Wednesday, February 15, 2012
#052 - Striker House
Location: 321 Jefferson St. South, Hastings, MI 49058
The Striker House in Hastings was, upon its completion in 1885, described as "the handsomest house in Hastings" with its lavish Queen Anne-style architecture. This house has been through multiple hands and used as everything from a private residence to a hospital. The house, now on the market for $298,000, stands empty, waiting to once again be filled.
Daniel Striker built this house for his family in the mid-1800's. Striker, a prominent member of the community, served as Michigan's Secretary of State from 1870-1874 and was known for his deep philanthropic passions. Striker constructed this two-level single-family home of wood on the corner of Jefferson St. and dwelt in it with his wife, Sarah Elizabeth Fancher Striker and daughter Rebecca.
Daniel Striker, who had been born on 9 April 1835 in New York to Gilbert "Sr" and Rebecca Valentine Striker, passed away in this house just says after his birthday on 13 April 1898. Striker's death resulted from heart failure after a long-term struggle with diabetes. His death came suddenly at about 8 o'clock on Tuesday evening while he was sitting in his beloved chair. Earlier that day, he had attended the funeral of a friend, Mrs. Wood, in Woodland Township, and had returned feeling "quite fatigued." At 7:30, he experienced severe chest pains, and the doctor was called in. The doctor could not help Striker in spite of administering a hypodermic injection of morphine. Mr. Striker passed away after suffering a short bout of extreme pain.
Striker had been a very religious man, having joined the Methodist Episcopal Church in town in 1867 and remained an active member until his death. He loved his church almost as much as he loved his home. He had also been prominent with local Masonry. His wife, Sarah, also a native of New York, had a strong affinity for the magnolia tree in her yard. In 1915, after having been ill for a while, Sarah passed away. The Monday before her death, the buds on the tree began to open, and she longed to see them. She was placed by a window to gain a better view and commented, "Oh, you beautiful thing! And just in time." Mrs. Striker died on 27 April, 1915 after seeing her beloved magnolia blossom one last time.
In 1916, the house became the second location for Pennock Hospital. Originally stationed at Mrs. Mary Beadle's home on West Walnut St., the Pennock was moved to the Striker home on 10 May 1916. It had somewhere between 15 and 18 beds for patients. After the Pennock was moved to its current location at 1009 West Green St. on 30 August 1923, the Striker House became a convalescent home until the 1960's, when it was converted into apartments. The apartments, however, did not last, and the house is now vacant and up for sale.
Although details about paranormal activity at the Striker House are lacking, people have reported hearing disembodied footsteps coming from the second floor when it was known that nobody was up there. Down the road, at Striker Cemetery, people have reported seeing a ghostly man wearing a top hat. Also, there are supposedly tunnels in the basement that lead throughout the town.