September 3, 2013

Moore House - 1366 Bagley

1366 Bagley Street, Detroit.
Photo courtesy of Blake Almstead and Joshua Clark.

This quintessential mid-19th century worker's cottage has stood at the corner of Bagley and Eighth Street for at least 139 years. Addressed as 70 Baker Street early in its history, it has been home to more than a dozen working class families in its life.

When was it built?

It's not certain when 70 Baker Street (now 1366 Bagley) was constructed. One potential source of information could be a map drawn by New York cartographer Henry Hart in 1853, indicating the location of every existent building in Detroit.

Detail from Henry Hart's 1853 map of Detroit.

There is only one problem. This house was literally a few feet outside of the city limits when that map was drawn. The Baker farm had been annexed by the city in 1849, but this house stands just within the former Woodbridge farm, which wasn't annexed until 1857. Below is a comparison of this block as it appears on the 1853 Hart map and an 1885 real estate atlas. Due to the blurriness of the 1853 image, I've outlined the structures and property borders to make them more visible.

The block containing 70 Baker St. as shown on the 1853 Hart map and an 1885 atlas.

It appears that the house to the right of 70 Baker Street is indicated on the 1853 map. These two houses are very similar in appearance, being almost mirror images of each other. It seems reasonable to believe that they were built at the same time. However, the earliest known city directory listing for 70 Baker appears in 1874. I combed through the 1870 census for this area and checked those names and addresses against the city directories, but I could not find any indication that this house existed at the time.

Although the property wasn't formally platted until 1858, this doesn't necessarily preclude the possibility of the house existing before then. Joseph Kingston, for example, was listed on Baker Street on the Woodbridge farm one year prior to platting.

The strongest indication that the house could predate 1874 is that the property was sold in 1865 for $450, and again in 1871 for $1700. Was this 375% increase due to the construction of a house on the lot, or was there simply an increase in demand for property in a rapidly growing city?

Owners--1850 to 1950

The lot beneath this house was part of the William and Juliana Woodbridge farm, which became part of the City of Detroit on February 12, 1857. Mr. and Mrs. Woodbridge submitted a plat plan of their land to Wayne County on September 14, 1858. They had both passed away by 1861, leaving many unsold lots to their children.

Detail of 1858 plat of Woodbridge farm. 1366 Bagley/70 Baker stands on block 58, lot 6.

After platting:

  • July 22, 1865--Samuel Sullivan purchased the lot from Juliana Trumbull Woodbridge Backus, daughter of William and Juliana Woodbridge, for $450.
  • July 29, 1871--Following the death of Samuel Sullivan in 1870, John Sullivan sold the lot to William Moore for $1,700.
  • June 16, 1904--William Moore died, leaving the property to his wife, Margaret.
  • February 7, 1922--After Margaret Moore's death in 1920, her heirs agreed that her son John W. Moore would own this lot, and he agreed to pay them $600 for the property.
  • May 6, 1952--John W. Moore died in 1946, followed by his last surviving sibling Katherine in 1950. The relatives who inherited the property subsequently sold it on a land contract to Nora Kelly.

Because the Moore family owned the property for 81 years (longer than anyone else), and because they may have been the ones to build the house, I suggest calling it the Moore house. William Moore was born in February of 1818, and his wife, Margaret Sullivan Moore, in March of 1830--both in Ireland. They married there on March 8, 1848, and very soon afterward immigrated to Canada. They remained there until about 1870, when they came to Detroit. William Moore's occupation was always listed simply as "laborer". When he died in 1904 at the age of 86, his death certificate indicated that he was the father of seven children, five of whom were living. Margaret Moore survived her husband by sixteen years, finally passing away on February 12, 1920 at the age of 89. The son who inherited the property on Baker Street was John W. Moore, born March 1, 1868 in Essex County, Ontario. He never married or had children.

None of the owners of the home before Nora Kelly used it as their own residence. Had it first been owner-occupied, the city directories might have been used to help determine a more precise date of construction.

Renters--1874 to 1951

1874-1877 -- William and Anna Dick

William Dick, a chair maker, was born in Prussia in 1850. His family immigrated to the United States when he was still an infant. His wife, Anna Pip, was born in Michigan to Prussian parents. They had two children while living in this house--Agnes in 1874 and Caspar in 1877.

1878 -- Edward H. Day

Day was born in Elyria, Ohio in 1853. He was a sales agent and a bachelor at the time he lived on Baker. In July of the following year, he married Mary L. Little, a native of Oswego, New York.

