Much like the monuments we craft, our personal approach and attention to detail have withstood the test of time.
Arnet’s Memorials has been a cornerstone of the Ann Arbor and Ypsilanti communities for well over 100 years. Since 1904, Arnet’s Memorials has been helping area families mark graves with monuments and tombstones honoring lives, pledging eternal love, or speaking for those who can no longer speak for themselves. Back in the beginning, Joseph Arnet and his team of artists hand chiseled stone into monuments at an outdoor lot on the corner of Main and Ann in Downtown Ann Arbor. Joseph’s hard work, perseverance, and desire to help memorialize and conserve the history of our community formed the foundation for the time-tested business we are today.
Led today by Joseph’s Great Granddaughter Caryl Arnet, Arnet’s memorials is the preferred monument company in Washtenaw County and surrounding areas.
Although the history of Arnet’s memorials officially began in 1904. However, stone memorials had been a part of the family for many years before. Vincel Arnet, an immigrant stonemason from Pilsen, Bohemia (Modern Day Czech Republic) began working at Lockridge monuments in Ypsilanti in 1887. At this time, monuments and memorials were made from limestone blocks sent by wagon from Bedford, Indiana. Shortly after Vincel’s beginnings at Lockridge, in 1889, granite became the standardized monument and memorial product. Granite is a harder and longer lasting material that had been shown to stand the test of time, better memorializing individuals for today and into the future.
Vincel’s son Joseph, determined to follow his father’s footsteps, worked as an apprentice learning the stonemason trade in Flint. Around this same time Vincel passed away, leaving Joseph with $25 from a life insurance policy. Joseph returned to Washtenaw County and used the money to open Arnet’s Monuments with Gus Zachmann (originally called Zachmann and Arnet)
Joseph’s talents were recognized quickly as in the first two years Arnet’s was able to outlast the other six monument companies in Ann arbor until he was one of two remaining. Interestingly the other four that closed their doors came to join Joseph’s company seeing his talent and early success as a sign of things to come, and they were right.
By 1917, the company needed to expand, Joseph chose to move his shop indoors and give his employees a break from the rough Michigan weather. They selected the building just a block away at 208 West Huron street.
After graduating from the University of Michigan in 1931, Joseph’s son Fredrick joined the company. Fredrick was focused from his architecture degree and added branches to the company involving his passion, stone cladding, copings around walls, stone facings, and commercial sandblasting. Sandblasting became the standard tool for engraving stone and facades, although the traditional hammer and chisel can be used; sandblastings consistency was taking over as the preferred method of engraving.