803, 805, 807 Court Street

 

Architecture:

    Style:                        Folk House

    Description:              This turn of the century house is a two-story wood frame structure with vinyl siding and a brick foundation.  It is front gabled and generally symmetrical.  A rear wing extends slightly east of the main structure and has a large shed dormer.  A wraparound porch was removed in modern times, but was replaced recently with a front porch having square wood posts and railing.  Second story replacement windows swing outward and appear small for the building’s size.  The original architecture has been significantly altered.   

 

 

Significant Period:

    Construction Date:     circa 1870

    Architect/Builder:       Unknown

    Context:                    This may be the oldest building on the north side of this block.  John and Martha (Mooney) Cole lived here from at least 1871 to 1885.  John’s father was Alpheus Cole of Connecticut who went to Canada, then became a pioneer of Lakeport, Michigan.   John, born March 12, 1825, left London, Canada for Michigan in 1847.   He was one of the first lumbermen, built more than 14 saw mills, cleared over two thousand acres of land mostly in St. Clair County, and had a farm of 600 acres.  His office was over the J. Miller & Son Bank, then in 6 Stevens Block.  He held the office of Justice of the Peace and Supervisor. Their children were Francis J., Norman D., Sylvia, Herbert I., Mason J., and Myra E. Cole.  Tax records show that John B. and Frances B. McIlwain bought the home in 1885, they lived there until 1931.  He began as a stenographer for the 16th judicial circuit court in the Stewart block.  He was admitted to the bar in 1879, and by 1893-94 was an attorney in the firm McIlwain & Robertson.  His office was at 16 White Building, then 4-6-19 at the White Block.  He was city mayor in 1889-92.  Children were Herbert, Russel, John B. Jr., and Charles.  Calvin Smith, an advertiser, and his wife Louise lived there in the mid 1930s.