Well, apparently, a bit more than we thought.
In an earlier post, we introduced readers to Charles W. Moore, the person who, for $24,000, funded the construction of the El Moore apartments in 1898. After a bit more research, we discovered that there were, in fact, two Charles W. Moores who lived in Detroit during that time and that we were mistaken in connecting the Charles W. Moore who once served as the Director of the Detroit Art Museum with the El Moore project.
After doing a little digging at the Detroit Public Library’s Burton Historical Collection and on Ancestry.com, I think we can safely say we have our man! Born in New Hampshire in 1845, this Mr. Moore came to Detroit in 1880 to take over the Michigan branch of the New York Life Insurance Company. From city records, we learned that he also served for a time as a state senator.
In the U.S. Census from 1900, Mr. Moore is shown living at the northwest corner of 2nd Avenue and Alexandrine, just two doors down from the El Moore (on the property that will soon become the El Moore Gardens). He identified his occupation on the census as “Real Estate.”
His impressive home was designed by A.C. Varney, also the architect of the El Moore. We were fortunate enough to locate both a photograph and a drawing of the house, which was torn down sometime in the early 20th century. The photograph is from the Detroit Public Library collection and the drawing is from A.C. Varney’s book, Our Homes and Their Adornments.
In addition, we were able to find a wonderful photograph of the man himself – along with his impressive mustaches! Pleasure to meet you, Mr. Moore!
Well, I’m glad we got to the bottom of this. So goes the adventure of historical research!