By: Scott Way
Most of us want to live on the water. Not all of us can. A lot us do the next best thing by buying a boat and staying on the water as much as we can. All of us bring our hobby home anyway through nautical house decor (don't act like you don't have throw pillows with anchor emblems, or a piece of wall art showing a helm).
While all of that is well and good, the ultimate 'boater's home' may be a boat... that's a home. On top of that, you can buy an actual boat for the waterfront, and basically live your entire life in one boat or another. That's the life.
This real estate listing in Au Gres, Michigan sits on the shore of Lake Huron and overlooks Saginaw Bay. The SS Huronia is a custom built home designed to resemble a steamship and boasts 1700 square feet of living space with 5 bedrooms and 4 bathrooms. It also includes 161 feet of waterfront. It's been dubbed the 74' Land Yacht by various outlets over the years and there's no shortage of fascination with the unique property.
In a recent Yahoo article, the story of the property follows the life of Robert Baum, who built the house in 1935 as a retreat for family and friends. Baum built the home himself with the help of a carpenter friend and lived there year round with his wife Florence for 35 years.
Baum's granddaughter, Barbara Baum Freethy, told the outlet that the house was sold to someone outside the family after her grandfather's passing in 1970, but that the property is still nearly identical to its original form. Several pieces of furniture including a custom nautical-themed dinner table still fill the kitchen. There's also a complete helm on the bridge overlooking the bay.
"When you would stand at the ship's wheel looking out of the bow of the ship, you just see water. You don't have the sense that you're up on a bluff. So for children, it was fabulous to have this recreation of really being out on a ship," said Baum Freethy.
One of the other neat features that would appeal to anyone, boater or otherwise, is that the weather varies depending on which side of the point you access.
"One side of the bay would be calm, and the other side would be rough, depending on the winds. And that was really fun for a kid" said Baum Freethy. It would be fun for adults, too, with nearly limitless ways to explore the water and surrounding area. Au Gres sits on the shore of Saginaw Bay facing due south, with the city of Saginaw directly ahead of it some 45 nautical miles away across the bay. This shields the town partly from the westerly winds that typically pass along the Great Lakes, although with the property located right at the tip of 'Pointe Lookout' users can access either the eastern or western sides depending on the weather.
Now, there's the small issue of price. In today's market just about everything is selling at record numbers, but a property like the SS Huronia appeals to a certain buyer (i.e., a boater). The property was listed in 2011 for $398k US, but didn't sell. Then it was listed twice in the summer of 2021 for $750k. It has now been listed a third time at the same $750k list price. The lot size may have some effect (0.64 acres), or it could be from hesitant buyers second guessing prices in an volatile market. That being said, the asking price doesn't seem unreasonable for a 5 bedroom 4 bathroom waterfront house., albeit with it its own set of (awesome) quirks. Time will tell. The equivalent in price, based on the current exchange rate, is roughly $930k Cdn.
The property is currently listed by eXp Realty in Michigan.