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This frame house with Prairie-style influences was built in 1912 for prominent Rochester dentist Dr. Lewis Ward Curtis and his wife, Madelin Hipp Curtis. The house was located just around the corner from 307 S. Main, a commercial building that Dr. Curtis had built in 1907 to house his dental offices on the second floor and a retail merchant on the first floor. Dr. Curtis retired from the practice of medicine in 1929 in order to manage his sister's rental properties, but he continued to be very active in community affairs. Since 1995, the former Curtis residence has been the location of the Victorian Rose Tea Room.

  • Dr. Lewis Ward Curtis House, south and east elevations, 2013
  • Dr. Lewis Ward Curtis House, west and south elevations, 2013

This house was built in 1912 as the home of Dr. Lewis Ward Curtis and his wife, Madelin. Curtis bought the property in the spring of 1911. The Rochester Era noted on May 24, 1912: "Dr. Curtis has the frame of his new home adjoining The Era office up and the work is progressing rapidly." The Rochester correspondent to the Utica Sentinel reported in the newspaper's issue of August 23, 1912: "Dr. L. W. Curtis and wife are moving today into their new home on West Third street."

Lewis W. Curtis was born in Macomb County in 1879, the son of James Ewell Curtis and Maria Davis Curtis. He attended school in Rochester and his father operated a grist mill on the south end of the village (later known as the Barkham Mill). He was graduated from the University of Michigan Dental School with the class of 1902 and established his dental practice in Rochester. In 1906 he married Madelin Hipp. Curtis built a 2-story business block at 307 S. Main in Rochester in 1907, where he located his dental offices on the second floor. At times, the Curtises also lived above the store at 307 S. Main. The couple was living at 307 S. Main at the time of the 1920 federal census, but in the 1930 and 1940 censuses had resumed living at 118 W. Third. Dr. Curtis was active in community affairs as a member of the Masonic lodge and as president of the Rochester Board of Education. Madelin Hipp Curtis was active in the Rochester Woman's Club and was one of the charter members of the Avon Township Public Library Board of Trustees. Madelin Curtis died in 1952 and Dr. Curtis died in 1976 at the age of 97.

In 1995, the former Curtis home became the location of the Victorian Rose Tea Room.

Laura Axford to Lewis W. Curtis, part of lot 67, Original Plat of the Village of Rochester, March 11, 1911, Oakland County Record of Deeds, liber 241, p.572.

"Dr. Curtis has the frame of his new home...," Rochester Era, May 24, 1912, p.8.

"Dr. L. W. Curtis and wife are moving today into their new home...," Rochester Letter in the Utica Sentinel, August 23, 1912.

"United States Census, 1930," index and images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.1.1/XQ1V-QLZ : accessed 22 Mar 2013), Lewis R Curtis, 1930.

"United States Census, 1940," index and images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.1.1/K4GB-3ZY : accessed 22 Mar 2013), Lewis W Curtis, Rochester, Avon Township, Oakland, Michigan, United States; citing enumeration district (ED) 63-4, sheet , family , NARA digital publication T627, roll 1798.

"Dr. Curtis Succumbs," Rochester Clarion, October 15, 1976, p.4.

Sklar, Robert A. "Dr. Lew Curtis Dies," Rochester Eccentric, October 14, 1976, p.1A.

Image Sources(Click to expand)

Deborah Larsen

Deborah Larsen