1879-1880 -- Robert E. and Ellen Cuppage

The directories list Robert Cuppage, a telegraph operator for Western Union, as the occupant of this home. The census, however, only lists his sister Ellen Cuppage and a boarder named Julia Rouen. Ellen and Robert were born in Canada in 1857 and 1858, respectively.

70 Baker Street in the 1884 Sanborn map of Detroit.

1881-1887 -- Gore A. Stacey and Family

Gore A. Stacey was born around 1833 in Ireland and worked as a baggage handler for the rail road. By the time he and his wife Anne moved to 70 Baker Street, they had at least six children: John (b. 1857), twins Gore Jr. and Anne (b. 1861), William E. (b. 1866) and Joseph H. (b. 1868). Gore Stacey died at home on March 14, 1885. A notice was published in the Detroit Free Press two days later, but his name was misspelled as "Tracy".

The Stacey family lived at this house through 1887.

1888-1893 -- Squire and Catherine Emick

Squire Henry Emick and his wife Catherine, originally from Indiana, came to Detroit around 1886 with three sons, Charles, Morris and Emery. Squire worked as an express messenger. At 70 Baker Street, Catherine gave birth to a daughter, Edith.

On June 14, 1893, the Emicks' eldest son, Charles, drowned in the Rouge River at the age of 14:

By the following year, the Emick family had moved to another home in the neighborhood.

1894-1898 -- Thomas and Theresa Sage

On June 22, 1893, Thomas J. Sage, a bartender, married Theresa A. Manning--both were first-generation Americans born to Irish immigrants. The year after their marriage, they moved into 70 Baker Street, where they had two daughters, Marie and Mildred.

1899-1912 -- Charles and Helen Johnston

In 1899, Helen "Nellie" Horn was listed at this address in the city directory. On June 28 of that year, she married electrician Charles James Johnston, who moved in with her immediately afterward. They were both 24 years old at the time, and both originally from Michigan. The 1900 census shows two borders living with them--Joseph Leahy, a printer; and John Leahy, a student.

At 70 Baker Street, the Johnstons had two children--Madeline (born circa 1901) and Edgar (born July 10, 1902).

Charles and Helen Johnston, with their children Edgar and Madeline.
Image courtesy of Blake Almstead and Joshua Clark.

Edgar Johnston in front of 70 Baker Street, circa 1910.
Image courtesy of Blake Almstead and Joshua Clark.

1913-1915 -- James Fox, clerk

1916 -- William Ditmus, printer

1917 -- Ernest and Caroline Noyes

Ernest Noyes, a laborer, was born in New York in 1869. After his first wife died in 1912, he married Caroline McKenzie, who had been married twice before. She brought into the family two surviving sons from her first marriage, Leo and Ralph Gilbert, born in 1899 and 1901, respectively. The photograph below was printed in the Detroit Free Press about the birth father of these two boys attempting to kidnap them in 1907. The boys did live with their mother when she resided at 70 Baker Street.

Caroline Noyes died of sepsis at Harper Hospital on July 23, 1917 at the age of 40. The following year, on May 12, Erneset Noyes died at the Wayne County Poor House from locomotor ataxia at the age of 49.

1918-1920 -- Foster Curtis Lenderbeck

Foster Lenderbeck was the second husband of Caroline McKenzie (see above). He was born in Canada in 1865 and immigrated to the U.S. in 1894. He worked as a teamster for a storage company. The 1920 census indicates that he lived with May Irwin (a servant) and Frank and Lucinda Reid. Mr. Reid was also a teamster.

On October 23, 1920, Foster Lenderbeck died at 70 Baker Street from lobar pneumonia. He was 55 years old.

1921 -- Hercules (Ercole) and Harriet Barbara

Hercules Barbara, a mechanic, was born in 1874 in Sfax, Tunisia. His parents were Maltese, but worked in Sfax as olive oil merchants. Hercules immigrated to the U.S. in 1915. In 1920 his wife, Harriet, and their two children (all also born in Malta) joined him in Detroit. [Thanks to Teresa Taylor for the updated information!]

1922 -- (Vacant)

1923-1928 -- James and Donnie Hogue

Miss Donnie Stone married James Hogue, a street car conductor, in Detroit in 1920. Both were originally from Kentucky. Mr. Hogue passed away May 13, 1925 at the age of 41, and Mrs. Hogue stayed in the house for another four years.

