Own a Piece of History: Stunning St. Clair Riverfront Estate

The front of 4071 River Rd.
The current view of 4071 River Rd. in East China, Michigan.

Experience the charm and elegance of a bygone era with a rare opportunity to own a breathtaking St. Clair Riverfront Estate. This historic gem, featuring over 170 feet of picturesque riverfront on an international shipping channel, is now looking for its next owner.

About the Estate

This magnificent property offers a unique blend of history and modern luxury. This four bedroom, three bath, 3,534 square foot estate boasts a new boardwalk and dock, complete with a 13,000-ton hoist equipped with 50-amp power, lights, and a convenient fish cleaning station—ideal for fishing enthusiasts. The stunning brick paver patio and walkways, along with a hot tub, provide the perfect setting for relaxing evenings watching freighters pass by.

The floor plan for 4071 River Rd.
Floor plan created by Cubicasa app. Measurements deemed highly reliable but not guaranteed.

Inside, the home exudes character and charm. Nautical brass nameplates adorn the doors, while wood beams and coffered ceilings enhance the classic elegance throughout. The spacious primary suite features vaulted ceilings and beams, offering a luxurious retreat. Recent upgrades include a new roof, furnace, AC, and sprinkler system, ensuring comfort and convenience.

Set on two and a half manicured, park-like acres, the property offers captivating views from every room. The charming “Gull Cottage” guest house is perfect for visitors, complete with a bedroom, bathroom, kitchen, and laundry. Additionally, a new modern pole barn, approximately 35 x 50 feet with a 15-foot door and two 10-foot doors provides ample space for your boat or RV and features a furnace and unique epoxy floors. Attached to the pole building is a cozy lounge area with a kitchen and bathroom, perfect for getaways.

The Story of 4071 River Rd.

A mortgage survey of 4071 River Road, also known as the Lawson Home.  To the right, current photos of the home's riverfront.
To the left, a mortgage survey from Detroit Bank & Trust Co. for 4071 River Road. To the right, drone footage of the property and the waterfront space.

Each home has a unique story to tell, and 4071 River Rd., with its rich history in East China Township, is no exception. Over 150 years old, this home is a testament to the area’s heritage.

Early Beginnings

Capt. John Clarke (1797-1876), one of the earliest settlers, hailed from Bath, Maine, where his father was a shipbuilder and sea captain.

  • 1830: Capt. Clarke moved to the Port Huron area, becoming the captain of a steamboat named The General Gratiot, which traveled between Toledo and Port Huron.
  • 1832: Capt. Clarke bought a large tract of land along the river in what is now East China Twp., building a dock, a store, and engaging in trade. He and his family constructed homes on this land over time. Capt. Clarke is said to have named the area “China” out of nostalgia for a town in Maine called China, as noted in an 1850 letter written by Agnes Griffor of East China.
  • 1835: Capt. Clarke was elected to the Michigan Senate.

4071  River Rd. Story Begins

The current William D. Hart farm house in 2024.
The William D. Hart farm house in current time.
The William D. Hart farm house circa 1888.
The William D. Hart farm house taken sometime around 1888.
The back of the William D. Hart farm house in current times.
The current view of the back of the farm house.
The back porch of the William D. Hart farm house during the time owned by the Lawson family.
The back of the farm house.
  • 1858: The house at 4071 River Rd. was built as a wedding gift for Capt. Clarke’s daughter, Sarah Emeline (1822-1909), and her new husband, William Hart (1820-1906), a prominent local farmer.
  • 1971: The home remained in the family for over a century. Mary Bostwick McQueary, a great-granddaughter of the Harts, owned it until 1971.
  • 1978: Chip and Susan Lawson purchased the home and undertook extensive remodeling and restoration, including an addition. They transformed the original parlor into the Chart Room, complete with a porthole in the door. While the stairs remained original, the banister was replaced during the new construction.
  • 2017: Mike and Jane Richards acquired the home, continuing to care for the property with major upgrades and updates. They secured the foundation’s integrity, redid the boardwalk and dock area, and built a modern pole barn.

The pristine and park-like property features a variety of mature trees and a meandering circular drive leading to the house. Thanks to the appreciation and care of its owners, the home remains in pristine condition, preserving its charm and character across generations.

This estate, with its rich history dating back to the 1800s, is truly a rare gem. Its blend of historic charm and modern amenities, along with meticulous attention to detail, makes it a unique offering on the market.

Listed by Lori Sheridan of Realty Executives Home Towne.

View Listing

For more information about Realty Executives Home Towne, please contact Frank Locricchio at (810) 300-1650.

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