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Situated on a rise of ground in the fishing and lumbering community of Springport that ascends from the shore and commands a splendid view of Lake Huron, this uninhibited vernacular house was regarded as the county's finest, and a model of beauty and convenience. The History of the Lake Huron Shore (1883) termed the house “Swiss-Gothic” in style, but it is really a vernacular mix that defies an identifiable style in favor of a succulent feast. The house is a two-story, balloon-frame, clapboarded building with intersecting pitched roofs, the gables of which are elaborately ornamented with open woodwork. Its balconies, porches, and bays are frosted with Eastlake spindlework and Italianate detail. The house was built by Stockwell, who also designed the dining room, after plans of Mount Clemens designer Gibbs for Joseph Van Buskirk (1836–1905), a lumberman and sawmill and store operator, and his wife, Mary. Born in New York State, the Van Buskirks migrated to Genesee County, Michigan, before settling in Springport in 1868. The same History of the Lake Huron Shore illustrated the house with the sawmill, store, and docks of the farming and lumbering operations. These and residences of Van Buskirk's employees made up the hamlet of Harrisville. The Freethinkers, a German society, purchased the house in 1920 to serve as their clubhouse. In 1924 Carl E. Schmidt acquired and added to the house and converted it to an inn.
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