Key Concepts

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Written by Mary G. Butler   

Post Addition

In 1892 C. W. Post opened up an area between Michigan Avenue and Cliff Street for development, to finance the rehabilitation of the Beardsley farmhouse into his LaVita Inn, where he would operate his health spa.  The lots in “The Cliffs” sold rapidly to the laborers in the Nichols and Shepard farm implement factory, located nearby. 
 
Ten years later (1902), after his cereal and Postum drink factories were in full operation, Post platted the Post Addition, 80 acres located between Main Street and Inn Road (named for LaVita Inn), Lathrop Street and Kingman Avenue.  Streets in the Addition were named for his daughter (Marjorie), the former owners of the land (Grenville, Nelson) and the maiden name of his mother (Lathrop).

Workmen in the Postum and neighboring factories could purchase inexpensive lots and homes in the Addition, on a sliding scale tied to their earning power.  Lots ranged from $175 to $800; five to seven room homes cost between $1,000 to $3,000.  Workers made monthly payments of 1% of the total until the balance was paid off.

Workers could purchase empty lots and build homes of their own design. Post also built homes which workers could purchase.  He employed an architect at his factory, who provided approximately half a dozen standard plans for inexpensive homes.  Post made sure that these standard designs were distributed throughout the Additions, so there would be variety in the housing types in each block.  Many of these homes remain today, though most are substantially altered (porches enclosed, etc).  The most popular plans were the Gambrel roof Dutch Colonial and the L-shaped cottage.

Post sponsored this real estate development (and a Second Post Addition in 1903) because he believed that a happy worker who proudly owned his own home would be a more productive and stable worker in his factory -- and not be lured into union membership. 

The generous financial terms, as well as the attractive location on the “cliffs” overlooking the city, made the Post Additions a favorite residential area in the city for working men and their families.  The majority of the homes were built by the early 1920s, with only a few empty lots remaining to be filled in as late as W.W.II.