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All posts for the month June, 2017

The Architect

In the work Barnes’ Castle 1877-1957, there is an interesting letter from Emile Lorch to Kenneth C. Black where Lorch mentioned that “thus far have found nothing on the architect, Mr. Goosvenor [Grosvenor], regarding who I wrote the Jackson Library.” [1] Just who was Mr. Grosvenor?

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J.H. Moores Home at 303 Allegan

Lemuel Dwight Grosvenor was born in Paxton, Massachusetts on February 16, 1830 to David Rufus and Irana G. (née Goddard) Grosvenor.[2] Lemuel early life was varied and in many ways resembled that of Darius Moon. Lemuel attended local schools, was a teacher, worked in a chair factory, was a railroad foreman in charge of construction. After his varied career in the Midwest he retuned to Massachusetts and apprenticed as a carpenter and joiner, later Lemuel moved to Kalamazoo, Michigan where he became a contractor and builder. Basically, Lemuel was a self-taught architect who learned the building trade before becoming an architect, which gave him a noted advantage over other architects who had no understanding how a building was constructed.

In 1871 he moved to Jackson, Michigan where he opened an office as a contractor and builder. In 1872 Lemuel married Miss Cora M. Leal; the couple had two children, George L. and Eleanor Grosvenor.  Lemuel had a long and illustrious career as an architect, he designed the Lawrence and Chapin Building (1870-1872) Kalamazoo, Michigan; the First Presbyterian Church in Homer, Michigan; the First Presbyterian Church in Jonesville, Michigan; the Vogel’s & Foster’s Department Store in Chelsea, Michigan; First Congregational Church in Bellevue, Ohio; and James Henry Moores’ home in Lansing, seem in the above image.

The rear of the Barnes’ home, notice the south facing sun porch.

Lemuel Dwight Grosvenor lived his final years in Jackson, Michigan and died at his home on September 8, 1914 forgotten by the architectural community and history. His obituary read, “L.D. Grosvenor, an architect, contractor and builder, passed away at his home, 411 Clinton street at 10 o’clock Tuesday evening. Friends are requested not to send flowers. The funeral will be held at 2 pm Thursday at his residence. It will be private” (Jackson Citizen Press 9/9/1914). A fitting tribute considering the American Institute of Architects, Michigan Chapter sort of forgot that Lemuel was once Vice President of the Michigan Chapter of AIA; to the extent the Emile Lorch could locate no information on him and marginalized Lemuel’s work. Seems the society could have used an archivist.

[1] Barnes’ Castle 1877-1957 letter dated 11/27/1948.

[2] Lemuel’s death certificate list his mother as Rosetta Howard.

What is next? I am thinking about hotels.

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