, and then to General Superintendant of the company. Albert E. Badger lived at 1986 W. Boston Boulevard in the 1930s and moved to 1901 W. Boston, where he lived until his death in 1942.
William Edouard Besancon
William Besancon was born in 1877 in Detroit. His father and mother were both natives of France who had emigrated to Detroit in the middle of the 19th century. William was educated in Detroit and attended the University of Michigan for two years, after which he tried his hand at various business pursuits. In 1901, he founded a coalyard bearing his name, which he built to become one of the largest in the city. William Edouard Besancon lived at 932 Edison in the late 1910s and 1920s, then moved to 1456 W. Boston Boulevard, where he lived until the late 1940s.
Albert E. Charlesworth
Albert E. Charlesworth was born in 1869 in Leicester, England. His family soon emigrated to Toronto, where Albert was educated. He came to Detroit in 1882 at the age of thirteen, and went to work for the Johnston Optical Company two years later. In 1898 he left to found his own company, the Charlesworth Optical Company. In 1912, Charlesworth merged with the Kennedy and Wolverine Optical Companies to form a new Wolverine Optical, of which Charlesworth was president. Albert E. Charlesworth lived at 1200 Longfellow from the 1910s through the early 1940s.
Emerson Davis was born in 1878 in Bay City, where his father, John, owned a drugstore. John Davis later moved to Detroit and established the Detroit Chemical Works in 1888; the company manufactures suphate of ammonia, sulphuric acid, and nitric acid. Emerson attended the Detroit Public Schools and the University of Michigan, graduating in 1901. He immediately joined his father's business as Treasurer. In 1906, Davis married Marian Biegler; the couple had four children. Cavis later succeeded his father as president of Detroit Chemical Works. Emerson Davis lived at 1973 Edison in the 1920s and 1930s.
John Davis was born in 1844 in Massachusetts, where he also attended school. He served in the Civil War, first as an infantryman and then in the medical corps. In 1867, he began in business as a druggist, and the next year moved to Bay City, Michigan, where he opened his own drug store. In 1870, John Davis married Ida M. Hitchcock; the couple had three sons: Edward, John, and Emerson. In 1879, Davis began manufacturing specialties for grocers, such as baking powder, condiments, and extracts. He later moved to Detroit and in 1888 established the Detroit Chemical Works, a manufactuter of suphate of ammonia, sulphuric acid, and nitric acid. John Davis lived at 151 Longfellow in the 1920s.
In 1907, Perry Feigenson and his brother Ben, immigrants from Russia, founded the Feigenson Brothers Bottling Works. Trained as bakers, the Feigensons used cake frosting flavors, such as strawberry, fruit punch, and grape, in their beverages. The business slowly grew, and the brothers added new flavors and employees. In 1921, they changed the name to "Faygo" because it fit more easily on the bottles. The company continued to grow, and in late 1930s and early 1940s Ben and Perry's sons entered the firm. Around this time, Perry Feigenson lived in the house at 2247 W. Boston Boulevard. In the mid-1940s, Perry and Ben Feigenson turned Faygo over to their children.
Charles E. Feinberg
Charles Feinberg was born in England in 1900 and moved to America at the age of 23. He obtained managerial positions at Detroit's Regal Shoe Company and Silent Automatic Corporation before moving to Argo Oil, where he was vice president for 23 years and president for seven. He ended his career as vice president of the Speedway Petroleum Corporation.
Feinberg was an avid collector of materials related to James Joyce, Walt Whitman and other modern American and English authors. He donated portions of his collection to Albion College, Southern Illinois University, the University of Texas, and Louisiana Tech, and supplied an important collection of Walt Whitman papers to the Library of Congress. Feinberg resided in two homes in Boston-Edison: 2215 W. Boston in the late 1930s and 872 W. Boston (the house built by Frank C. Teal) from the late 1940s through the 1970s.
George W. Heigho
George Heigho was born in 1862 in Essex, England. The family moved to the United States in 1874, first settling in Trenton, MI, then moving to Detroit. George Heigho entered business with the Detroit Stove Works, and moved to other companies before, in 1881, starting as a clerk at the Calvert Lithographing Company. Calvert Lithographing was founded in 1863, and by 1890 was one of the largest lithography companies in the United States, employing over 100 people. Heigho worked his way up in the company, was was made secretary-treasurer in 1900, and assumed the presidency in 1910. George W. Heigho lived at 1180 Chicago Boulevard (now demolished) from the late 1910s through the early 1940s.
