Mial M. Boyd House

map1The property at 128 Jackson Street started out in the ownership of Chelsea’s founder, Elisha Congdon, who purchased his lands in 1834 Eighteen years later, Congdon sold six lots that ran from the railroad to Middle Street to Mial M. Boyd, who moved from Lima Township into Chelsea in 1852.

Boyd was already married to his first wife Julie Wood Boyd when he purchased the lots in Chelsea. They erected a home, no later than 1853, deep on the property facing Middle Street. It was designed in the Greek Revival style which was popular in America through the mid-1800s. It was an architectural form easily adapted from high-style to more common establishments, which might be said of the small Boyd structure. An uncommon variant of the common Michigan Hen-and-Chicks Greek Revival home, the structure only had one wing extending from a central core. Later a small carriage stall or garage was added to the east side, offering some balance to the symmetry. At some point, likely around 1942, the house was updated with Colonial Revival details such as six-over-one windows and a new entrance hood. A later renovation, converted the main entrance from facing Middle Street to facing Jackson Street. And the most recent renovation added a handicap-accessible ramp to the now back of the house and transformed the garage into a kitchen.

The interior of the home was laid out in typical Greek Revival symmetry with four like-size rooms on the main floor flanking a small entry hall. The half second story held sleeping quarters. Much of the original design is still evident in the house, which retains its plank flooring and latch-handle wooden doors. Electrical and plumbing was updated in 1996, along with providing Internet connectivity to the historic home.

Mial Boyd deeded the property to his second wife, Hannah Fidelia Sturdrant Boyd, in 1873. A year later, she sold lots 18, 17, and part of 33 to Loren Babcock, a Chelsea dry goods and general merchandise businessman. Then in 1880, Hannah Boyd sold a strip of land from lots 33, 34, and 35 to the Michigan Central Railroad. In 1891, Boyd sold the remaining property to James P. and Sarah Freer Wood, who within months sold it to Dr. harry Avery and his wife Ida Whitaker Avery. Dr. Avery was a dentist who operated his practice at Dr. George Palmer’s medical practice at 138 e. Middle Street from 1892 to his death in 1922.

In 1911, the Avery’s retained most of lots 16 and 17 along Middle Street, while selling the back lots that fronted Jackson Street, which included the original Boyd house. There was a succession of owners after this time including Sarah Downer Knee, her nephews Darwin and Edgar Downer, Addison and Lillian Shutes, and then to their son Leon D. and his wife Eleanor Eisenbeiser Shutes in November 1944. It is believed to be the Shutes family who “modernized” the home in the Colonial Revival style.

The home and property was purchased by Charles S. Cameron, long time teacher and superintendent of Chelsea schools, and his wife Ruth in 1957. They lived there for several years before selling it to Edmund and Betty Green, who remained in the home until their deaths. However, the Green’s had sold the property to Dave and Kathy Clark in 1989, who allowed the couple to stay on lease. Ed Green used the house for a few years as a bait shop, selling mostly night crawlers to area fishermen. After his death, the Clark’s sold to the current owners, siblings Harry and Glenda Warner, in 1995. It is Glenda Warner who renovated the historic home from top to bottom and with the property zoned commercial, she opened a law practice in the building. After a few years, she moved out and leased the building to other professionals. The owners then sold it to CAHS in late 2015.