Welcome to Plymouth MI Discoveries!

4 Jul

The faces behind Plymouth Discoveries. Andrea, Ava, Alicia, Aaron and Jim

This page is dedicated to telling the history and cool facts about historical structures and homes in Plymouth, Michigan. Greetings and welcome to our Plymouth Discoveries. My family and I moved to Plymouth because of the richness of history, the great schools, and the great people. After a visit to the Plymouth Historical Museum, we became very interested in the homes and structures around town and the history behind them. In the spring of 2012 we started a facebook page documenting our discoveries. In partnership with the Plymouth Historical Museum, we have now evolved to the creation of this page. Our goal is to raise awareness of the rich history of Plymouth and to showcase to the world the great community we live in. Our posts only scratch the surface of the extensive stories behind each structure and we can only hope it will encourage the community to share their memories and encourage others to learn more! If you own a historical Plymouth home and would like to share, PLEASE contact us. We hope that this will encourage the public to pay a visit to our wonderful community and to stop by the Plymouth Historical Museum located at 155 S. Main Street, Plymouth, MI 48170 Phone Number: (734) 455-8940

Andrea, Ava, Alicia, Aaron & Jim

46227 Ann Arbor Rd

12 Sep


46227 Ann Arbor Rd, Built in 1928 by George Smith. This home has a unique story unlike any other when it comes to the building materials used to build this brick colonial style home. Interestingly enough, there are bricks that were repurposed from the World famous Garrick Theatre in Detroit. The Garrick theatre is where Harry Houdini performed for the last time before passing away on October 31st, 1926. In 1928 the theatre located on Griswold was razed and George Smith acquired bricks from the old theatre to help build his dream home. When completed, this home was equipped with some the most modern amenities at the time. World renowned magician David Copperfield also has a brick from this home on display at the International Museum & Library of the Conjuring Arts in Las Vegas. Through the years, this home has been maintained and virtually kept in its original condition. The current owners have continued to keep this great Plymouth landmark in excellent shape and are proud of its mystifying building material history. Considering its location on Ann Arbor Road, there are literally thousands of cars that drive by this home not having a clue of its phenomenal creation. Now that you know, you can share this story and be proud of another great piece of Plymouth history.

Below is a historic photo of the Garrick Theatre and an ad for Houdini’s performance


1071 N. Holbrook

5 Sep


1071 N Holbrook. Built in 1898. This home is one of just a handful of houses in Plymouth’s Old Village that was built of all brick. This home was built by one of the very first successful business owners in this part of town. Andrew Jackson Lapham owned a substantial portion of the block bordered by Holbrook, Wilcox, Pearl and N Mill Streets and at one time had two store structures and two homes on his land. This home had replaced the wooden house that Andrew built in 1873. Lapham’s General store was very popular in the late 1800’s because of its close proximity to the Plymouth Mill, the Phoenix Mill and Gunsolly Mill. Growers would trade in their raw materials at the mills and head to Lapham’s to purchase all types of needed goods. Lapham’s also had an Ice house on the property where they would store ice that formed in Wilcox Lake in the winter and sell it through the year. In 1929 this home was deeded to Andrew’s Daughter Helen Shackleton and was kept in the family for many years.  Although it’s showing signs of its age being well over a century old, this home still stands strong and maintains a great deal of history within the walls of this structure. Today the old stores no longer stand on this property but other homes built by the Lapham & Shackleton family still exist in this part of town and descendants of Andrew still live here in town and surrounding areas.

Historic photo of this home, Lapham’s General Store and of Andrew Lapham provided by the Andrew’s Great Grand Daughter: Janet Millross Renwick. Photo below is Lapham’s General Store that was located on Holbrook right next to Andrew’s home. Look closely at the historic photo of the house and you can see the brick wall of the store. LaphamGenStoreHolbrookSt

Holbrook brick house (Lapham)


412 Starkweather St

8 Aug


412 Starkweather St. Built Circa 1880. This home was built by George Starkweather and was then sold to Mary Davis. In earlier years, Mary was active in the underground railroad  and was involved in the WCTU (Women’s Christian Temperance Union) in Plymouth. Mary was the Foster Mother of Amelia Heywood who eventually married George Starkweather. After the passing of Mary Davis, the home was deeded to Amelia Starkweather. In 1973 this home was purchased by Robert (Bob) Puckett who kept this home well preserved and today is still the home of Puckett Plumbing, Heating & Cooling.


