1019 College Ave.
1019 College Ave. Houghton MI 49931
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1019 College Avenue

Built for John L. Reese, 1899
Sold to Douglass Houghton descendant in 1903
Delta Phi Epsilon sorority, 1991

The house was built with five bedrooms, a bathroom, servants’ rooms in the attic, and both electric and gas lights.

John L. Rees, assistant cashier at the National Bank of Houghton, commissioned this shingle-clad home. When it was built, the Copper Country Evening News said it was “not an extremely large house, but it is thoroughly modern in every particular.” The shingled walls were painted dark brown, the trim a cream color, and the roof green. The house had five bedrooms and a bathroom, servants’ rooms in the attic, both electric lights and gas. It cost $6,000 to build with another $1,000 spent for landscaping and outbuildings. The 1900 U.S. census lists Rees residing here with his wife, Lucia, and seven year-old daughter, Aileens.

By 1903, Rees had moved to Cleveland and sold the house to Nellie P. Douglass, who lived here with her husband, Courtney C. Douglass. Courtney was the son of Columbus C. Douglass, who worked as an assistant to his cousin Dr. Douglass Houghton (Michigan’s first state geologist and the namesake of the city of Houghton). Courtney handled his father’s real estate holdings, but this house remained the property of his wife.

The 1930 U.S. Census lists Alfred La Bine with wife, Genevieve, and young children, Welden (5 years old) and Margaret (1 year old) as residents. La Bine was a doctor and surgeon who practiced out of the Masonic Building, which is occupied today by the Houghton City Hall. It remained their home until his death in the late 1960s. It has been the home of Delta Phi Epsilon sorority since 1991.

The prominence of some of the residents of 1019 College Avenue is reflected in its size and grandeur. The house is influened by both the Queen Anne and shingle styles popular at the time. The shingles covering the exterior are original. Bay windows protrude from the front, east, and back sides of the house and an expansive open porch covers the front with an enclosed porch in the rear. The carriage house behind is now used as a garage.

Sources: Copper Country Architects; 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;

Queen Anne and Shingle style
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