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Historic Homes

E. E. Palmer House

E. E. Palmer House

E.E. Palmer House
480 North Main Street

E.E. Palmer, brother of Imlay City’s founder Charles Palmer, built this home in 1903 during the Victorian Era. The house was later owned by the John Worthy family, as early as 1929. This property was somewhat of a small farm in early years since there were no surrounding houses.  The remnants of a foundation for the slaughter house can still be found on the property.  (The Worthy family owned a meat market in the downtown area.)   In later years the house was divided so as to contain a small apartment on the second floor.  At one time the house contained many pocket doors and still retains the original beautiful fireplace.

Edward Palmer came to Imlay City in 1870 to manage his brother Charles Palmer’s hotel, the Bancroft House.  That hotel burned in 1873.  He was appointed the first postmaster in Imlay City in 1874.  In 1888 he started a stationery and variety store, specializing in school supplies and school furniture.  He later was a partner in a furniture business known as Buck & Palmer.  He sold the store in 1901 to Frank Rathsburg who had been a clerk in a general store in Almont.  He served as postmaster for many years, as well as a village trustee.  He was also the first to run the telephone office, a state line, as in the early days there was no exchange.

After selling his business he devoted his time to farming, developing the Belle River flats, east of town, then operated by the Belle River Celery Company.  When he conducted the Belle River business it was known as Riverside Farm.

The street known as Grove Street was in earlier days known as “Palmer’s Grove” and was a tree-shaded area where residents picnicked and the GAR would encamp during celebrations.

Mr. Palmer married at Imlay City on November 13, 1875 Catherine Kellogg Farley (born March 10, 1849, died March 5, 1928 in California). Mr. Palmer died in Long Beach, California where he had retired and his remains were returned to Imlay City and interred in the Imlay Cemetery.

E.E. Palmer House
480 North Main Street

Harry Palmer House

Harry Palmer House

Photo of the back of the house in the early 1940s

225 North Main Street


Charles Palmer built this Gothic Revival home in 1906 for his son, Harry.  Mr. Palmer had Railroad Street, which ran diagonally through the block, closed off to build at this location.  Harry was president and head cashier of People’s State Bank; the bank his father founded.  There was a two-story barn behind the house where the family car was stored.

Harry Edward Palmer was born on March 6, 1869 in Port Huron, Michigan.  He died August 14, 1944 in Detroit, Michigan.  He married E. Louise Bramen on June 28, 1906 in Flint, Michigan.  They lived in Imlay City and Ann Arbor.  Harry and Louise had five children, Charles Edward, William Bramen, Harold Bruce, Dorothy Louise (married Frederic Harrington) and Harry Douglas.  All five children were born in Imlay City.

Harry owned a large farm at the edge of town where he grew onions, later to become celery farms. He was active in the Masonic Order, the Zach Chandler Club and Republican politics.  He also served as director of the Agricultural Society for a period of time.


After the failure of banks across the state in 1932 Harry Palmer left the area and settled in Ann Arbor.  The property went into receivership.  The home was rented in the late 1930s to Dr. Kenneth Dick and then in the early 1940s to Dr. Glenn Smith.  Both practiced medicine from the house.  The property was then purchased in 1941 by William Muir for $3,600 and later transferred to his brother Allen Muir.

Muir Brothers Funeral Home was established in 1946 by father Allen Muir and his sons Paul and Grant.  Paul later established a funeral home in Lapeer. In 1962 an addition was placed on the south side of the home which contained a new chapel and restrooms as well as a casket room and lab in the lower level.  In 1982 Robert Muir, son of Grant, took over the business and operates the funeral home today.  In 1994 an outdoor and indoor ramp were added to the north side of the house.  The upstairs served as living quarters for Grant’s family until 1980 and in 1982 until 1988 living quarters for Robert’s family.