William Davis McCullough
William D. McCullough was born in Detroit in 1886. His father died when McCullough was at a young age, and he was forced to fend for himself, driving a delivery wagon. In 1901, he headed west and spent time on a cattle ranch. In 1903, he moved to Indianapolis, and two years later to New York. He became a salesman for the Motor Parts Corporation of New York, and in 1910 returned to Detroit, where he became a purchasing agent for Cadillac. He next moved to Detroit Wire Spring, and in 1915 organized hos own company, the Premier Cushion Spring Co. During World War I, McCullough organized the Premier Machine Company, and supplied parts to Dodge and Ford. William D. McCullough lived at 1115 West Boston in the 1920s and 1930s.
John Riccardi was born in Italy in 1882 and came to the US in 1903 with little money to his name. In 1919 he founded the Roman Cleanser Company, the first to introduce household bleach to the United States. This enabled him to become the largest producer of the product. He lived at 640 Chicago Boulevard from the late 1930s through the mid-1960s.
Bernard Schwartz was born in Poland in 1872. At the age of 14, he emigrated to Quebec and began work as an apprentice cigar maker. In 1888, he moved again, to Detroit. He worked as a cigar maker for a number of years until, in 1895, Schwartz had accumulated enough capital to open his own cigar manufacturing firm. The Bernard Schwartz Cigar Corporation was immediately a success, ultimately employing over 400 people. The company produced multiple brands, including the popular R.G. Dun cigars (still manufactured by the National Cigar Corporation in Indiana). The Bernard Schwartz Cigar Corporation merged with DWG Cigar Corporation in 1929. Bernard Schwartz lived at 1448 Longfellow in the 1920s.
Ruluff R. Sterling
Ruluff R. Sterling was born in 1858 in Wayne County. After receiving his education, he worked in retail in Ypsilanti and Escanaba intil 1898, when he came to Detroit. In 1902, with Edward J Roney and Frederick G. Skinner, he organized the Sterling & Skinner Manufacturing company, a maker of brass parts for steam and water systems, as well as automobiles. Sterling was president of the company, and later simutaneously became vice-president of Detroit Motor Casting Company. In 1892, Sterling married Sarah A. Thomas; the couple had one daughter, Ruth. Ruluff R. Sterling lived at 873 W. Boston Boulevard (later the home of Cash W. Talbot) in the 1910s and early 1920s.
Cash W. Talbot
Cash Talbot was born in Toledo in 1884. His family moved to Deroit; after finishing high school, he entered the banking business. After two years, he decided to enter business on his own, and organized the Talbot Coal Company in 1906, with his brothers Fred and Charles as directors. Ten years later, Talbot added lumber to the business; the move made the business more profitable. Cash W. Talbot lived at 873 W. Boston Boulevard (the home built by Ruluff R. Sterling) from the late 1920s.
Stuart Wells Utley
Stuart Wells Utley was born in 1879 Pontiac, Michigan. His family moved to Kansas when he was small, but he returned to Michigan to graduate from Detroit's Central High School. He attened the University of Michigan, graduating in 1902. He began in business at the American Radiator Company, and in 1906 began as a clerk at the Detroit Steel Casting Company. In time, he was promoted to assistant secretary, secretary, vice-president, general manager, and finally president of the company. He was also president of the Detroit Forging Company. Utley was active in the naval Reserve before, during, and after World War II, and wrote extensively on economic subjects. Stuart Wells Utley lived at 1964 Edison from the early 1920s until the early 1940s.
William J. White
William J. White was born in 1867 in London, England. The family emigrated to Canada in 1874 and to Detroit in the early 1880s. White graduated from high school in 1882, and worked in various businesses until 1890, when he started his own firm specializing in manufacturing color cards for the paint business, W J White & Co. White constructed an automatic machine which would paste colors to sample cards, dramatically cutting the cost of production. William J. White lived at 1966 W. Boston Boulevard in the 1930s, in the home later occupied by the Hon. Arthur M. Bowman.
Leonard A. Young
Leonard Augustus Young was born in Chicago in 1877. He was educated in the same city, and enlisted in the Army during the Spanish-American War. After his discharge, he started in business selling livestock, but shortly became involved in the spring and rubber business. In 1908, he moved to Jackson, Michigan to manage a spring-making plant, and a short while later obtained interest in what was at the time called the Detroit Wire Spring Company. Young attached himself to the then-infant automotive industry, and by 1912 had built Detroit Wire Spring into the largest in the industry. He later renamed it after himself: L. A. Young Spring & Wire. Young branched into other businesses, including the L. A. Young Golf Company, which made golf equipment and kept golfer Walter Hagen on the payroll; and Tiffany Productions, a Hollywood movie studio.
In 1907, Young married Ola Butcher. After Young's death, the Young Spring & Wire Company changed hands multiple times; a single plant in Archbold, OH still operates as a division of Leggett & Platt.
Leonard A. Young lived at 918 W. Boston Boulevard during the 1930s and 1940s, in the home built by Nels Michelson (and where Berry Gordy, Jr. lived later); Young built the Athletic outbuilding that still stands on the grounds.