Saturday, January 15, 2011

At Home in Rochester: The George Flumerfelt Residence

The home on the southwest corner of Walnut and Fourth streets was built in the summer of 1895 by George M. Flumerfelt (sometimes also spelled Flummerfelt). Flumerfelt was born in Oakland Township in 1838, one of nine children of pioneer Oakland farmers William and Esther Flumerfelt. After seeking his fortune in an extensive tour of the western United States as a youth, George Flumerfelt returned to the Rochester area where he farmed a large tract of land. He also invested in the local banks, and served as officer and director of several local businesses. He was also active politically and served as village clerk, village councilman, and member of the school board.
Flumerfelt's first wife, the former Rebecca Cummins, died in 1890 and two years later he married Clara E. Crissman. The couple built their new home in Rochester at 339 Walnut Street, on the corner opposite Fourth Street from the Baptist church. The Rochester Era of May 24, 1895 reprinted this announcement from the Pontiac Gazette:
Fisher Bros. have completed plans and specifications for a very fine modern frame house for G.M. Flummerfelt, of Rochester. The structure will be 56x40 feet, two stories and an attic, with octagon corner tower.
The basement will be divided into furnace and coal rooms, vegetable cellar, etc., with cement floors, with outside and inside entrances.
The ground floor will have a parlor, hall, sitting, bed and bath rooms, kitchen and summer kitchen, pantry, dumb waiter, etc. The hall and front stair case will be of panel work; the sitting room with have mantel, grate and tiled hearth, and the whole first floor is to be finished in oak; and the dining room floor to be of inlaid beech and oak. A colonial porch will extend across two sides, divided by a corner tower.
The second floor is to be divided into four chambers and store room, with closets throughout, all to be finished in Georgia pine, and have balconies over porches. Attic unfinished.
The roof will be hipped, with gables and dormers and of slate and with galvanized iron crestings and finials. All windows to be of double thick American glass and doors of double polished plate and art glass.
This will be the finest residence in the village, and reflect credit upon Mr. Flummerfelt, as well as its young designers.
The Fisher Brothers, Charles and William, had just launched their architecture and engineering firm in Pontiac in 1895. The company went on to great success and designed many buildings that were prominent in Pontiac in their day. They also designed the granite fountain donated to the village of Rochester by Samuel Harris in 1917.

George Flumerfelt died in 1917, and in 1929 his residence became the location of the Alanson C. Hobart Funeral Home. After William R. Potere bought out Hobart in 1950, he made several additions to the house to accommodate the needs of his growing funeral and ambulance business, but the features of the original house are still clearly visible today. John and Mary Modetz purchased the funeral home from Potere in 1986 and continue to operate it in the former George Flumerfelt residence.

The George M. Flumerfelt residence will celebrate its 116th birthday in 2011.

1 comment:

  1. We actually lived in this residence twice while my husband was employed by Potere Funeral Home. As newlyweds we lived above the garage and later after my husband graduated from mortuary school (and Mr. Potere Sr. retired) we moved into the large apartment directly above the funeral home. The question we were always asked was what was in the "round" room. It actually was Mr. and Mrs. Potere's bedroom and we converted it to our living room. It was a great apartment and we enjoyed living "downtown".