Samuel H. Wilson

Samuel H. Wilson is one of the progressive and representative exponents of the real estate business in the city of Grand Rapids, where he is the executive head of the firm of S. H. Wilson & Company, with offices in the building of the Grand Rapids National Bank. Mr. Wilson was born in Paris township, Kent county, Michigan, April 4, 1870, and is a son of William J. and Sarah (Hanna) Wilson, who came to this county from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, in the year 1867, and who thus gained an appreciable measure of pioneer prestige in this section of Michigan, Grand Rapids having at that time been little more than a village. Samuel H. Wilson was afforded the advantages of the Grand Rapids public schools, including the high school, and at the age of twenty years he took a position in the law office of J. T. Preston, of this city, his purpose being to fortify himself in all legal matters pertaining to the real estate business, to which he was determined to give his attention eventually. It is needless to say that the knowledge and discipline he thus gained have proved to him of great value in connection with his subsequent large and important real estate operations, as he is equipped for the drawing of the various contracts into which he enters, as well as for the effective adjustment and direction of all other legal phases of his business. In short, his is virtually an authoritative status in familiarity with all departments and phases of real estate law. For fully thirty years Mr. Wilson has been actively identified with the real estate business in Grand Rapids, and he has been a leader in initiative and progressive movements in this important sphere of enterprise, through which he has contributed much to the civic and material advancement of the fair "Valley City" of Michigan. He has platted and developed several additions to the city, and his activities have touched all phases of the general real estate business. In his earlier operations Mr. Wilson was associated with the late John W. Closterhouse, and after the death of the latter he formed a partnership with Leon Closterhouse, a son of his former coadjutor. The firm of Closterhouse & Wilson platted and developed the Burlingame addition to Grand Rapids, as well as the first addition or subdivision of the Burlingame tract. The firm likewise platted Hamilton Park and its addition, and had control of the exploitation of the Grandville addition. The Hamilton Park project involved the development of a fine tract of one hundred and sixty acres. The firm of S. H. Wilson & Company has controlled a large business in the handling of farm properties as well as city realty, and has platted and successfully placed on the market many acres adjoining Grand Rapids, including the Wyoming Park addition, of three hundred and fifty acres, this being undoubtedly the largest individual plat-addition in the entire state of Michigan at the time when its development was initiated, in 1910. Wyoming Park was laid out as a plat to be given exclusively to the building of high-grade houses and the developing of ideal homes under carefully restricted building conditions. In Wyoming Park there have been built at this date three hundred and twenty-five beautiful homes, and the natural timber on the tract has been supplemented by the planting of 1,800 maple trees. Here are more than fourteen miles of cement sidewalks, several of the streets have the best type of modern pavement, and from one family the population has grown to approximately 325 families, the while there is represented here the investment of fully $1,500,000. Wyoming Park has excellent electrical and water service, a modern retail mercantile establishment, and two modern church edifices, those of the United Brethren and the Reformed churches. This splendid development enterprise was projected and successfully carried forward by S. H. Wilson & Company, which also platted and successfully exploited the first, second, third and fourth additions and the Garden and Boulevard addition. The success of S. H. Wilson & Company and the importance of the firm’s constructive service in the local field of real estate operations of major scope, are a matter of appreciative recognition in Kent county. Mr. Wilson has had as his resourceful associate Miss Isabel Chalmers, who is the "silent" member of the firm and who has gained precedence as one of the representative business women of her home city and native county. Miss Chalmers was born and reared in Kent county and is a representative of a family that was here founded in an early day. Miss Chalmers became a successful teacher in the schools of her native county, and for several years prior to turning her attention to the real estate business she had been a popular teacher in the Central high school of Grand Rapids. In the year 1898 was solemnized the marriage of Samuel H. Wilson to Miss Edith H. Cobb, and the one child of this union is a son, William Wallace, who was graduated in the Grand Rapids high school and whose higher academic education was obtained in Colgate University, in the state of New York. After receiving from Colgate University his degree of Bachelor of Arts, William W. Wilson entered the law school of Harvard University, in which, in due course, he was graduated with the degree of Bachelor of Laws. He is now engaged in the practice of law in New York City. In his business activities and civic attitude Samuel H. Wilson has shown the attributes of a thorough and conscientious business man and those of a loyal and progressive citizen. He has high standing as an exponent of the real estate business, and the service he has given in advancing the development of Grand Rapids stands as a credit to him and as a matter of appreciative satisfaction to the citizens of Michigan's second city.