Hugh J. McHugh Building
276 E. Michigan Avenue
Situated in the heart of the Haymarket District, an Irish immigrant named Hugh J. McHugh built a handsome, three-story brick building on the southwest corner of E. Main (now 276 E. Michigan Avenue) and Edwards Street. Still standing today, McHugh’s building stands out for its idiosyncratic flourishes and resistance to a singular style. Built in 1885, McHugh’s unique vision fuses together both Italianate and Queen Anne elements. Above the rectangular sash windows are quirky patterns of masonry. The entablature is comprised of three sections that divide the decorative frieze. After completing the building, McHugh rented it to a druggist named J.H. Hobart Babcock.
Very little is known about the Irish contractor, who like so many other Irishman in the mid 1800s, sought escape from financial and food insecurity of their homeland. Born in Ireland in 1823, McHugh arrived in Kalamazoo just after the Civil War. He is listed in the city directories as having lived on Frank Street in the late 1860s and early 1870s. McHugh died February 14, 1892, and is buried in Riverside’s Catholic Cemetery.
Article written by Ryan Gage, Kalamazoo Public Library, May 2023
Walking Through Time: A Pictorial Guide to Historic Kalamazoo, Brendan Henehan (H 720.9774 H498)
Local History Room Files
Subject File: Buildings – Kalamazoo – Michigan, E., 276