By James Hanlon
Leader Staff Writer
Joe Frost resigned as Oxford Village president last September after announcing his family would move to Bay City to be closer to family, and to restore a historic home. The restoration is coming along nicely.
Joe and his wife Andrea purchased an 1884 Italianate home in a historic neighborhood on Bay City’s East Side. “The Holcomb House” was built by
Emmet Holcomb, a hardware supplier and Bay City councilman. Over decades of vacancy the building fell into disrepair. The Frosts purchased the 137-year-old property from the Bay County Land Bank with a development agreement.
They are actively renovating, and plan to make it their permanent residence to raise their three children. It will include five bedrooms, three bathrooms, and a home office. “Historic preservation is a tool for community revitalization, and it’s an ethos to live by,” says Joe, who works as an economic vitality specialist for Michigan Main Street.
A project like this is perfect for Joe, who holds a master’s degree in historic preservation from Ball State University and runs his own side business, Michigan Historic Window Co. “My goal as a preservationist has always been to do a rehabilitation of a project from start to finish,” Joe said. He aims to replicate as much of the original character as accurately as possible, while modernizing the interior electrical and plumbing systems.
The project has allowed him to use his professional skills and experience, both planning and hands-on restoration work. He finds it relaxing.
During their renovations, they have uncovered some interesting artifacts hiding in the walls and floorboards, including old newspapers, a handwritten note from 1908, and a fountain pen with a patent mark from 1899.
Joe expects to finish by the end of the year. Folks can follow their progress on Instagram @holdcombhouse1884.