William DeYoe House

Photographed by Alex Forist, April 2006

  • Location: 604 [602] West South Street, Kalamazoo
  • Survey ID: R-7
  • Designation: William DeYoe House
  • Date: 1853-54
  • Style: Gothic Revival

The following material is from the 1973 Initial Inventory of Historic Sites and Buildings in Kalamazoo and was made available for use here by the Historic Preservation Coordinator of the City of Kalamazoo. See Introduction to an Initial Inventory for details about how the survey was conducted.

In the 1840's and 1850's, a taste for gothic architecture swept the country. This new style, favorite of romantic literary figures like Washington Irving, never really supplanted the dominant taste for classic temples. It did appeal, however, to individuals who felt themselves just a little different from the "common man" of the day. Proponents of the style saw in it an evocation of the past, symbolized by the steep-pitched roofs of an earlier day when thatch was the basic roofing, symbolized, too, in this example, by the triple pointed window (typical of the gothic revival style). Other elements of the style included the ornamental brackets beneath the roof the hooded window treatment, and in many cases, elaborately jig-sawed ornament called "tracery" that reminded romantics of natural foliage patterns. The Gothic Revival was in a sense our first "suburban" architecture. 

South Street belonged to Plat #2, Kalamazoo's earliest suburb. Villagers first began building scattered homes along the sandy street in the 1840's. On the south side of the street stood the little Greek Revival cottage John Hogeboom finished in 1847. On the north side, John Edwards, Justice of the Peace, had built for himself in 1852. In 1852, William DeYoe, a young lawyer from New York, not yet thirty, bought a lot for himself just east of Edwards. The next year, DeYoe, now Postmaster in charge of much of southwestern Michigan, built this fine brick home in the gothic manner. He served as Postmaster from 1853 through 1857, then returned to his law practice. In 1860, the Census-taker found him at thirty-seven, a wealthy man ($24,000 estate) with extensive property holdings. Villagers were shocked three years later when DeYoe died suddenly "on the cars just east of Lockport" as one man remembered, as he returned from a trip to New York. He left his estate to his young wife, Maria, not yet thirty. Maria kept the family together in the South Street house, occupying it until 1904. Her daughter, Wilhelmina, lived on there for many years afterward. 

Maps:  

1853--W. DeYoe, but no hse.
1861--house shown

Kalamazoo County Tax Rolls:

1851 No DeYoe listed 
1852 Wm. DeYoe S1/2 of lot M, Sec 16    50          $1.48 
1853 Wm. DeYoe 3 rods E1/2 of L& 21/2 rods W1/2  M 500
         1.99 pd. 1/2/54
1854 Wm. DeYoe same 3000
1855 Wm. DeYoe same 2200

U.S. Population Census Rolls:

1860--William DeYoe 37, attorney, $20,000 real, $4,000 personal, b. New York; Maria DeYoe, 26, b. New York; Edward, 6 Bridget, servant; Harriet DeYoe, 16; Edward DeYoe, 29, clerk, b. New York

1870--Maria DeYoe, 36, keeping house, 20000 real, 300 pers. 
b. New York; Edward, 16; Wilhemina, 7; Samuel Clark, 70, 5000 pers., NY; Francis Van Wyck, 44, b. NY.

1880--Maria DeYoe, 42, widow, b. NY; Wilamina, 16, at college; Edward 25, son, paymaster on R.R.

Kalamazoo Gazette: December 5, 1943

This report was converted from a typewritten document to a digital text document in September 2004. Other than punctuation and spelling corrections, and the addition of BOLD type site address and names, no changes were made. Minor formatting changes were made for use on this website, but the text was not altered. Original survey dated 1973.

Sources

History Room Subject File

Houses - Kalamazoo - South, W., 602. 

Books

Kalamazoo: Nineteenth-Century Homes in a Midwestern Village

  • Schmitt, Peter J.
  • Kalamazoo City Historical Commission, 1976, pages 80-81.
  • H 720.9774 S355

Articles

"De Yoe Home on South Street Built by Early Postmaster"

  • Kalamazoo Gazette, 5 December 1943, page 8, column 5