Wells House

270 North Almont Avenue

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 outbuilding.  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 unclear if this is by design or by accident, but it is a curious feature of the house.

The carriage house in back originally consisted of a 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.

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