Godfrey Moving and Storage
Noticing that there was a need for storage, he began renting space in various locations. One was a small house just south of his own residence, which he leased in 1887 from Junius Beal, a U-M regent and investor in many local enterprises including the telephone system and the interurban railroad. In 1899, Beal tore down the house and built the first part of the warehouse, which he rented to Godfrey. It was such a success that Beal put on an addition in 1904.
"It is thoroughly constructed, so that rugs, pianos and other valuable furniture can be stored with safety here and in the basement and upper floors there is extensive space for very large articles," the county history noted. "The building is fire proof and is supplied with all modern equipments [sic], including an electric elevator whereon a truck can be placed, so that these goods can be unloaded in the space designated as their repository."
Godfrey's monthly rent was based on the portion of the building in active use at the time. The rate was 1-1/2 cent per square foot--a price that lasted through three generations of Beals and Godfreys. Bob Creal, Charles Godfrey's great-grandson, remembers in the 1940s going to the Farmers Market with his mother and parking at the warehouse. "Down Fourth Avenue would come a black two-seater electric car, and a woman would get out who looked just like Margaret Hamilton in The Wizard of Oz, dressed all in black, same hat. She had come to get the rent." It was the landlady, Ella Beal, Junius Beal's widow.