In Honor of Barb Kelly: 430 E. Arch ~ Ripka Home

Today, I was honored to receive the Barb Kelly Historical Preservation Award from the Marquette Beautification and Restoration Committee. Congratulations to all the award recipients and to the MBRC for its continued wonderful work to this community. Barb Kelly herself presented the award to me and said some very nice things about me and My Marquette, so here is a little bit about her and her wonderful house, taken from My Marquette.Note that since this photo was taken, the Kellys have begun constructing a three story tower on the east side of the house.

The Ripka/Kelly home circa 2009

C.F. Struck built this fine sandstone home in 1875 for A.A. Ripka, a mining investor. The house features an arched portico, gabled dormers with pointed arch windows, and a steeply pitched Lake Superior slate roof.

Not long after its construction, the house was sold to Alfred Swineford, owner of The Mining Journal. Swineford would later build the house at 424 Cedar Street, and give this Arch Street home to his daughter Nellie Flower and her husband Edward Stafford when they married in 1884. When Swineford moved to Alaska, the Staffords remained in Marquette, and in 1890, their only child, Ruth, was born. In 1917, Ruth would marry Roscoe Conkling Main, the county health officer for Marquette County. Later, the Main family would move to California.

Today the home belongs to Dr. Peter and Barbara Kelly. Dr. Kelly was among the preservers of the Savings Bank Building downtown and Barbara Kelly is well known for over thirty years of dedication to the Marquette Beautification committee, landscaping and planting flowers throughout the city. The Barbara H. Kelly Historic Preservation Award is named in her honor and regularly given to those who preserve and restore historic architecture and promote historical preservation in Marquette.

Explore posts in the same categories: Marquette History, Marquette's Historical Homes, Tyler's Novels, Uncategorized, Upper Michigan Books and Authors

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7 Comments on “In Honor of Barb Kelly: 430 E. Arch ~ Ripka Home”

  1. Blaine Betts Says:

    Barbara and Peter Kelly will forever be remembered in Marquette history as model citizens. Their contributions have visually improved this city in dramatic ways since their arrival in the 1970s. The civic pride that has developed because of their work has spread to many other facets of life in the region. Dr. Tischelaar’s novels and non-fiction works have captured the spirit of The Queen City that the Kellys embody in their daily lives.

  2. Kiki Booswa Says:

    What a wonderful story! I only wish we could know even more about the history of the home. What a beautiful house. So much history! Who lived in the home after the Main famly lived there? I wonder if it’s haunted!


    • Hi Kiki,
      I honestly don’t know the history of everyone who lived in the house. I think the Mains lived there many years though. The Swinton family lived there in the mid-twentieth century. At least the 1950s and 60s. Mr. Swinton was a doctor in Marquette. The Kellys I believe have owned it since the 1970s.

  3. Ann Hilton Fisher Says:

    Yes, Dr. and Mrs. Swinton had it in the 50s and early 60’s–and perhaps before. Mrs. Swinton gave piano lessons. There were two baby grand pianos in the living room (west of the entrance way). The bay window had a window seat all around, and, best of all, was filled with glass shelves with their collection of glass animals and ornaments, many of them collected on their European trips. When I was growing up it was the only house I knew that had a housekeeper.


    • Thanks for sharing, Ann. Maybe someday I’ll update my book and expand to include more about the Swintons. There is so much to learn about Marquette history and all the ways everyone’s lives intertwined. I never get tired of learning the details.

  4. justin kiesby Says:

    This is a beautiful home, I grew up across the street and was the Kelly’s son and I were born on the same day in Marquette MI. I remember many a stormy day spent in this house with the windows rattling and lights out.


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