was built during the 1800's logging boom in Michigan. During that period
Saginaw sawmills processed about 5 BILLION board feet of lumber. As a
result, the house is built with probably 4 times more wood than an equivalent
house today. (For example the walls are sheathed with one inch planking
under the 1/2" weatherboard siding.)
Our home is a vernacular Greek
Revival built right around 1860 at the start of the Civil War by John
was the son of Andrew Ure
who moved here with his family in 1833. This is believed to be the third
house the Ures built on the property. The farm grew to about 250 acres
in it's heyday and included all of what is known today as Immerman Park.
Andrew Ure & John Ure can be found in Saginaw history books as prominent
and active members of the early community.
At the time this house was built the Greek Revival era was almost over.
Greek Revival architecture was most popular roughly from the 1830s
to 1860s During that period Grecian style buildings were very popular
in the Midwest
but alsocan be found throughout the country. Greek Revival is the first
of the American Romantic revival styles.
Greek Revival elements are taken from a classic Greek Temple with columns
supporting a horizontal framework just below the lower edge of the
roof. The peaked ends of the roof are enclosed in a triangular pediment.
Other Greek Revival elements are the windows of the house which are typically
large and tall (six over six, double or triple hung) to resemble the
spaces between the columns. In some houses these windows extend all the
the floor. Second story windows are placed directly above the first floor
windows to continue the effect. Large panels and small "frieze" windows
just under the roofline, above the siding, are reminiscent of the decorated
entablature panels on the temples. On houses without actual columns in
front, pilasters (columns built into the wall) can be found on each side
of the main entrance and at the corners of the building. At the main
entrance, between the pilasters and the door are tall narrow window sections
are also carried over the top of the door. The entryway is designed to
reflect the columns and beam construction of the main building. These
narrow windows around the main entry were so popular they can still be
many other architecture styles in modern houses today. Finally, the overall
size and massing of the structure, with the entryway in the center, low
peaked roof and pediment, smaller chimneys, and general symmetry are
all elements of a Greek Revival house whether it is a large and ornate
or a smaller country farmhouse.
Our home is too small to be a full Greek Revival structure. Instead it
is a vernacular (in the style of) Greek Revival. As was often the case,
the entryway is offset to one side, the columns are pilasters built into
the walls around the main entry and at the corners. This allowed the rooms
on the ground floor to be larger and more useful given the overall footprint
of the structure.
The main house was once larger that it is today. The kitchen wing in
the back was torn down and moved into the living room just after World
parlor is now the living room. Inside the entryway, a wall between
the parlor and the entry hallway was removed to make for a much larger
An addition was also added to one end of the structure to include an
office and garage (now converted to a quilting
studio). The addition
very well and matches up with the original architecture seamlessly.
The old place stills has most of the original windows, hardware, doors,
floors, siding. etc. The floors are wide plank tongue & groove
pine. Most of the doors & windows have their original hardware
and much of the original glass is intact (bubbles, waves and all).
In the lower wing section of the house,
attic area sheltered the hired hands on the farm. There was a small
rear stairway that led to the kitchen so the hired hands did not have
through the formal part of the house. The barn next door was a very
large structure which connected to many of the out buildings so that
were in the barn on a cold winter day you could tend to most of the
animals without going outside. Local folklore is that the window glass
at a nearby smith shop and the local Souix had a summer fishing camp
just up the river in sight of the house.
The Ure house was built in the height of the Saginaw lumber boom. The pine
siding in the house is a solid 1/2 inch thick, not tapered clapboard and
is nearly knot free. The inside of the exterior walls are sheathed in one
inch thick by eight or ten inch wide planks, ten to twelve feet long under
the plaster. The ten by twelve inch timbers in the basement still show
the marks of the hand tools from the craftsman who shaped the pockets into
them to hold the joists over 150 years ago. If any of this wood is cut
today to make repairs the smell of fresh pine fills the air as if the the
trees were cut just last year.
It has been a wonderful
journey and blessing to be the current caretakers of such a home.
Kent & Beth Ferrier