Anton House

In 1855, Richmond Lake, who had come from New York with his family in 1843 to settle in Cass County, Michigan, bought the 40 acres which are currently known as the Anton Property. He and his family lived across the street at what is now called the Slipper Valley Homestead.

In 1873, Richmond’s second to the oldest child, James Madison Lake, who was born in New York in 1842, married Anna Tripp. They purchased the property from his father and took up housekeeping there. The property was known as the “Stone Abutment Farm.” They had one child, Grace, who was born in 1879, and died in 1894, two years after Anna died.

When James was a child, he went to school, but gave the rest of his time to helping his father farm. After he was married, the farm was largely devoted to the production of fruit and had about 500 trees of peaches and apples. The trees produced quite abundantly almost every season and yield a good income for the family.

Over the years, James, who was a lifelong Democrat, served as a school director and a member of the Independent Order of Odd Fellows. He passed away in 1903. The property then became part of the acreage owned by his sister Rosetta Lake Slipper and her husband Benjamin Franklin Slipper.

The Anton House was purchased by Robert and Bessie Anton in 1933 during the Depression. Their only son, Robert Jr., was just 3 years old when they moved into the home. The reason they liked the farm was because it was one of the few places in the area that had running water. Robert Jr. used to love playing in the back of the Anton House in the valley, which they called “rockleh” because it reminded his father of his home in Czechoslovakia.

Ed and Darlene bought the property from the Antons in 1982 and began renovation that winter. It was finished in February of 1983 and was used as the first Big Rock Valley Farm Office for three years and after that was furnished as a guest house.

In 2001 Anton House was once again renovated. The house was fully gutted to the studs, which were patched to reach full height and was made barrier-free, including adding a ramp system on the front porch. The stairwell was reconfigured and a bathroom was added upstairs. The dining room downstairs was converted into a bedroom, so the guest house, furnished with antiques, offers a cozy bedroom and bathroom on each level.