#8 Florence Andrew House

1408 Michigan Avenue

Built 1904

Written by Fern Eddy Schultz

Architect Charles Whitney Stevens, Chicago

 

           In 1905, it was announced in the local

media that the family of Kent M. Andrew “was

becoming settled in their new home on

Michigan Avenue that has been in course of

construction since the past summer.” The

architect, Charles Whitney Stevens of Chicago,

prepared the design. It was prepared “to present in a fresh and pleasing manner the familiar colonial effect, both inside and out.” The builder was Charles O. Larson who with Emil Danielson were co-founders of Larson-Danielson Construction.
           Andrew R. Gerbrich did all of the painting and decorating. Edward Kanney installed the plumbing and the heating apparatus, using the city heat which was planned by Robert Moore. An in-depth description of the interior was provided. Entering from a spacious veranda at the front, to a large reception hall finished in red Flemish oak, the walls were treated in orange burlap to the chair rail and above that in a yellow fern leaf figure which shed a mellow light. At the left were the living and dining rooms and the drawing-room and stairway to the right. The kitchen and offices occupied the rear. 
           Under the second rise of the stairway was a handsome bookcase and cozy corner with an inviting upholstered bench, and at the corner was a large pier glass. Behind the stairs there was a den or smoking room with a red grass cloth to the picture rail and the upper third finished in blue, from the ceiling a heavy chain was suspended to which was attached a beautiful red art shade. 
           Off the den and entered from the hall was a toilet room in white tile and nickel. The parlor, fifteen feet square, was finished in mahogany with the walls hung in tapestry paper of effective design. The living room, the largest room in the house, was 15 by 21 feet and the woodwork was of weathered oak. The walls were of terre cotta with a bay tree dado, harmonizing with the wood finish. There was a large, comfortable fireplace of pressed brick and mantel of weathered oak; the dining room, also in weathered oak, and with a beam ceiling decorated in a green color scheme, the paneled walls being hung with green burlap to the chair rail and finished with a grapevine figure above. The kitchen and pantries were in Georgia pine and the china closet in weathered oak.
           Above the stairs were five commodious chambers and a tiled bathroom finished in nickel trimmings. The upper hall was done throughout in red Flemish oak. The chambers were finished in white enameled woodwork and mahogany doors and the walls in each room were of different color from the rest, blue, pink and yellow being used. One of the chambers would be utilized as a sewing room. The servants’ quarters, linen closets and store rooms were of Georgia pine. Fixtures for gas and electric lights were placed in every room, and were of colonial designs with opalescent glass shades to match the glass in the windows. 
           Kent Marvin Andrew was born in Buffalo, New York, 23 July 1868, the son of Charles A. and Indiana C. (Andrew) Marvin. When he was three years old, his mother died. His father died four years later and in 1875, it was reported he was adopted by his maternal grandparents, Judge and Mrs. William P. Andrew of La Porte. It was also reported that upon his adoption, he was legally given the Andrew name. It might be noted here that research has not divulged adoption records in La Porte County, so this may have occurred in New York. Kent came to La Porte in July 1875.
           In 1885, Mr. Andrew was a bookkeeper and cashier of the Moore & Hutchinson Lumber Company in La Porte and a year later, he went to Minneapolis (Ottawa County), Kansas, to take a banking position. In 1891, he resigned and took an insurance agency position in Chicago. He returned to La Porte the same year to work with his brother-in-law in the La Porte Carriage Company.
           On 16 June 1892, Kent married Mattie Ellen Weaver, daughter of Hart L. and Martha Ellen (Wilkinson) Weaver. They had two daughters: Florence, born 17 November 1895 and Ruth, born 29 October 1897, who married Robert Coffeen. Florence was a prominent music teacher (piano) and Ruth taught school (English) at La Porte High School. In 1912, Kent Andrew accepted a position with Firestone Tire & Rubber Co. in Akron, Ohio, but resigned in 1913 and returned to La Porte. He then began his work at La Porte Savings Bank and was elected cashier and later a trustee. Before becoming chairman of the board, he was vice president.
           In 1917, he was the leader in the formation of  the La Porte Loan & Trust Company which complimented the services of the savings bank firm. He was active in many local organizations and was a trustee of the Pine Lake Cemetery Association for many years. He died 10 August 1954 at his home. Mattie preceded him in death on 08 April 1946. He is buried in Maple Hill Section of Pine Lake Cemetery with his many Andrew ancestors.
           Florence continued living in the home at 1408 Michigan Avenue. She retired after 36 years as organist for St. Paul United Church of Christ, 1101 Lincoln Way. Her death occurred 19 March 1985, at the age of 89 years.

 

Read about many other historic homes in La Porte, in Preserve Historic La Porte’s book Historic Architecture of La Porte Indiana: The First 20 Years of the Candlelight Tour, available through Preserve Historic La Porte or the La Porte County Historical Society Museum.

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