1017 College Ave.
1017 College Ave. Houghton MI 49931
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1017 College Avenue

Milton R. Dickens House, built 1902-1904
Dickens was manager of the Shelden Estate
One of few College Ave. homes still family owned

One of the house’s owners, Joseph Deonnelly, served as president of the Houghton Association of Commerce.

Hancock architect H.T. Liebert designed the house at 1017 College Avenue in 1902. Liebert’s drawings, in possession of the homeowner, are dated 1902. In 1908, Helen Dickens, widow, lived in the home with her son, Milton Robert Dickens. Milton was a bookkeeper and eventually the manager of the Shelden Estate, a memorial to one of the founders of the area. By 1918, Milton had married Henrietta Hoffenbacher. He and Henrietta owned the property until 1935 when it was sold to Edward A. Hamar, who subsequently rented out the house.

Joseph and Virginia Donnelly purchased the home from Hamar in 1939. Born in Ontonagon, Joseph Donnelly held several judgeships throughout Michigan before becoming the U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Michigan in 1934. He began a private law practice in Houghton when he bought this house. Donnelly served as president of the Houghton Association of Commerce and was appointed probate judge of Houghton County in 1953. The Donnellys occupied the house until 1970.

Classical Revival details include the Palladian dormers crowned with swan’s neck pediments, and corner pilasters. The columned front porch is enclosed with glass and columns, and topped by a balustrade. The interior of the home features original oak trim and flooring on the first floor and maple flooring on the second. Milton Dickens built a garage in back of the house and Joseph Donnelly enclosed a back porch area next to the kitchen.

The home is still a private residence. It was lovingly resided and repainted in brilliant jewel tones in the early 2000s.  

Sources: Historic Houghton Walking Tour (c. 2000); Keweenaw Time Traveler; Michigan Tech University Archives and Historical Collections; R.L. Polk & Co.’s Houghton County Directory (1907-1908, 1916-1917). R.L. Polk & Co., Publishers.; Scarlett, S.F. (2021). Company Suburbs. University of Tennessee Press; U.S. Census records.

Classical Revival / Colonial Revival
H.T. Liebert