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Vermeulen Furniture Company Building (Lawrence and Chapin Iron Works)
This rare Second Empire survivor from Kalamazoo's days as a major iron-producing center for the region originally housed the iron foundry of William S. Lawrence and L. C. Chapin. A slate-covered mansard roof tops the three-story structure, and a convex-roofed central pavilion fronts it. Two rows of hooded windows, arranged in groups of three and separated by giant pilasters that are topped by paired brackets, create a pleasing rhythmical movement. The lower two floors, altered in the 1960s, appear incongruous with the late-nineteenth-century facade. The building was designed by Grosvenor (b. 1830), who came west in the early 1850s from Worcester County, Massachusetts, to Chicago to supervise the construction of a section of the Galena and Western Union Railroad. In 1857, he returned to New England, where he learned the trade of carpentry and joinery while working in Gardner and Athol, Massachusetts, and in Brattleboro, Vermont. He also studied architectural drawing. In 1860, he came back to southern Michigan, working as a carpenter and builder in Kalamazoo before opening an architectural office in Jackson in 1871, at the time he designed this building. The building was constructed by Bush and Patterson, then restored in the 1990s, during the execution of the Arcadia Creek renewal project ( KZ9).
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