311 E. Main
Address: 311 E. Main
Date Built: early 1920s
1st known business: Little Racine Restaurant
Lucius H. “Root” Racine came to Lowell in 1920 and married Elsie Godfrey. Their daughter Alice Lou was born in 1921. They operated the Little Racine Restaurant together from 1924 to 1932 when Mr. Racine passed away.
“Root” was a showman. He had a partition between the counter and kitchen with a pass- through window. He would take the order, relay the order by shouting through the window, go around to the kitchen and cook the meal, set it out on the counter, come around to the dining area and serve it with flair. His one-man operation gave an allusion of a larger operation. During the Depression Louie served meals to the hobos who came into town on the train; Harold Englehardt quietly reimbursed him. Following his death the Lowell Ledger said of him, “He was not blessed with much of this world's goods, but he had something in him of far greater value than material wealth, and that was a sympathetic and generous heart. It's safe to say that there wasn't a day of his life that he did not do something for someone in need. He fed the hungry and the unfortunate and otherwise shared with others when he could ill afford to do so.” Mrs. Elsie Racine continued operating the restaurant for ten years after her husband’s death.
Dr. Harold R. Myers, an Osteopathic physician and surgeon, had his office here from 1944 to 1954. In 1954, Dr. Orval McKay, M. D., purchased the building and remodeled the interior. He also added the brick front and changed the windows to glass cubes so that it was more difficult to see who was in the waiting room from the sidewalk. Dr. Donald Gerard, M. D., joined Dr. McKay’s practice here in 1961 after serving his internship at Butterworth Hospital. Dr. Marilyn Hunter joined in 1968. The doctors all moved to their new building on N. Hudson in 1969.
From 1975 to 1984, Frederick E. Althaus, Jr., Attorney and Wholesale Philatelic Supply businesses were here. From 1986 to 2007, it became the law office of Attorneys Tummino and Tummino, a husband and wife team.
Grand Valley Ventures worked in this building (c. 2011-2018). Since 2019, the front half of the building has been home to the Farm Bureau Insurance office of agent Michael Curtis. BCG Construction Company bought the building in Jan. 2022 and works out of the rear half. Curtis’ agency now leases the front and the two businesses enjoy a common kitchen area in between.
Images: Little Racine Restaurant about 1927. Mrs. Elsie Racine, daughter Alice Lou, and Mr. Louis Racine posing in front.
The Lowell Ledger article is dated August 14, 1975 so in August 1950 Dr. McKay began his medical practice in Lowell.
Dr. Donald Gerard began practicing medicine at 311 E. Main in 1961.
Michael and Judy Tummino’s Law Office was here from 1986 to 2007.
Notice that the one-story building has small glass block windows when it was home to doctor’s offices. The 3-story building to the right was torn down in 1974.