Shiloh House/Administration Building, photo submitted 1971 Shiloh House/Administration Building, photo submitted 1971
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Shiloh House/Administration Building
Britain Road between Crystal Avenue and M-139, Benton Harbor - Berrien County
Other Names Shiloh House
Property Type frame house
Historic Use COMMERCE/TRADE/organizational
DOMESTIC/multiple dwelling
Current Use COMMERCE/TRADE/organizational
DOMESTIC/multiple dwelling
Style Queen Anne
Architect/Builder William "Billy" Wright
Significant Person Benjamin Purnell
Narrative Description Shiloh House was the first structure built in the House of David compound and functions as the administrative center and residence. Shiloh House is composed of a main block and two buildings behind it. Reminiscent of Queen Anne architecture, the two-and-one-half-story symmetrical main building with cement block walls is topped by a steeply pitched hip-roof. The recessed central entrance facade is flanked by projecting wings featuring wrap-around porches, turrets at each corner, each topped by a cupolas. The facade is fronted by a three-story balcony surmounted by a cupola, and is ornamented with pierced woodwork, Ionic columns, and dentil moldings. The buildings behind the main block are equal in size and architecturally compatible. They are two-and-one-half stories with wood sided walls topped by pale grey Mansard roofs. The massive compound complex occupies a lovely wooded lot and has been well maintained. Other manor houses on the compound include two white frame houses Jerusalem and Bethlehem which are connected by a triple archway, and Diamond House.
Statement of Significance Shiloh House and the House of David cooperative community is significant because it survived while many Utopian projects of a similar nature failed. Shiloh House was constructed entirely by members of the cooperative in 1910. Other structures including New House (or Ben's House) and the Cash Office, all designed by Australian architect and House of David convert William "Billy" Wright were completed in 1915 and 1920, respectively. The House of David overcame adverse publicity during the 1920's and stabilized by becoming one of the more enterprising businesses in the Benton Harbor area. Founder Benjamin Purnell (King Ben) lived here until scandalous details of his controversial rites and living arrangements were exposed in the early 1900's. Composed of ninety-nine members, the cooperative currently owns a cold storage plant, amusement park, trailer park, motel, and farming operations.
Period of Significance 1901-1930
Significant Date(s) 1910, 1915, 1920
Registry Type(s) 09/29/1972 National Register listed
12/10/1971 State Register listed
Site ID# P22605