302 Oak

This Italianate house at 302 Oak Street was built around 1858 as a simple one and-a-half-story farmhouse. Depot Town saloonkeeper George Cady and his wife, Emma, were the first owners of record. By 1880 the house had been transformed to an Italianate. The second-floor ceilings were raised to their current height of eleven feet; additions included a bay window on the first floor, eave brackets, and front and side porches.

The home’s first indoor toilets came in 1889 with the introduction of Ypsilanti’s municipal water system. A large carriage barn was erected on the site of the present garage, which was built in 1939.

Jacob Shadley, a worker at the Michigan Ladder Company, purchased the house from the Cadys in 1912. In 1935, salesman Wallace Loeffler bought the home and converted it to apartments. This was a common move by Ypsilanti homeowners facing the economic and housing demands of the Depression and World War II.

Mr. Loeffler’s daughter, Doris Trowbridge, sold the house in 1975 and four subsequent owners added their signatures. Apartments were removed, hardwood floors refinished, plaster repaired, gardens planted, and the kitchen enlarged.

Barry LaRue and Kim Clarke bought the house in 2000. They raised the roof over the kitchen and family room to add a second-floor master bedroom suite. They also constructed a two-story back porch by demolishing a neglected mudroom. They have wallpapered several rooms and installed reclaimed historic light fixtures. Artificial siding has been removed from the house’s exterior to expose preserved original clapboard.

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