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Jeremiah Cronin Jr. House / John Bellairs

This picturesque residence was erected in 1872 for Marshall merchant Jeremiah Cronin Jr. and his wife, Susan. Local contractor Frederick N. Church constructed this house, as well as Cronin’s 1869 Michigan Avenue commercial block. On September 5, 1872, the Calhoun County Patriot and Democratic Expounder predicted that the house would be the “most stylish” in the city. The Italian villa reflects the Cronin family’s standing in the community. When Jeremiah died in 1889, Susan took over the business as the S. E. Cronin Store. Their son Jay became manager in 1907. By then, the Cronins were operating clothing, grocery, shoe stores, and a bakery. Jay Cronin’s daughters operated the business until 1974.This house was built in 1872 for Jeremiah and Susan Cronin. One hundred years later it provided the setting for The House with a Clock in Its Walls, a teenage mystery novel written by Marshall native John Bellairs. Bellairs (1938-1991) was born in Marshall and graduated from Marshall High School. After earning degrees from the University of Notre Dame and the University of Chicago, he taught writing at several colleges and authored eighteen books, mostly for children. From 1973 to 1976 he wrote three books with Marshall settings. When explaining why he wrote for children, Bellairs noted: “In my imagination I repeatedly walk up and down the streets of the beautiful old Michigan town where I grew up. It is full of Victorian mansions and history, and it would work on the creative mind of any kid.”

Plaque via Michigan History Center

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