A house on the edge of Kalamazoo is threatened with demolition if it's not moved from its Drake Road property.

The Michigan Historic Preservation Network shared photos of the building and stated the land on the south-east corner of Stadium Drive and Drake Road in Kalamazoo is set to be developed. Before that development can happen, the house on the property, which dates back to the 1840s and is the only house from that era left around Asylum Lake. This house is known as the Loring-McMartin Farmhouse, named after the two families that have owned the house. The McMartin family has owned the house from 1865 to 2017.

House History

Rodolphus Loring purchased 158.76 acres of land from the Federal government in 1839. The land was hilly but fertile, located mostly north of Asylum Lake (then named McMartin Lake). The house was built in the 1840s, possibly after the railway came through in 1847. The land changed hands several times during the Civil War after Loring and his family moved away in 1857. Daniel McMartin bought the farm in 1865 and by 1870 was actively farming 80 acres. The McMartin family and their descendants continued to own the land until November of 2017.

House Features

The painted brick house is a 1½ story, end gable with return cornices, a frieze band and a stone foundation. The north, west and south facades are all symmetrical. A shed roofed, wood framed, single story addition on a slab at the rear includes a sliding glass patio door and a picture window below a three-window shed roofed dormer in the east roof. The addition is covered with vinyl siding. The original chimney is inside the house and extends above the roofline at the south end of the house. On the north end a firebox and chimney, probably added in the 1920s perhaps at the same time the addition was constructed, extends above the roof on the outside of the house.
At the front of the house is a low stone wall forming a terrace. The east half of the terrace is paved with concrete. A huge pine tree stands just to the left/north of the front door in the non-paved part of the terrace.

The house will be demolished unless it's moved. The estimated cost of moving the building is $10,000. The developers say they'll contribute what they would need to pay for demolition towards the cost of moving.

One commentor on the MHPN's Facebook page had a great suggestion:

Ugh, I love this little house! WMU should put it on the edge of the preserve or by Gibbs house.

Smart. C'mon WMU, let's save this property. If you want to see the house it's a 2231 South Drake Road.

Lorning-McMartin House Michigan Historic Preservation Network
Michigan Historic Preservation Network

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