The only known photograph of the Michigan Female College purportedly from 1866. There are other images of North Lansing where it appears in the background. (CADL/FPLA)

The Michigan Female College was designed by Detroit architects, Albert Jordan and James Anderson, but just what style of building they designed for the Roger’s sisters is bit of a mystery. Did the building have one wing, two wings or just the central structure? Did an unknown architect design the north wing which was but several years later or was it Jordan & Anderson that designed the addition? In the above photograph from 1866, you can see that the structure only consisted of a main building, there were no dormitory wings. There is a description of the building from 1873 that mentions the presences of a north wing. Note the central copula and the position of the chimneys. In the architectural drawing below, from the 1859 map of Ingham County, you can observe that the college had a central structure with two wings. That rendering was done by the architectural firm of Jordan & Anderson. Did the below drawing represent the sister’s planned vision for the college or Jordan & Anderson’s? Note that in the 1866 image the building has a hip roof with a flat deck, while the 1873 drawing had tradition slant roof.This image is from the 1866 Bird’s Eye View map of Lansing, note how it resembles the 1859 image presented below.

 

The Michigan Female College, from the 1859 Map of Ingham County. A drawing by the architects Jordan & Anderson. Note the copulas but the lack of chimneys.

After the death of Abigail C. Rogers in 1868, her sister Miss Delia Rogers, decided to close the Michigan Female College. Given that the Michigan Agricultural College and the University of Michigan had begun to admit women in 1870 it was a wise business decision. The International Order of the Oddfellows’ purchased the building and property that once served as the college in August 1871 at a cost of $40,000. (DFP8/17/1871 and SR8/19/1871) The Oddfellows’ began a remodeling of the building in 1872 and a short description follows. “The edifice, in outline cruciform, filled in at the intersections, is to be of the French style of architecture, its Mansard roof rising ten feet above the cornice which crowns the main brick wall; with four main and four wing towers, the former extending 80 feet, the latter 60 feet, above the basement walls and forming part of the outer walls of the building.” The description is from the State RepublicanAugust 3, 1872, based upon an account provided by Colonel E.M. Fitch that appeared in the August issue of the Odd Fellows’ Companion with a drawing.

A woodcut of the Odd Fellows’ Institute from 1873. Unfortunately, the above rendering never happened. Only the north wing and central core was modified in the Second Empire style and it did not have a double entrance. FromLansing, the Capital of Michigan, 1873.

The renovations to the Michigan Female College building for the Odd Fellows’ Society were carried out by Saginaw architect, John B. Dibble. Since the college building consisted of a central structure and a north wing, those were the only structures that were altered in the Second Empire Style. The south wing and the separate front entrances were not built at this time. The striking feature in the above design was the entrance porch. The double entryway with its wonderful decorative gable and the three Victorian gothic chapel style windows on the second floor over a recessed porch. The iron cresting on the mansard towers is a bit exaggerated and curious because it seems to overwhelm the towers.

The above photograph shows the building of the Michigan Female College being updated by the Odd Fellows into a Second Empire structure, observe the scaffolding at the center. Now compare the image with the photograph below of the entrance for the School for the Blind and the earlier wood cut of the Michigan Female College, notice the number and position of the windows in both images. (CADL/FPLA)

There was quite a bit of resentment from the rank and file of International Order of the Odd Fellows’ (I.O.O.F.) in Michigan to the extortion tactics, their words not mine, of the state I.O.O.F. office in their attempt to raise money for the completion of the home and educational institute. (Alpena Argus12/30/1874) The remodeling of the building was not completed until late 1875 or early 1876. The vision of the state office of the I.O.O.F. was not shared by the members of the organization and the building was offered for sale in June 1878. The advertisement in the Detroit Free Pressstated that the “building on the property consists of a main front and wing. The main front is 57 feet square and four stories high, including basement, the wing is 40×50 and four stories high, including the basement” (DFP6/16/1878).

