George Corselius House, late 1820s


George Corselius House, late 1820s

317 East Ann Street

George Corselius House, late 1820s

"Mother told me we lived in it in 1838, and boarded the engineers who were laying out the Michigan Central Railroad," Cornelia Corselius wrote of this simple dwelling in 1909. An early deed indicates that it was occupied by a Dr. Randall in 1834, but it may actually have been built by Sylvester or Willard Mills in 1829-30.

It may well be the oldest remaining home in Ann Arbor. Originally a typical "I-house," that is, with gables to the side, at least two rooms in length, one room deep, and two full stories in height (as defined in Folk Housing, by Fred B. Kniffen), the residence long ago became a square with an ell. The walls were built ten inches thick, and as late as 1937, the first floor joists were still bark covered. Professor Emil Lorch noted then that the triangular field of the end gables formerly had half elliptical make-believe fan lights. The pilastered casing of the entrance dates from 1938 when the house was remodeled.

What is known is that it was the home of pioneer journalist George Corselius, who arrived in 1829 to become editor of the Western Emigrant, the first newspaper in Washtenaw County. The Emigrant was owned by John Allen and Samuel W. Dexter, key figures in the early development of Washtenaw County and the Michigan Territory. While editor of the paper, Corselius joined other stockholders to start the county's first lending library, a shortlived enterprise.

Corselius married Clementia Cardell of Bennington, Vermont. An early Ann Arbor historian wrote that Corselius was descended from French barons and his wife from Norman kings, describing him as "an ungainly figure, but with a spiritual symmetry; a gentle and benevolent disposition." Later, frail in health and struggling in his profession, he was employed by the University of Michigan to catalogue its library. To better his fortune and to cure his tuberculosis, he joined the forty-niners, starting for California by the Panama route. He turned back at Panama, only to die at sea. Cornelia, the only one of his four children to remain in Ann Arbor, taught school for many years, and wrote a book of children's stories, some with local settings.

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Photos used to illustrate Historic Buildings, Ann Arbor, Michigan / by Marjorie Reade and Susan Wineberg.



John and Andrew Jackson House, 1847/1863


John and Andrew Jackson House, 1847/1863

603 West Liberty Street

John and Andrew Jackson House, 1847/1863

John and Andrew Jackson wasted no time in purchasing this lot from William S. Maynard after he platted the land and added it to the City of Ann Arbor in 1846. It is likely they built the Liberty Street portion of this house sometime in the fall of 1847, for, when they sold the property eight years later in 1855, they tripled their money.

The south wing, which appears on the 1866 "birds-eye" view was probably added by laborer John M. Weitbrecht, who purchased the property in 1862. The Weitbrecht family occupied this corner until the turn of the century. The estate sold the property to John and Lydia Kuehnle (she may have been Weitbrecht's daughter) for $1400 in 1898 and it remained a single family house throughout the 20th century. By the 1930s it also had a commercial use. The rear portion facing Fourth Street housed the Lunsford Bakery, famous for its cinnamon rolls, from 1935 to 1970.

The main part of the house, which is clapboard, is the New England folk form known as an "I" house: two stories high, two rooms wide, one room deep, with a central hallway. The fieldstone foundation of this portion is much lower than the brick foundation of the south wing, where the land slopes away from the house. This rear section also has a central entry, but is only one story high. The four-over-four windows in the wing appear to be original as does the glass.

William and Susan Johnson, the present owners, restored the exterior by removing the asphalt siding and corrugated canopy that had hidden the classical front doorway and original clapboards. Today the Johnsons are extending the south wing and the house remains a fine example of the vernacular type of house built in the Old West Side up to the Civil War.

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Photos used to illustrate Historic Buildings, Ann Arbor, Michigan / by Marjorie Reade and Susan Wineberg.



Waite-Kellogg House, 1838/1865


Waite-Kellogg House, 1838/1865

723 Moore Street

Waite-Kellogg House, 1838/1865

Behind its unappealing asbestos siding and fire escapes, this house is a gem waiting to be uncovered and restored. Built in approximately 1838 by Joseph Waite, it was originally two stories high and one room deep ???_ an example of the type of folk house known as an I-house. Although built as a private house, and adorned by a very handsome Greek Revival doorway, it soon became a rooming house for workers at the nearby Jones and Foley paper mill. Times were tough in the country after the Panic of 1837 and large houses like this quickly became a heavy burden for individuals.

A very individualistic citizen, however, saw fit to purchase the house in 1865 and enlarge it into its present Italianate configuration. This was Daniel B. Kellogg, clairvoyant physician. Dr. Kellogg was famous enough -- and his home was grand enough -- to be featured in an engraving in the 1874 Atlas of Washtenaw County. From this engraving one gets a true image of the treasure which lies beneath the surface.

Kellogg was born in Pittsfield Township to pioneers from Oneida County, New York. His first encounter with his "gifts" for clairvoyance (or "clear vision") came when he was 17 and encountered a traveling hypnotist. Kellogg was a quick study and soon his neighbors in Pittsfield visited him to "join hands, hear rappings, witness automatic writing and watch the parlor furniture dance as if bewitched." Word of his supernatural perceptions spread quickly and his diagnoses were often linked with remedies. He moved to Ann Arbor in 1865, set up his office on nearby Broadway, and did a brisk business in mail-order diagnosis, answering letters from all over the country and even from Europe. To keep up with demand for his services, he enlisted the aid of his brother Leverett and sold a line of "family medicines" as well, including Kellogg's Liver Invigorator, Kellogg's Magic Red Drops, Kellogg's Family Cathartic Pills, and Kellogg's Lung Remedy.

Unfortunately Kellogg's success was short lived. He died in 1876, at the young age of 42. Undaunted, Leverett continued to sell the patent medicines while Daniel's son Albert C. Kellogg continued to practice his father's unusual profession. An 1891 biography of Albert stated that he continued to manufacture Dr. Kellogg's Family Remedies, which were handled by druggists throughout the State of Michigan, and that his pleasant home in the old part of the town was where he and his wife "keep up the old homestead."

By the 1890s the house had once again reverted to a rooming house, and tenants came and went in rapid succession. As in the rest of the area known as "Lower Town," the decline persisted as businesses and residents moved closer to campus and to the thriving shops on Main Street. But the house did not go unnoticed. In 1936, Emil Lorch of the University of Michigan School of Architecture, noted the unusual entrance and added: "plus or minus good stairs, interior doors and trim." At that time the house was owned by Louis Goffe, a tenant for over 25 years. It remains a rooming house today.

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Photos used to illustrate Historic Buildings, Ann Arbor, Michigan / by Marjorie Reade and Susan Wineberg.



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