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Ward-Holland House

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c. 1832, c. 1950s. 433 N. Main St.

One of Michigan's oldest brick houses, the orangish-red brick Ward-Holland house follows a symmetrical, side-gabled design. Its most dominant Greek Revival features are the doorway sidelights and transom light and the raking cornice with returns (the pedimented front porch is not original). An interesting period element is the house's devil trap, below the south gable. This device consists of a small blind wall opening intended to trick the devil into believing it is an entrance. Elliptical fanlights are in the gable ends. The building's first occupant, Captain Samuel Ward (1784–1854), otherwise known as “Uncle Sam the Steamboat King,” was one of Marine City's founders. He settled here in 1819 and soon turned to shipbuilding. Under his dominant presence, Marine City and his holdings in various businesses grew rapidly; when Ward's son Eber died in 1875, estimates of his personal value ranged from $10 to $30 million. In 1876 Robert Holland (b. 1831) purchased the Ward shipyards, docks, and the house, which is still occupied by the Holland family. Holland added to the house a full-width one-story front porch with turned posts and decorative bracing.

Writing Credits

Kathryn Bishop Eckert


What's Nearby


Kathryn Bishop Eckert, "Ward-Holland House", [Marine City, Michigan], SAH Archipedia, eds. Gabrielle Esperdy and Karen Kingsley, Charlottesville: UVaP, 2012—,

Print Source

Cover: Buildings of Michigan

Buildings of Michigan, Kathryn Bishop Eckert. Charlottesville: University of Virginia Press, 2012, 353-353.

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