Architect

The apartment building at 415 S. Grand in the 1940s. Note the change in the color of the brickwork above the second-floor windows and how the style of the windows changed between the 2ndand 3rdfloors. The lintels are missing on the third-floor windows. Also observe the bay window on the north side of the structure. (CADL/FPLA)

In the course of a different project I came across this odd-looking structure located at 415 S. Grand. Other tasks always seem to take a priority and investigating the structure at 415 S. Grand fell by the wayside. Well now is the time to look at this fascinating structure. A Lansing State Journal article from 1959 stated that Lot 10 Block 134 was taken as a land patent from the state by Catherine F. Burr on April 7, 1866. Catherine’s husband was Allen R. Burr. The home was probably built after 1866 and before 1873 because Colonel B. Burr, Allen and Catherine’s son, was listed as living on the corner of Kalamazoo Street and Grand Avenue in 1873. The home was not technically on the corner of Kalamazoo and Grand but since there was no homes on lots 11 and 12 in 1873 the description is correct. The same Lansing State Journal referred to a large mortgage taken out on the property in 1898, which is the date the newspaper believed the home was built.[1] This is incorrect. In 1898 the then owner of the home, Israel and Etta Glicman (Glickman) were facing severe financial burdens in their business and were being pressured by creditors for payment of the debt. It was understandable why they would have taken out a large mortgage on the property.(DFP1/10/1899)

You can see the change in the color of the brickwork above the second level. Note the windows on the rear of the building and how they differ from the style of windows on the original structure. They are not as tall and lack the ornamentation of the other windows. (CADL/FPLA)

The 1892 Sanborn map shows a home on Lot 10 Block 134 with the same footprint as the home in 1898 and 1906 Sanborn maps with the main part of the home as 2 or 21/2 stories with the rear of the structure only being 1 story. Comparing the 1906 Sanborn map with the 1913 Sanborn map there was an addition to the rear of the home and the entire structure was 21/2 stories. Sometime between 1913 and 1951 the top level of the structure was expanded and the building became a three story structure. The Ingham County News on September 30, 1886 listed the sale of the property by the Burr’s to Ettie Glicman. The 1888 Lansing City Directory also placed Etta Glicman as living at 409 S. Grand.[2] As to who designed the home the only architects in Lansing at that time were Israel Gillett, C. Brownson, C. Burns and F. Jeffries, so unless new information comes to light the architect and builder are unknown.

You can see in the above image what I believe are lighting rods of the roof on the structure. Based upon the Sanborn maps the original porch wrapped around the home in an L shape but was only one story. The odd second floor porch on the front and south side was added later. (CADL/FPLA)

Allen R. Burr was born in Medina County, Ohio on April 22, 1818. As a young man he attended the local schools. On July 6, 1848 he married Miss Catherine Foote of Southwick, Massachusetts. The couple had two children, Colonel B. and Stella F. Burr. Allen worked as a farmer until he was elected sheriff of Medina County in 1846, a position he held until 1850.

One of the earliest images of Lansing. The hardware store of Burr and Grove was located on the Southwest corner of Washington and Michigan Avenues 1855-1857. (CADL/FPLA)

In 1854 Allen moved to Lansing, Michigan where he opened a hardware store with George K. Grove in 1855. The business survived for two years. He then served as the Lansing Postmaster for two years during the Civil War and resigned the post to take a position as a clerk with Auditor General’s Office. In 1872 Allen was elected Ingham County Sherriff, serving for four years. Allen passed away on June 2, 1885 of exhaustion and an aortic aneurism (SR 6/10/1885)

You can clearly see the mixed brickwork on the addition to the rear of the home and the multiple entrances to the apartments. Note the false mansard roof. The structure is a perfect example of the lack of proper city codes that once troubled the city of Lansing. (CADL/FPLA)

The subdivision of the home at 415 S. Grand took place after the Glicman family sold the property. In 1910 the home had been divided into three apartments. The first residents were Ralph Rawlings who worked for the Michigan Commercial Insurance Company; Arthur H. Mann superintendent of the M.U.R. and Samuel Butterworth an architect who was a partner in the firm of White & Butterworth. One wonders if the firm of White & Butterworth was involved in the redesign of the home? The structure at 415 S. Grand was torn down in 1959 by the Central Wrecking Company to increase parking for the F.N. Arbaugh Department store. Currently the site is still a parking lot.

©Lost Lansing 2019

[1] See LSJ 11/4/1959. The article also stated that Catherine Burr used the home as a private school. The writer has confused Catherine Burr with Laura Burr, the wife of Dr. H.S. Burr. Laura conducted a school much earlier on River Street.

[2]409 S. Grand was the old address for 415 S. Grand.

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