The Pratt Block was named for its owner, Stephen Pratt, a Detroit industrialist who made his money manufacturing steam boilers. It was designed by Malcomson and Higgenbothan, Detroit architects who designed many area school buildings, including the old Ann Arbor High School and Carnegie Library (now the U-M Frieze Building). Made of molded and fired clay, terra-cotta was widely used for architectural detailing from the end of the nineteenth century until the 1930’s.

Amidst the center of activity in downtown Ann Arbor’s Main Street, this historic building offers its own charm and personality. This is Ann Arbor’s first documented building to use steel as a structural element, c. 1896. The name Carnegie is embossed on many of the steel beams. The unique lofts contain original, refinished hardwood floors, exposed ductwork, warm-colored, original exposed brick, and sometimes hand-painted signage extending from one room into the next.

In 1896 the Crescent Works, manufacturers of custom-made corsets and "comfortable waists," moved into the upper floors of the new Pratt Block (above). For a few years the corset salesroom was in the central bay on the street between the Portland Café — "Open All Night" — and Hendrick Millinery, one of nine Ann Arbor shops fashioning hats for ladies. By 1909 Schumacher Hardware to the left had expanded into two storefronts of the Pratt Block. They sold everything from bathtubs and sporting goods to toys and vacuum cleaners.

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