Constructed by wealthy lumberman Simeon Babcock in 1881, this home was described in the local newspapers of the time with a variety of adjectives such as “large,” “elegant,” being “furnished with all modern conveniences,” “one of the finest,” “a credit to the owner,” “an ornament to the city,” and “one of the handsomest residences in the city.”
Babcock was born in 1832 near Utica, New York but at an early date moved with his parents to Ohio and later to Wisconsin. On reaching maturity, Babcock moved to Milwaukee where he took up the trade of carpenter. It was here that Simeon Babcock came into the employ of Michael Engelmann; building an elegant passenger cabin for the steamboat “Manistee”. A few years later Babcock was in partnership with Engelmann as well as Manistee lumberman Ernest Salling.
After a mill was constructed in Manistee for the firm, the primary lumber yard for the partners was moved to Chicago. Babcock moved to that city for a short while but by 1877 had returned to Manistee after Salling withdrew from the partnership in turn, allowing Babcock the chance to operate his local operation.
The ornate brick residence, embellished with a turret and three bay windows, and constructed by Babcock, remained in the family until 1915 when it was sold to R.W. Smith, manager of the extended properties of the Sands Salt & Lumber Company.