Yerex House

Dr. Yerex

Yerex House
185 North Main Street

This home was constructed by Dr. David V. Yerex during the Victorian Period (1837-1901) and reflects the revival of Gothic Style architecture.  This style is commonly referred to as Carpenter Gothic and the house adapts the Gothic element of steep gables.  Carpenter Gothic is characterized by its profusion of jig-sawn details, whose craftsmen-designers were free to experiment with elaborate forms by the invention of the steam-powered scroll saw. The stained glass transom over the front door contains the word “Yerex.”  The house for many years was divided into two apartments and fortunately the elaborate grand staircase was never painted over and was easily restored.  The current owners completed major restoration of the entire home back to its elegant style in about 2009.  They rebuilt the original wraparound porch and built a carriage house in the rear of the home.

Dr. Yerex was born in Picton, Prince Edward County, Ontario, on April 21,  1845.  He came to this vicinity about 1860 and for a time was employed by his uncle, James Harrington, who kept the Imlay Hotel on South Blacks Corners Road. In 1864 he went to Toronto, where he attended the normal training school for a year, then he entered the medical university of Toronto, remaining two years, after which he went to Bellevue Hospital, New York City where he graduated at the end of a year.

In 1869 he came back to the Blacks Corners area and began his practice there.  In 1874 a settlement called Yerex Corners was being developed at the intersection of Armstrong and Blacks Corners Road, near Dr. Yerex’ farm.  He moved to the Imlay village some time around 1877.  He served as superintendent of the county poor house, as village president, and as moderator of the school board.  He had large land holdings and farms in Goodland and Imlay townships.  One of the early settlements in Goodland Township was named Yerex Corners, which was at the corner of Armstrong and Blacks Corners roads, near Dr. Yerex farm.

He died in August 27. 1906 at Harper Hospital, from shock, an hour after an operation for removal of a cancer of the colon.  His wife, Minnie (Burghardt) Yerex died one year later on February 3, 1907.  Their son, Hugh, was sent to Boston to live with an uncle.  Dr. Yerex’s obituary states, “A widow and one son, Hugh aged about 15 years, survive him and are left in comfortable financial circumstances.”

Yerex House
185 North Main Street

Whitkopf House

October 1900 Wedding Photo of Mr. and Mrs. Charles Whitkopf

Whitkopf House
245 East Fifth Street
Circa 1922

This Craftsman Style house is unofficially a copy of a kit home.  It was a plan sold by Montgomery Ward around 1920-22 and the design was called “The Carlisle.”

The lot on which Charles Whitkopf, a carpenter by trade, built this home was part of Charles Palmer’s original plat, and has seen ownership by a number of pioneers to the Imlay City area.  Robert McRoy, a wealthy farmer and justice of the peace in the area, constructed a beautiful home on parts of lots 8, 9 and 10 in 1884.  It was one of the grandest homes in Imlay City at that time.  The fate of the house McRoy built and lived in on the northeast corner of Fifth Street and Bancroft Street has not yet officially been discovered.  However, it is likely that it burned, as bricks and charred fragments of pottery have been found by nearby homeowners while digging to plant landscape material.

Museum volunteer Tom Whitkopf states, “Based on the story told by my father, (Forest “Fricky” Whitkopf), my grandmother (Mabel Whitkopf) liked the “Carlisle” built around the corner at 465 Bancroft Street and wanted that floor plan.  My grandfather (Charles Whitkopf) took the floor plan, reversed it, and built the “Carlisle” for his family in 1922.  In 1929 a sunroom addition was constructed on the west side of the home, directly off the living room.

“Originally the house had a cistern from which water was hand-pumped in a mud room area inside the back door.  The kitchen had no sink and dishes were washed in large metal basins.  There was a laundry chute for dropping clothes to the basement laundry room on both upper levels of the house.  The house was heated with a huge coal furnace in the basement.  Additionally, a wood burning kitchen stove had a reservoir for heating water and an oven that baked the best sugar cookies in the world.”

