Amanda McLaughlin and Jeffery Sloan stand on the porch of their home, which dates back to at least 1895.

Amanda McLaughlin and Jeffery Sloan stand on the porch of their home, which dates back to at least 1895.

Photo by Erin Sanchez


History lives on in St. Clair Shores house

By: Kristyne E. Demske | St. Clair Shores Sentinel | Published November 4, 2019

 McLaughlin and Sloan consider where to hang the new historical marker on their home Oct. 26.

McLaughlin and Sloan consider where to hang the new historical marker on their home Oct. 26.

Photo by Erin Sanchez

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ST. CLAIR SHORES — It was the character of the house that sold Amanda McLaughlin and Jeff Sloan on their 11 Mile Road home.

When the couple was looking for a home in 2015 and 2016, they were shown plenty of residences in the area — many that wouldn’t need any work before they could move in. But when they came across the photos of the home at the corner of Rockwood Street and 11 Mile Road, McLaughlin said she knew it was the one.

They got the keys in May of 2016, and as they and their friends and family worked together throughout the summer to refinish the original hardwood floors, landscape, remove layers of wallpaper, redo the electricity, refinish the kitchen and make other updates, McLaughlin said that she began to realize there was a lot of history in the home.

Every nook and cranny held a new surprise, from the rough-hewn main support beam in the basement; square nails fastening the joists throughout the home; Eastlake hinges on the basement cellar door; and the intact, but no longer functioning, knob and tube electrical wiring throughout the home.

It was those unique qualities that led McLaughlin to begin researching the home’s history, which she was able to trace back to at least 1895, when it was owned by Henry Patow, a German immigrant.

Before the area was St. Clair Shores, it was called Erin Township, and township maps from 1895 indicate the presence of a structure at the current location that was owned by Patow. According to records from the U.S. census, Patow was a farmer, married to Mary. He died in 1925 at the age of 69 from pneumonia, but his wife was still listed as residing in the home in what was then called the village of St. Clair Shores in the 1930 census.

McLaughlin said she has been researching the home ever since they moved in. She said her goal is to find a historical photo of the house.

“It had so much character,” she said. “This was obviously a farmhouse ... (the farm) went all the way back to Martin (Road).”

Her research led her and Sloan to apply for a historical marker from the St. Clair Shores Historical Commission, which was presented Oct. 26.

Historical Commission Chairman Jerry Sielagoski said that the historical marker program was created to recognize and honor the importance of historical structures in the community.

“We appreciate and applaud your research efforts,” he told McLaughlin and Sloan. “St. Clair Shores has a wealth of historic structures. A lot of people aren’t aware of the history.”

About a dozen other homes have received historical markers through the program after the homeowners have done research to prove the approximate or actual age of their home. The 11 Mile home, for example, was given a marker of “circa 1895” because that was the earliest that McLaughlin could find records of the house, but Sielagoski said that the architectural details of the home indicate that it may be older than that.   

In addition to the residential historical marker program, the commission has erected historical landmarks around the city. Five markers have been placed since 2015: at Kyte Monroe Memorial Park on Harper Avenue; the Davis Block at 11 Mile Road and Harper Avenue; Richards Automotive at Nine Mile Road and Harper Avenue; Roy O’Brien Ford at Nine Mile Road and Greater Mack Avenue; and St. Gertrude’s Catholic Church on Jefferson Avenue at L’Anse Street.

The commission planned to dedicate two new markers for the program Nov. 2, after press time, at Blossom Heath Inn on Jefferson Avenue, and at the Labadie Farm on the corner of Jefferson Avenue and 10 Mile Road, currently occupied by Pegasus Taverna.

“We do the research on those and identify historic sites,” said Sielagoski.

Anyone who has historical photos of the home or the area of the northwest corner of 11 Mile Road and Rockwood Street, where the home is located, is asked to send them to historicalcommission@scsmi.net.

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