If you are interested in learning more about the Michigan Female College and the I.O.O.F. hall click on the links below.

https://babel.hathitrust.org/cgi/pt?id=uva.x030131729;view=1up;seq=299

https://babel.hathitrust.org/cgi/pt/search?q1=%22Michigan%20Female%20College%22;id=uva.x030131729;view=1up;seq=5;start=1;sz=10;page=search;orient=0

©Lost Lansing 2019

 

100 E Main now Malcom X. Street.

Note how the roof of the front porch extends of the porte cochere and how the driveway sloped downward, which must have been a struggle for the carriages that visited the home.

The home at 100 E. Main was built in 1875, which is supported by the 1874 Map of Lansing that showed no structures present on Block 177, Lot 11. An article from the Lansing State Journalstated that that the land was part of the original grant to William W. Townsend by the United States in the 1830s. (LSJ1/2/1964) I find it odd that no home was built on this site prior to 1875, it was a prime piece of property overlooking the Grand River on a high bluff. The home was built for James L. Stewart who had a marble business at 400 S. Washington, and designed and built, with his partner Edwin L. Hopkins, the Soldiers Monument at Mt. Cemetery in Lansing.

100 E. Main, Lansing, MI.

On the second floor, to the right of the gable, there are two windows on the façade of this structure, which is an obvious later addition. Note the fantastic gingerbread work on the gable and the decorative columns and spindles on the porch.

So, what happened to the home? Well if you look at the first image of the home you can see that there is a sign to the left of the photograph and in the above image you can see how the motel building wraps around the home. That was the Riverside Manor Motel, hailed at is opening in November of 1957 as a sign of the future development of the city. The residence at 100 E. Main was acquired by the Riverside Corporation in January 1964 and torn down soon afterward. A pool for the motel was installed where 100 E. Main once stood.

The Riverside Motor Inn, 102 E. Main, the name changed from Riverside Manor Motel in the 1960s. Note the umbrellas and the pool to the right in the above image, where 100 E. Main once stood. Placing the date of the above image after 1964.

The Riverside Motor Inn was acquired in 1971 by the Motel 6 Corporation, which decided in in 1978 that it was better to tear down the structure then renovate the building. In 1980 a new 120 room Motel 6 opened on the property, which included the site where 100 E. Main once stood. Later the Motel 6 Corporation, sold the hotel to another owner who renamed the motel the Deluxe Inn. The Deluxe Inn became a problem for the city, the motel morphed in to a location that the police visited on a regular basis. Shootings, drug overdoses, prostitution and a variety of nefarious dealings were common at the motel. The Deluxe Inn property was sold at a sheriff’s auction for back taxes in 2009. The building was torn down in 2010, panels from the motel were used to create the REO Town sign that now stand on the property. Essentially in the space of fifty years three structure were present on Block 177 Lots 10-11; 100 E. Main, Riverside Manor Motel and Motel 6. Now the site is an empty lot. More importantly the city lost a beautiful home. There is no doubt that whoever owned the property would face difficulty when Interstate 496 carved up the area resulting in the drop in the value of the property. The highway essentially cut off the development of the downtown core to the southward, isolating REO Town.

James L. Stewart was a bit of a mystery. He was born March 13, 1830 or 1831 in Ontario, Canada. He was married to an Annie Potter(?) and appeared in the 1871 Census of Canada, living in Elgin, Ontario, with Annie and working as a marble dealer. James was 40 at the time of the census and Annie was 34. The next record for James L. Stewart is the 1880 United States Census, where James was working in Lansing as a marble dealer and married to Wilda who is 17 years his junior. Annie died in 1906 and was buried in the Burdick Cemetery, Elgin County, Ontario. Her tombstone reads, Ann wife of Jas. L. Stewart. James was not buried in the Burdick Cemetery. The James, from the 1880 Census, died in San Diego, California on October 27, 1894, he was buried at Mount Hope Cemetery in San Diego. James had retired to, San Diego after living in Lansing. “James L Stewart, who was formerly engaged in the marble business in Lansing Mich., died at his home in San Diego Cal. aged 63 years.” (Stone and Illustrated Magazine, Vol X December 1894-May 1895) Wilda Stewart continued to live in San Diego, operating a boarding house. In the 1910-1930 Censuses she is living in an apartment in Long Beach, California. There is a death record for a Wildia Stewart, in San Francisco, California on July 10, 1931, that is the only record that has been located for Wilma. So, what does this all mean? Is it possible that James left Annie for a younger woman? It was odd that James L. Stewart was not buried with Annie in the Burdick Cemetery. Or did James abandon his wife and essential take a common law wife without annulling his first marriage? That could explain why he left Canada. Of course, this could all be wrong, there may have been two James L. Stewarts who were both marble dealers and born within a year of each other in the same location.

