Tours & Public Art
If history and architecture are a draw for you, the consider downtown Howell a "must see." Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, our downtown offers such an abundance of commercial architecture dating back to the 1800's. You'll want to bring a camera when you visit!
Both simple as well a ornate Italianate facades dominate Grand River Avenue and State Street.
The Richardsonian Romanesque Courthouse is the focal point of the downtown, and the Neoclassical Carnegie Library at the west end is another point of particular interest.
In the midst of all the Italianate buildings are two High Victorian facades, a Victorian Gothic church, a modified English Gothic Church, a Tudor Revival office building, and of course, the original Opera House that opened in 1881.
The variety, diversity, and excellence of architectural styles help make Howell unique among small towns in Michigan, and one of a few dozen recognized "Main Street" communities in the state.
Start Your Tour
Purchase your very own copy of A Walk Through Time, Seven Walking Tours of Howell, Michigan for $15 by visiting Heart of Michigan. The walking tour book was developed in connection with the Howell's Sesquicentennial celebration in 1986. Enjoy seven walking tours of Downtown Howell and surrounding historic neighborhoods, with maps of each tour to guide you through history. Each tour is carefully planned for your discovery of the history of Howell, important architectural buildings, and significant figures from Howell's past. The book is metal ring bound for ease of carry, and 103 pages in length.
The first of your Historic District tours starts downtown at the Livingston County Courthouse and send you strolling down tree-lined streets to admire the towns rich architectural history. Take your time and enjoy the experience that is truly Howell. And don't worry, there are plenty of places to stop along the way for coffee, a snack, or even a full meal...many of them located right in the historic buildings you're visiting!
Finish the rest of your walking tour by seeing all of downtown's 14 significant historic structures. They're easy to identify; each has a historic building marker on them.
The following buildings are significant structures. Remember to bring a camera with you!
- The Opera House, built in 1881
- Ann Arbor Railroad Building (Originally a Post Office), built in 1936
- All Saints Chapel, built 1880
- First Presbyterian Church, built 1915
- Cobb-Hall Insurance, built 1928
- Howell Carnegie District Library, built 1906
- Howell Depot, built 1886
- First National Bank, built 1873
- Down Home Interiors, c.a. 1880
- Cleary's Pub, built 1875
- Dairy Queen, built 1889
- The Howell Theater, built 1936
- Livingston County Courthouse, built 1889
- Crandall Realty, built 1848
The Howell Main Street and Downtown Development Authority is proud to announce two new public art installations within Parking Lot #1, behind the Cleary's Pub block. This large public parking lot was recently reconstructed by the City of Howell and Downtown Development Authority. The Howell Main Street Design Committee began a campaign to locate suitable art installations to be incorporated into the new parking lot in 2008. Local artists Jessica Tokman, a glass artist, and Carl Goines, a sculpture artist, were engaged to create pieces of art that reflected the Howell community and culture. The results are two beautiful expressions of the Howell community and history:
Native American Bent Limb Topiary Sculpture
The sculpture is inspired by the "Indian Trail Tree" formerly located on Wetmore Street in northwest Howell. In the early 1800's the Potawatomi Indians planted and hand-bend the tree limbs in the direction of "The Grand River Trail," a commonly used pathway referencing food, water, and safe travel. The artist, Carol Goines, donated countless hours to creating this work of art.
Any funds provided to the artist were paid for entirely by an Urban Revitalization 3.0 Grant from the Michigan Economic Development (M.E.D.C.) and a corporate donation from First National Bank in Howell. No public funds were used.
"The Spirit of Howell" Slumped Glass Panels
This series of glass panels by Jessica Tokman, glass artist, pay homage to Howell's rich history and traditions. They represent events that have long been a vital part of our community. Our acclaimed Howell Melon Festival and Balloon Festival, our Sunday Farmer's Market, and Courthouse Lawn Concerts - some of the many traditions that have, for years, embodied the spirit and enduring sense of community that continue to make Howell a city like none other. The artist donated countless hours towards creating the glass panel series.
Any funds provided to the artist were paid for entirely by an Urban Revitalization 3.0 Grant from the Michigan Economic Development Corporation (M.E.D.C.) and a corporate donation by Hubbell, Roth & Clark, Inc. No public funds were used.