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Rochester jeweler Edward S. Barnes built this two-story, Colonial Revival-style, brick residence in 1906. Local oral tradition says that Barnes used brick reclaimed from the demolition of the nearby Detroit Sugar Company mill to built the house. It is one of three local residences believed to have been built with brick from the sugar mill.


  • Edward Samuel Barnes House, east elevation, 2020
  • Edward Samuel Barnes House, south and east elevations, 1907

This house was built by Rochester jeweler Edward S. Barnes in the summer of 1906. Oral history suggests that the house was one of several built using reclaimed brick from the Detroit Sugar Company factory on Woodward Street, which was being torn down at that time.

The Detroit Sugar Company had built a large beet processing mill on the banks of Paint Creek, along today's Woodward Street in Rochester, in 1899. The mill was not the hoped-for economic boon to the community and shut down after about four campaign seasons, due to poor-quality beet crops in the area, the lifting of tariffs on Cuban sugar, and other factors. After it was deemed unprofitable for the long term, the mill was demolished and the bricks were re-used for other construction projects. Several local houses, including the Barnes house, are all that physically remain of the Detroit Sugar Company mill today.

Barnes was born in New Jersey in 1857, the son of Samuel and Ann Moore Barnes. He came with his parents to Avon Township and was employed for a number of years at the Barnes Paper Mill. He also learned telegraphy and worked as a telegraph operator and agent for the Michigan Central Railroad. In 1903, he decided to leave his former occupation and go into the jewelry business, and continued in that line until 1925.

"E.S. Barnes is preparing to build a brick house on the corner of Second and Pine streets this coming season," Rochester Era, February 2, 1906, p.1.

"E.S. Barnes Dies in Village Mon.," Rochester Clarion, November 27, 1931, p.1.

"United States Census, 1920," database with images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org /ark:/61903/1:1:MZQ5-7FN : accessed 30 April 2019), Edward Barns, Avon, Oakland, Michigan,United States; citing ED 159, sheet 21A, line 14, family 500, NARA microfilm publication T625 (Washington D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, 1992), roll 789; FHLmicrofilm 1,820,789.

"United States Census, 1930," database with images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:XQ1V-FX1 : accessed 30 April 2019), Edward S Barnes, Rochester, Oakland, Michigan, United States; citing enumeration district (ED) ED 4, sheet 9A, line 48, family 202,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 (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:K4GB-9BF : 29 February 2020), Frank L Gladstone, Rochester, Avon Township, Oakland, Michigan, United States; citing enumeration district (ED) 63-4, sheet 13B, line 57, family 321, 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.

Image Sources(Click to expand)

Deborah Larsen

Rochester, Michigan 1907: A Souvenir [public domain]