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John C. and Harriet Brewster Blanchard House, “Palestina”

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1879–1881, George Badger, builder. 253 E. Main St.

This sturdy, generous Italianate house is L-shaped, with full-height polygonal bays on the front and sides. An extension to the rear was added later. The smooth-sawn and polished Ionia sandstone from Blanchard's quarry at Ionia is rich in its pink, red, and light yellowish-brown colors. Quoins define the corners of the house, carved stone hoods crown its windows, and wrought-iron roof cresting tops the low-pitched, bracketed hipped roof. The experiences of John C. Blanchard (1822–1905), a migrant laborer who became a lawyer, politician, and owner of the Ionia Stone Quarry, demonstrate the unlimited opportunities available to some of those willing to take risks in seeking their fame and fortune in this expanding frontier. Born in Cayuga County, New York, Blanchard came west to Michigan in 1836. As final plans for construction of the house were made, the Ionia Sentinel for November 12, 1879, predicted that it would be “one of the most commodious of the many elegant dwellings in the city.” Today the Blanchard house is under the stewardship of the Ionia County Historical Society Museum that was organized in 1974 to purchase, restore, and preserve the historic property.

On the hill overlooking Ionia's business district, houses stand terraced along the face of the slopes and hillsides. They are set high on lots along High and Union streets that afford sweeping views of the entire city.

Writing Credits

Author: 
Kathryn Bishop Eckert
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Citation

Kathryn Bishop Eckert, "John C. and Harriet Brewster Blanchard House, “Palestina”", [Ionia, Michigan], SAH Archipedia, eds. Gabrielle Esperdy and Karen Kingsley, Charlottesville: UVaP, 2012—, http://sah-archipedia.org/buildings/MI-01-IA4.

Print Source

Cover: Buildings of Michigan

Buildings of Michigan, Kathryn Bishop Eckert. Charlottesville: University of Virginia Press, 2012, 264-265.

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