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All posts for the month December, 2016

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When the home was built the property behind the home was idilic.

The home of Dr. Eugene L. Robertson has long been forgotten by many of the residents of Lansing, but at one time it was the social hub of North Lansing. Located at 604 W. Willow the home had the unfortunate distinction of being located at the entrance to the Lansing Fuel & Gas Plant, today site of the Consumers Energy Offices. All indications is that Robertson’s beautiful home was constructed circa 1889-1890.  How do we know that? Well Roberston is listed in the 1888-1889 Lansing City Directory as residing at 301 W. Franklin Avenue coupled with the first image we have of the home, which appeared in the 1890 edition of the Lansing Illustrated. Just who was the architect of the home is unknown.

 

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Enter the Gas Company

The home was designed with five rooms and a bathroom on the first floor, with the same layout on the second floor. The third floor undoubtedly had a large multi-purpose room, along with the wonderful tower room. The layout of the windows on the home was interesting because they were only partially symmetrical. The tower windows are stacked three over three over three. While the main façade is one then four then two, an odd pattern. The double stacked canted bay window was standard for this style home. What is interesting is that there were four entrances to the residence, one at each of the compass points. The Real Estate advertisment should have stated a great home unless it catches fire.

Eugene Leonard Robertson was born in Willoughby, Ohio on June 28, 1848, to the Reverend Darius W. and Mary E. (née Richardson) Robertson. Eugene attended school in Cleveland and later pursued his medical studies at the Cincinnati Eclectic Medical College. The family moved to Lansing in 1865 where Darius served as minister at the Bengal Church located at the foot of Larch and Ferris streets, now the Demmer plant in North Lansing. Eugene open a successful medical practice and drug store and was known for the work he accomplished in the laboratory, developing new compounds to treat illness.

In 1874, Eugene married Miss Alice Jane Brisbine on November 22, 1874, the couple had two sons, Hollis and Allen. Alice passed away on March 18, 1912. Eugene married Cora M. Neely on February 5, 1916, there were no children born to the union. Eugene and Cora divided their time between Lansing and Sarasota, Florida where Eugene died on July 10, 1927. Cora retuned to Lansing but did not stay, she moved to Mason, Michigan to live with her brother’s widow. Cora passed away on November 6, 1939. (LSJ 7/11/1927, LSJ 11/9/1939 and Turner 632)

© Lost Lansing 2016