Edwin H. House, a "Friend toMan"
In collecting biographies for thebook and exhibit "
Edwin Harvey House was born in 1875 in the house his father, HarveyLathrop House, built in 1868 with lumber from the
He attended the Ward school (located on land he later owned) where hismother taught and, later, classes taught by Captain Phelps who ran a very tightship even on land. He and his classmate Carl Bird decided that was not forthem. Shortly they moved on to
In his teens he picked violets in the woods and took the night boat to
[Edwin took over the farm on the death of his father when he was just22 years of age. At that time he had the family's riverfront property plattedwith 26 lots. It was to be known as
The farm became his pride and pleasure working very hard and being inconstant touch with the Department of Horticulture at
When the need arose he erected a temperature controlled storage housewhich was described as a model facility for those days. In the earliest days ofthe farm apples were shipped in barrels from Pier Cove. In the 1900s thebarrels were loaded from his own dock on to the interurban, then on to asteamboat in
House's cider mill had oneof the first hydraulic presses in the area and a flash pasteurizer where thecider was processed after being bottled. The jugs often came by rail from BallBrothers in
Healso sold fruit locally from a fruit stand in front of his house. Along withthe fruit, he sold cider, a cherry based drink called "
A jobber came to buy a truckloads of applesand, on seeing what was going on, said, "Oh, are you that guy? Why, I seen your name all overHell?"
This amused House although he was always a devoted church man, a softspoken gentleman who never used language stronger than "
Theroadside stand was a popular place for resident of the area as well aspassers-by on the road. If no one happened to be in attendance the customercould ring a bell and usually someone from the house would hear it and go out.Or if the family wanted to go for a Sunday drive, they would simply leave acigar box with some change on a table and the customer was trusted to pay theproper amount for his purchase. After the main road was changed to what is now
For over fifty years he served on various boards although he nevercampaigned for election. His interests lay with the Congregational Church, theBoard of Education, and the Township Board. [Often he was called upon to usehis elocution skills at public gatherings.]
Vitally interested in those suffering hardship during the Depressionand World War II he made many visits to determine what could be done to help.During World War II he granted asylum to an architect who, with his young wifeand infant son, had been interned because they were of Japanese ancestry. Thecommunity accepted them and they were extended a warm welcome by the
He was vigorously patriotic and saw that the men who worked for himwere registered and drove them to the polls. If he was on the election board,which he often was, his wife did the driving. Activities on the farm continuedinto January and the orchards were at a standstill until spring leaving timefor rest and travel. He loved the natural wonders and national shrines of ourcountry and enjoyed short stays in big cities.
Through out this busy life he maintained an interest in the arts aswell as service to others. During his student days he attended the
At this point House invited Dr. Gray and two friends to visit Saugatuckto see its natural beauty and its suitability for a camp site.
During this time Dr. Gamble and his family camped on the beach atForward Movement and participated in camp activities. After several summers theGambles came to need a real cottage for their children and their diverseactivities. They bough
House encouraged and supported her efforts to make visible to thepublic the work of local artists. With a few friends and the help of Fred
House had the first telephone line out to his area. The operator ranghim up with one ring. He cranked the phone twice to get the operator. Manyparties joined the line, among them Force's Florists who had four rings. Allthe rings were heard by all the parties. When Force's four rings were heardunusually often other party line members just picked up the phone to find outwho died.