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Robert G. and Christina Bain Ferguson House

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1906, George W. Maher. 801 Prospect St.

This large, two-and-a-half-story shingled dwelling on a cobblestone foundation is one of two unexpected examples showing the influence of the Prairie School in the northeasternmost portion of the Upper Peninsula. Maher, often identified with the Prairie School, is credited by architectural historian H. Allen Brooks as “one who developed a consistent and personal style.” In The Prairie School (1972), Brooks compared Maher favorably with Wright, “His influence on the Midwest was profound and prolonged and, in its time, was certainly as great as was Wright's.” Nine extant blueprint sheets clearly establish the Ferguson house as an almost exact duplicate of Maher's earlier Edgar G. Barratt (also spelled Barrett) House in Kenilworth, Illinois, 1896. The Barratt house was illustrated in The Inland Architect and News Record (February 1897) and it is highly possible that Ferguson (b. 1858), then the prosperous owner of Ferguson Hardware Company, may have seen that illustration and wanted the same for himself.

Noticeable changes from the Barratt house are in the use of brick instead of fieldstone for the chimneys and cobblestone instead of fieldstone for the foundation. Just as the Barratt house expressed the character of a fashionable residence in the Chicago suburb, the Ferguson house expressed the essence of the fashionable residence at the Soo.

Writing Credits

Author: 
Kathryn Bishop Eckert
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Citation

Kathryn Bishop Eckert, "Robert G. and Christina Bain Ferguson House", [Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan], SAH Archipedia, eds. Gabrielle Esperdy and Karen Kingsley, Charlottesville: UVaP, 2012—, http://sah-archipedia.org/buildings/MI-01-CH15.

Print Source

Cover: Buildings of Michigan

Buildings of Michigan, Kathryn Bishop Eckert. Charlottesville: University of Virginia Press, 2012, 556-556.

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