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The original pioneers of Eaton Rapids (Amos and Pierpoint Spicer, Samuel Hamlin, and C. C. Darling), formed a mill company, put up framed buildings, and gave birth to the city’s first industry. The mill company erected a flouring mill, a saw mill, and later, a wool carding mill, which was later sold to Samuel Horner, a professional spinner from Yorkshire, England. As Horner Mill expanded, providing tens of thousands of wool blankets to ocean liners and government service, new construction was needed to keep up with demand.
The Mill turned to Albert Kahn, the foremost American industrial architect of the early twentieth century. Often called the “architect of Detroit”, Kahn has more than 60 sites listed in the National Register of Historic Places, including the Detroit News building, Cadillac Place, and the famed Fisher Building. Horner Mill has long ceased production of woolen blankets, these historical buildings now (2015) stand empty; their future uncertain.
The 135-year-old home of what was once the Horner Woolen Mills has been empty for a few years. From about 1880 to the mid-1950s, it was a thriving manufacturing site that turned out blankets and clothing. The mill supplied wool for blankets and uniforms during World War I and World War II. It closed when other materials such as nylon and polyester became popular. The Edgewater Apartments across S Clinton Trail were once part of the Horner Complex.