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Mansard Family Values: 1905

Mansard Family Values: 1905

St. Clair, Michigan, circa 1905. "Residences on Front Street." Not for the stair-averse. 8x10 inch dry plate glass negative, Detroit Publishing Company. View full size.


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Still a charming community.

I "toured" this charming little community yesterday using Google street view. It looks like a peaceful place to live. Houses have been built directly across the street from these old houses, partially spoiling the view of the water from the first floors though I suspect the second floors still have a nice view. The second house is a bed and breakfast called Memories Manor and there are interior pictures on the Street View for the house.

Too Tall Handrail

If one figures the rise of the steps are about 7", then that handrail is about 56 inches plus another 36 inches above the first step, or about 7' 6" above the ground. That would be awfully tough for anyone besides an NBA center to hold on to, not to mention a 5'4" woman.

[That's a grille. A handrail would be at an angle, parallel to the stairs. - Dave]

Everything's Up to Date in St. Clair

The neighbors down the way have a smokestack!


Mansard roofs were all the rage in the 1860s-70s, when these houses certainly were built, but they're a real chore to maintain and went out of fashion by the mid-1880s.

[The Times-Herald newspaper of Port Huron reports that both houses were built by the Mark Hopkins family -- 615 N. Riverside in the late 1880s and 613 (the farther of the two) in 1876. - Dave]

It's had some dentil work

Later that century

Or could it be... Disneyland?

Still There

The siblings, minus some of the lofty ornamentation, are both still there, with the one farthest down serving as a bed and breakfast. Also extant is the handsome but plainer frame house next door, a snippet of which is seen on the photo taken from its front lawn.

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