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Potential Celtic House renovations highlight property’s history

A joint effort to renovate the Celtic House in Hancock is highlighting the incredible history of one of the city’s oldest properties. Dating back to the 1860’s, it was first owned by Ransom Shelden before being sold to Dr. William Perry.

Michigan Tech archivist Emily Schwiebert says the home quickly developed a sordid history.

December of 1873, William Perry is walking home, well not walking home but walking along the streets on the streets of Hancock. He’s accosted by someone. He gets free of the man, but his attacker starts pummeling him with a cane or some other kind of blunt instrument. There’s a scuffle, they fall to the ground. The beating continues with fists and eventually draws the attention of onlookers. The attacker flees.

Perry would eventually succumb to his injuries within a handful of years.

Now William Perry was taken home at that point. He ends up being bedridden for quite some time because in addition to the injuries he received, he sustains a severe skin infection. He never fully regains his health. He’s still able to practice medicine occasionally for the next few years, but then in February of 1877 he dies.

Dr. Perry’s daughter, Mary Chase Perry, moved downstate and founded Pewabic Pottery. The facility is registered as a national historical landmark and the art created there can be found in several Upper Peninsula landmarks. Archivist Lindsay Hiltunen lists some of the sites.

The cathedral in Marquette, there’s some examples at Michigan Tech. There’s also a lot of examples of local schools in the Upper Peninsula, including Houghton High School.

Hot-burning kilns help pewabic tiling develop its characteristic gloss and vibrant colors.

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