2017-09-09 / News

Michael, Melissa Straus Family Celebrates Annex Cottage Centennial


Michael and Melissa Straus, and their children, Orion and Ariana, at the community centennial celebration for their Annex cottage, Rockwood, Sunday, August 6. Michael and Melissa Straus, and their children, Orion and Ariana, at the community centennial celebration for their Annex cottage, Rockwood, Sunday, August 6. One of the larger parties on Mackinac Island this summer was the open house at Rockwood, the Annex cottage of Melissa and Michael Straus, nestled in the woods among colorful gardens. The occasion was the centennial anniversary of the home’s very beginnings, when Dr. Selim W. and Gillett McArthur began the first of a number of one-story wings to the bungalow.

Children Ariana and Orion were also on hand Sunday, August 6, to show a steady stream of Islanders and summer residents through the house and yards.

While construction began in 1917, it was interrupted by America’s entry into World War I. The house was not finished until 1922 and it was fully occupied in 1923. The busy and popular builder, Patrick Doud, was in charge of construction.

The McArthurs were some of the first people on the Island to use concrete for a patio, and the feature provided a platform from which to enjoy Mrs. McArthur’s rock garden and flower gardens, now being restored by the Straus family.

A feature in a 1930s Island News describes an ongoing gentle conflict between Dr. McArthur, who loved the trees surrounding the cottage, and Mrs. McArthur, who needed light for what were some of the nicest gardens on the Island. Both the cottage and the gardens were expanded over the years, and the many wings of the house make it a unique feature of the cottage community.

The property also features a pre-World War II badminton court.

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