Abner Pratt House (Honolulu House), Marshall Michigan

Date added: April 05, 2011 Categories: Michigan Museum

This mid-nineteenth century mansion is believed locally to be a replica of the dwelling which Abner Pratt occupied when Consol to the Sandwich Islands in 1857.

In 1883, M. W. Wagner repaired and altered the house. Bay windows were added to the north and south facades. On the interior, fresco murals were done, and molded plaster centerpieces were added to the ceiling.

In 1901, George Bullard removed the original extensions at the rear of the house.

The building measures 37'-6" by 77'6"; 3 bays by 9 bays; faces east. Stone faced with boards, two-and-a-half stories, rectangular (originally having wings).

Across the east front of the house is a two-story, nine-bay porch. The ground story consists of stone piers 1'-6" by 2'-6" in plan, matching the basement walls. Between them is wooden tracery in the form of a Tudor arch. A central exterior stair (15 risers) of wood leads up to the main floor of the porch. It has moulded nosing, a wide handrail supported on one turned baluster for each tread, and paneled pedestals.

The main story is of wood, simulating an arcade whose central bay is wider than the others. This bay forms the lower part of a tower. Each wooden pier is composed of three rectangular posts, separated except where joined at the base and capital. Arches are in tracery resembling a Tudor arch; pier capitals consist of a dripmould. The railing has a simple moulded handrail, and consists of six quatrefoil panels in each bay. The floor is of pine tongue and groove boards, 1-1/4" x 4-1/4" to 5" in section.

Above each pier are three large brackets which support the widely overhanging cornice. The porch is roofed integrally with the whole house, so these brackets continue on other sides.

Above the central bay is a second story, open at the front (east) through a Tudor arch and railing; the north and south sides are enclosed, having a window in each. The west side of this upper porch opens into a stair hall.

A square one-bay wooden porch is centered on the west side. The two stone piers which form its ground story are original, but the wooden super-structure is modern.

Floor Plans
First (main) floor. A porch extends full length along the east side. There are a central entrance and stair halls, and a full-depth rectangular parlor on each side of it (two bays wide). At each end is a two-bay area, divided into a larger front (east) room and a smaller rear room. Each of the front rooms has a rectangular bay window at the end. There is a small central rear porch.

Second floor. There is only a small area, above the eastern end of the stair hall, which gives access to an observation balcony in the central pavilion (or tower) of the front porch.

Basement. The basement is two-thirds above grade. At each end are rooms similar to those on the first floor; between them along the front (east) half is a single long room. Between them in the rear half is a central hall (rear entry) with a squarish room at each side.

Near the center of the hall is a stair which begins as a helix, whose upper half is a straight flight. There are 25 risers from first to second floors (each about 7-3/4"). The curved portion (13 treads) is free-standing. The newel rests on a square plinth with rounded corners. Its lower portion is turned, and consists of a narrow scotia, torus, and wider upper scotia; above this are a tapering octagonal shaft, small octagonal neck, and round moulded capital, which, except for a lower ovolo, matches the mouldings of the handrail. Newel and handrail are varnished mahogany. The newel is solid, made of two pieces.

This house occupies a large level lot at the southwest corner of Kalamazoo Avenue and West Mansion Street. The west edge is bounded by a narrow alley. The south edge and southeast corner have been cut into by a traffic circle.