As you look around the village of Port Sanilac, you will notice a handful of lovely Victorian era homes-most of them traditional orange brick or clapboard near the center of town. In the early 1870's, Dr. Joseph Loop, Port Sanilac's original horse-and-buggy physician, decided he was going to build a house that would impress his wife's family and blow everyone else in town out of the water. The Loop-Harrison mansion was the result.
The Loops: Dr. Joseph, wife Jane, and daughter Ada had lived in a log cabin down on Sand Street (now Lake Street) and in a clapboard house, which still stands directly east of the Loop home. Despite more than one hundred and forty years of cutting edge architecture and design, and many beautiful, incredibly expensive, new houses popping up all over Port Sanilac-even today-none of them can hold a candle to the impressive grandeur of the Loop family's Second Empire home.
The house, with its French-inspired mansard roof and shuttered windows, took three years to complete and was built at a cost of $11,000. The original white/yellow brick, unusual in this part of Michigan but common in eastern Canada, was barged across Lake Huron from Ontario. Because this brick has a tendency to blacken and requires a massive amount of maintenance to retain an attractive facade, the Loop home is routinely painted a pleasing shade of yellow. We are told that the house's distinctive chimneys were added by an itinerant Irish mason who just happened by during construction.
The entire house, including the summer kitchen-a separate cooking area used to avoid heating up the house during Michigan's already hot summers-and the coal and wood storage room at the very back, were all built at the same time. A separate brick outhouse/smokehouse burned down at some point and was replaced with the two-room Victorian privy that still stands behind the house. The first two stories of the mansion are open for tours. The Barn Theatre is the original 1880's Loop family barn.