Palace Cleaners

May 29, 2006

This building at Jefferson and Manistique caught my eye the other day. If not for the old Gas Station look, at least for the mystery of why the building is adorned with the letter “N”.

So, I had an associate check out the history in his collection of city directories.

Here’s what he found:

The 1935 directory lists a Ned’s Auto Supply Co at 14701 E Jefferson. It says they are “Distributors of Firestone Tires, Rubber Footwear, Philco Radios, Electric Refrigerators, and Automobile Accessories. There are two other locations:

18023 John R corner of Nevada (apparently the main office then)
Station No 2, Dearborn Unit, 13823 Michigan Ave
Station No 3, East Side, 14701 E Jefferson

In the 1940 directory, they are listed simply as a retailer of auto accessories. The main office now appears to be at 9465 Grand River with branches at 14340 Gratiot, 18023 John R, and 10301 Woodward. No mention of the Michigan Avenue branch.

The 1946 Yellow Pages lists all 5 locations.

The 1961 White Pages lists 12 locations (several suburban) and the company is now called “Ned’s Firestone”. In the 1967 Yellow Pages, it lists all 12 locations in the Tires section, but there is no mention of Ned’s; they are all simply “Firestone Tires” dealers, but the addresses are the same.

Anyone out there have any memories of Ned’s?

5 Responses to Palace Cleaners

  1. douglasm on May 29, 2006 at 8:18 pm

    Fasinating. Although I’d have to look at the old Firestone dealer’s building in downtown Wenatchee (Wash.), the “N” looks like it’s set in the Firestone “crest”, which would have an “F” in it normally. I’d also be willing to bet the place had a couple of gas pumps on the island under the canopy.

    This photo brings up two questions. 1) what was the name of the gasoline that came out of black and white striped (?) pumps? It was usually an independent pump at a branded station, and my menory says either Henry Ford or Thomas Edison had something to do with the brand

    AND

    b) do you have a picture of Witmore’s Service in Ferndale, specifically the Packard in the “tower” with the wobbly front wheels and the sign “Does Your Car Do This?”

    Thanks
    douglasm

    Doug Shirk
    Wenatchee, WA

  2. Elbert Taylor on May 30, 2006 at 1:04 am

    Bensol was the name of the gasoline associated with Ford. I had a old pump restored in my back yard.

  3. Theresa Thomas-Marino on May 31, 2006 at 8:28 pm

    I grew up right down the street from this corner. Went to Ives Elementary and St. Ambrose. I remember a Beauty shop west of the corner, and all the Old Ladies in the Neighborhood would go there on Saturdays. All Smoke and Hair higher then St. Amborse Church tower.
    Oh the sweet memories…….Thanks for the Pictures

  4. Robert on July 16, 2006 at 10:29 am

    The car in the Wetmore’s tower isn’t a Packard. Its a 1963 or 1964 Chrysler Newport.. It’s been up there since the late 1960s.

  5. robert ankeny on June 22, 2009 at 8:14 am

    I was an office and credit manager for Ned’s Firestone [store #3021 at John R. and Nevada] in 1957-59 after Firestone bought the 10-store chain from the Gershenson brothers around 1955-56. Firestone retained almost all of the Ned’s managers [Cliff Duncan was mine] but installed a group of “young Turks” to check and balance the converstion to their corporate culture.
    My good friend, Jim Hawkins, was similarly the newly hired o/c mgr. at the Jefferson store. He was a Firestone executive who later was killed in 1967 when the Silver Bridge on Rte. 35 collapsed in 1967 between Ohio and West Va.
    I’m at (313) 582-3466.
    There is only one old Ned’s building still in use, as a bank in downtown Mt.Clemens, and if the East Jefferson building still stands it may be the only other one, but I think it is gone now.
    bob ankeny

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