George W. Palmer House, photo submitted 1996. George W. Palmer House, photo submitted 1996.
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Palmer, George W., House
138Middle Street, Chelsea - Washtenaw County
Other Names George W. Palmer House
Property Type brick house
Historic Use DOMESTIC/single dwelling
HEALTH CARE/hospital
Current Use DOMESTIC/single dwelling
Style Queen Anne
Significant Person George W. Palmer
Narrative Description The George W. Palmer House, built between 1885 and 1891, is a superb brick Queen Anne and is one of the finest examples in the village of Chelsea. The two story, brick veneered, house stands on a fieldstone foundation. A side bay on the east elevation and a rear ell project from an L shaped core block creating an irregular footprint. The L shape of the core block is created by the predominant north facing cut-away bay unit that projects from a rectangular core. Stone detailing around windows and doors, and especially the sunburst arch and quoins around the forward facing bay unit, adds textural and color variation. Aiding this is the use of offset and soldiered brick in key areas such as lintels and chimneys. The broad and steep hipped roof of the core block is complex in design and features a forward facing gable-on-hip at the apex, two side cross gables, and a large gabled unit forming a hood over the front bay. A small gabled dormer unit over the entrance provides a sense of balance to the front face of the roof. The entire roof is finished in lozenge patterned asphalt shingles, and the gables are of wood construction. The gable units carry a number of finishes, ranging from sunburst effects on the bay and gable-on-hip gables, pyramid patterned pediments on the hipped roof gable and dormer, to patterned shingle work on the side gables. A major visual attraction is the spindle work pediment that forms a hood over the bay unit. Access to the entrances of the house are by a trio of shed-roofed porches with simple square posts. The forward facing porch carries an attached gable located above the steps, embellished by a spindle work band. A second porch is located on the north end of the east elevation and accesses a bay that serves the second parlor. The third porch is located at the rear of the west elevation and serves the kitchen and dining room.
Statement of Significance The Palmer House carries strong significance because of its association with leading families of Chelsea, and its use as a private hospital. It is also an exceptional, and rare, brick Queen Anne in the community. The house was built circa 1885 by Dr. George W. Palmer, M.D., at a time when his practice and his status within the village was growing. In 1905 Daniel Charles McLaren, businessman, banker, and three-term village president, purchased the house. The house became the Chelsea Private Hospital in 1936, operated by Nettie Notten. The hospital closed in 1941, when it began service as a rooming house for women working in area defense industries. Prior to the current owners, the house had been used for many years as a chiropractic clinic and apartment house. The current owners, John L. and Jacquelyn Frank, have returned the house to single family occupancy. The house has retained a large amount of its historic fabric, although benign neglect and alterations have required an extensive and ongoing restoration effort.
Period of Significance 1885-1941
Significant Date(s) 1936-1941
Registry Type(s) 11/29/1996 National Register listed
Site ID# P3154