©Lost Lansing 2018

One day after walking my dog along the Lansing River Trail I ended up in Moores’ Park. I like to visit the park in the fall to look at the leaves, sit on the stands for the pool and just enjoy the view of river, park and the Eckert Power Plant. I know weird, but the Eckert Power Plant is an interesting structure to see, especially in the fading light of a late fall day. So, since I was in Moores Park, I decided to explore the homes that James Henry Moores owned in Lansing. It has been difficult to trace where J. H. Moores lived prior to the construction of the home at 303 W. Allegan. The 1873 Lansing City Directory listed a J Henry Mores as residing with Rev. J. Evarts Weed, east of Pennsylvania Avenue. Rev. Weed was the pastor for the First Presbyterian Church in Lansing for five years, 1865-1870 and then became a partner with J.H. Moores in his land business. Moores’ next residence was on Kalamazoo Street, the 1878 Lansing City Directory has Moores living on the southside of Kalamazoo, just east of Chestnut Street, no image of the house survives. The first home that we can identify with Moores, is the house he had built at 303 W. Allegan Street, across from the Capitol. A location that was one of the prime building sites in the city and Moores home did not disappoint.

303 W. Allegan, Lansing, MI.

In this image the you can see the entrance on the side, the random pattern of the fieldstone foundation and if you look closely the third-floor porch on the tower.

The magnificent an architecturally original home at 303 W. Allegan was designed by Jackson architect, Lemuel Dwight Grosvenor for James H. Moores in 1885-1885. Below is a description of the Moores’ home published from the State Republican in 1886.

A MODEL HOME

The New Residence of Mr. J.H. Moores on Allegan Street

“Many handsome homes have been erected in Lansing this year, but by all odds the most striking exterior is that of Mr. J.H. Moores’ new residence, at the corner of Allegan and Townsend streets, which reached completion this week. The building is a novel combination of the Northern and Southern styles of architecture. The venture was a daring one, but it has proved successful and picturesque in the extreme.

At the northwest [northeast] corner is a tower following many of the Norman lines; on the east side is an Oriental oriel tower; everywhere there are cosy [cozy] porches, odd little balconies and graceful angles. There are no weak sides to the structure. From whatever side or corner, it is viewed the effect is equally pleasing. The building is painted a rich dark red with dark olive-green trimmings, and the foundation walls, which are of fieldstone square but left rock-faced, are laid in a novel hit-or-miss pattern.

The interior is probably the handsomest in the city. The front entrance  at the side of the oriel tower connects with a large hall finished in cherry, and from this hall open the dining room, reception room, parlor and library. Wide sliding doors enable the family to instantly transform all these into a magnificent suite, and with the single exception of the library all are furnished with extremely handsome fireplaces.

The dining room is finished in black walnut, the others in cherry, the fireplaces in the parlor and reception room have mohoganized cherry mantels with tile work and oxidized brass mountings. The windows are broad, low and deep. In the reception room a pretty bit of art in the shape of a small window of stained glass depicts Cupid amid the flowers. The pantry, kitchen, china closet, and the smaller rooms are finished in the natural color of the wood.

The front stairway with its rich cherry mountings, occupies the oriel tower, a stained-glass window at the first landing adding materially to its attractive appearance. There are four large front chambers on the second floor, fitted with handsome fire places in rich marbleized slate and affording magnificent views of the city from their numerous windows. In the rear are the bathrooms and smaller sleeping rooms.

The building is provided with every possible convenience in the shape of dressing rooms, closets, hot and cold water, gas and electric bells. The cellar runs the entire length of the house, and is divided into laundry, coal room, furnace room and vegetable cellar. The masonry was done by Chittenden, the building by Fuller & Wheeler and the painting by Voiselle & Larose. Most of the timber used in the structure was taken from Mr. Moores’ pine lands in Northern Michigan.” (SR 10/15/1886)

This must have been a fascinating home to see in its prime, especially the interior. There is so much going on, architecturally it is overwhelming.

