Friday, January 9, 2009

Tippecanoe Place

Starting in 1887 there will be many letters between Anna and Ashley Carlisle. Ashley was a stone mason and often worked far from home. I wish I knew how he learned the trade. His father was a farmer and an inn keeper and I have found no other reference to a stone mason in the family before or since.

When I visited Buchanan, MI with my mother several years ago my uncle was well enough to show me several examples of Ashley's work. This is a monument he made in Oakridge Cemetery, Buchanan, MI.

My uncle told me that Ashley also worked on the Studebaker Mansion in South Bend, IN. The fact that he worked on this project is such a matter of family pride that it was also mentioned in Anna's obituary.
Mrs. Carlisle was the widow of the late Civil war veteran, Ashley Carlisle, a stone mason who cut the stone for the mansions of the Studebaker and Oliver families at South Bend and Elkhart, Ind., and walked home from these cities to spend Sundays. There being no other conveyance at hand, Mr. Carlisle walked 25 miles from Elkhart and 15 miles from South Bend whenever he was working in those places and thought nothing of it.

So why was this such a big deal? My jaw dropped when I first saw pictures of the Studebaker Mansion which is named Tippecanoe Place. My great-grandfather built that! (I will admit that he must have had a bit of help.)


Clement Studebaker, with his brothers, founded H & C Studebaker Company which built conestoga wagons. By 1887 sales surpassed $2 million. Clement certainly had the means to build a mansion. Architect Henry Ives Cobb's design was in the Romanesque Rival style, a style rarely used for private residences. The mansion has 40 rooms, 20 fireplaces and is 26,000 sq.ft. Construction was begun in 1886 and completed in 1889 at a cost of $250,000. Local granite field stone was used (Ashley tells of work blasting), there are stone pillars and tile flooring on the porches. Fire struck and heavily damaged the home very shortly after completion, October 1889, but it was repaired.

There are two theories as to why it was named Tippecanoe Place. It may have been to honor his friend, Benjamin Harrison, grandson of president William Henry Harrison of "Tippecanoe and Tyler, too" fame. Another theory is that the mansion is built on the site of a favorite camp ground of Miami Indian Chief, Tippecanoe.

The mansion passed out of the Studebaker family during the Depression and has been used by the Red Cross, as a school for the handicapped and as an historical museum. It is now the Tippecanoe Place Restaurant and listed on the National Register of Historic Places.


I don't know when Ashley was hired to work on the mansion but I suspect it was very early. I know he was staying with his brother-in-law, Joseph Camfield, in South Bend as early as February 1887. In May 1887 he was still working on the basement. It is clear from the letters that Ashley did not return home to Buchanan every weekend as stated in Anna's obituary. I am unable to be certain but I believe that Ashley worked on the project until the stone work was completed. In May of 1889 he wrote that he was looking for work.


I want to thank Joe Ross for making his wonderful photographs available at Flickr with a Creative Commons license.


Sources

Photographs

Monument, Oak Ridge Cemetery, Buchanan, MI; digital image from original photograph, privately held by Apple, [Address for private use], 2009.

Tippecanoe Place, South Bend, IN, Wikipedia Commons, Photo shot by Derek Jensen (Tysto), 2005-October-15, Public Domain, viewed 26 November 2008
[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Image:South-bend-indiana-tippecanoe-place.jpg]

Rear view, Tippecanoe Place
, South Bend, IN, Joe Ross, flickr, Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 2.0 Generic, downloaded 26 November 2008.
[http://flickr.com/photos/joeross/2251890074/in/set-72157603873006908/]

Side view, Tippecanoe Place, South Bend, IN, Joe Ross, flickr, Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 2.0 Generic, downloaded 26 November 2008.
[http://flickr.com/photos/joeross/2251883364/in/set-72157603873006908/]

Entrance arch, Tippecanoe Place
, South Bend, IN, Joe Ross, flickr, Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 2.0 Generic, downloaded 26 November 2008.
[http://flickr.com/photos/joeross/2251886892/in/set-72157603873006908/]

