by Karen Mead-Elford, co-editor

    Five local properties, currently owned by Baker College of Owosso, are to be auctioned online as a single unit, by Sheridan Realty & Auction. The combined properties (not available separately) can be viewed on the auction website. These five properties are grouped within the same block that includes the significantly historic Hoddy-Curwood house (c. 1909) and the Lyon-Seegmiller house (c. 1860-61). Both of these homes are located on the north side of W. Williams Street, near M-52. George Hoddy, a successful and well-known industrialist, entrepreneur and philanthropist, had donated the houses to Baker in a loose agreement, including the home he had resided in – the James Oliver Curwood home. Hoddy passed away in 2010 and the five properties were given to Baker at that time. The auction will be finalized by noon on Tuesday, Jan. 8. Interested parties are encouraged to seek further information on the website.

   The Lyon-Seegmiller house, which has been in a state of disrepair for quite a few years, was the central point of some community controversy in 2015 when Baker had suggested demolishing the structure due to the estimated $500,000 needed for structural repair work. A portion of the public was upset at the suggestion of losing the architecturally interesting house, so Baker agreed to try to sell the structure at an insignificant price, though it never sold. The Lyon-Seegmiller house offers some unique architectural details that many in the area would like to see preserved. Of course, most Owosso residents appear to agree on making sure that the Hoddy-Curwood property is properly cared for, as well.

   Most recently, the Hoddy-Curwood structure has been utilized for an assortment of Baker events, however the college has concluded that the five properties to be included in the auction, don’t necessarily serve within the mission of established educational guidelines.

   A considerable amount of local folklore surrounds this particular block in Owosso including that it marks the (possible) location of Chief Wasso’s burial site – the individual from whom Owosso took its name. What is for certain is that famed author and conservationist, James Oliver Curwood, born in the back room of a shop in Owosso in 1878, eventually constructed the mansion, originally as a duplex, overlooking the Shiawassee River. Also, that the James Oliver Curwood home became the residence of George Hoddy, co-owner, CEO and President of Universal Electric in Owosso for a number of decades. Hoddy was the holder of several patents and is associated with his involvement in the Manhattan Project during WWII.

Baker College Auctioning Off Some Owosso Properties was last modified: December 18th, 2018 by Karen Elford