13 December 2006

Why the name?

Charles Hauser in 1899.  He was elected Fire Commissioner.

Charles Hauser in 1913 Commemorative booklet from Owen, Ames, Kimball, when he retired.

Charles Andres Hauser was born 2 February 1855 in Lyons, Clinton County, Michigan. His parents were Hubertus Hauser and Maria Anna Bohr who emigrated from Baden-Wurttemburg and Westphalia in the 1840's and met and married in Detroit, Cass County, Michigan in 1852. They had 14 children, of whom nine lived to adulthood. Hubertus was a brickmason and his sons all followed him in the trades. Their house was a few blocks from where my house stands, across from St Mary's Catholic Church, which he helped build. When Charles got married to a woman who inherited a house from her mother things started happening for him. He started his own company as a general contractor and started building office buildings downtown. (The company today is known as Owen-Ames-Kimball, but it was Hauser-Owen-Ames at this time.)

As his reputation grew he wanted a bigger, grander house so bought some more land until his lot was 150' by 100' and hired an architect and put his men to work in 1892, when I hear there was a depression. The result was what you see in the picture to the left.

He must have spent all his money on the outside, because the inside is nothing to write home about. The one nice thing he bought was a 4' by 6' stained glass window that was pawned (stolen) in the '60's. There are two carved mantels, but no overmantels. And one sliding door. I don't know what kind of lighting he put in as that has disappeared too. Only the kitchen and dining room have hardwood floors: the rest were carpeted or probably early linoleum in the servants' part of the house. I understand there was an iron fence around the property, but it isn't there in the 1929 photo I have. I have dug the supports for the posts out of my garden--some of you will know what I'm talking about!

I got the house listed on the Grand Rapids Historical Landmarks Roster in 1996. I'm number 66, the Charles A Hauser House.


Patricia W. said...

I'm intrigued and can't wait to learn more and see more pictures.

In order to post a comment I was forced to sign up to Google, it wouldn't accept my Blogger signon/password so I'm not sure what's going on.

Marilyn said...

I've now changed that. I didn't know it was that restrictive and was just trying to cut down on spammers.

Greg said...

On an episode of The American Experience on PBS about the anarchist movement going on in the US during the late 19th and early 20th century they talked about the 1890s depression. It said that more than 50 railroads went bankrupt in the US between 1892 and 1893.