There's something I really love about American late 19th century architecture - perhaps because it's so different in both style and often in size compared to buildings of the same era back back in the UK. One of the best ways of seeing historical structures is always on foot, so after wandering around downtown Bay City I decided to have a wander along part of the walking tour produced by the Bay City Center Avenue Neighbourhood Association. With Center Avenue the core, there are among 880 historical structures with examples of various architectural styles - arts & craft, Gothic revival, mid century modern to Tudor revival and the odd kit home thrown in for good measure.
I myself, well I love an old house with a turret topped off with a cone roof (as in the above photograph along Center Avenue) - a style typical of Queen Ann residences. There's something rather grand and regal about a house with a turret.
First along the walking tour was the Shearer residence;
814 N. Monroe
The Residence of George H. & Elva Shearer c. 1876
George appears to have had his fingers in lots of pies - finding his first steps working as a laborer in his fathers lumber business he worked his way into becoming the manager of Shearer Brothers - a lumber, real estate and insurance company. Not only that but dear old George was the secretary of the Elm Lawn Cemetery and vice president of Bay County Savings bank. Designed by his father, 814 N. Monroe is built in the Second Empire style - a Parisian design.
900 Fifth St.
The Residence of Thomas Webster c. 1886
Moving to Bay City in 1874 Webster practiced law and was elected County Probate Judge in 1880. Upon his death in 1940 at the age of 92, he was the last surviving Civil War vet in Bay City - he'd ran away aged 16 from his New York home to join the Union Army. Webster shared his Queen Anne home with his first wife Ella who died shortly after giving birth to sons. With Isabel - his second wife, he had a daughter Amelia. After being converted into apartments in 1957, the Fifth St Webster house is now a luxury B&B which looks very swanky.
1001 Center Avenue
The Residence of Virgil & Mary c. 1904
Mary Cranage received 1001 Center Avenue as a wedding present from her parents to celebrate her marriage to Virgil - a practitioner and surgeon. And what a grand wedding present it was! In 1964 the home was converted to offices, there currently seems to be some work going on inside.
701 North Grant
The Residence of George W. and Maria C. Mann c. 1879