1929-1951? -- Joseph and Mary Sultana

Joseph and Mary Sultana were both born in Malta--Joseph in 1895, and Mary in 1899. Joseph came to the United States in 1921, followed by his wife four years later. By the 1940 census, they had had at least seven children.

The Sultanas are listed at this address in the city directories through 1941, but the availability of city directories after that year is sporadic. They may have lived there until the home was sold in 1951.

1366 Bagley is on the far left in this 1954 photo, partly cropped out.

Owners 1952-Present

Nora Kelly

This home and two adjacent houses were sold collectively to Mrs. Nora Kelly and other investors on May 6, 1952. After the contract was paid in full, the properties were divided and Mrs. Kelly became the sole owner of 1366 Bagley on September 19, 1961.

Nora Ellen (Daly) Kelly was born in Detroit to Jeremiah and Ellen Daly on February 16, 1896. Her father was an Irish immigrant, and her mother was born in England. On October 22, 1918, she married Michael J. Kelly, who had immigrated from Ireland a few years before. Michael Kelly passed away on April 5, 1945 at the age of 52.

1366 Bagley in 1976. Image from Michigan State Historic Preservation Office.

Nora Kelly lived at 1366 Bagley at least through 1973, when she is listed at that address in the city directory for that year. She owned the home until her death on May 24, 1981. If she lived in this home until her death, then she occupied it for 29 years, longer than any other resident.

1366 Bagley in 1979 following a renovation funded
by the Holy Trinity Nonprofit Housing Corp.
Photo courtesy of Blake Almstead and Joshua Clark.

Daniel & Kathleen O'Neill

On September 14, 1982, the estate of Nora Kelly sold the house to Daniel M. & Kathleen A. O'Neill for $4,500. They only appear to have lived in the house for a brief time.

Frances (Lubben) Elkins

The O'Neills sold the house to Frances Lubben for $8,000 on October 25, 1985. She does not appear to have lived in the home.

James R. and Duane Shore

Frances Lubben, who by this time was Mrs. Frances Elkins, sold the home to James R. and Duane Shore on June 17, 1998. James Shore presumably purchased the home on a land contract, as he was involved in renovating the home as early as 1988.

This photo of James Shore in front of 1366 Bagley appeared in an
article about Corktown in the
Detroit Free Press on May 5, 1988.

1366 Bagley in 1990. Photo courtesy of Blake Almstead and Joshua Clark.

Carol Brown

On June 17, 2000, Duane Shore quit-claimed his interest in the house to James Shore, who on June 30 of that year sold it to Carol Brown for $60,000.

Blake Almstead & Joshua Clark

Josh and Blake moved into the Moore house in August of 2011 and are currently working to preserve it.

Photo courtesy of Blake Almstead and Joshua Clark.

* * * * *

Miscellaneous notes about previous research on this house.

A previous researcher named this home the Bushy House after James Bushy, who supposedly purchased the property in 1845. However, the land owned by Bushy was actually an adjacent lot on the Baker farm. Bushy never owned the land beneath this house. It has also been claimed that this house appears in an 1853 atlas, but as you have seen, this is not the case.

A photograph of 1366 Bagley that appears in the Michigan State Historic Preservation Office's files refers to it as the "Kelley-Porritt" house. Kelley might refer to Nora Kelly, and Porritt to Elizabeth Porritt. However, Mrs. Porritt lived at 64 Baker Street, not 70 Baker. Interestingly, Elizabeth Porritt was attempting to divorce her husband Joseph at the time on the grounds that he was a habitual drunkard. The divorce was appealed all the way up to the Michigan Supreme court, which denied her a divorce on the grounds that she knew her husband was a drunkard when she married him. In any case, there is no evidence that Mrs. Porritt lived in this house.

Finally, if any researchers wish to help confirm that the Moore house was built prior to 1874, be advised that the address numbering system in Corktown was changed between 1868 and 1869. If the Moore house stood prior to 1869, it would have had a number lower than 70 Baker before that point. There was a "70 Baker prior" to 1869, but the address number was changed to 92 afterward.


  1. It was so meaningful to see this. Thank you for your research, and thank you to those who have helped preserve this home. You are keeping history alive, and honoring those who have worked so hard to give us what we have today.

  2. Fantastic history of my distant Moore cousins. Thank you for this.
    Paul (Ireland)

  3. Fantastic history of my distant Moore cousins. Thank you for this.
    Paul (Ireland)