Woman's Benefit Association Building

Also known as: Woman's Life Insurance Society World Headquarters, North American Benefit Association Building
1338 Military Street, Port Huron, Michigan

Second Renaissance Revival style building continously housing an early women's benefits association.

Photos 

Front of Building (West Face)

Note modern sign at right corner. This building has continuously been the headquarters for the same organization.

Photo taken by Nathan Holth in August 2010

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Map 

Street View 

Description 

From the State Historic Preservation Office website:

The The Woman's Benefit Association Building has historical significance for its association with the establishment of the largest women's fraternal benefit society in Port Huron. Mrs. Bina West Miller saw the need for financial security for women at a time when little economic worth was placed on women. The Woman's Benefit Association was founded October 1, 1892 and issued its first certificate of life insurance on November 4, 1892. Within three years, nearly 10,000 members had been enrolled. The success led the Woman's Benefit Association of the Maccabees to erect their national home office in Port Huron. On October 22, 1915 a cornerstone for the new building, designed by Richard E. Schmidt of the Chicago firm of Garden and Martin, was laid.

Information About This Historic Site 

From Michigan Historic Sites Online

Other Names North American Benefit Association Building
Property Type clubhouse
Historic Use COMMERCE/TRADE/business
Current Use COMMERCE/TRADE/business
Style Renaissance
Architect/Builder RICHARD E. SCHMIDT

Narrative Description
The Woman's Benefit Association Building is a two-story, flat roofed, Second Renaissance Revival style building of light gray Indiana limestone resting on a Vermont granite foundation. The recessed loggia of the main entrance is supported by paired Corinthian columns, and is flanked by Corinthian-capped pilasters between vertical one-over-one lights. Decorative porticos punctuate the second-story at front and side facades. The central upper facade holds a dentiled frieze which is surmounted by a central cartouche and a balustrade.

Statement of Significance
The The Woman's Benefit Association Building has historical significance for its association with the establishment of the largest women's fraternal benefit society in Port Huron. Mrs. Bina West Miller saw the need for financial security for women at a time when little economic worth was placed on women. The Woman's Benefit Association was founded October 1, 1892 and issued its first certificate of life insurance on November 4, 1892. Within three years, nearly 10,000 members had been enrolled. The success led the Woman's Benefit Association of the Maccabees to erect their national home office in Port Huron. On October 22, 1915 a cornerstone for the new building, designed by Richard E. Schmidt of the Chicago firm of Garden and Martin, was laid.

Period of Significance 1901-1930
Significant Date(s) 1915-1917
Registry Type(s) 08/18/1989 Marker erected
12/15/1988 State Register listed
Site ID# P24673

Update Log 

  • October 7, 2012: New Street View added by Rattrak
  • August 27, 2010: Essay added by Nathan Holth
  • August 27, 2010: Added by Nathan Holth

Sources