Rock Harbor Lodge Guest House, Isle Royale National Park, Houghton Michigan
Construction began on the Guest House in 1922, continued in 1923 and was completed in 1924. It was first used for guest quarters on July 15, 1924. The guest House was built for Kneut Kneutson by professional builders and with some assistance from his grandson Westy Farmer. The Guest House was financed by Kneutson upon the request of his daughter and new manager of the Rock island Lodge, Bertha Farmer. Mrs. Farmer wanted a modern lodge building with rooms for rent and an area for recreation of guests. Previous to this, the office building was used as a combination office and recreation building. Mrs. Farmer and Kneutson are supposed to have designed the Guest House. The structure was used as guest quarters by the Rock Harbor Lodge and the National Park Concession operations of the Rock Harbor Lodge until the early 1970s. The building was last used for employee housing and storage.
The structure has been altered; the size and shape of the verandas has changed. The interior was built with seventeen guest rooms, later changed to fifteen rooms, and then changed back to sixteen, ceiling and floor coverings have been changed, electric lights removed and/or replaced, and the hot water heat removed. Records of remodelings include major interior work by the National Park Service in 1943 and foundation work and rewiring in 1979.
The Guest House is a two-and-a-half story, 32' x 60' building of frame construction. The first and second floors are 1,920 square feet each and the unfinished attic is approximately 1,850 square feet. The walls are drop siding painted coffee bean brown with green trim. The windows are typically six-over-six-light double hung sash, with paired four-over-four windows in the dormers. A rolled asphalt gable roof runs parallel to the shoreline with three dormers on the southeast slope. Both the roof and dormers have barge boards that simulate a kick, although the roof itself does not have a kick. The rafter ends are left exposed.
The southeast facade, overlooking Rock Harbor, has six evenly spaced windows on both floors and three dormers above. French doors under a pedimented hood open onto a wooden veranda at the east end between the first and second windows. The veranda continues around the building all the way to the southwest side.
The northeast facade has paired windows flanking the outside end chimney on the first floor and single windows flanking the chimney on the second floor. There are two six light windows in the gable. Brackets support the overhanging eaves.
The northwest facade has irregularly spaced bays, with a door and three typical windows on the first floor and five windows on the second floor. There are no dormers. Wooden stairs beginning at the west end wrap around the corner to the southwest facade, where they provide access to a second story door.
The southwest facade has typical windows flanking a center door on both the first and second floor. An outside end chimney is set left-of-center between the door and window. A single six light window is in the gable.
The first floor has a large recreation room with cobblestone fireplace on the northeast end. The recreation room has an exterior door in the northwest wall and French doors leading to the veranda overlooking Rock Harbor on the southeast. The first floor also has six guest rooms and a lavatory. Open stairs in the northwest corner of the recreation room lead to the second floor, where there are another ten guest rooms and lavatory. The attic is unfinished.
Interior walls are covered with wallboard and ceilings are plastered. Floors are tongue-and-groove, mostly covered with linoleum. Interior trim is milled hardwood. A sample room generally has a small porcelain basin with plumbing exposed and a hardwood closet in one corner with a curtain covering the opening. Bach room has at least one window and a single hung ceiling lamp. A bed, small shelf and mirror above the sink, built-in writing table and chair complete the typical furnishings in the guest rooms.