Carriage arch, Tippecanoe Place
, South Bend, IN, Joe Ross, flickr, Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 2.0 Generic, downloaded 26 November 2008.
[http://flickr.com/photos/joeross/2251091535/in/set-72157603873006908/]


Websites

Wikipedia, Clement Studebaker
, viewed 26 November 2008.
[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Clement_Studebaker],


Historic Preservation Council, South Bend & St Jospeh County, Indiana, "A Walk Along West Washington", brochure, pdf file, viewed 26 November 2008, [www.downtownsouthbend.com/rsrc/livingdowntown/west-wash-walking-tour.pdf]

Tippecanoe Place Restaurant
, South Bend, IN, viewed 26 November 2008
[http://www.tippe.com/index.html]
[http://www.tippe.com/history.html]


Newpaper

Obituary of Sarah Ann Carlisle, News Palladium, Benton Harbor, MI, Thursday, June 26, 1930, page 24, column 4, clipping, held by Apple, [Address for private use], 2009

Letters

Carlisle, Anna Camfield. (Buchanan, MI) to “Dear Ashley”
[Isaac Ashley Carlisle]. Letter. 3 February 1887. Digital Images 1-3.
Privately held by Apple, [ADDRESS FOR PRIVATE USE,]
Snowville, New York. 2009.
[Carlisle Family, Box #1, Correspondence, 1887 - 1889,
Bentley Historical Library, University of Michigan. 2008.]

Carlisle, Isaac Ashley. (South Bend, IN) to “Dear wife and Children”
[Anna Camfield Carlisle]. Letter. 1 May 1887. Digital Images 1-2.
Privately held by Apple, [ADDRESS FOR PRIVATE USE,]
Snowville, New York. 2009.
[Carlisle Family, Box #1, Correspondence, 1887 - 1889,
Bentley Historical Library, University of Michigan. 2008.]

Carlisle, Isaac Ashley. (South Bend, IN) “well I told Orville”
[Anna Camfield Carlisle]. Letter. 4 May 1889. Digital Images 1-4.
Privately held by Apple, [ADDRESS FOR PRIVATE USE,]
Snowville, New York. 2009.
[Carlisle Family, Box #1, Correspondence, 1887 - 1889,
Bentley Historical Library, University of Michigan. 2008.]

7 comments:

Miriam said...

What a fabulous legacy! Oh, and you're coming oh, so close to the Challenge that I want to do later this year! ;-)

clarker said...

Thanks for posting a picture of our summer home, Tippecanoe Place.
Just kidding!
Actually according to my rarely errs software
Clement was:
Clement Studebaker : my 2nd great-granduncle's wife's husband's 3rd cousin

CountryGirl said...

What a cool post! Is the mansion a place you could stop on your next geneology trip? Didn't Great Aunt Ruby work for the Studebaker's? I wonder if there isn't a connection with one relative helping another get a job.

Apple said...

Miriam - You are are being quite mysterious to start the year! Will this challenge take place Aug 1st? Or do you have another surprise up your sleeve? LOL So much of what my ancestors did is intangible so this is really great to be able to see.

Clarker - I love shirt-tail-cousins! They are often very interesting and lead me down new paths. Your current brick wall is a tough one. I hope you start to take it down soon.

Hi Sis - I do plan to visit Tippecanoe in April along with the Oliver Mansion in Elkhart. My original plan was Sunday brunch and then it dawned on me that that would be Easter so I may have to change my itinerary. Want to come? Aunt Ruby did work for Studebaker's as did several other family members but they were one of the biggest employers in town. Grandma may have worked there too before working at the Singer factory but I'm not sure.

Tipper said...

Wow very impressive! I'll be looking forward to the letters.

Msteri said...

What a beautiful place! I bet that isn't what you were expecting! Hopefully you will get to see it in person!

Apple said...

Tipper - I wish the letters had more details. The mansion is amazing.

Misteri - The plan is to go to Michigan by way of South Bend in April. Keep your fingers crossed for me.