Diving down Center avenue in Bay city I feel like I am traveling back in time as I go past the old historic mansions. At either end of the historic district is a Michigan Historical Marker that reads:
Center Avenue presents one of the most spectacular displays of late nineteenth and early twentieth century residential architecture in Michigan. Between 1870 and 1940 Bay City’s prominent citizens favored Center Avenue as “the” place to live. Early in this period lumbermen built lavish residences. After 1900 lumbering declined and the city’s economy diversified. Leaders in the sugar beet, coal, shipbuilding, and other industries built stylish homes that reflected their substantial fortunes. Local architects such as Pratt and Koeppe, Clark and Munger, and Philip Floeter designed many of the buildings. Monumental churches and other public structures, like the Masonic Temple, compliment the residences. Center Avenue is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
here are some of my favorite homes in the district
Henry & Luella Clements House 1890
The sign in front of the home reads:
Henry worked with his father James and brother William at Industrial Works, designers of a rail-mounted shovel and cranes employed at the Chicago Columbian Exposition and the Panama Canal. His house is unusual in Bay City because it is one of the few Queen Anne Style homes built of brick. Instead of ornamental trim, bricks are placed in decorative patterns to accentuate the structure’s shape and composition. The first floor plate window is framed with a distinctive Romanesque arch of rusticated stone, displaying the Victorian tendency to mix styles. In 1913 Hector McKinnon, president of McKinnon Boiler and Machine Co., purchased the house, followed in 1920 by Judge Samuel Houghton, who prepared the charter that united Bay City and West Bay City
James Shearer house 1876
James Shearer was a builder in Bay City and besides building this beautiful home, he built several buildings in Michigan, including the building Mill End which was recently raised to build new condominiums. He also was chosen by the Governor of Michigan in 1871 to supervise the construction of the state capital.
Louis & Nettie Goeschel House 1875
The sign in front of the home reads:
Little is known of John Jones, the original owner of the house. It was sold to the Goeschels in 1887. Louis was a well-known businessman, starting out as grocer and venturing into insurance and foreign travel. He hired Pratt & Koeppe to do major remodeling of the house in 1888. The house remained in the Goeschel family for three generations, passing to daughters and husbands, until 1964: fi rst to Nova G. & Russell S. Eddy (1929), and then to Marion E. & Paul E. Wendland (1947). This beautiful Queen Anne style house was modernized in the 1950s by removing most of the porch and covering the house with aluminum siding. The porch was reconstructed and the siding removed to reveal and restore architectural details in 2006-2008
Fremont Chesbrough House 1889
The construction of the house started in 1889 and took three years to build. The 8975 Sq foot home has 5 stories and a Tiffany Stain glass window which is visible on the first and second floors. Each room has a different wood, White golden mahogany in the front parlor, Cherry and walnut in the second parlor. Fremont and Matilda lived in the house from 1891 to 1916. The lot for the house sold for $3,500 and the total cost of building the home was close to $30,000 and at the time the most expensive home on Center Avenue. Fremont’s brother Francis lived in a wood Victorian home jut one block from Fremont’s home.
Victorian Era Home
I could not find any information on this grand old Victorian Queen Ann home but not knowing it’s history does not detract from its grandeur. if you know anything about it I would love to know.
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