Edward Ford was a member of one of Detroit’s two Ford families of successful entrepreneurs who profited from the early vehicle industry. John B. Ford was the chemical magnet who developed the Michigan Alkali Company, at a location just to the north of this home where a successor firm, BASF, now operates the facility he started. This is the Ford family that had Daniel Burnham design the impressive and recently refurbished Ford Building that still graces Detroit’s financial district on Griswold.
Edward Ford, the son of John B. Ford, had this Queen Anne style house built for himself and his wife, Carrie, in 1897. As you see, it is a very large and angular three-story home in light brown brick with extensive trim in limestone. This stone was painted red. Note the several projecting and tapered gables. Are there too many of them for today’s tastes? You also see two-story bay windows. If you look closely at the lower level, you will see iron gates across the basement windows at ground level. Perhaps this home represents the epitome of Queen Anne design as applied to homes in metropolitan Detroit.
The Fords retained a chemical operation in Wyandotte but moved much of the glass manufacturing to Toledo where they prospered when shatterproof glass replaced isinglass in the windows of automobiles. Edward Ford and his wife resided here just three years before their move to Lucas County, Ohio. The Ford’s daughter, Mary Ford Bacon, and her husband, Mark Reeves Bacon, moved into this home in 1902; hence the name that is associated with this building at present. Mark Bacon was elected to Congress in November, 1916 and took his seat in March, 1917. On April 6, 1917, he was asked to vote for or against US involvement in World War I. Along with 49 other members of Congress, he voted against sending US doughboys to the European theater. Sentiment in favor of the war was so very strong in Michigan that he was recalled from his congressional seat within three weeks of casting his vote.
Mary Bacon remained in this home until her death in 1942. She gave the residence to the Wyandotte Board of Education and they administered it as a library until 1994. Since that time, I believe that a non-profit organization had administered the Bacon Memorial District Library. This library possesses a collection of more then 8,000 photographs showing the history of Wyandotte and neighboring locations.
Architects: William Malcomson and William Higginbotham
Architectural Style: Queen Anne
Date of Construction: 1897
Use in 2006: Bacon Memorial District Library
Website for library: www.baconlibrary.org
State of Michigan Registry of Historic Places: P25368, Listed February 19, 1987
National Register of Historic Sites: Listed December 1, 1997
Photograph: Ren Farley, February, 2006
Description updated: May, 2011
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