Hutson B. Colman House

Left: Picturesque Kalamazoo, 1909, p.60
Right: Photo by Alex Forist, April 2006
  • Location: 813 W. South Street, Kalamazoo
  • Survey ID: R-22
  • Designation: Hutson B. Colman House
  • Date: 1905
  • Style: Georgian 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.

A building boom came to South Street at the beginning of the twentieth century. Near Westnedge fine new homes went up for the Blumenbergs and the Boudemans, the Gilmores and the Lays. At the other end of the long tree-lined block rose the "Georgian" Revival home of one of Kalamazoo's prominent businessmen, Hutson Colman. Herbert Everard sold Colman a part of his lot in 1904 and the next year he chose the regular facade, hipped roof, and classical ornament that indicated that fashion for Americans newly-conscious of their colonial past. He added a wide veranda across the front with four square pillars supporting a flat roof with balustrade above. He brought a new style that contrasted sharply with the elaborate ornament of Everard's twenty-year-old Queen Anne and nearby Italianate villas of a decade earlier.

The Gazette carried a biographical note on Colman in April, 1905. He belonged to the prominent Colman drug family and had come to Kalamazoo in 1866 at the age of eleven. Graduated from Kalamazoo College in 1877, he spent a leisurely summer in Paris writing travel accounts for the hometown paper. On his return, he served for two years as principal of the old Central High School, then entered into business.

Hutson Colman first joined with C. H. Bird in manufacturing windmills during the now-forgotten era when that was a major local industry. From 1893 to 1895, however, he was President of the newly organized Home Savings Bank (Inc. 1893; Cap. $50,000). From that base he launched out to a term in 1896 as Republican State Senator; and to the presidency of the St. John Plow Company. In 1899, he began a twelve-year term as postmaster and rapidly expanded his business affiliations. When he and his wife moved into the South Street home, he was also Secretary-Treasurer of the A. L. Lakey Company. By 1908, he had added a position as Secretary of the King Paper Co. In 1909, he became President of the Kalamazoo Laundry Co. and President of the Puritan Corset Co. The latter had been incorporated in 1900 with stock of $75,000 to develop the locally-invented "Puritan clasp". By 1906, the company employed some 75 to 100 hands and produced 150 dozen corsets a day. Through 1913, Colman held all of these positions, then gradually began to retire.

Colman died in 1917, and the home continued in his estate for many years afterward. It was occupied by a variety of individuals, in particular by Mrs. Hester Cunningham, who first boarded at the address in 1914 and was listed there all through the twenties. In 1939, it housed the Michigan Academy of Radio Science, and from 1945 until well into the 1960's it served Kalamazoo College as a home for the Department of Music. It is now in use for general offices.

Kalamazoo County Tax Rolls:

1904 Herbert H. Everard sold to H. B. Colman NE lot E  $1700 17.00
1905 Hutson B. Colman  N1/2 of lot E, sec. 16  3000 pd. 7/3/05
1906 same  7000 pd. 8/14/06
1907 Hutson B. Colman  NE1/4 of lot E  6500  
  Colman and Everard NW1/4 of lot E  1000  
1908 same  6500 & 1500  
1909 Hutson B. Colman  NE1/4 & NW1/4 of E  7500  
1910 H. B. Colman  same (auto, 2400)  7500  (rev. to 8000)
1911 same  (auto, 2000)  8000  
1912 same  (pers.& auto 3500)  8000  (rev. to 6800 land 1000 bldg.)
1913 same  (pers. 3500 rev. to 5500)  8000  
1914 same  (pers. 6100)  16800  
1915 same  ( "   6500)  16800  
1916 same  ( "   3600)  16800  
1917 same  (  "  5000)  16800  
1918 H. B. Colman estate same (5000)  16800  
1919-1922 same  16800  
1923-1932 same  17000  
1933 same   rev. to 15000  
1934 same  13000  

Kalamazoo City Directory

1905

vacant 739 W. South (original home on lot)

1905 Hutson Colman (Katherine) 426 W. Main Postmaster and Sec'y Treas. A. L. Lakey Co.
1906 same (new st. no.) 747 W. South same occupation
1907 same
1908 same plus Sec'y King Paper
1909 same, 747 W. South; postmaster, Pres. Kal. Laundry; Pres. Puritan Corset
1910 Hutson Colman (Katherine) 747 W. South; Postmaster; Pres. Kal. Laundry; Sec'y-Treas. A. L. Lakey; Pres. Puritan Corset; Sec. King Paper; Sec'y-Treas. A. L. Lakey
1911 same; all jobs same
1912 same
1913 same
1914 same; Postmaster
1915 same, but no wife; Postmaster crossed out
1916 same, but no wife; Pres. Kal. Laundry Sec. King Paper; no Puritan Corset
1917 Clinton H. Cunningham; 747 W. South, no job; also Mrs. Hester C.
1919 same
1921-1929 Mrs. Hester Cunningham (1st listed as "bds" in 1914-1916)
1934-1935 Edward E. Wood, Jr. address now 813 W. South
1937 vacant
1939 Michigan Acad. of Radio Science
1942 vacant
1945-1964-plus Kal. College Department of Music
1971 general office use

 

State Census Rolls:

1894  424 Academy, H. B. Colman, 39, banker, widower, b. Mich.; Lovell Colman, 9, son, at
         school, b. Mich.; Martha Farley, 52, wife, widow, housekeeper; Grace Farley, 19,
         daughter, at home.

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.