The Lowell Area Historical Museum is taking us on a stroll along Main Street and sharing the history of buildings in Lowell’s historic downtown. To learn more about Lowell history, visit the museum website to explore its collection of local artifacts and records.
Address: 103 E. Main
Date Built: 1958
Builder: O. E. Bieri
1st business: Molly Wepman’s Clothing and Shoes
This was the only building rebuilt after a fire on January 2, 1958, incinerated six buildings from this building eastward. While it was still burning, O. E. Bieri promised Molly Wepman that he would rebuild for her. Molly had owned and managed Wepman’s Clothing and Shoes since her husband’s untimely death at age 40 in 1950. Although a tiny woman, she was determined to succeed and to support her two young children as a single mother and a business owner.
She had immigrated from Poland at the age of 17, knowing no English. She met her husband, Herman Wepman while living in Boston; they married and moved to Lowell where Herman took over his father Ben Wepman’s store. Molly continued to work hard to achieve her dream. She was named Michigan’s Small Businesswoman of the Year in 1958. She continued operating her clothing and shoe store until she retired in 1976.
Some of the businesses in this building since Wepman’s were the Riverside Fireplace Shop (1976) and Pfaller’s Riverfront Clothing Store (1979). It became a pool hall and video arcade in 1987. By the early 1990s, the Flat River Trading Post featuring western wear was operating here. It has been Dr. Judd Carroll’s dental office for 25 years– since 1997.
Below are the remains of Molly Wepman’s building after the fire of 1958. Molly and friends pulled smoke damaged goods out, cleaned them up and held a “fire sale”. She paid her suppliers off a little at a time until every debt was settled. Molly Wepman was named Michigan’s Small Businesswoman of the Year in 1958.
And here is 103 E. Main Street today: