Arthur Parker earned his wealth by serving as Secretary-Treasurer of the Detroit Boiler Company in the late Nineteenth Century when Detroit was one of the nation’s leading centers for the manufacture of steel, iron and wood products. East Jefferson Avenue became an upscale residential area after the 1840s when Francis Palms began his involvement in developing Detroit real estate. From then until the First World War I era, quite a few prosperous Detroiters built their large residences along this busy thoroughfare. When Arthur Parker decided to build a home commensurate with his status, he elected a prestigious East Jefferson Avenue location adjoining the home of Frederick Stearns, who headed the highly successful Stearns Pharmaceutical firm. The Parker residence is a two-and-one-half story home in a neo-Medieval style, although it looks quite Tudor to me. Note that the ground-level story is faced in brick, while stucco was used to face the upper story. You also see angular but appealing bays, a heavy use of timbering and attractively designed glass windows at the upper level. The Stearns residence, built at the same time but designed by architects William Straton and Frank Baldwin is very compatible with the Parker residence because of its use of timber beams at the upper level. I do not know if Frederick Stearns and Arthur Parker were friends, but one hundred and ten years later, I infer they had similar tastes in architecture.
There is a Detroit Boiler Company doing business in Detroit today. I believe that this is quite different from the Nineteenth Century firm that constructed boilers, the company whose prosperity led to the building of this very attractive home.
Architects: William Malcomson and William Higginbotham
Date of Construction: 1901
Use in 2011: This is the home of the Southeast Michigan Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church of America.
Website for current occupants: http://www.metrodetroitelca.org/
City of Detroit Designated Historic District: Not listed
State of Michigan Registry of Historic Sites: Not listed
National Register of Historic Places. This home is included in the East Jefferson Avenue Residential Thematic Resource.
Photograph: Ren Farley
Description prepared: January, 2011