Article by Ruth Mancina

Published by the Calvert Lithography Company of Detroit, this circa 1889 advertising poster for Edward Germain’s company documents the firm’s history and provides unique connections to Saginaw’s heritage, as well as ties to exhibits at the Castle Museum.

The factory depicted in the image was destroyed on May 20, 1893, the day of the Great Saginaw Fire. It was located near East Genesee between Remington and Holland, about a mile from the main fire.

The destruction of this complex would prove to be the largest single loss from fire on that day. The newspaper records that "Mr. Germain’s loss is $325,000, with only $81,000 insurance on the building." The paper also records that Mr. Germain ignored his own losses and put his energy into making provisions to house children from St. Vincent’s Orphanage, also destroyed in the fire.

Mr. Germain would almost immediately rebuild the plant. In 1896 he expanded his operation to include the production of pianos. Four of these pianos will be featured in the Castle Museum's exhibit chronicling Saginaw’s piano manufacturing companies. The exhibit opens January 15th, 2011 in Centennial Hall.

The Castle Museum of Saginaw County History is located on Federal Avenue, between Jefferson and Warren, in downtown Saginaw. Hours: Tuesday - Saturday: 10:00 a.m. - 4:30 p.m., Sunday: 1:00 p.m. - 4:30 p.m. Admission: $1.00 adults, $.50 children

The poster was donated by Dr. Camille McKinley.

© Castle Museum, 2011