Description: The massive, asymmetrical house was built in the Second Empire style. It is a three-story wood frame structure with
vinyl siding and a cut stone foundation.
The Mansard roof is straight with a flare at the bottom. Dormers with flat roofs are located on all
sides of the building. A tower without
the original cupola faces east on 7th Street. There is a full height semi-hexagonal bay on
both north and south sides of the building. Windows through out the house are
tall and narrow, though all decorative window hoods were removed when the house
was resided. Some iron cresting remains,
as well as the decorative front porch, behind which are paired entry
doors. A patterned brick chimney is
located on the north side. On the west
is a shorter two-story wing with a flat roof.
Construction Date: 1876
Mehitable Davis Sanborn, prominent widow of James W.
Sanborn, had the home built and lived there with her sons Frederick D. and
William H., and stepdaughter Nancy A.
James W. Sanborn came to Port Huron in 1835. With Joseph Kelsey, Charles Merrill of Detroit, and Abner
Colburn (later the governor of Maine), they had large lumber
interests throughout the state, including 25,000 acres in St. Clair and Sanilac Counties. In 1847, he began a dry
goods and lumber business there. The
Lapeer District elected him State Representative in 1838 and 1846. In 1853, he was elected to the House of
Representatives, 1858 he was the Commissioner of the State Land Office. James W. Sanborn died April
13, 1870. Their son William died in 1892 in Barre, Massachusetts. Mehitable,
Frederick, and his wife Jennie Sweetser Sanborn lived
in the home until about 1910 when they moved to California. In 1918, Jay G. Philpott
and wife Ernestine lived there. He was a
wholesale liquor dealer with his business at 702-04 Lapeer Avenue. After he left, the large house was converted
into eight apartments, each occupied by people of substance. The 1920 City Directory listed it as the
“Clarendon,” by the 1930’s there were twelve apartments. In 1939, fire destroyed the central cupola
and damaged the third floor.