Friday, May 15, 2020

McClure Dutch Colonial in Ann Arbor, Michigan

1752 Jackson Ave - Ann Arbor, Michigan
Michigan was home to three of the largest kit house companies - Aladdin, Lewis and Sterling - all based in Bay City, Michigan. Saginaw, Michigan, located upriver from Bay City, was the home of one of the smaller kit house manufacturers, the McClure Company. McClure isn't well known, even among kit house researchers. One reason for that is the short period that McClure sold homes - less than 10 years - from 1917 - 1926. Another is that very little information is available about the McClure homes and the homes that they sold. In my research, I've only seen 3 copies of catalogs for McClure homes. But through various sources, I've been able to track down a number of examples of homes from McClure, a couple of which I’ve previously shared here. The latest is this McClure Dutch Colonial that is currently for sale in Ann Arbor, Michigan.

The McClure Company sold a wide variety of homes of various sizes and styles. This house at 1752 Jackson Avenue, Ann Arbor, Michigan is an example of one of the several Dutch Colonial models that McClure sold. While I haven't found an example of this house in the McClure catalogs that I've seen, this model was featured in a newspaper ad for McClure homes. From catalog images of other models, it is clear that McClure sold a number of Colonial and Dutch Colonial-style houses that all followed the same general design. Variations in the house designs included window arrangements, fireplace chimney placement and number of side porches (one or two).

This house in Ann Arbor was financed, in part, with a mortgage from McClure. The mortgage to William and Julie Stipe was for $2,048 in January 1922. Mortgages from McClure have allowed me to locate around 30 McClure houses and this is the earliest one I’ve found in Ann Arbor. The next year, William Stipe took out a mortgage for the McClure house next door but sadly, as a “widower”.

While the number of homes identified through mortgages is pretty significant, it is actually just the tip of the iceberg for McClure homes in Ann Arbor. As I was able to put my hands on catalog images for McClure homes, it became evident that there are far more McClure homes in Ann Arbor than there are houses that had mortgages (these other homes would have been customers who paid cash or financed the homes through a bank). In some cases, I’ve located multiples examples of a single model in and around Ann Arbor.

What confirmed the presence of a lot more McClure homes than I initially thought was an ad in a 1925 edition of the Michigan Daily. This ad for the "Ann Arbor Home Builders Association" reported that over 125 houses from McClure had been built in and around Ann Arbor.

I haven't unearthed a lot of details about the “Ann Arbor Home Builders Association”. But it is clear from ads in the Michigan Daily and in the annual Polk city directory for Ann Arbor that for several years, they were marketing and selling McClure houses in Ann Arbor.

The lack of catalog images for a number of potential houses is making it hard to definitively identify all of them that were built. But when all is said and done, I expect that Ann Arbor will be tops in the country for most McClure homes in one city. I've put together a timeline of the history of homes sold by McClure if you're interested in learning more about where the company's history.

This house at 1752 Jackson Avenue retains many of the original details of this McClure model. As you can see in the catalog image shown in the newspaper ad, this house retains the side entry porch. Inside, you can see the original hardwood floors and wood trim throughout the house. It also features original wood doors and hardware and original details like the newel post at the base of the stairs.

All photos courtesy of Zillow
As of May 15, 2020, the house is currently listed for sale. The next owner of this McClure house will have another authenticated McClure house as a next-door neighbor at 1754 Jackson Avenue. On ths same block of Jackson Avenue are at least two kit houses from Sears Roebuck. Ann Arbor is home to at least 200 documented kit houses from a number of kit house companies.

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