Saturday, February 15, 2014

At Home in Rochester: the Harry Bigger House

This house on the corner of West University Drive (formerly West Fifth Street) and Wesley Street was built in 1921 as the residence of Rochester clothing merchant Harry Bigger and his wife, Hazel. It was built in what was considered to be a prime location, situated along a stretch of West Fifth Street upon which many of Rochester's leading businessmen built their residences in the 1910s and 1920s.

Harry Bigger grew up in Rochester and joined clothier Louis Finsterwald as a partner in his store, located in the Masonic block at Fourth & Main streets.  Eventually, Finsterwald decided to return to Detroit and in 1921 Harry Bigger bought him out of the Rochester store, becoming sole proprietor of the business then named Harry Bigger Men's and Boys' Wear.

The new house on the corner of West Fifth & Wesley was built in the autumn of 1921, and the Biggers occupied it for a little over a decade. In 1933, they decided to move to Detroit and they rented the Rochester house for a few years, until finally selling it in 1941.

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