The Fox Brothers, Ethelbert Crofton (1852-1904) and Charles (1853-1915), local lumber barons, built this structure as their home. These brothers were partners in a Grand Rapids lumbering firm, Osterhout, Fox & Company, and accumulated vast wealth. Appointed to the State Military Board by Governor Cyrus Luce
in 1887, E. Crofton, a colonel, was twice elected president of that organization. He was also associated with with banking and was treasurer of the City Board of Trade. Charles was the founder of the Michigan Trust Company, established in 1889.