The kitchen also featured a built-in ironing board.  The dining room included pressed board wainscoting that is still in its original condition, as well as the front door with beveled glass.  Most of the woodwork is still original.

Taking a close look at the two houses, one can see the similarities, but Charles Whitkopf did tweak one thing.  He raised the roof on the back of his home with a dormer style roof line.  The staircase in the Bancroft Street home has a very low ceiling.  The stairwell design is a climb of six steps, reaching a landing and turning to go up the last six steps.  A six-foot tall person would hit their head in that landing area.  Tom indicates, “My grandparents had five sons and I know one who for sure was over six feet tall.”

The house remained in the Whitkopf family from 1922 to 1965.

Whitkopf House
245 East Fifth Street
Circa 1922

Wells House

Hiram Wells

Wells House
270 North Almont Avenue
Circa 1875

The Hiram Wells house is in the Gothic Revival Style.  It is a good example of the Romantic Style that was typical from the mid-1800s until the late 1800s when the New Republic rejected many of the architectural styles of the Colonial period.  It is characterized as Gothic Revival due to the pointed arch entryway door and window and the gothic window on the second floor, as well as the series of high-pitched gables on multiple sides and the one-story front porch.

An interesting characteristic is the drip mold over the windows and two-story bay window and elaborate paneling on the front entry door.  The stone columns of the porch are uncommon to Gothic Revival; yet suitable due to the vertical expression that was characteristic of this type.

The house has historical significance as the home of a prominent Imlay City merchant and civic official, Mr. Hiram C. Wells.  Mr. Wells served in the Civil War and was captured outside Macon, Georgia in 1864 and held prisoner for nearly a year at the notorious prison at Andersonville.  He came to Imlay City in 1871 and established a flourishing furniture dealership, which included coffins.

The house is also known as the Braidwood House.  When Dr. Charles Braidwood lived here there was a separate building that sat on the northeast side of this house and served as the doctor’s office.  A pathway connected it and the doctor saw patients in this out building.  The building was later moved to Dryden.

Dr. Braidwood died in 1934 and some time after that Mrs. Braidwood split the house into two living spaces, with the renters entering their quarters on the north side of the house.  When inside the house one can look back and find that the pattern of the front doors makes a cross.  It’s not sure if this is by design or by accident, but is a curious feature of the house.

The carriage house in back of the house originally consisted of the structure that encompassed the two bays closest to the alley.  It is said that Dr. Braidwood did keep a cow in the carriage house for a while.

Charles Palmer House

Charles Palmer Family – Circa 1900 (Left to Right) Son Harry, Daughter Grace, Wife Effie, Charles Palmer, Daughter Effie, Daughter Blanche (Daughter Bernice on right out of photo).

Charles Palmer House
240 N Main Street
Circa 1890

The founder of Imlay City, Charles Palmer in 1890, built one of the grandest houses in Imlay City, the Palmer House

The Charles Palmer House, built in 1890 to replace an earlier residence, is a painted, two-story, Queen Anne residence framed and sheathed in wood.  The home displays many design elements traditional to the style including asymmetrical massing and fenestration, a variety of window shapes and sizes, a complex roofline of hipped and gabled shapes, and a rich overlay of shingled, carved, incised, turned and jig-sawed wood ornamentation.  Inside the home features its original, U-shaped staircase, front and back parlors and decoratively plastered ceilings, leaded glass windows, paneled sliding doors, and several fine fireplaces.  The home remains largely intact except for the addition of bathrooms and modernization of the kitchen inside, and outside in the back, the construction of an enclosed porch and attached garage.

