Schoolcraft House/Indian Agency, photo submitted c. 1960 Schoolcraft House/Indian Agency, photo submitted c. 1960 Schoolcraft House/Indian Agency, photo submitted c. 1960 Schoolcraft House/Indian Agency, photo submitted c. 1960 Schoolcraft House/Indian Agency, photo submitted c. 1960 Schoolcraft House/Indian Agency, photo submitted c. 1960 Schoolcraft House/Indian Agency, photo submitted c. 1960 Schoolcraft House/Indian Agency, photo submitted c. 1960 Schoolcraft House/Indian Agency, photo submitted c. 1960
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Schoolcraft House / Indian Agency
705 East Portage Avenue, Sault Ste. Marie - Chippewa County
Other Names Elmwood
Property Type frame house
Historic Use DOMESTIC
Current Use VACANT/NOT IN USE
Style Other
Architect/Builder OBED WAIT
Significant Person Henry R. Schoolcraft
Narrative Description As originally constructed Elmwood was basically a Federal style building, as befitted its period and governmental function. Elmwood had a two-story central mass with one-story wings on each side. The wings, one of which housed the agency office, were connected to the central mass by what the builder termed "lobbies." Elmwood was sited on the banks of the St. Mary's River, in full view of the rapids, or Sault, for which the pioneer settlement was named. When the agency was moved to Mackinac Island in 1833 the buildings at the Sault were leased to the American Fur Company for one year.
Statement of Significance The Schoolcraft House/Indian Agency is significant for its association with Henry Rowe Schoolcraft, noted explorer, author, and student of Native American culture, who was the U. S. Indian Agent at Sault Ste. Marie beginning in 1822. In 1826 construction began. Twenty-three year old Obed Wait of Detroit was chosen as the architect. Schoolcraft himself had selected the building site. The classical elegance of Elmwood was seriously impaired by additions that probably occurred in the 1880s. Nevertheless, the main footprint of the original building is still present. From then until 1833, when the agency was moved to Mackinac Island, Elmwood was the focal point for Indian affairs throughout the entire Upper Great Lakes. Throughout the 1830s and 1840s Elmwood served as an Indian Department sub-agency. In 1853 it was leased to Charles T. Harvey. Peter Barbeau, noted merchant of Sault Ste. Marie, acquired Elmwood in 1874 when it was sold by the government. At the turn of the century Elmwood and much of the surrounding area was purchased by the Michigan Lake Superior Power Company. During the 1950s and 1960s the house was open on an irregular basis to display the collections of the Chippewa County Historical Society.
Marker Name Elmwood
Marker Text ELMWOOD Appointed Indian agent in 1822, Henry Rowe Schoolcraft (1793-1864) requested that the government provide a suitable structure to house the agency. Obed Wait, designer of Michigan's territorial capitol in Detroit, directed the construction of this building. Nearly 100 feet in length when completed in 1827, the Federal style building originally had a two-story central unit flanked by two single-story wings. While at Elmwood, Schoolcraft, explorer and ethnologist, collected materials for his pioneering works on Indian culture which scholars still use. These inspired Henry Wadsworth Longfellow's "Song of Hiawatha." Charles T. Harvey lived here during the mid-1850s when he supervised the building of the canal and locks at Sault Ste. Marie. Elmwood's substantial alterations during the past 150 years reflect its varied uses and inhabitants.
Period of Significance 1826-1865
Significant Date(s) 1827
Registry Type(s) 04/06/1977 Marker erected
02/25/1974 National Register listed
09/25/1956 State Register listed
Site ID# P22867