Saturday, March 12, 2011

At Home in Rochester: The Marcus E. Carlton Residence

The handsome residence at 428 East Street, on the east side near the corner of University, was built in the summer of 1884 for Marcus Eugene Carlton and his wife, the former Lydia E. Shoup. Lydia's parents, Lemuel W. and Laura Shoup, were pioneer settlers of Oakland Township who lived on East Street in Rochester after they retired from farming. Lydia Shoup married M. Eugene Carlton in 1881, and three years later her parents sold a lot on East Street to the young couple so that they could build a home.

In May 1884, the Rochester Era announced that "M.E. Carlton will soon commence the erection of a beautiful Swiss cottage on the lot just north of his father-in-law L.W. Shoup's residence." A few weeks later, the newspaper's readers learned that the house would be a substantial one, designed by a prominent architect who was well-known in Rochester. The Era reported on June 19, 1884:
M.E. Carlton has let the contract for building his residence on North Oliver st., to Arkin & Jones, for $2,000. The design is Swiss cottage, with all the modern attachments, combinations and improvements. According to the plans and specifications, which were executed by John Scott, of Detroit, "Gene" will have, when completed, one of the handsomest and best appointed residences in this section of country.
(In the late decades of the 19th century, East Street was referred to as Oliver Street and is even so labeled on some maps, even though it was named East Street on the original plat of Rochester and is so named today.)

John Scott, architect of the Carlton house, was not only becoming a prominent Detroit architect at the time, he was also the son-in-law of Lysander Woodward of Rochester. John Scott designed a number of buildings of note, some of which are now on the National Register of Historic Places, including the 1902 Wayne County Courthouse, the 1888 Gogebic County Courthouse, and his personal residence on East Ferry Street in Detroit. In Rochester, John Scott was also the architect of the old Congregational parsonage house on Third and Pine.

The Carltons had lived in their beautiful new home on East Street for only a few years when they relocated to Flint and established the M.E. Carlton book and stationery store. The business prospered and was a major office supply outlet in Flint for decades during the first half of the twentieth century.

Today, the John Scott-designed Carlton residence serves as an apartment house. The building celebrates its 127th birthday this spring.

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