The Charles Palmer House is one of the two finest Queen Anne houses in Imlay City.  It is also significant as the home of Imlay City founder Charles Palmer, the foremost character in the community’s early history because of the associations with the key events of settlement, platting, and early economic development.  Inspired by the work of Imlay and Walter Beech who were developing the community of Almont, but had built three sawmills in the area, which became Imlay City.  Charles Palmer purchased two hundred forty acres at a point between Capac and Attica in Lapeer County, surveyed and platted the tract, and began selling home sites.  In June of 1870, he started construction of the Bancroft House, a railroad hotel that opened for business on August 17, 1870; just two days after the railroad began service to the community that Palmer named Imlay City.  Although his first construction burned to the ground in 1973, Palmer’s influence on the town’s development continued until his death on May 3, 1916.  He established and served as president of the Charles Palmer Banking House of Imlay City, served as a village trustee, worked as a school board member for twelve years, and helped organize the local Congregational Church.  In architectural terms, his former home reflects Palmer’s prominence in his community and is a landmark of the Queen Anne style in Imlay City.

Murphy/Walter House

Richard Murphy/Walter Walker House
430 S Almont Avenue
Circa 1883

This home was built between 1883 and 1884 during the late Victorian Period.  It is a two-story, red brick, Queen Anne home that displays many design elements traditional to the style including asymmetrical massing and fenestration, a variety of window shapes and sizes, a wide front porch, elaborate barge board, and a complex, multi-gabled roof line.  A large, two-story, red brick addition dating from around the turn of the century stands to the back of the house.  The home’s interior, apparently enriched at the time the addition was built, remains intact in floor plan and finishes.  A red-painted wood barn with a gable roof and vertical siding is located at the back of the property and is original to the house.

The house is notable as the home from 1896 to 1923 of local grain elevator operator Walter Walker, a leading businessman in Imlay City in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries.  Walter and Sarah Walker secured the house in May of 1896 as the result of a trade with carriage and wagon builder Richard Murphy and his wife Arabella.  (The Murphy’s then moved to the Walker house on Main Street.)  The Walker’s made extensive repairs and in August moved into the house.  This is the only residence of theirs in Imlay City known to be still standing, during the period of the elevator firm, Walter Walker and Company’s importance.

The Richard Murphy/Walter Walker House is one of the two finest Queen Anne houses in Imlay City.  It is listed on the National and State Register of Historical Places

Messer House

Joseph Treat Messer and Wife Carrie Frances Sawyer Messer

Joseph T. Messer House
215 Sixth Street
Circa 1895

This three story house with full basement was built in 1895 by Joseph Messer toward the end of the Victorian Era (1837-1901).  It does not contain many of the features of a Victorian home such as towers, turrets and bay windows; however it does feature decorative trim.

The winter before Joseph Messer was going to start building a new house he employed Jim Sheppard as sawyer and Duncan Burke as helper to saw out all the brackets used around the house at the second floor line.  These brackets consist of three pieces fastened together.  The oak flooring was purchased.  Mr. Sheppard made most of the trim out of boards Mr. Messer selected at the sawmill.  When the owner of the sawmill, Mr. Marshall, would run some extra nice clear logs he would tell Mr. Messer and they would pick out the nicest clear wood and put it away to season for use in the house.  The door trim and baseboards are oak and one bedroom is finished in solid bird’s eye maple.

The interior is finished in native hardwoods; butternut, bird’s eye maple, red oak and ash.  There is a beautiful red oak open stairway and hardwood floors throughout, including the third story attic.  Jim Sheppard did the design work and nearly all the mason work and did the plastering.  Duncan Burke and L. Smith Messer did the labor work.  John Howland was in charge of the painting.

The house has a full basement with an outside entrance.  The upper level of the basement wall is brick but below ground level is stone.  The basement under the whole building is eight feet in the clear.  It is all divided off into apartments for coal, vegetable and storage rooms.  In the center was a large Beckwith furnace which kept every room warm.

The main entrance is at the northeast corner.  One steps into a reception hall to the right of which is the parlor.  In the rear is the sitting and dining rooms, all connected by double sliding doors.  There is a kitchen, bathroom and bedroom on the first floor.  The second floor is all divided off into large, light and airy sleeping rooms with closets to every room.  There is also a stairway leading to a large attic on the third floor.  The house was wired for electricity.  Originally there was a porch on the west side of the house with an entrance into the kitchen and steps down toward the barn.

