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The Marcus Eugene Carlton house, built in 1884, is significant as the work of prominent Michigan architect John Scott, who was noted for his design of numerous public building across Michigan, including the 1902 Wayne County Courthouse in Detroit. The house was built as Carlton's first marital residence. In 1886, he moved to Flint, Michigan, where he was a prominent businessman operating a stationery and office supply company. This house is an excellent local example of Queen Anne architecture and the early residential work of John Scott.

  • Marcus Eugene Carlton House, west elevation, 2012
  • Marcus Eugene Carlton House, north elevation, 2012
  • Marcus Eugene Carlton House, north and west elevations, 2012
  • Marcus Eugene Carlton, ca. 1907

This house built in the summer of 1884 for Marcus Eugene Carlton and his wife, the former Lydia E. Shoup. Lydia's parents, Lemuel W. and Laura Shoup, were pioneer settlers of Oakland Township who lived on East Street in Rochester after they retired from farming. Lydia Shoup married M. Eugene Carlton in 1881, and three years later her parents sold a lot on East Street to the young couple so that they could build a home.

In May 1884, the Rochester Era announced that "M.E. Carlton will soon commence the erection of a beautiful Swiss cottage on the lot just north of his father-in-law L.W. Shoup's residence." A few weeks later, the newspaper's readers learned that the house would be a substantial one, designed by a prominent architect who was well-known in Rochester. The Era reported on June 19, 1884:

"M.E. Carlton has let the contract for building his residence on North Oliver st., to Arkin & Jones, for $2,000. The design is Swiss cottage, with all the modern attachments, combinations and improvements. According to the plans and specifications, which were executed by John Scott, of Detroit, "Gene" will have, when completed, one of the handsomest and best appointed residences in this section of country." (In the late decades of the 19th century, East Street was referred to as Oliver Street and is even so labeled on some maps.)

John Scott, architect of the Carlton house, was not only becoming a prominent Detroit architect at the time, he was also the son-in-law of Lysander Woodward of Rochester. John Scott designed a number of buildings of note, some of which are now on the National Register of Historic Places, including the 1902 Wayne County Courthouse, the 1888 Gogebic County Courthouse, and his personal residence on East Ferry Street in Detroit. In Rochester, John Scott was also the architect of the old Congregational parsonage house on Third and Pine.

Of architect Scott, the Detroit Free Press said this in its front-page obituary in 1928:

[begin quote]

John Scott, dean of Detroit architects at the time of his retirement from active business a few days ago, died late Thursday at his country home near Rochester following a brief illness.

A simple funeral service will be held at his home Sunday afternoon with burial in Rochester. Mr. Scott is survived by a brother, Arthur, and a sister, Miss Anna Scott, both of Windsor. His wife, the late Emma Woodward Scott, died May 6, 1928, 53 years after their marriage.

John Scott was born in Ipswich, England, May 10, 1850, and came to Detroit with his father while he was still a young man. He became one of the city's great architects, building the Wayne county building, the Old Cadillac hotel, the Grosse Pointe home of Dr. H. N. Torrey and many other of the city's finest residences.

He was a member of the Detroit club and a member until recent years of the Detroit Country club the Bloomfield Hills Country club and other organizations. He was an ardent music lover and a substantial patron of the Detroit Symphony. He was a fellow of the American Institute of Architects and a former president of the Michigan branch of this organization.

[end quote]

The Carltons had lived in their beautiful new home on East Street for only two years. In 1886, they relocated to Flint and established the M.E. Carlton book and stationery store. The business prospered and was a major office supply outlet in Flint for decades during the first half of the twentieth century.

For a time in the late 1970s, the house was the location of Heidi's Swiss Pastry Shoppe. It is currently subdivided into private apartments.

Lemuel Shoup and Laura Shoup his wife to M. Eugene Carlton, 31 May 1884, consideration $250, lot 132, Richardson and Adams Addition to the Village of Rochester, Oakland County Record of Deeds, liber 147, p.97.

"M.E. Carlton will soon commence the erection of a beautiful Swiss cottage...," Rochester Era, May 22, 1884.

"M.E. Carlton has let the contract for building his residence...," Rochester Era, June 19, 1884.

"Gene Carlton's new residence on North Oliver st. looms up in great shape...," Rochester Era, September 4, 1884, p.1.

"M.E. Carlton's family have removed to Flint, their future home," Rochester Era, April 16, 1886, p.1.

"Harvey Jones has taken possession of his late purchase, the M.E. Carlton property," Rochester Era, May 14, 1886, p.1.

"Scott Funeral to be Sunday," Detroit Free Press, December 8, 1928, p.1.

"United States Census, 1900," database with images, FamilySearch ( : accessed 13 July 2020), Harvey F Jones, Avon township Rochester village, Oakland, Michigan, United States; citing enumeration district (ED) 81, sheet 13B, family 301, NARA microfilm publication T623 (Washington, D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, 1972.); FHL microfilm 1,240,735. 

"United States Census, 1930," database with images, FamilySearch ( : accessed 13 July 2020), Grace Currey, Rochester, Oakland, Michigan, United States; citing enumeration district (ED) ED 4, sheet 16B, line 77, family 389, NARA microfilm publication T626 (Washington D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, 2002), roll 1016; FHL microfilm 2,340,751. 

"United States Census, 1940," database with images, FamilySearch ( : 29 February 2020), Murray L Stotts, Rochester, Avon Township, Oakland, Michigan, United States; citing enumeration district (ED) 63-4, sheet 3A, line 25, family 60, Sixteenth Census of the United States, 1940, NARA digital publication T627. Records of the Bureau of the Census, 1790 - 2007, RG 29. Washington, D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, 2012, roll 1798.

Klein, Susan Tauber. "Authenticity Reigns at Swiss Shop," Rochester Eccentric, June 5, 1978, p.1B.

Image Sources(Click to expand)

Deborah Larsen

Deborah Larsen

Deborah Larsen

Rochester: A Sketch of One of the Best Towns on the Map, 1907 [public domain]