Abner Baker House, Marshall Michigan

Date added: March 31, 2011 Categories: Michigan House Gothic Revival

An attractive representative mid-19th century "Gothic Cottage," retaining many original features and with a carriage house.

The building measures 38'-1" x 40'-3"; the front faces south.

An old drawing (1858 map) shows a shallow porch filling in the east corner of the south front, a three-bay west porch with deck, and a four-bay porch connecting with the carriage house (at the northwest). Only the former remains, in an enlarged form. It is deeper and wider than originally, but appears to have the same kind of detailing. It shelters the central entrance now, in addition to filling the corner. The roof is flat.

Two octagonal columns before the entrance, and one at the southwest corner, have moulded bases and capitals; halt-columns respond on the wall. Above the capital is an octagonal neck, which is moulded at the top. A simple three-part entablature above is a modern replacement, as is the matched and beaded ceiling. Paint markings on the column necks indicate that a tracery arch may have been there at one time.

A railing with turned balusters appears to be a replacement, as are three steps with a similar railing and turned newels. Floor boards appear to date from the enlargement of the porch. There is pierced wood skirting filling in from the floor to ground line.

Physical evidence indicates a rear porch at the northeast corner, formerly.

Floor Plans
First floor, tvo front rooms (south) open from a short central entrance and stair hall, and behind them (north) is another room on each side. There is a small rear hall and storage room behind it. At the northwest is a small room (actually an enclosed porch) which is a modern addition, taking up part of the area originally occupied by a one-and-a-half story wing connecting to the carriage house.

Second floor. The stair lands just to the rear of center. On the west side of a central hall are two bedrooms; on the east side, one. There is a small room above the front of the entrance hall, and another at the northeast corner.

Basement. There is a small basement at the northwest corner, which is old. This was in recent times extended under the central western area to accommodate heating equipment.

The stair ascends 12 risers to a landing and then divides. At right angles to the main flight are two short ones or 3 risers each, one leading to the east bedroom and one to the central second-story hall. There is an open string with ornamental brackets. At the lower end is a turned newel and a smaller one on the railing at the top. There are two thin turned tapered balusters per tread, moulded near the lower end. Treads have moulded nosing. Where the stair turns at the well, the theme of the scrolled brackets continues around the well as a wave motive, in low relief. The handrail is round in section. At basement stair, probably not original, is located behind the rear hall. A narrow attic stair, with winders, rises between the two west bedrooms.