The apple, it seems, didn’t fall far from the tree. During Antoine’s mayoral reign, Warren graduated high school, and like his father before him, left home to make his own way in the world. At age 16, he moved to Montreal for business school, then, before enrolling at Notre Dame University, worked two years as a bookkeeper to defray his college expenses. Tall and strong—again, like his father—Warren led Notre Dame’s first football team, rowed with the school crew and graduated with a degree in Civil Engineering.
When he returned to Ludington, Warren joined his father’s lumber businesses and within the year embarked on what he later called his life’s most important achievement: his marriage to Kate Dempsey, a petite and vivacious gal from Wisconsin.
The city greeted the newlyweds in style, flooding them with wedding gifts—pearl-handled fruit knives, oyster forks, table linens, poetry books, vases, silver spoons, pickle castors, teapots, and more—which the newspaper dutifully recounted. But likely the greatest gift of all came from Antoine himself. He gave the newlyweds a vast Victorian home—fully furnished and outfitted with the requisite porch, peaks and turret—one door east of his own.If Warren followed closely in his father’s footsteps, he certainly didn’t stay in Antoine’s shadow. He and Kate started a family of their own—three sons in three years—and Warren kicked off his own business ventures. While still working with his father, he partnered up with William Rath to create Rath & Cartier, a full-scale lumber firm. He organized the Ludington Gas Company to fuel the city. Fed up with the patchy service of the Bell Telephone Company, he launched the United Home Telephone Company, which went on to serve dozens of Michigan cities. He founded Ludington State Bank, headed up nine banks in other communities and became exceptionally wealthy in his own right.
And like Antoine, Warren gave back. When his old alma mater couldn’t get a dollar from its alumni to build an enclosed athletic field in 1899, Warren not only promised aid but provided all the lumber for the proposed project, then offered to construct a fence and a grandstand, too. Notre Dame honored him by naming it Cartier Field; the football team honored him by going 23 straight years, undefeated, on its turf. A devoted Catholic like his father, Warren also helped found the Catholic Extension Society, which aided poor parishes and missions around the nation and later earned him a layman’s highest honor: a knighting by the pope.
So perhaps it does not come as a surprise that in 1899 and again in 1903, Warren, like his dad, was elected mayor of Ludington. Very much unlike his Democrat father, however, Warren ran on the Republican ticket. And shortly after his second term, Warren broke ground of another sort. He moved his family from the house Antoine had gifted him and into a home of his own design, the finest the city of Ludington had ever seen. It sat directly opposite his father’s.
Was Warren’s mansion a son’s attempt to outshine his father? A pointed effort to showcase his independent successes? Or simply the natural consequence of an accomplished man’s desire to build a home of his own? Whatever Warren’s motive, his home was a masterpiece. Built of Roman pressed brick and trimmed with Bedford limestone, the three-story mansion boasted the latest and greatest in modern conveniences: a progressive steam heating system, which allowed the occupants to adjust the temperature of any room to an exact setting; a pulley-operated draft system to provide cooling; transition chandeliers lit by both gas and electricity.