The Lawrence and Chapin Building, photo submitted c. 1980
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Lawrence and Chapin Building
201 North Rose Street, Kalamazoo - Kalamazoo County
Other Names Lawrence and Chapin Iron Works
Vermeulen's Furniture
Property Type brick building
Style Second Empire
Architect/Builder Bush and Patterson
Lemuel Dwight Grosvenor
Narrative Description The Lawrence & Chapin Building is a massive, Second Empire block with a dormered mansard roof with a central tower. A four-story, brick structure, the building has round-headed windows and robust cornice brackets set in pairs above the capitals of the broad piers which subdivide the facade. Some of the structure's historic fabric has been altered: many of the windows have been boarded up, the first-floor exterior has been modernized, and one entire elevation obscured by a modern parking structure.
Statement of Significance The Lawrence & Chapin Building is significant as the one time main building of the Lawrence & Chapin iron works, one of Kalamazoo's largest, nineteenth-century industries, which manufactured plows and other agricultural implements as well as steam engines and mill machinery. The building is also important as the landmark structure of the Second Empire style in the Kalamazoo area. The building was designed by L.D. Grosvenor, a Kalamazoo architect whose work is as yet little known but whose architectural talents were considerable. The Lawrence & Chapin Building was built by Bush and Patterson, a Kalamazoo firm which built many of the city's finest structures. Lawrence and Chapin had the structure built between 1870 and 1872 and carried out the entire process of transforming the raw materials of iron into finished products in the building. The decline of the demand for iron products at the end of the nineteenth-century led to the closure and sale of the factory about the turn of the century. After a series of owners, the building was purchased by the Vermeulen Furniture Company who have occupied the building for over a half a century.
Period of Significance 1866-1900
Significant Date(s) 1870-1872
Registry Type(s) 05/27/1983 National Register listed
Site ID# P23652