Curtiss House, photos submitted 1994
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Curtiss, Sr., Charles G., House
168Union Street, Plymouth - Wayne County
Other Names Charles G. Curtiss Sr. House
Property Type frame house
Historic Use DOMESTIC/single dwelling
Current Use DOMESTIC/single dwelling
Style Late Victorian
Architect/Builder Charles G. Curtiss Sr.
Significant Person Charles G. Curtiss Sr.
Narrative Description Standing on a fieldstone foundation, the Charles G. Curtiss House is a two-story, cross-gable-roof, wood-frame, gabled-ell building with a one-story, hip-roof, rear section. A square-plan tower in the angle of the L projects a little less than half its depth forward of the facade of the ell and rises three stories. It is capped, above a bracketed cornice, by a mansard roof with a gabled dormer in each face. The exterior, clad in clapboarding and patterned shingling, displays a shed-roof, Eastlake, turned-post verandah, with spindlework frieze, fronting the tower and ell, and stickwork gable ornaments with semi-round undersides. At the back of the verandah, the front wall of the ell displays a treatment of rectangular wood panelling. A slant-sided bay window with pent roof projects from the front of the upright at the lower-story level, while a substantial shed roof with concave upper surface hoods a tripartite window above it.
Statement of Significance The Curtiss House is one of Plymouth's most outstanding Late Victorian houses. The house was built probably in 1890 for and probably by Charles G. Curtiss, Sr., a Plymouth builder about whom almost nothing is known. His gravestone and the certificate of death indicate that he was born in Connecticut on March 25, 1823, and died in Plymouth on May 30, 1893. Several brief newspaper notices in the Plymouth Mail in the 1887-91 period show that he was involved in building and moving houses and that he was the Noble Grand of the local Odd Fellows lodge in June 1891, and was a member in August 1891, of the local board of review charged with reviewing a special assessment roll. Following Mr. Curtiss's death, his wife Caroline continued to own the house until 1901. The house's primary importance, in view of the lack of information about Mr. Curtiss, is architectural. Its rich exterior overlay of Italianate, Second Empire, and Eastlake elements is unique in Plymouth. The house is also the only example in Plymouth of the gabled-ell house form having a tower in the angle. This house form had been popular in Michigan and across the nation since the 1850s, but it was becoming very much out-of-date by 1890. It is as if Mr. Curtiss, assuming that he played a major role in designing his own house, used in its construction ideas that he had gathered over many years of house-building.
Period of Significance 1866-1900
Significant Date(s) 1890
Registry Type(s) 06/20/1994 Marker erected
12/02/1993 National Register listed
06/20/1994 State Register listed
Site ID# P3228