Joseph Messer was a partner of J. C. Lamb in the firm of Lamb & Messer. Mr. Lamb and Mr. Messer formed the partnership in December of 1889.  In 1892 that partnership was dissolved, and the business was then known as J. T. Messer and Company.  This general merchandise store was the largest store in Imlay City and in all its departments carried the heaviest stock of goods.  In fact, it was looked upon as an assemblage of large stores under one roof.  They sold general merchandise, dry goods, groceries, and hardware.  It also contained the Imlay City Exchange Bank.  There was a tin shop upstairs over the store ran by a Mr. Bentley.  Mr. Bentley made all the tin ware sold in the store (pails, buckets, dippers, roasting pans, etc.) and people traded eggs, butter, hides, wool, hams, salt pork, apples, and maple sugar for store merchandise.

Dr. Large House

Dr. Stanley Large 1940

Dr. Large House
515 North Main Street
Circa 1913

It is believed that this Arts & Crafts style house was built around November of 1913 for Dr. Stanley Large.  Built-ins were the hallmark feature of the Arts and Crafts Era homes.  Built-in cabinets allowed the furnishings to be part of the architecture, ensuring design unity and economic use of space.  The fireplace was the symbol of family in the movement, so this home features a dominant fireplace in the living room and a large exterior chimney.

The house retains many of the original interior features such as a coffered ceiling in the living room, built-in bookcases on either side of the fireplace, original oak flooring, built-in china cabinet in the dining room, and the original built-in deacons bench in the foyer.  The home’s porch features thick square cobblestone columns.

In 1969 the Hatfield family purchased the house.  They later built an addition onto the rear of the house and enclosed the front porch.

Dr. Stanley Large was born June 25, 1873 in Listowel, Ontario and came to Imlay City in 1896 after graduating from the Dental School of the Detroit College of Medicine.  He married Effie Jones, daughter of Dr. George Jones March 7, 1900.  He opened dental offices over the People’s State Bank on Third Street in 1905.  He was a long-time dentist, businessman and civic leader in Imlay City.

In 1922 Dr. Large brought John DeHaan from Hudsonville, Michigan to clear 10 acres of muck land east of the city.  He experimented with growing celery.  This was so successful that in 1928 Dr. Stanley Large, along with G. Fred Butler (his brother-in-law) and Harry E. Palmer formed the Belle River Celery Company, which helped to open up the Imlay City muck lands.  Later 10 Dutch families from the Zeeland and Kalamazoo area were hired to come to Imlay City and grow celery.  Mr. Butler and Dr. Large also had the Ford automobile agency here, and were later in the insurance business.

Dr. Large and Mr. Butler, along with some other investors, built the gasoline station and restaurant at the corner of M-53 and M-21 for many years known as Hi-Speed and later operated by Pure Oil Company.  Dr. Large was on the Fair board many years and was long-time President of the organization.  He was village clerk at the time the village hall was constructed in 1902.

Dr. Jones House

Dr. George Jones’ House

Dr. George Jones House
165 Main Street
Circa 1872

This was the home of Dr. George W. Jones.  It was built in 1872 and appears to be in the Italianate style.  It has been partially restored by the current owner, and originally contained an open porch on the south side, which is now enclosed.  The original porch contained a railing along the upper roof and the entire front lawn was enclosed with a decorative wood fence.

The ornamental tree on the south side of the house is a Catalpa tree, only one or two known in Imlay City.  It is a flowering tree and has large bean pods that turn brown and drop in late summer.  The largest living Catalpa tree is on the grounds of the Michigan State Capitol in Lansing and was planted in the year 1879.  There is one in England that is 150 years old.

