Historic Structures

Abram W Pike House (Grand Rapids Art Gallery), Grand Rapids Michigan

Date added: October 22, 2013 Categories: Michigan Office Greek Revival

Built in 1845 by Abram W. Pike, who came to Grand Rapids in 1844 after being since 1858, in the employ of the Port Sheldon Company. This was a group of Philadelphia capitalists who endeavored to establish a metropolis on the shores of Lake Michigan and had erected a group of buildings there, among them being a hotel called ''The Ottawa House" and a depot building for the proposed railroad. The design of the hotel was said to have been taken from the United States Bank at Philadelphia.

At the collapse of the company's project, Mr. Pike brought four of the six columns from the Ottawa House to Grand Rapids for the front portico of his house. The four small columns for the side porticos came from the depot building. The large columns were cut down in height from approximately seven and one-half diameters to nearly six and one-third diameters. They show excellent workmanship and it is inconceivable that they were built in the wilderness at Port Sheldon. No doubt, they were part of the main bulk of building material which is recorded to have been brought to the site on scows in 1836. Therefore, the columns were probably manufactured in Detroit.

An old picture of the Pike House in Baxter's History and an old photograph in the possession of Mr. George Fitch of Grand Rapids shows two original fireplace chimneys just to the south of the main front portico. There were formerly fireplaces in the front room., now the office and in the east room which is now part of the East Gallery. The position of the chimney is clearly shown in the roof construction of the building. The pictures also show that two of the present window openings to the side porches were originally doors with shutters to the floor.

The original building extended back only as far as the present exterior pilasters on the East and West sides. The cornice clearly shows where the additional work was added. The low East and West portions extended farther back than the central second story part leaving a porch enclosed on three sides across the South, In plan, there was a hall back of the front entrance with a single-flight staircase and two bed rooms on the second floor.

Abram W Pike House (Grand Rapids Art Gallery), Grand Rapids Michigan EXTERIOR, NORTH AND WEST SIDES