In 1913 James and Clarice Foster attached a modern addition to their Italianate home and rooming house and moved their “House of Art” store from its original location on the corner of Liberty and State. The addition “stands as peaceful and well-balanced as a Venetian palace,” Foster wrote Emil Lorch, its designer and long-time head of the UM architecture program.
Foster’s was the premier place to buy gifts and art objects. One patron recalled, “Everything was a treasure.” The art included paintings, frames, Rookwood pottery, imported china and brass, statuettes, jewelry, and “rare odd things.” Furniture was sold upstairs. A popular tearoom occupied the first floor of the old house.
After UM alumni had left town, many continued to make purchases from Foster’s large mail order business. The store closed in 1941.