Dr. Jones came to Imlay City from Port Perry, Ontario in December of 1870.  He was the first doctor in Imlay City when the population was only 100.  During his career he presided at over 1,900 births.  He and his family lived in this house 58 years until the time of his death.  His son-in-law, C. F. Butler, then purchased the house and lived there many more years.

Dr. Jones served –

52 years as chairman of the board of trustees of the Congregational Church

12 years as postmaster under four different presidents

30 years as surgeon for the Grand Trunk Railroad

He was one of the founders of the fair association.

He was a member of the county pension board and the school board

He was village president and for 62 years a member of the Masonic Lodge



Fairweather/Lamb House

Fairweather House

Fairweather House
540 South Almont Avenue

The James F. Fairweather/Jacob C. Lamb House, built between 1871 and 1874, is a two-story, wood frame, Gothic Revival structure.  An L-plan front section with a tower-like projection containing the principal entrance is located in the angle of the L.  The front is divided into three bays, which recede from left to right.  A front-facing gable displaying ornamental barge boarding caps each.  The bay windows date from a later, nineteenth-century modernization of the home but present a pleasing array of fluted pilasters, narrow double-hung sash, and brackets.  Changes in the home’s foundation from cut store under the original two-story section to field stone under the first single-story back addition and concrete bed under the garage document the construction of the two additions in the late nineteenth and twentieth centuries; the brick foundation under the porch reflects it improvement rather than addition.  The home is also a fine example of Gothic Revival residential architecture and one of only a few Gothic Revival-inspired homes in Imlay City.

The significance of the James F. Fairweather/Jacob C. Lamb House (later the Hovey and then Cheney house) stems from the commercial activities of both its principal owners and the political activity of Jacob Lamb.  Fairweather was an early dry goods merchant who helped establish the commercial base of the community during the 1860s and 1870s when the arrival of the railroads, the start of lumbering, the early development of the Thumb area’s road system, and the initiation of regional marketing of local farm products first spurred Imlay City’s growth.  With the homes purchase by Jacob Lamb in 1879, the home also became associated with a man whose involvements in produce and dry goods marketing, grain and wool brokerage, agriculture, banking, and state politics made him the key figure in the community’s period of “boom” growth that lasted into the early twentieth century.


Crankshaw House

Dr. D. W. Crankshaw

Crankshaw House
250 Capac Road

This cut stone house was built in 1929 for Dr. D. W. Crankshaw, a physician and surgeon, who practiced out of the home.  Lumber for the construction of the house was stored in a barn in Mayville as it became available and until it was needed.

Verner Crankshaw, cousin of Dr. Crankshaw, was the carpenter that built the frame and did the woodworking for the house.  It is uncertain who the stone mason was that worked with Verner.  However, longtime residents suggest the name of John Bax, Sr. as possibly being the stone mason on the house and having a hand in the work.  John was a muck farmer who lived on Shaw Road and also worked at the foundry.  He did stonework as a hobby.  It is known he worked on the “wall” around the house

The house contained a hospital that was known as the Palmer Woods Hospital, Vida B. Crankshaw, Matron, Phone 174.

The main hall closet and the closets above and below were originally designed to house an elevator.  The window sills were marble and all of the interior doors were solid wood.  The front door was large and at least three inches thick.

The second owner of the house was Grand Trunk Railroad station agent George Oille and his family.  Mr. Oille sold it to Dr. M. C. VanConant.  Dr. VanConant was told that the papers and plans for the house were hidden behind the heart shaped stone in one of the chimneys.  It is not known if this story is a myth or if the original plans were really there.  Blueprints were in the possession of the current owners, the Lambs, and placed in a safe.  Unfortunately they were destroyed by the fire.

An iconic symbol of craftsmanship and history this landmark was destroyed by fire on February 20, 2014.  The unattached garage and dental clinic were not involved.  All but the beautiful stone walls was destroyed in the inferno that incinerated everything in the home’s three levels.

