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Swain House, Fort Street, Detroit | by southofbloor
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Swain House, Fort Street, Detroit

Fort Street West (possibly at Swain Street), constructed 1861-3. I believe this might have been the house of Isaac N. Swain (1807-1880), who made his money in lumber in Watervliet, and in flour. He was the president of Woodmere cemetry and is buried in Lot 1184.


The "American Biographical History of Eminent and Self-made Men" p. 136 notes that Swain bought 12 acres of land on the Detroit River after his wife's death in 1858 (and his subsequent remarriage in 1859), and "commenced with its cultivation and adornment". Between 1861 and 63 he constructed "one of the most substantial mansions of the west". It notes his library, and that he has never taken "wine, or malt, or spirituous liquors as a beverage, nor does he use tea, coffee or tobacco". Even in his 70's he was a muscular well built man of 6'-2" who had a long flowing beard, iron grey hair, light clear complexion and a "fine set of natural teeth", "erect as most men of fifty". He is noted as "simple and easy in his manners; prompt, courteous , and agreeable in all business transactions; and delights in relating his varied adventures, especially to the young".


And in 1881...


Photo is from WSU Virtual Motor City, noted as:

Old Detroit; Residences; Swain Home - Note: Negative reads “Fort Street” (21295)


By Sheldon Smith with E. A. Walshe. Strangely someone named R. A. Sheldon produced the similar Starling Medical College in 1848 with a remarkably similar tower.


Swain is buried in Lot 1184 of Woodmere cemetery.

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Uploaded on November 26, 2009