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Built in 1845 by Abram W. Pike, who came to Grand Rapids in 1844 after being since 1858, in the employ of the Port Sheldon Company. This was a group of Philadelphia capitalists who endeavored to establish a metropolis on the shores of Lake Michigan and had erected a group of buildings there, among them being a hotel called ''The Ottawa House" and a depot building for the proposed railroad. The design of the hotel was said to have been taken from the United States Bank at Philadelphia.
At the collapse of the company's project, Mr. Pike brought four of the six columns from the Ottawa House to Grand Rapids for the front portico of his house. The four small columns for the side porticos came from the depot building. The large columns were cut down in height from approximately seven and one-half diameters to nearly six and one-third diameters. They show excellent workmanship and it is inconceivable that they were built in the wilderness at Port Sheldon. No doubt, they were part of the main bulk of building material which is recorded to have been brought to the site on scows in 1836. Therefore, the columns were probably manufactured in Detroit.More...
Amon Bronson established the first lumber yard in Rochester in 1832, He was an active leader in the politics of the historic Third Ward, Prior to the Civil War, this prominent Democrat was a Third Ward Alderman, and Ward Supervisor, 1859-1867. As a Republican, he was defeated for the United States Senate in 1865. This house was owned by Bronson heirs until 1915.
Architectural character: This fine bow-fronted house illustrates refinements in exterior and interior detailing which became part of the later development of the Greek Revival style.More...
The Ansley Wilcox House was originally part of an Army post--Poinsett Barracks--which was established in 1838. After 1883, the interior was remodeled and an earlier frame addition was rebuilt. On September 14, 1901, in the library of the Ansley Wilcox House, Vice-president Theodore Roosevelt took the Oath of Office of the President of the United States. The house was declared a National Historic Site in 1966.
The Poinsett Barracks were constructed immediately following the outbreak of the Patriot's War in 1837, as part of a defense against possible combat with the British Canadians. Poinsett Barracks was named for the Secretary of War under Martin Van Buren, Joel Roberts Poinsett, Poinsett was also Ambassador to Mexico and named the poinsettia plant. In addition to General Winfield Scott, many other famous officers of the Civil War and Mexican-American War served at Poinsett Barracks, Dr, Robert Cooke Wood, son-in-law of Zachary Taylor, became Assistant Surgeon General of the Federal Army. Capt. Samuel Heintzelman was promoted to the rank of Major General during the Civil War and served as chief advisor to Lincoln. Henry J. Hunt was a commander of the Union Artillery at the Battle of Gettysburg. John C. Peinberton, a personal friend of U. S. Grant, joined the Confederate Army. Although he surrendered to Grant at Vicksburg, he received lenient surrender terms. A native of Buffalo, William G. Williamson, topographical engineer, was killed during the Mexican War. The citizens of Buffalo raised money to have his body sent back to Buffalo to be buried in Section A, Forest Lawn Cemetery. John Taylor Wood, son of Dr. Robert Wood, joined the Confederate Army under his uncle Jefferson Davis. Wood's men sank thirty commercial ships in New England, captured two Union gunboats, and sank all the Union ships in Chesapeake Bay. Ansley Wilcox, resident of the house from 1883 until his death in 1930, was a nationally prominent lawyer. From 1883-85, Wilcox was counsel for the commission appointed by Gov. Grover Cleveland to acquire land for the New York State Reservation at Niagara Falls. Wilcox was a member of the Reservation Commission from 1910 to 1917. With his involvement in the case of Rogers versus the City of Buffalo, Wilcox established the constitutionality of the Civil Service Law. In the case of Briggs versus Spaulding, which he took to the Supreme Court, Wilcox established the liability for negligence of directors of national banks. Wilcox is credited with developing the idea of holding city and county elections in odd-numbered years, and state elections in even-numbered years. This proposal, aimed at freeing municipal governments from politics, was adopted at the New York State Constitutional Convention of 1894. Wilcox himself thought this his greatest single achievement. As professor of Medical Jurisprudence at the University of Buffalo, 1885-1906, Wilcox became known for his speciality. In 1913-14, he was one of the commissioners to examine public health laws of New York State. As a close personal friend of Grover Cleveland, Wilcox was one of the original "Mugwumps" who refused to support the Republican Presidential candidacy of James G. Blaine. Wilcox was most active in many national and Buffalo civic organizations including the Buffalo Charity Organization Society, Buffalo Civil Service Reform Association, and the National Municipal League. He was also a socially prominent member of the Buffalo Athletic Club, the Saturn Club, and other Buffalo and New York City social and golf clubs.More...