Historic Photo of Mary Davis from the Daniel Sabo Collection

905 Penniman Ave

2 Aug


905 Penniman. Built Circa 1886. This home stands at the South West corner of Penniman and Harvey Street. This place once served as the home of Nettie Dibble who lived here for several years from the 1920s up until her passing in 1944. Nettie was quite active in the community and also Authored “History of the Presbyterian Church in Plymouth” and “Historical Data of Plymouth Twp”. At one time this home was completely covered in siding which covered the brick work. In 1991 this home was remodeled and the siding was removed to reveal the hidden bricks by the current owners Dubois-Cooper Associates who now use this as a commercial office.

498 Farmer Street

1 Aug


498 Farmer St. Built in 1914. Originally the Alter Motor Car Company.Built right along train tracks, this factory sits right across the street from the Plymouth Cultural Center. Alter Motors built over 1000 cars from 1914-1916. At one time the factory employed 100 workers and produced 25 cars per day. This building was wonderfully restored inside and out by the current owners: the C.D. Sparling Company. To see the last known Alter Car, be sure to stop by the Plymouth Historical Museum where they have one of these great cars on display. For additional historical information about the Alter Motor Car Company, be sure to check out http://www.AlterMotorCar.com

Click the photos below to view a larger image: AlterCar2MenAlterCardAd


1107 W. Ann Arbor Trail

27 Jul


1107 W. Ann Arbor Trail. Built 1861. Originally the home of Cassius Kellogg, Son of Plymouth Pioneer John Kellogg. Much of the land that now makes up the City of Plymouth was once owned by the Kellogg Family. The “Village Green” which we know as Kellogg Park in Downtown Plymouth was actually donated to the City by the Kellogg Family.

Mayflower Hotel Site

16 Jul


This post is quite different from any of our previous posts because of the fact that that it highlights a building that is not very historic yet is a corner that is rich in Plymouth’s history. It has been our discovery that this page receives many searches for the Historic Mayflower Hotel and we were quite surprised to find that there are many people who are still unaware that the Mayflower no longer stands. 827 W. Ann Arbor Trail was home to the Mayflower Hotel from 1927 through 1999. The Hotel was razed in 2000 and is now the home of Mayflower Centre which consists of both retail spaces and condominiums. This was the location where Plymouth’s first home was built by Plymouth Pioneers William and Kezia Starkweather in 1825. Although Plymouth’s first home was more of a primitive shelter, it was still a home and this South West corner of Main Street and Ann Arbor Trail is where it all began. Today there are still “remains” of the Mayflower. Directly across Main Street, the former Mayflower Meeting House still stands and is now home to a Banquet Facility and office spaces. The Mayflower’s later addition (Mayflower II) still stands at 471 S. Main Street and operates as the Mayflower Motor Inn.

Here is verbiage from an old post card dated 1986 of the Mayflower:

100 room historic, family-operated hotel featuring Bed and Breakfast Full complimentary breakfast for overnight guests, at Main Street and Ann Arbor Trail, off I-275 and M-14, 25 minutes from Metro Airport, Ann Arbor, Detroit and Greenfield Village – Five minutes to Northville Downs Within walking distance of 150 unique shops, tree lined Kellogg Park and a movie theater – Banquet facilities up to 400 – Six meeting rooms – The Mayflower II rooms feature direct-dial phones, color TV, refrigerators, queen-size or double beds, individually controlled heating and cooling, Sprinkler system and smoke alarms – Deluxe rooms feature Kohler whirlpool bathtubs and king-sized beds

Below are some old images of the Hotel:





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