Duane Wesley Crankshaw was born on September 8, 1887 in Rich Township, Lapeer County, Michigan, and graduated from Mayville, Michigan high school, and taught school in Huron and Lapeer counties until enrolling in college at Albion, Michigan.  After a year he transferred to the Medical College at the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor, receiving his B. S. in 1911 and M. D. in 1913.  After graduation, he located at Lawrence, VanBuren County, Michigan, where he practiced medicine until the outbreak of World War I, when he entered the Army Medical Corp with the rank of Lieutenant.  He was discharged in 1919 with the rank of Major.

Dr. Crankshaw then opened his practice at Hadley, Lapeer County, later locating at Imlay City on Almont Avenue and then to his new stone house on Capac Road, where he resided until the outbreak of World War II, when he returned to the U. S. Army Medical Corp, serving until 1946, when he retired at Chamblee, Georgia.

In 1947 he located at Lake Placid, Florida where he practiced until retirement, rendering 63 years of service.  A mural on the side of the medical building in Lake Placid features him.  Major Duane Wesley Crankshaw, U. S. Army, M.D. died on March 1, 1977 in Arcadia, Florida and was buried in Lake Placid, Florida.

Coope House

Coope House

Coope House
275 N Main Street
Circa 1892

The parcel of land on which this home sits was originally bought by Anson Parsons and was part of 160 acres purchased from the United States government for $1 in 1837.   Charles Palmer purchased the land from Mr. Parsons and platted the village of Imlay City in 1870.

Mr. John Coope, who was a partner in the Walter Walker & Company elevator and a wealthy businessman, built this home in 1892.

The house features an ornate carved fireplace mantel, and carved woodwork of oak and white pine.  The dining room features beautiful French doors.  Beautifully crafted designs are hand carved into the railing of the staircase and the molding surrounding the windows and doors.  Even the door hinges are worth looking at, as each one is graced with its own artistic design.  The upstairs bedrooms all have working transoms over the doors which allows air to flow in from the hallway.  Two of the rooms feature small washing sinks in the corner.

While sitting in the parlor it is possible to look through the doorways of the sitting room, den and bathroom to the opposite end of the home.  Views such as these provide a unique charm to the house, and give it a feeling of great depth.

The structure boasts four dormers, each uniquely designed with different style window and exterior scroll work.  Today the home is still reminiscent of the days when John and Ursala Coope were the owners.

After acquiring the house in 1974, the new homeowners decided to tear out a wall, and in so doing, discovered it had been installed later and was not part of the original design.  The only other renovation that has been done on the property was the replacement of the carriage barn in the backyard.

Coope House
275 N Main Street
Circa 1892

Hiram Barnes House

Barnes House

Hiram Barnes House
255 Belle River
Circa 1929

This Farmhouse Style home with wraparound porch was built in 1929 by (it is believed) Hiram Barnes.  At some time an addition was built onto the rear of the home.  Farmhouses were built for need rather than design, often featuring functional porches as a transitional space creating a much more informal and inviting exterior.

The original front section of the house contains heavy beams with square nails.  The addition appears to be simply built on stumps.  There are three bedrooms and one small bathroom on the second floor.  Previous owners completely restored the original porch columns.

Mr. and Mrs. Barnes had two children, Rowland and Mabelle (Mrs. Roy Ogden).

Hiram Barnes House
255 Belle River
Circa 1929

Marshall House

David Marshall

Marshall House
520 S Almont Avenue
Circa 1885

This house has the potential to be classified as a Queen Anne Style home but the use of masonry and the heavy use of stone at the window heads and sills are more characteristic of another Victorian era type of house called Richardsonian Romanesque.

This is characterized by many of the same elements as Queen Anne but this style always employed masonry with large window openings.  Note the same use of some of the Victorian era elements such as the front corner tower and the high-pitched hip roof and the one story entry porch.  Henry Hobson Richardson was an architect in Boston that designed houses during the 1860s and 1870s and in 1888 his work was published.  By the 1890s his style was widely associated with the Victorian homes.  The Richardson Romanesque homes were more expensive to build than the typical wood frame Victorian home, and for this reason were not as common.

