Chapin House / Henry Austin Chapin - Niles, Michigan
Posted by: BruceS
N 41° 49.786 W 086° 15.210
16T E 561988 N 4631145
Quick Description: Historical marker commemorating an historic home and businessman in Niles.
Location: Michigan, United States
Date Posted: 12/25/2007 7:23:14 PM
Waymark Code: WM2VGK
The Chapin House
This Queen Anne style house, completed in 1884, was the Henry A. Chapin
family home until 1902. In 1932, when the City of Niles bought the property at
auction for $300, the Chapin children stipulated that it be used only for civic
purposes. Now serving as the Niles City Hall, the house is built of local brick
and terra-cotta tile. The interior is ornamented with leaded glass windows and
transoms, handcarved woodwork, and stenciled ceilings. In 1939 the Works
Progress Administration joined the carriage house to another outbuilding, thus
creating the Fort St. Joseph Museum structure. The museum holds over 10,000
items, including Fort St. Joseph and Potawatomi Indian artifacts, local
memorabilia, and a collection of drawings by Chief Sitting Bull.
Henry Austin Chapin
Henry A. Chapin (1813 - 1898) spent most of his early life in Ohio. He
married Ruby N. Nooney in 1836 and settled in Edwardsburg, Michigan. In 1846
Chapin and S.S. Griffin opened the first general store in Niles. With his son
Charles, Henry A. later established an insurance and loan agency. Their firm had
interests in nearby paper mills and electric companies and real estate in
Alabama, Illinois and Michigan. The bulk of the family capital came from the
discovery of iron ore in Michigan's Upper Peninsula. The Chapin Mine near Iron
Mountain began operations in 1879. "Mr. H.A." as he was known received up to
$300,000 yearly in royalties from the mine. Owing to the Great Depression, the
Chapin Mine closed in 1934, after fifty-five years of continuous production.
~ text of marker
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