The Spence Brothers Legacy
The BeginningBrothers Matt & Hugh Spence launch start-up construction company in Saginaw named “Hugh Spence & Brother” in response to Saginaw’s Great Fire which destroyed most of the homes on the City’s East Side.
The Partnership FormedIn 1910, a partnership was formed between Hugh & Matt Spence, and the company’s name was changed to Spence Brothers. The company entered into general contracting in earnest, building landmark churches across Michigan. The company's most ambitious project of the period was the City Hall in Flint, Michigan.
The Roaring 20'sIn the 1920’s, the growth of the company was moderate, yet steady. Most of the work was confined to the Saginaw area. During this period the firm built Saginaw's North and South Intermediate Schools - the largest projects of the era. Pictured is South Intermediate, completed in 1926.
Surviving the Depression YearsThe firm became a Michigan Corporation on April 1, 1930. Spence Brothers survived the Great Depression by building post offices across the United States.
Post WWII EraThe company was awarded its largest contract to date at the Veterans Administration Hospital in Saginaw.
The Decade of Substantial GrowthThe 1950’s were a boom decade for construction and a key period in Spence Brothers’ growth.
Building Iconic StructuresMany significant projects were built during the 1960’s at The University of Michigan campus in Ann Arbor. Pictured is the landmark Crisler Arena.
Rising Up - Meeting DemandsAn interesting project in the 70’s was the construction of the 777 Eisenhower Building – a landmark office building structure located in Ann Arbor, Michigan
Meeting Municipal NeedsThe firm established a major niche in wastewater control and treatment work in the 1980s, starting with the $35 Million Bay County Wastewater Treatment Plant.
Champions Are Born HereThe Canham Natatorium on The University of Michigan campus has proved to be the birthplace of champions. In fact, national and Olympic medalist champions have used the facility as their training center.
Extending Our Construction ImpactSpence Brothers opened its Traverse City office in 1999. One of the larger concrete jobs in this area for the period was The Inn at Bay Harbor.
Takin' The LEED!Spence Brothers completed its first LEED Certified project at Saginaw Valley State University’s Pioneer Hall. The project obtained a LEED Silver rating from the USGBC. Pioneer Hall was the first construction project to acquire LEED Certification in the Region.
Past Leaders HonoredIn 2010, Herbert A. Spence Jr., Edwin A. Spence Jr., and Matthew J. Spence III were inducted into the Michigan Construction Hall of Fame recognizing their key leadership and contributions to Spence Brothers and the industry’s success.
Supporting Dow's Sustainable VisionThe Dow Chemical Company’s 210,000 square foot Business Services Center was constructed and occupied in an amazing 11-month period. The building was honored with the Build Michigan Award in the Environmental category for its impressive sustainable features.
Back to the FutureOriginally constructed by Spence Brothers in the late 60’s, the new Crisler Center project award was viewed as a tremendous opportunity to connect with our legacy at the arena. Crews worked double shifts – 6 days a week – to complete over $50 million of construction in a 10 month period. The project not only won the Build Michigan Award in its category, but was also awarded Best Project in the entire Mid-West by the Engineering News Record.
Our Legacy Projects
With nearly 125 years of commercial construction under our belt – one can only imagine the countless projects supporting our construction legacy!
We went through boxes and boxes of photos stored in a basement vault going way, way back in time. After crawling out with our treasures discovered (and leaving a little bit of a mess), we’d like to share a few of our legacy projects as a glimpse back to some of our historic accomplishments. Check back often – we have much more to share!
Ann Arbor, MI
The University of Michigan – Crisler Arena
LEARN / PLAY
Originally constructed by Spence Brothers in the late 1960’s, Crisler Arena symbolizes our long-standing construction relationship with The University of Michigan. It is a monumental testimony of the trust put in Spence Brothers to build this playground for tomorrow’s superstars. The recent Crisler Center Expansion further strengthens Spence Brothers’ legacy for the iconic structure.
Royal Oak, MI
Beaumont – Critical Care Tower Concrete
Work / Heal
Spence Brothers was contracted for concrete work for the construction of Beaumont Hospital’s Critical Care Tower facility – encompassing 8-stories of an entirely concrete framed, 170,000sf structure. Overall, our contribution encompassed approximately 11,000 cubic yards of concrete and 1,200 tons of reinforced steel.
Beaumont, a community and teaching hospital, is ranked among the nation’s busiest smaller community hospitals and is the largest inpatient hospital in the country.
JC Penney Store
During the 1950’s, Spence Brothers developed a relationship with JC Penney and built their stores across the United States. Pictured is one of these located in Minot, North Dakota. Other stores were constructed in Texas, Ohio, and multiple locations in Michigan.
Veterans Administration Hospital of Saginaw
Work / Heal
The Veterans Administration Hospital in Saginaw, Michigan represents the largest commercial construction project of the period for Spence Brothers. The construction of this Medical Center consisted of a single facility with an independent Skilled Care and Rehabilitation Center. The facility provides primary and secondary medical services, ambulatory surgical services, and outpatient psychiatric services.
Shiawassee County Courthouse Historic Renovation
The Shiawassee County Courthouse project encompassed a true historical renovation guided by Michigan’s historical preservation guidelines. We’re proud to have been part of securing another chapter of longevity for this amazing community icon.
A.T. Ferrell Home - Washington Avenue
In the early days of Spence Brothers, many homes were constructed in the Saginaw, Michigan area. Few records exist of what specific homes were built since most documents were destroyed when Saginaw’s City Hall burned to the ground in 1935. The A.T. Ferrell home on Washington Avenue showcased the craftsmanship that became synonymous with the Spence Brothers mark of quality.