520 South Almont includes other Richardson Romanesque features such as the over scale dormers on the third floor and the heavy stone and pre-cast band at the base of the house.  The scale of all of the design elements of this house is exaggerated which gives the home a distinctive appeal.

The house was built for David J. Marshall, son of Charles Marshall, in 1900.  The Marshall’s were of Scottish ancestry.  In 1894 David graduated from the U of M law school and practiced law in Pittsburgh for 13 years.  In 1908 his father convinced him to return to Imlay City and take over the management of the flourmill with his brother Frederick.  Davis was a prominent Mason and active member of the Congregational Church.

The house for a number of years was divided into a two-family structure.  When the current owners purchased the house in 1982 it had fallen into great disrepair and their restoration continues today.  The entryway staircase was completely walled off which has been restored, the fireplace and over mantle has been replaced which is more appropriate to the era of the house.  The fireplace in the second floor bedroom has been re-worked.  There are pocket doors, which remained untouched over the years and hidden away in the wall.  The house features oak woodwork, which has been refinished, as were most of the floors in the house.

The third floor is currently used as the family’s recreation room.  The Marshall’s used it strictly as an attic where they stored their trunks.  They traveled extensively in this country and abroad.  Mr. Marshall had one of the first short-wave radios and the copper wire for the antenna was run through brackets near the ceiling and is still in that room.

There are two garrets in the third floor, one on the front of the house, and one above the stairway.  There is a third garret that is unseen on the south end of the third floor.  You can notice that garret on the south roofline of the house.

Marshall House
520 S Almont Avenue
Circa 1885


Micheals House

Michaels House
375 N Almont Avenue
Circa 1907


The Michaels House is of Queen Anne Style and was built in 1907 by Edward Michaels.  This is a fine example of a Victorian home.  Some of the characteristics of a Queen Anne Style are the dominant front-facing gables, the asymmetrical faced and the front facing one-story porch.  Towers are found on several styles of homes of the Victorian period, but typically on Queen Anne homes the towers were placed on the front corner of the home.

The interior of this house contains plaster moldings around the edge of the ceilings.  Most of the light fixtures in the lower level are reproduction; however the staircase and upstairs rooms are all original.

The fireplace is a coal fireplace and the depth of the fireplace is only about one foot—insufficient depth for a wood fire.  When the house was purchased in 1988 the ceilings had all been stripped with lathe and covered with a Celeotex board.  It was removed and the lathe taken down, entirely new wet plaster ceilings were then installed.

All of the oak moldings, paneling, doors and floors are original to the home and contain geometric patterns.  One of the unique features of this house is the stained glass window in the staircase landing.  Much of the glass in the house is either leaded glass or cut glass.  There are five bedrooms upstairs and servant quarters with a separate stairway leading down to the kitchen.  The kitchen has been totally re-done.  All of the doors were sanded and refinished to their original state and the cabinets are consistent with what was in the home originally.

Edward Michaels was born in 1862 and married Miss Rose Martin in 1895.  He died in August of 1938.

He entered the lumber business in Capac in 1895, and in 1901 with his brother Louis purchased the Imlay City lumber business of John Marshall.  He purchased his brother’s interest in 1910 and continued the business until September of 1937, when he sold the lumberyard to Mulhall Lumber Company of Owosso.

Michael’s House
375 N Almont Avenue
Circa 1907

1:00 PM-6:00 PM
May- October
Corner of Third & Main Streets

7:00 PM
Lamb Steele Park

September 28, 2019
6:00 PM- 10:00 PM
Downtown Imlay City

November 30, 2018
6:00 PM
Downtown Imlay City

Imlay City DDA

150 North Main Street

Imlay City, MI 48444

8:00 AM- 4:30 PM

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