By Retroit’s Pics on Flickr. October, 2008.
The Style of 82 Alfred Street.
What makes 82 Alfred a Queen Anne-style house? While it is a common error to refer it and similar houses as “Victorian,” this designation speaks for the time period it was built (the Victorian Era), rather than the architectural features of the structure. Built in 1879, 82 Alfred is of Victorian-era construction, but considering that a number of architectural styles were popular during the Victorian era, calling it a “Victorian” is a rather vague distinction.
Queen Anne houses are known for their complexity. While there are not specific elements that must be present in order for a house to be classified as such, there are features that are common to the style, and the exterior of 82 Alfred boasts a number of them.
Combining the complexity of textures, window variations, the castle-eqsue tower, large covered front porch, and abundance of details, 82 Alfred is most definitely a Queen Anne.
More on Queen Anne architecture:
Baists Map of Brush Park, Detroit. 1896. 82 (36) Alfred is visible near the top left, between Woodward and John R.
Maps like this, especially Sanborn Fire Insurance maps, were created to give detailed depictions of the built environment for real estate and insurance purposes. With access to these maps, insurance companies across the country were able to spread liability out geographically. An insurance company in California could consult their map of Detroit and see what a kind of building material, size, and location of a structure in order to assess the premiums for a policy without having to physically visit the location. Luckily for today’s local historians, genealogists, and other interested parties, a great deal survived and have been digitized by the Library of Congress.
In February 1902, Frank C. Andrews (who lived at 82 Alfred* 1900-~1902) made newspaper headlines across the country when he was accused of and later charged with embezzling more than a million dollars (over $20 million today) from the Detroit City Savings Bank. Andrews was the vice president of the bank, a wealthy businessman, and the Detroit police commissioner at the time of his arrest.
I have been writing a much lengthier article about the life of Frank C. Andrews that will be posted soon. He is a truly fascinating character in the house’s history who has sadly been all but forgotten—basically nothing has been written about him for a century. I can’t wait to share it.
*36 Alfred before 1920
82 Alfred Street MLS Listing, 2012.
A Brush Park street scape as it looked at the turn of the 20th century. Though 82 Alfred is not pictured, this image gives the house and it’s neighborhood some historical context. The photo is both beautiful and distressing, as this is just a small sampling of the city’s ineffable architectural loss.