A poor image of the Moores’ home. Note the two balconies on the facade and the Oriental oriel tower. I have no idea why this was described as an Oriental oriel tower? It is an oriel window. Note the hood over the front porch entrance, it resembles a witch’s cap normally seen on a tower, here it is a quartered segmented covering that many have served as an ornamental detail versus a functional one.

In October of 1893, James exchanged his home at 303 W. Allegan for one at 501 S. Washington with Cornelius A. Gower. Why? Well it may have been a result of the Panic of 1893 which resulted in a 43% unemployment rate in Michigan. In 1893 there was a run on gold, yes, the USA was on the gold standard, when the Reading Railroad Company, yes, the one in Monopoly, went in to receivership triggering the run on gold. Over 500 banks closed, businesses failed, and farmers simply stopped farming. The result was a migration to cities by the rural poor. Detroit’s Mayor Hazen S. Pingree instituted a public works program in the city for the unemployed and created the Pingree’s Potato Patch, which allowed citizens to farm lots in the city. Seems like history always repeats itself. Turner, in his history of Ingham County suggested the Panic of 1896 as the reason for Moores’ financial ruin. The Panic of 1896 was for all practical purposes a continuation of the Panic of 1893.(Turner 573) No image of the Gower home at 501 S. Washington survives, the home on South Washington was torn down in 1890-1891 to erect the Glaister building.

In the image you can see the roof cresting with finials across the roof’s ridge line. Does the front of the home seem unbalanced with the location of the porch on the side and the small windows under the second-floor and third-floor balconies?

An enlargement of the facade of Moores’ home on Allegan Street. Note the third-floor balcony with its large supports and the spaced spindles on the balustrade, an element that is not up to code today. You can also observe the paintwork on the third-floor fish-scale siding, repeated on the face of the front gables.

Cornelius A. Gower

So, who was the man that J.H. Moores traded houses with. Cornelius A. Gower was born in Abbott, Maine on July 30, 1845, the son of Cornelius N. and Abigail (née Hawes) Gower. He attended Colby University in Waterville, Maine, and the University of Michigan where he graduated with a degree in Literature in 1867 and law in 1869. After graduation he accepted a position as principal of the public schools in Fenton and three years later became Superintendent of the Genesee County School system, a position he held until 1871. In 1871 he became Superintendent of the Saginaw Public Schools. In 1878 Gower was appointed the State Superintendent of Public Instruction, by Governor Croswell a posting Gower retained until 1881 when he became Superintendent of the Boys Industrial School, a situation he kept until 1892. After leaving the Boys Industrial School Gower served as Vice President of the Capitol Savings & Loan Company. On September 12, 1871 Cornelius married Miss Dora L. Walton in Fenton, Michigan, the couple had three children; Helen D., Charles A., and Clara A. Gower. Cornelius  died at his residence in the Porter Apartments on Thursday, January 14, 1932. See LSJ 1/15/1932 and Portrait & Biographical Album 248.

Architect Bowd’s design for the Wolverine Insurance Company and Michigan Employers’ Casualty Company building at 300 W. Allegan. (LSJ 5/26/1921)

The Wolverine Insurance Company purchased the home from the Gower estate in 1920 and remodeled the structure to serve as their headquarters. In 1921 the business engaged the services of architect, Edwyn A. Bowd to design a new building for the company to be situated on the property after the home was torn down. The structure was never built due to cost, a smaller Wolverine Insurance Company building was constructed at 232 S. Capitol in 1924-1925. The home at 303 W. Allegan was torn down in May of 1926 with little fanfare, the structure took over 30 days to tear down because the Lansing Housewrecking Company was stripping the building of the white pine, cherry and other specialty woods used in the home’s construction. The site was briefly the home of a Y.M.C.A. playground until it was replaced by the new Lansing Post Office and Federal Building that currently occupies the site. (LSJ6/1/1926)

Coming soon. Moores’ financial recovery and his home at 500 Townsend.

©Lost Lansing 2019