Save This Old House: Gilded Age Queen Anne
This 1886 fixer upper in Saginaw, Michigan, still retains some of the glory it had when it was built for a local lumber baron
Published November 2011
Location: Saginaw, Michigan
Contact: Marcia Hoffman, 989-274-0423
The history: We are told not to live in the past. But whoever rescues this 1886 fixer upper in Saginaw's Cathedral District will have a hard time not waxing nostalgic for the city's gilded age as a thriving lumber town. The house was built for lumber baron Clarence Hill by Fred. W. Hollister, a notable architect who two years prior built the Saginaw County Courthouse. Hill lived here until his death in 1901. After his wife, Susy, passed on in 1949, it was divided into five apartments. The last tenants vacated in the 1990s, and the current owner, a nonprofit neighborhood group, is looking for someone with a viable rehabilitation plan to save it from the wrecking ball.
Pictured: The 5,819 square-foot house has a new roof, and five bedrooms, three bathrooms, and three butler's pantries.
Why save it: The house showcases Hollister's distinct architectural style, which blended elements of Queen Anne and Romanesque Revival. It retains many architectural treasures, including mahogany paneling, and a glass mosaic fireplace surround by artist Orlando Gianni, who designed tilework for Frank Lloyd Wright.
What it needs: Aside from cosmetic work, you'll need to update the plumbing, electrical and HVAC. At least 75 percent of the woodwork is salvageable.
Pictured: A fireplace surround by artist Orlando Gianni.
The staircase was altered when the house was carved into rental units, but all of the pieces remain to set it back on its original course.
A copper dome tops a turret clad in fish-scale shingles.
A close-up of a double gable on the side of the house.