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Veneklasen Brick Veneklasen Brick

A Family, a Company, and a Unique Nineteenth-Century Dutch Architectual Movement in Michigan

by Douma, Michael J.

In 1848, the second year of the new Dutch kolonie in West Michiganís Ottawa County, a much-needed brick manufacturing industry was started in the rich clay fields between the villages Groningen and Zeeland. From humble beginnings that included digging barefoot in the clay, the company created by Dutch immigrant Jan Hendrik Veneklasen and his son Berend flourished for more than seventy-five years and contributed to a unique architectural legacy. While Veneklasen Brick Co. (later Zeeland Brick Co.) remained in the family, success took it beyond the Zeeland area. Strengthened by the purchase of clay pits elsewhere and benefiting from newly-connecting railroad lines, Veneklasen eventually became one of the largest brick companies in the state. Veneklasenís bricks were used everywhere but their residential application has drawn the most attention. Mixing traditional Dutch patterns and constantly changing American housing styles, local brick masons left behind a prime example of nineteenth-century Dutch-American material culture. Drawing from untapped primary sources, the authorís work traces the history of the Veneklasens, the rise of their company, and the impact of its products on local construction. The first-ever comprehensive analysis of West Michigan Dutch contributions to architecture, Veneklasen Brick also explores issues of conservation and preservation.

Paperback, 103 pages, Illustrated, graphs, maps, Ottawa & Allegan counties brick houses lists, bibliography, index

USD 15.95 / CAD 19.95

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