Submitted by Nute Chapman
From Onaway Outlook May 31, 2013
CAPTION #1: THIS PICTURE is of Chandler Rest that saw west of the courthouse overlooking Chandler Park.
As we piece together the history of the American Wood Rim Company, I find that we should shed some light on the area that became Onaway.
Merritt Chandler was operating his timber company out of Cheboygan when he learned of the state taking bids for the Presque Isle and Little Traverse Road, some 90 miles of road that would be from Petoskey to Rogers City. Onaway would grow from the very middle of this road.
One can bury himself in pages of news articles from the Northwestern Reporter, the Michigan history books, the labor reports of Michigan and the court cases that grew from the Onaway area. Articles have been written by The Onaway Outlook, the Onaway Interlake, editors Harry Tisdale, Hal Whitely, Fred Stutsman, Richard Lamb and the Presque Isle County Advance of Millersburg and Rogers City.
Many articles have been written by old timers, such as Grace Pregitzer, Robert Shaw, Mrs. John Shackson, Ralph Glasier, Oscar Robinson, Jack Wright, Albert Tennant, Nute Chapman Sr. and Liz Gall.
We find the names Shaw's Corner, Shawville, Shaw, Adalaska, Onawiea and Onaway.
Brothers-in-law Shaw and Chandler were of different political beliefs but both contributed to the growth of Onaway. The land for the Friends Church (another story) was donated by Shaw and the building was paid for by Chandler. Both belonged to the Friends Church.
Chandler was at the head of building the courthouse in an effort to have Onaway the county seat. A vote by the county residents left the county seat in Rogers City.
A petition was started to detach North Allis, Allis, Ocqueoc and Case townships from Presque Isle County and add Forest and Waverly townships from Cheboygan County to form a new county of Forest County. The seat of Forest County would be Onaway. When the bill was brought to the Michigan House floor it fell nine votes short of passage. Failing to get a new county, a compromise bill allowed for a joint county seat between Onaway and Rogers City. This practice continued until the mid-1940s.
Shaw was the first postmaster, first schoolteacher, and had the first hotel. Chandler had the first mercantile building and took the post office from Shaw. Dr. Young then had the post office and Shaw got it back and called it Adalaska. Chandler platted the village of Onaway and once again got the post office back from Shaw and called it Onaway.
Chandler also platted Chandlers 1st Addition, Shaw platted Shaw, Shaw's 1st and 2nd Addition. Dr. Young platted Young's Original, 1st and 2nd Additions. George Glasier platted Glasier's 1st and 2nd. A.C. Robinson platted Robinson's Original, 1st, 2nd and 3rd Additions. Fell's Addition completes the city of Onaway.
Merritt Chandler's first house was a little north of Shaw's home, near where the Onaway Motel is now. Shaw's house was behind and to the right of where Brewbaker's beautiful flag is at this time. When one is coming into Onaway from the west on M-68 and 33 today, you can look at the American Flag and imagine Shaw House sitting there in 1881 and being the first house in what would later be Onaway.
Many of our readers will remember Mary (Shaw) Akins. Mary was born at the Shaw House and had the distinction of being the first girl born in Allis Township.
This writer grew up on College Street and was a neighbor of Art and Mary (Shaw) Akins. I used to stop and help Art at his horse barn where he kept his prize horse Molly. Later, as a city police officer, I worked with Art when he was the justice of the peace.
Chandler's second building was the mercantile building at the corner of State and Main street, which would be the first store and later the Onaway Post office.
Chandler had a third home attached to a hotel that stood where the present Maxon Ball Field is now. Before leaving this location he had started his large farm north of Onaway that is now owned by the third generation of Horrocks family.
This farm ran from the Detroit & Mackinac Railroad on the south of Twin School Road on the north, and from the County Line Road on the west to the Belding Road on the east. Most of this land was sold to other people for farms except about 1,100 acres that are part of the Horrocks farm today. Chandler's last house was west of Onaway Courthouse overlooking Chandler Park. This house was called Chandler Rest. It had a large ballroom on the third floor. At this same time Chandler had constructed a beautiful hotel on Main Street, called the Chandler Hotel. This building sat on what is now the left field line of our present ball diamond on Maxon Field.
-From The Onaway Outlook, May 31, 2013, p. 3. Retyped by J. Anderson.