909-911-913 College Avenue
911 College Avenue, Houghton, MI 49931
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909, 911, & 913 College Avenue

909 built before 1886
911 built 1906
913 built 1895

The modest architecture of 909, 911, and 913 College Avenue reflects the more middle-class origins of their residents, in contrast to the mansions of the upper class. - In Progress

909: (House on right, or west side, in photograph.) Built by 1886, this is one of the oldest houses on the street. The style is a subtle Picturesque, with a bay window, vertical massing, asymmetry and uneven roofline with intersecting gables. The interior features pine floors and plaster walls. The Rashley family were the original owners, selling the home to Ernest Dube in 1896. Dube was postmaster from 1895 to 1898, a real estate agent and a mine company secretary. The house is largely unchanged, with the exception of the removal of a large wraparound front porch, the addition of a picture window, and the application of siding. Sources: Bader, C. (2003, April 28) 909 College Ave

911: Built in 1906 as a hotel and boarding house for students of the Michigan College of Mines, this service remains essentially unchanged a century later. Mary Pfeiffer, the widow of downtown Houghton butcher John B. Pfeiffer, built what was known as the “Hotel Pfeiffer,” drawing her income from at least six boarders. She continued to reside and draw income from the business until her death in 1936. The ownership of the house then passed to Mary’s attorney, Arthur P. Klenner, who lived there until 1969 with his wife and kids. He sold the house to Robert and Evelyn Timm, who refurbished the kitchen and installed a fireplace in the living room in 1971. After Robert’s death in 1975, Evelyn continued to live there until 1984, when she sold it to Robert J. Bradburn. Since 1984, it has been rented to MTU students. 

The gambrel roof suggests the house was built in the Dutch Colonial Revival style. Inside, the original wood floors, built-in china cabinet, and light fixtures remain. Wood panel doors separate the living room and study from the rest of the house. The upstairs hall features a small alcove, which may have held a mounted telephone for use by earlier residents. Sources: Cornilson, C. (2003, April 28) 911 College Avenue

913: In 1883, Jabez and Sarah Cundy purchased this lot and the one to the east from the Shelden-Columbian Mine Company at a cost of $200, and built the house at 913 in 1895. The house is relatively unadorned, with a front-gable roof. They built a house in the second lot, 915, around 1899. It was demolished after a fire in 2021. Jabez was a contractor and carpenter, and died at the age of 54 just as the house was nearing completion. This house was significantly altered. Both houses passed to the Cundys’ daughter Nellie Siller in 1911, and remained in the Siller family until 1965. Since 1997, both homes have served as rental properties. 

The house at 913 College Avenue is two stories high, built upon a stone and mortar foundation. The exterior is made of wood siding and there is a bay window on the east side of the house. Only one room remains with the house’s original trim and molding. The attic was finished and turned into bedrooms and an additional bedroom was carved out of the parlor. The original pantry and storage space was converted into a laundry room and a bathroom. Sources: DeVaun, D. (2003, April 28) 913 College Ave.

909: Subtle Picturesque; 911: Dutch Colonial Revival