A labor of love: Bialiks’ century-old home
By Pam Bialik and Kristen Bialik
1024 Lake Shore Drive was built in 1916 and is one of the first homes along the route that now looks onto Gladstone’s Van Cleve Park, marina, and beach house. It was built by Charles Slining, who worked in the lumber industry, and his wife Elfreda (Mayme). It, along with neighboring homes, was built on top of the original Escanaba and Lake Superior Railroad tracks. Thought to be designed in the style of Frank Lloyd Wright, the home features large overhangs and mission style throughout. In addition to the current property, the Slinings owned the two lots behind 1024, where their children had a small barn for their pet pony and where Mayme had a spectacular flower garden. The Slinings relocated to Manistique in 1942, when they sold the home to Grier and Ruth Ivory, owners of Ivory Drug on Delta Avenue.
From then on, each successive family of owners contributed something to what makes 1024 the house it is today. The Ivorys did not make structural changes to the home, but added an additional home where the stable had been, now on Minneapolis Avenue, where one of their daughters and her husband lived for many years. In 1966, Ivorys sold the home to Jim and Florence Clark, who converted the front porch to a large front room flanked by windows and a central fireplace. They also added a garage and a circle drive to the 11th Street side of the home. In 1983, Dr. Blake and Sandy Ballard bought the home. The Ballard’s contribution to the existing property is the addition of a kitchen dining area with a bay window overlooking the harbor, and a deck to the backyard. Paul and Pam Bialik moved into the home in 1992, with three young daughters in tow, then just three years, one year, and ten days old.
Over the past 27 years, the Bialiks’ home has grown and changed along with their family. As the fifth family to live at 1024, Paul and Pam have worked to restore the home to its original character. This includes gardening, a passion Pam shares with the original homeowner, Mayme Slining. One of the first projects the Bialiks undertook was full landscaping and transforming the backyard into a patio, featuring a lush perennial garden tucked in by grapevines and tall cedars.
In their efforts to restore and maintain aspects of the original design, the Bialiks undertook several home renovations. They removed all carpeting throughout the house to restore the original hardwood floors. The original, French-style windows featured transoms overhead and were still intact when the Bialiks moved in; however, they were inefficient and did not meet egress standards. They replaced a total of 36 windows, making every effort to hew as closely as possible to the original look. The same effort was made in restoring the original mission-style glass doors, now in the entrance to the kitchen and upstairs bedroom wing.
Due to additional inefficiencies, the family gutted the entire home in 2000 from the original plaster and lath to insulation and drywall. At that time, they also added a wood shop beyond the garage, a glassed-in potting shed adjacent to the backyard patio garden, and an addition to the master bedroom. The bedroom addition allowed Paul and Pam to create a full master suite complete with an office, bathroom, fireplace, and large walk-in closet. This addition brought the home’s fireplace total to five. Though the fireplace that heated the original master bedroom is no longer usable, it brings the home’s history and character to the room. In 2015, the Bialik family completely gutted and remodeled the kitchen and dining area, featuring modern appliances and custom cabinetry, designed to complement the original mission style.
For over a century, 1024 has graced Gladstone’s Lake Shore Drive, adding beauty and character to the Little Bay de Noc. While it is part of many treasured memories for the five families who have lived within its walls, the home has been a backdrop to many Gladstonians over the years, from marchers who passed its windows on the annual 4th of July parade to fishermen launching their boats across the street. Old homes remind us of a long line of town memories, built and shared across the generations. This home holds a wealth of such memories.
The AAUW Homes for the Holiday house, tours will be held on Sunday, Dec. 8, from 1 until 4 p.m. Tickets are available at Positively at 1212 Ludington Street, Gust Asp at 616 Ludington Street, and The Frame Farm at 920 Delta Ave, Gladstone. No tickets will be sold at the door.
The first fifty ticket purchasers will be eligible for five door prize drawings. AAUW is open to men and women holding an associate’s degree or higher. Proceeds from the Homes for the Holidays house tours will provide funding for two AAUW scholarships at Bay College.