Burry Fry House

Photo by Alex Forist, April 2006

  • Location: 723 West South Street, Kalamazoo
  • Survey ID: R-20
  • Designation: Burry Fry House
  • Date: 1915
  • Style: Tudor-Colonial

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.

Joseph Fry came to New York from France in 1844, when he was seventeen. At the end of the Civil War, he moved with his wife, Sarah (who bore him eleven children) to Kalamazoo and went to work as a "drayman." The Michigan Census-taker found him living on North Street in 1894. His son, Burry, Twenty-four and proprietor of a local grocery, also lived at home. For a brief, time, Burry would become President of the Kalamazoo Feed Water Purifying Company (Inc. 1897; cap. $25,000). Before long, he moved to Academy Street and entered into partnership running the "Hub Restaurant" on Main Street. An early automobiler and sportsman, Fry served as Vice-Commodore of the Kalamazoo Ice Yacht Club at Gull Lake for a number of years.

In 1909, he and his German-born wife, Emma, bought the old Greek Revival home on South Street that had belonged to journalist and local historian George Torrey and his family for more than half a century. Torrey's widow, Georgiana, who had rented out the home for a number of years while living in Jackson, agreed to a sale price of "$1.00 and other valuable considerations." The Frys held the building as income property until 1915. They tore it down and built the sturdy brick "Colonial" home which now stands on the site. There they lived for the next decade and more.

Fry passed away in 1925, his wife in 1928. His daughter, Thelma, lived on at the South Street address for a few years and then the house passed in the mid-thirties to other. Dwight Stocker, President of the Michigan Paper Company at Plainwell, occupied it during the War years; and, in the 1950's, the building was converted to apartment use.

Kalamazoo County Tax Rolls:

1910 Burry Fry NE 1/4 lot D, sec. 16 2300 (Emma Edwards W 5/8 L at 6000)
1911 same same 2300 auto at 800
1912 same same 2300 rev. to 3500 land, 1200 bldg. auto 600
1913 same same 4700 (Emma Edwards, 13000)
1914 same same 4700  
1915 same same 5700  
1916 same same 9500  
1917 same same 10000  
1918 same same 10000 (Emma Edwards still 13000)

Kalamazoo City Directory:

site for many years of home of George Torrey, who died Feb.19, 1895; Georgiana Torrey rented the property to a variety of tenants beginning with Harry W. Bush, Adv. Mgr. with Kalamazoo Telegraph beginning about 1896 and continuing to 1899 and later. Deeds Office shows Georgiana Torrey of Jackson, Michigan selling NE1/4of D to Burry Fry and Emma M. Fry on September 24, 1909, for $1.00 and other valuable considerations

Burry Fry continued to rent the Torrey house through 1913. 

1915 Burry Fry, (Hub Restaurant) at 438 Academy, crossed out and  727 W. South inserted
1916-1919 same
1921 Burry Fry (Emma M.) 727 W. South, no job listed 1922-1924 same
1926 -27 Mrs. Emma Fry, widow Burry, 723 W. South (address change)
1929 Thelma C. Fry
1931 Malcolm Galbraith (Mrgt.) Director of Sales, Upjohn
1934 Thelma Fry
1935 Arthur Ingalls (Violet) photographer
1937-1945 Dwight Stocker (listed in 1945 as President Michigan Paper  Co. Plainwell)
1947 Phillip Miller (Roberta) zone Mgr. Arctic Sealtest Ice Cream 1948-1955 Wallace Borgman, Physician and others
1957-1971 listed as "apartments"

State  Census Rolls:

1894 

122 E. North, Joseph Fry, 67, Drayman, b. France; lived in Michigan 28 years, 50 in US. speaks German and French; Sarah Fry, 60, wife, bore 11 children, 8 still living, b. NY, lived in Michigan 28 years; Eliza Fry, 37, daughter, at home, b. NY; Burry Fry, 24, son, propr, grocery, b. Mich.; Grace Fry, 27, daughter, at home, b. Mich.; William G. Fry, 19, son, teamster, b. Mich.

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.