Historic Structures

Commercial Building 220 Pearl Street Ypsilanti Michigan

Date added: October 17, 2013 Categories: Michigan Commercial

The single story eclectic brick commercial structure sits on a 11,200 square foot lot at the corner of Pearl and Adams Streets which Doctor Thomas Shaw bought in 1889 and developed to contain both his residence and his surgery. The form of the building is a square block with a three-quarter circular element at the south-west corner. The siting originally presented a primary facade to both streets by virtue of replicated stone and wood porches on the west and south elevations with a secondary entrance at the north elevation. From photographic documentation showing both porches and due to the existence of a full height center wall penetrating the roof, it appears that the building was originally built as a duplex commercial structure. The one over one double hung wood windows have a cast concrete head and sill. The exposed foundation is of a random patterned field stone matching the Victorian house built by Dr. Shaw on the north half of the lot and contains periodic nine-lite rectangular wood windows into the basement. The flat pitched roof slopes from south to north. The original porches were removed and the entrance at the west elevation modified into a window apparently circa 1938 when the property was sold to Doctor Bradley M. Harris. The south entrance was replaced with an Moderne style porch of stone, metal handrail and aluminum canopy and the main entrance door was surrounded by a wood beadboard panel treatment at or about this same time. A brick appendage attached to the north facade houses a stairway connecting the first floor with the basement and is located where the third original porch had existed (also circa 1938).

According to the tax records, Doctor Thomas V. Shaw purchased the property from Grove M. Spencer on January 28,1889. An 1888 Sanborn Map indicated that the lot Dr. Shaw purchased contained a 1 1/2 story wood clad residential structure situated on the south half of the lot, at the corner of Pearl and Adams Streets. In 1892, Dr. Shaw built a Victorian house on the north half of the property and a one story wood clad office structure along the west property line between the Victorian house and the existing house to the south. An undated photograph discovered in the Shaw File at the Bently Historic Library on the University of Michigan's campus shows both houses and the adjoining office. A second photograph labeled on the back indicated that the house was built in 1892. In addition, an 1893 Sanborn Map shows the configuration of the buildings as indicated in the photograph. In 1905, Dr. Shaw removed both the original 1 1/2 story wood house and the 1 story wood clad doctor's office and built the brick commercial building for use as his surgery. The labeled photograph shows the brick and Victorian structures on the lot and indicated that the office was built in 1905. A 1909 Sanborn Map confirms that the site had undergone this change.

Prior and subsequent to Dr. Shaw's purchase of the property, the county tax records indicated the following transference of the lot; the property was sold to Oliver W. Moore by the State Auditor General on 5 October 1847. Oliver W. Moore sold the property to Arden H. Ballard on 7 October 1848. Arden H. Ballard sold the property to Lili G. Boyce on 17 June 1856. Lili G. Boyce sold the property to William G. Cox on 11 April 1864. William G. Cox sold the property to Mary A. Smith on 19 April 1871. Mary A. Smith sold the property to Jane Randolph on 28 February 1881. Jane Randolph sold the property to Grove M. Spencer on 29 May 1882. Grove M. Spencer sold the property to Thomas V. Shaw on 28 January 1889. Thomas V. Shaw deeded the property to his daughter Mary L. Shaw on 28 October 1912. Mary L. Shaw sold the property to Bradley M. Harris on 28 October 1938.