EATON RAPIDS, Mich. — In the heart of Eaton Rapids, you will find one of the state's finest Gothic Revival homes. This style was popular in the Civil War area.
Located at 123 N. East St., it's considered an important piece of the city's history.
The two-story gingerbread-looking house was built in 1866 by Issac N. Reynolds. He moved to the area in the mid-1800s and was a wealthy merchant in the dry goods business.
"He was really one of the founders of the Temperance Movement," said Deb Malewski, a member of the Eaton County Historical Commission.
"We had mineral wells here and, supposedly, if you drank the water or bathe in the water, it will cure whatever ails you. So that brought tons and tons of people to town there were multiple trainloads of people every day coming to Eaton Rapids for this water."
She says the people coming into town to drink and bathe in the mineral water also took to drinking liquor to pass the time. The drunkenness upset families in town and a group decided to start a push for temperance.
"Mr. Reynolds was one of the main people behind that and had the Red Ribbon Hall downtown built, which is where they met," Malewski said. "They would wear a little red ribbon on their lapel indicating that they were not going to drink. So that was his main thing."
The land surrounding the house was much bigger originally but was later subdivided. Reynolds even named a street after his fourth wife, Diana.
Other important people have also lived in this house including Dr. Bert Van Ark a well-known doctor in town and a Veteran of both World War I and World War II. In 1974, owner Paul Huston submitted the house to the state of Michigan to be on the U.S. National Register of Historic Places. Malewski says the house was remodeled in 1925 and 1945.
The spacious home is on the market for the first time in 40 years and is listed for $353,000.
Jan and the late Edward McRee bought the house in 1978 and have kept the historical feel of the outside of the home.
"It's roughly 3500 square feet. It has five bedrooms, three full bedrooms, a beautiful office and a kitchen that was updated 30 years ago which is still absolutely stunning," said Laura DeLong, owner of Laura DeLong Realty.
She says it's a rare find in the city of Eaton Rapids.
It also sits on a little over three acres, has a grove of 200-year-old oak trees, a side entrance where the horse and carriage would pull up to deliver the milk, a carriage block in the front of the house, a fireplace and tons of storage space.
The grand piano when you walk through the front door stays with the house. Mrs. McRee was a music teacher and it holds memories in the home.
She was also an interior designer and the artworks throughout the home were things she loved and gathered from traveling with her late husband.
Malewski says the history of the house draws people from all over, and they hope it will continue to add value to the city.
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