History Tour - Shop Downtown Howell

If you are intrigued by history and architecture downtown Howell is a true gem. With the extensive collection of commercial architecture in the downtown area that is diverse and of unusual quality downtown Howell was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1987.

Both simple as well as ornate Italianate facades dominate Grand River Avenue and State Street. The Richardsonian Romanesque Courthouse is the focal point for the downtown and the Neoclassical Carnegie Library provides an interesting contrast at the west end of downtown.

In the midst of the Italianate buildings are two High Victorian facades, a Victorian Gothic church, a Modified English Gothic Church, a Tudor Revival office building, and the Opera House with its distinctive Art Deco storefront.

This variety, diversity, and excellence in architectural styles make Howell unique among small towns in Michigan.


First, download “A Walk Through Time, Seven Walking Tours of Howell, Michigan,” (10MB pdf).  If you are interested in commercial architecture take the downtown walking tour.

Start your downtown Historic District tour at the Livingston County Courthouse and stroll the streets admiring the town’s rich architectural history. Stop along the way for a coffee, smoothie, or tea at Uptown Coffeehouse.

If you are feeling a bit hungry, stop for lunch at Sufficient Grounds for some soup and the best chicken salad sandwich in town.

Finish the rest of your walking tour and don’t miss out on seeing downtown’s 14 significant historic structures. The significant buildings are easy to identify, each has a historic building marker on them.

The following buildings are significant historic structures.
(Remember to bring a digital camera with you.)

  • The Opera House, Built 1881
  • Ann Arbor Railroad, Built 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 1912
  • Livingston County Courthouse, Built 1889
  • Crandall Realty, Built 1848


If you are interested in historic homes take a tour of the Piety Hill Neighborhoods. These tours can also be found in ‘A Walk Through Time, Seven Walking Tours of Howell, Michigan," (10MB pdf).

Guided walking tours of downtown Howell's National Register Historic District are given each year during Howell History Days in May at no cost. For more information about Howell History Days please visit the Events page.