Lincoln Avenue House Eyed for Local Historic Designation

The Knowles House exemplifies the farm house style built during mid-1800s in Royal Oak.

The Knowles House is located at 524 E. Lincoln Ave. Credit: Judy Davids
The Knowles House is located at 524 E. Lincoln Ave. Credit: Judy Davids

The Knowles House, located at 524 E. Lincoln, may soon become Royal Oak's newest local historic district.

The Royal Oak Historic District Study Committee will present a detailed report of the historic building for approval from city’s planning commission when it meets Tuesday at 7:30 p.m. at City Hall.

The historic designation, which has the consent of the current homeowners Scott and Patty Brown, would mean a permit must be obtained before any future work affecting the exterior appearance of the building could be performed.

History of the Knowles House

The report notes the Knowles House exemplifies the farm house style built during mid-1800s in Royal Oak. 

The Lincoln Avenue (then known as Eighth Street) property was originally purchased by 60-year-old William H. Knowles.

"William H. Knowles came to the U.S. in 1827 with little money. Skilled as a carpenter, (he) lived in New York and then Detroit buying land," write the current homeowners in the report. "He taught Sunday school at the Episcopal (now United) Methodist Church. Knowles was married three times, fathering more than 15 children, 10 of whom lived to adulthood."

The report notes the house was later purchased by the McCavey family in 1902. The William McCavey family owned Oak Construction.

"Well into the 1990s, ownership of 524 E. Lincoln passed from one McCavey to another," states the report.

The final McCavey family member to live in the house was Doris Weitz McCavey. She died in 2002 at age 78.

The house was sold to the Brown family in 2004 and they have lived there ever since.

The gable and wing house, which is situated on a one-acre lot, was updated in the early 1950s but 95 percent the house is deemed to have historical significance, according to the report.

The Brown family has maintained the structure, repairing and replacing, but not remodeling.

Read the Royal Oak Historic District Study Committee's full report on the Knowles House, which is attached to this article as a PDF. 


Joe Johnson January 14, 2014 at 04:07 PM
The house was featured in the 2011 short film "Oracle." Here is the link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b5nmciuhuTE


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