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Methodist Episcopal Parsonage, 1858

Methodist Episcopal Parsonage, 1858 image

332 East Washington Street

Methodist Episcopal Parsonage, 1858

This former Methodist Episcopal parsonage is architecturally significant as one of a small number of well preserved Greek Revival homes remaining in downtown Ann Arbor. Its unusual exterior detailing is indicative of its late date and suggestive of the general transformation in architectural taste from classical to picturesque that was taking place in the 1850s.

A two-story, front-gable clapboard structure with a one-and-a half story rear wing, distinctive details include the entry with sidelights and transom, the triangular window in the gable, and the full entablature decorated with dentils. The building's late date within the Greek Revival idiom is most evident in the scalloped trim on the front eaves.

The house also possesses local historical importance in having been constructed to house the Reverend Seth Reed, one of the leading lights of Methodism in Michigan in the 19th century. Reverend Reed was admitted to the Michigan Conference of the Methodist Episcopal Church in 1844 and served as pastor of various churches in southeast Michigan. In 1857 he was appointed to serve the Ann Arbor congregation, established in 1827. During his short but successful pastorate (1857-59), the church, a large frame building on the southeast corner of Ann Street and Fifth Avenue, was enlarged and modernized and the Washington Street parsonage constructed. The house seems to have served its original purpose until about 1881.

The next owner was English immigrant William Allaby, a shoe merchant, who purchased the property in 1882 and lived there until his death in 1910. Albert M. Graves acquired the property in 1924 and the following year established Grave's Garage at the rear of the site. Graves died in 1927 but Mrs. Graves continued to live there until her death in 1962, dividing the house into apartments in 1957.

Mr. Peter Heydon restored the building in 1980, and rehabilitated its interior for office and residential use. A year later, the Historical Society of Michigan honored Mr. Heydon for his efforts.

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Photos used to illustrate Historic Buildings, Ann Arbor, Michigan / by Marjorie Reade and Susan Wineberg.