Photo: Frank N. and Fannie Allen Latimer House, circa 1870s, located in the East Ludington Avenue Historic District, Ludington. The Historic District was listed on the National Register in 2022. Photographer: wikipedia username: rossograph, 2014, [cc-4.0]; accessed September, 2022.
The East Ludington Avenue Historic District [†] stretches along the main thoroughfare of East Ludington Avenue (US10) in the City of Ludington. Beginning at the eastern intersection with Staffon Street where the road makes a slight curve allowing for the sense of entry into the heart of the community, the district extends westward through grand historic homes of the Victorian lumber days and culminates where several historically significant governmental/institutional buildings are located east of Harrison Street. The district is contained to those properties bound by the north and south alleyways and East Ludington Avenue, with the exception of the governmental/institutional buildings whose resource extends over the entire city block.
Although East Ludington Avenue is a four-lane U.S. highway, the historic district is abundant with mature trees that line the pedestrian sidewalks and automotive speeds that are limited providing for a charming, identifiable district prior to entering the main commercial downtown area. Located at the eastern end of the historic district is LeVeaux Park, a small, well landscaped memorial park that serves as a transition between more modern commercial development east of the city and the residential district. Properties within the district include some of the most affluent lumber baron homes constructed during the lumbering boom of Ludington in the later part of the 19th century. Several other residential properties in the historic district, although not as large scale as those of the lumber barons, are fine examples of American Vernacular architectural of the period. Additionally, a number of residential properties are reflective of early 20th century architecture, including several American Bungalows and Four-Square styles. The variety of significant architectural resources is evenly dispersed along East Ludington Avenue and allows for an appealing historic district spanning seven city blocks.
Especially noteworthy residential resources within the district include the pristine 1905 Neo- Classical Warren Cartier Mansion located at 409 East Ludington Avenue constructed with Roman pressed brick, Bedford limestone and 2-story ionic columns supporting the upper level balcony; the Latimer House listed on the State of Michigan Register of Historic Places (May 30, 1996); the 1878 A.E. Cartier Home located at 501 East Ludington Avenue, which is a premier example of Victorian Queen Ann architecture with its exquisite wood detailing, gabled roofs and multi-colored painting; the elaborately detailed 1888 Victorian Queen Anne Goodenough Home complete with three-story pyramid roof turret, gable embellishments, ornate spindle and lattice work. One non-Victorian era resource having particular historical assets is the American Mid-century Modern dental office located at 410 East Ludington Avenue designed with monoslope rafters and a glass entry curtainwall.
The westerly properties in the historic district include some of Ludington's most historically significant non-residential resources. Included in this area is the grand Romanesque Revival 1894 Mason County Courthouse listed on the National Register of Historic Places; the Colonial Revival 1906 Ludington District Library funded by Andrew Carnegie; the 1932 Neo-Classical U.S. Post Office; the 1903 Stearns Hotel that is steeped with eventful history; and the current Ludington Area Arts Center (originally the First Methodist Episcopal Church) which is a fine example of Richardsonian Romanesque architecture. All of these non-residential properties provide for a culmination at the western border of the Ludington Historic District and allow for a smooth transition from the residential areas to commercial activity at the city center.
Non-contributing resources in the historic district are most typically the result of destruction or lack of maintaining the original historic integrity of the property. The non-contributing aspects have generally made use of undesirable materials and improper additions that detract from the particular property but do not cause significant concern in diminishing the overall feeling of the district. Those resources cited as non-contributing still maintain the rhythm, massing and scale of structures fronting East Ludington Avenue, thus contributing in a non-historical fashion to the overall character of the district. Some properties do not provide a contributing resource as they currently serve as parking areas to support the adjacent structures but are typically located behind the front facade of contributing resources, thus providing little negativity.
The extent and variety of resources, ranging from the very grand Victorian-era mansions to simple American bungalows, the significant architecture of several institutional buildings, the presence of mature trees lining the street, the vast number of contributing resources dispersed throughout the district all identify the East Ludington Avenue Historic District as an identifiably special place in the history of Ludington.
East Ludington Street Historic District, Ludington, MI. Study Commission Report, Propesed East Ludington Avenue Historic District, 2001, www.ludington.mi.us, accessed September, 2022.
Ludington Avenue East