Raising the Bedrooms: The Alvord-
Among the earliest of the
First owners William R. Vosburgh (310) andJohn W. Alvord (332) were apparently caught up in the momentum to build "
The Alvord and Vosburgh cottages
There was undoubtedly great optimism as to how rapidly things wouldproceed once the design had been decided and the orders placed.
It is noted that Dr. Edward Bartow (moved from University of Kansas toUniversity of Iowa), one of the earliest Michigan Cottage builders, was awitness to the Alvord-Weed contract signing, but whether Mr. Weed was also hisbuilder is not certain.
It seems quite possible that early trial of some of the features of theordered Alvord blueprints produced rejections (plans as ordered in Figure 1),and thus additional time towards realization (Plans as built in Figure 2). Bycomparison, first Vosburgh usage (310) is reported asJuly l, 1900. Indeed, through the minutes of worship services left by Mrs.Annie J. Vosburgh, one can learn of the use of bothcottages for Sunday services and meetings. The interior of the Alvord cottagewas finished enough to function in this regard although not yet painted. A realchapel was finished in 1904.
It isinteresting to compare the original blueprint plans, which were the basis ofthe contract between john Alvord and A. L. Weed, and what was actually built atsome point later. One can surmise that reference to "Back P" estimatefor paint materials in 1903 means that the two-story back porch 4had been added during the project, and also the front (lake side) second storybay extension converting a roofed balcony into a third (barely minimum) bedroomwith portholes as end windows.
Although both cottages have one dimension which subdivides into ashorter kitchen dimension and a longer living room plus stair dimension(extending full width).Alvord's design turns the shorter dimension of the living room towards thelake, and assigned a "verandah" (front entrance) to the north half ofthe side. Alvord's plan called for both an end window and an ornate plate glasswindow to the southwest through which one viewed about half of the
Planningadjustments notwithstanding, the final architectural effect is consistentlycharming, suggesting that the Alvords were intent oncarrying out the fanciful details of the ordered plans, and adding reminders ofa steamer trip abroad where those styles were found. In addition to the roundwindows, resources were found for stained glass panels as transoms(unfortunately painted over in the kitchen for more than 75 years). A floorless"Juliet" balcony off the peak of the south-facing bedroom, and anawning roof below, are thoughtfully placed.
A 1930s era
1 Lane, Kit History ofWestern Alleges County (Curbs Media) 1988. The Clarks are not related, 310(and 308) having been acquired by the Dr. George L. Clark family from Urbana,Illinois in 1944, while 332 (and 334)came into the Watt family through Lucy (a faculty member at Miami University inOhio), who was the niece of John Alvord's second wife. Following Lucy wereheiress nieces including Josephine Watt Clark (married to William Clark of
4J.Clark, ibid. Alvord lists the porchsize as 8 x 12 feet, perhaps denoting a further upward sizing to the existing10 x 16 feet. The roofpattern of the northeast corner hints at these successive changes.
5 Clark, G. "Re-Raising theRoof: updating the Michigan Cottage" inRaising the Roof, One theory is that the delays allowed John Alvord, acapable engineer by profession, to incorporate the first inside bathroom/septicsystem into cottage construction of the initial boom years. We know that he andWilliam Vosburgh were instrumental in theestablishment and maintenance of the water distribution system during thisperiod. Another clue is his choice of orientation of the 10 x 16 foot diningporch to the east (the probable outhouse location of nearly every precedingcottage).
George M. Clark is Professor Emeritus in Architecture from