As a child, whenever I would go to the office of my former dentist, Dr. Kitson, located at 84 Cypress St., I can’t ever remember thinking to myself, “Gee ... I wonder when this building was built?” or “What was this structure originally used for?”
Yet looking at the building today, it might be said that the structure is one of those background buildings, one which we pass by every day and except for those that have dealings inside, it goes a little unnoticed even though for nearly the past 70 years the structure has been home to numerous businesses. With that said, upon closer inspection, the building is a uniquely manufactured structure with a distinct 1950s style.
In 1948, Miss Marge Groth opened a small business in Manistee at 386 First St. called “The Needlecraft Shop,” which specialized in all aspects of needlepoint handiwork. Over the next five years, accompanied by her mother Mrs. Paul Groth, Marge’s business grew to the point where she decided to expand and construct a brand-new building.
By the spring of 1953, a site located on U.S.-31 facing Cypress Street was decided upon, and with a small residence on the property as the starting point, construction began on the modern complex. As the days turned into months, it was announced in the Manistee New Advocate on Sept. 23, 1953, that the new home of The Needlecraft Shop was finally open. Portions of the original article follow:
“With the opening of the Needlecraft Shop at its new location on US-31, Manistee acquires one of the most attractive and modern establishments of its kind in western Michigan.
“Formerly located at 386 First Street, the business was begun five years ago by Miss Marge Groth, who with her mother, Mrs. Paul Groth, sensed a need for a specialty shop offering instruction and materials for persons interested in needlecraft.
“Miss Groth, with a background of several years study under Ida Riley Duncan, accepted authority on needlecraft and former instructor in the craft at the J.L. Hudson Co., Detroit, also was a student of the New York School of Knitting and Handicraft before opening her Manistee shop. While specializing in designing, Miss Groth also teaches knitting, crocheting, and needlepoint techniques. Mrs. Groth assists by offering blocking and finishing services. Classes are offered Monday and Friday nights in all phases of needlecraft.
“The new establishment offers the largest line of yarns in western Michigan and one of the largest in the Middle West, according to Miss Groth. In addition, a complete line of crochet cottons, needlepoint and notions are in stock.
“Construction of the building began last spring with a former dwelling as a starting point. Designed by Paul Groth with the assistance of the general contractors, Don and LaVerne Swanson, the building fronts US-31 facing east. Large display windows framed with Onaway quarried stone against a dark grey siding form the attractive front of the store.
“Interior design and cabinet work were executed by Mr. Groth, whose hoppy is carpentry. The building also houses attractive living quarters for the Groth family.”
Accompanying the announcement of the opening of The Needlecraft Shop were several advertisements from the various contractors that worked on the building, congratulating the Groths on the opening of their new establishment:
“With the completion and opening of The Needlecraft Shop another progressive step has been taken in the growth of Manistee.” — Eaves troughing done by Dahlquist Heating and Sheet Metal.
“Congratulations, Needlecraft Shop on the completion and opening of your outstanding new building on US-31. With your new Premier Forced Air Oil Furnace, you are assured of a warm reception for your customers!” - Raymond Gajeski
“We congratulate The Needlecraft Shop on its fine new location....a beautiful addition to Manistee! Johns Manville Bevel Plank, Ceiling Tile, Asphalt Tile - Bridwall Shingles, Andersen Quality Windows. We are proud to have been chosen as one of suppliers of materials for this splendid addition to Manistee.” — Noud Lumber Company
“Congratulations to The Needlecraft Shop on the completion of your out- standing new quarters! We are proud to have been chosen for the electrical work on this fine new building.” — Andrew Kott, Electrical Contractor
“Best Wishes to The Needlecraft Shop on the occasion of its opening in new quarters at Cypress and Clay Streets on US-31. We are proud to have had a part in planning and building this fine addition to Manistee’s retail business family.” — Swanson Brothers Contractors and Builders
The Needlecraft Shop continued in the same location until the early 1960s, and by the later part of that decade, the building became home to the dental offices of Dr. Kitson followed by a multitude of different businesses throughout the last 30 years.