John B. Voiselle

All posts tagged John B. Voiselle

 

729 W. Allegan Street, originally 719 W. Allegan Street. (CADL/FPLA)

I came across an image of 729 W. Allegan while examining images of the house at 735 W. Allegan. In 1981, David Caterino took a series of photographs of structures west of the Capitol that were slated for demolition.[1]The property at 729 W. Allegan was not part of Caterino’s survey, the home was acquired by the state in 1970 and torn down either in 1970 or 1971.[2]A survey of the Lansing City Directories points to the home being built between the years 1884-1887, the 1888 Lansing City Directorylisted 719 W. Allegan as being owned by Joseph R Larose. Just who the architect of the home was is unknown. But one key to who the architect was were the teardrop columns on the second-floor porch an element not seen in the design of many homes. Note how these columns seem almost suspended over their base and how second-floor porch flairs outward.

An enlargement of the first photograph that show the teardrop columns on the second-floor porch as well as the columns on the entrance porch and the columns that frame the second-floor front window.

The home at 729 W. Allegan was an exquisite structure that contained many interesting architectural elements. Observe the front porch columns in the Doric pier style, a characteristic that is repeated on the shed porch at the rear of the home. The front porch is also canted, laid out at an angle from the main structure. The second-floor window on the front of the home is framed by Ionic style columns, they are so delicate that they could be overlooked. The architect used three styles of columns in the design of the home. It is interesting to note the graceful arching of the roof of the second-floor porch and the attractive slope of the dormer over the second-floor window. These elements coupled with the angler structure of the entrance porch, demonstrated that the architect was comfortable mixing angles and curves in their design.

Note the bay window at the back of the home and the fish scale siding on the gable ends.

Joseph Roman Larose was born on May 22, 1850 to Francis Xavier and Leonore (née De Lisle) Larose in the state of New York. Joseph spent part of his childhood in Milwaukee but received his education in Quebec. He was apprenticed as a painter and left Quebec for Troy, New York where he worked for several years. His career as a painter meant that Joseph led a life of travel, he found work in Savannah, Georgia and later Detroit. In 1876 Joseph married Miss Melvina [Malvina] Robarge in Detroit, the couple had three children; Mary Maud, Ervy [Irving] Emerson and Edith Rose Larose. Joseph moved to Lansing in December 1877 to labor with John B. Voiselle on the fresco work at the state Capitol. John was a native of Quebec, so in a way John and Joseph had a common background. In 1879 John and Joseph formed the decorating and frescoers company of Voiselle & Larose. Besides painting and tile work the firm sold wallpaper, blinds, moldings and supplied business signs. Years later Joseph started his own business, J.R. Larose & Company a painting and decorating firm. On September 23, 1909, Joseph died of cancer after a year and half battle against the disease, he was 59.[3]

Normally I do not explore the home after the first owner, but in this case, I made an exception. The second owner of the home was Anna Trostle (sometimes listed as Trostel or Trussel) who acquired the property in 1891. Anna was the wife of Frederick George Trostle, an early settler of Lansing who was one of the few gunsmiths in Lansing. Frederick was born in Germany in 1840-1841 He married Anna Gilbert, the couple had three children, Mattie M., Mamie E., and George F. Trostle. What is interesting about Frederick is that he disappeared. In 1891 Frederick was brought before the Honorable George W. Bristol, Judge for the Probate for Ingham County and the state of Michigan, by Lawrence Price of Lansing to show that Frederick Trostle was insane. The petition asked that Frederick be committed to the Michigan Asylum at Kalamazoo asa private patient. Doctor Joseph Bowdish Hull, who had practiced in Lansing since 1851, testified on October 20, 1891 that Frederick claimed to be the Son of the Supreme Being and his insanity was related to religious subjects. Next, Doctor Alexander McMillen stated that Frederick was insane on all religious subjects and claimed to be the son of the Supreme Being, but on all other subjects he was rational. Doctor D.M. Nottingham testimony agreed with that of Doctor McMillen and reiterated that Frederick was sane regarding all matters outside those of a religious nature. TheDetroit Free Presson November 1, 1892 stated that Frederick ascended the pulpit at Lansing’s Central Methodist Church, on October 30, 1892 and declared himself to be the savior. He was led away by the pastor. The article indicated that Frederick was committed several times but always managed to escape. Frederick was again confined to the Michigan Asylum at Kalamazoo on January 17, 1893, that same year he walked away from the asylum never to be seen again. A death certificate was issued years later with no date. At this time, it is unknown what happened to Frederick. He could have wandered the county as a vagabond and died as an unknown person somewhere in the United States. Part of me wants to think he was happy wandering. Anna Trostle remained in Lansing, passing away at the home of her daughter, Mrs. Mary E. Kuhns on June 7, 1921.

©Lost Lansing 2019

[1]If you want to view the images of 735 W. Allegan visit Local History Online, check the Items with Images Only box and enter, with quotes “735 West Allegan”.

[2]LSJ 10/7/1970

[3]See LJ9/23/1909 and Portrait and biographical album of Ingham and Livingston counties295.