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
1364 Maple St. Built in 1928 by Dr. John L. Olsaver. Doctor Olsaver was a dentist that put himself through the School of Dentistry at the University of Michigan (1911 Grad). John Olsaver married Marguerite Hough, the daughter of Lewis Cass Hough (President, Daisy Air Rifle Co.) and they were actually married in the Hough mansion which once stood at 243 N Main Street.
Today this piece of Plymouth history is definitely one to be admired. The current owners have worked meticulously to make this house an inspiration and to preserve all the historic aspects of this home. The interior is ornate and with detailed, hand painted walls, beautiful woodwork, and so much more that makes this home one to be marveled for years to come. Not only have the owners done a fabulous job with the restoration and preservation of this home but are two of our kindest residents that have put forth their own sweat equity and financial support to save some of Plymouth’s most treasured structures such as the Historic Plymouth High School (on Church St) and Post office (on Penniman Ave). Plymouth is very fortunate to have such magnificent residents and preservationists and we are also proud to have such a fantastic home as part of our community.
505 McKinley St. Built in 1940 by Mr. & Mrs. Robert O. Wesley. Mr. Wesley was the Sales and Advertising Manager of the Daisy Air Rifle Company. When this home was built it was featured in the Detroit News’ Sunday Paper in 1940 and had nearly a full page describing all the details and descriptions of the home and each room. The article featured interior and exterior photos and was described as a “modern adaptation of an American farmhouse”. This home is located in the Hough Park neighborhood and was considered impressive in 1940 and today still maintains a look and appearance that is not only impressive but one to be admired. As a result of the Air Rifle industry in Plymouth, this home was built with a sense of class and ornate details that have been well preserved and is sure to be a great part of Plymouth’s history for years to come.
1940 photo, compliments of Karen Jallos:
340 N. Main Street. Plymouth was once known as the “Air Rifle Capital of the World” and it all started here: This building was originally the Markham Air Rifle Company. Markham started making BB Guns in 1886. The modern day BB gun was invented/developed here in Plymouth, MI by Markham (2 yrs prior to Daisy). Markham Air Rifle was the supplier of BB guns to the Plymouth Iron Windmill Company. When someone bought a Windmill, they would get a free Markham Air Rifle. Demand became so high that the Windmill company changed it’s name to Daisy and started making Air Rifles themselves. In 1916 Daisy Air Rifle acquired controlling interest and in 1928 Markham was renamed King Air Rifle. This structure is the largest commercial all brick building in Plymouth. Today this building now houses office space and has a restaurant on the first floor.
Additional info: Founder William F. “Philip” Markham also built the iconic white Victorian home that sits in the center of town across from Kellogg Park which is most known today as the “Wilcox House”.
Below is a photo of the Markham building before the SW section was torn down.
650 Church Street. Built in 1917 on property that was donated by Senator E.J. Penniman (who lived down the street). The original High School built on this property in 1884 burned down in 1916. This served as Plymouth High School until 1970, this building then served as Central Middle School until 2015. This Plymouth treasure has served thousands of students and generations of families. Within these walls the education of so many occurred, many who went on to be Business owners, Authors, Attorneys, Doctors, Mayors, Teachers, War Heroes and so many more who have served our community and beyond. Today this beloved building now serves the community as PARC (Plymouth Arts & Recreation Complex). Today we are able to enjoy the benefits of this historic structure due to the efforts of countless volunteers and people like Don Soenen and Mark & Patricia Malcolm. We highly encourage checking out all the new renovations and all the activities, programs, and organizations that are available to serve a number of interests. Be sure to check their web site at www.plymouthparc.com
Below is a photo of Plymouth High School as it appeared in the 1950s
291 Spring Street. Plymouth’s oldest Church structure. Built circa 1838 was originally a Baptist Church located on Mill Street. In 1855 this church structure was purchased and moved to this location by the newly formed German Lutheran Church which was organized with the help of German Immigrant and local business owner, Peter Gayde. Plymouth’s Old Village area was once the home of many German immigrants and this church was bustling with activity years ago. One of Plymouth’s oldest Cemeteries is located a short walk near the church. Old clapboards are hidden below the more modern siding but it still sits on a field stone foundation and most of the current parishioners have no idea of its extensive Plymouth history. Take a walk inside and you’ll likely be mesmerized by the exquisite stained glass windows which actually bare the names of some well-known people from Plymouth’s past. Today this Church is now the Church of Christ West and is virtually hidden behind Starkweather school. This is one of Plymouth’s great treasures that most people know very little about. As you can see in the historic photo below, the steeple is about the only thing that has seen any significant change through the years.
Historic photo from turn of the century (1900) time period. Photo (below) courtesy of the Plymouth Historical Museum.
1274 Penniman Ave. Built in 1894. Once serving as the home of Floyd W. Hillman who was a local business owner. At one time Hillman actually owned a “Graham-Paige” auto dealership that once stood at 505 S. Main Street. In 1938 this home was purchased by Perry Richwine who was an attorney that also served as the Secretary-Treasurer of the Plymouth Federal Savings & Loan. Richwine also served a term as the Mayor of Plymouth. Today you can still see the plaque that bares Richwine’s name where he had his law practice at 863 Penniman. In 1948 this home was purchased by Arthur Jenkins who was the editor of the “Plymouth Mail” newspaper. Today this home is currently owned by an attorney that has put much work into preserving this wonderful Plymouth home that once housed some of Plymouth’s prominent people from days of long ago.
Prior to this post, we had not heard of Graham-Paige automobiles, let alone the fact that there was a dealership here in Plymouth. Learn more about Graham-Paige by clicking this Wikipedia link: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Graham-Paige
710 N. Mill Street. Built circa 1843 by William Bradner. Standing at the corner of Mill and Liberty Streets in Old Village, this historic 2-Story Greek revival home sits on a Field stone foundation and retains much of its original dimensions and appears much like it did over 170 years ago. This home has seen a number of owners through the years including once being owned (in 1856)by Peter Gayde who was responsible for establishing the German Lutheran Church on Spring Street and also was a long time business owner whose original store structure still stands on Liberty. Peter went on to build a larger home at 761 Starkweather Street in 1875 which also still stands today. This home was recently remodeled and is being used for commercial purposes. Prior to being an attorney’s office it actually served as an Italian bistro. This is another great piece of Plymouth history that has survived for many years and will hopefully contribute to Plymouth’s historic ambience for several more years to come.