The John C. Blanchard House
253 East Main Street, Ionia, Michigan

     This fine example of Italianate styling, so popular in the post-Civil War period, has remained structurally unchanged. The home was built in 1880 by attorney-investor-politician John C. Blanchard. The house is listed on both the National Register of Historic Places and the Michigan State Register of Historic Sites.

     Mr. Blanchard was born in 1823 and died in 1905 at 72 years of age. His father was a doctor in Lyons, Michigan. John attended school at Temple Hill Academy in Genesco, New York. At the age of 14, John ran away from home and was adopted by an Indian family. He was given the name "Optupsue" which means to drive or push to overcome. In this Indian family was a boy named Pewamo, and Mr. Blanchard later named the local village after him. In 1838 he moved back in with his family in Lyons, and in 1839 he entered the offices of Roof & Bell at Lyons as a law student. He passed his examination in 1842. In 1850 he was appointed Prosecuting Attorney. He held many public offices, including Registrar of the US Land Office in Ionia under President Buchanan, President of the Village of Ionia for two terms, School District Director for nine years, and a trustee of Albion College. He married Harriet A. Brewster and occupied this house with their four children, among the most prominent citizens of Ionia.

**This photo page is dedicated to Tim Lockwood - whose grandfather, Leon Lockwood, sold the house to the Historical Society in 1973 following his grandmother's death. His father and his siblings grew up in the house since the mid 1930's.



Last update December 29, 2007