Welcome to Plymouth MI Discoveries!

4 Jul
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Jim, Andrea, Ava, Alicia, & Aaron

This page is dedicated to telling the history and cool facts about historical structures and homes in Plymouth, Michigan. Welcome to our Plymouth Discoveries page. 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 learn more and appreciate Plymouth history. We also also hope that our page helps encourage the preservation of structures that hold much of the great history of Plymouth. We hope that this will also 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.

To contact the author of this page, simply enter your info below:

Author of Plymouth Discoveries

615 N. Mill St

20 Feb

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615 N Mill St Built circa 1878. In 1873 John Christian Peterhans (Chris) purchased a plot of land from George Starkweather and built this home. This home was owned by his descendants until 1975. Below is the obituary from The Plymouth Mail (newspaper) that was published in November of 1915:

“The death of J.C. Peterhans, which occurred last Friday morning at the family home just northeast of the village, Plymouth, loses one of her well-known and most highly esteemed citizens, and another veteran of the Civil War has answered the last roll call. Mr. Peterhans was a man who was honest and upright in all his dealing and had a host of friends. The funeral was held from his late home, Monday afternoon at two o’clock, Rev Joseph Dutton conducting the services. There was a large attendance of neighbors and friends. The members of Eddy Post No. 231 attended the services in a body.

The floral offerings were many and beautiful. A large American flag was draped at the head of the casket, which was the regimental headquarters flag of the 16th Michigan Infantry, to which Mr Peterhans belonged. The flag was not a regimental flag that was carried on the march or on the field of battle, but a flag that floated over the commanding officer’s tent, when they were in camp. It is more than 50 years old and has been under fire on several occasions. At the close of the war the flag was presented to Lieutenant Charles Salter, who saved the flag from being captured at Gaines’ Mills, June 27, 1862. In 1892, Lieutenant Salter died and it was given to Major JW Jacklin for safe keeping. October 6, 1906, it was left with the late George C. Peterhans and since his death JC Peterhans has been its custodian.

The internment took place in Riverside Cemetery, G.A.R. taking part in the committal service at the grave.

John C. Peterhans was born in Plymouth, Michigan, February 9, 1840, and departed this life November 5, 1915. He was a twin brother of the late George C. Peterhans, who died March 17, 1911. Mr Peterhans had been in failing health for nearly two years, having been confined to his home for the past two months. He bore his suffering very patiently. He was a member of Eddy Post, No. 231, G.A.R. and during his sickness spoke very much of his comrades. At the age of nine years, Mr Peterhans moved with his parents to Cincinnati, Ohio, remaining there about one year. He then returned to Plymouth, where he lived most of his life, with the exceptions of a few years spent near Caro, Tuscola County. On September 8, 1861, he enlisted in Co. F, 16th Michigan Infantry for three years. On October 25, 1862, he was discharged on surgeon’s certificate disability, at Antietam, Maryland. On July 2, 1863, he married Hester A. Smith of Plymouth. To this union were born five children, two sons, George and William having died in infancy. He leaves to mourn their loss, besides his widow and three daughters, three brothers, Henry and Emanuel of Caro, and Charles E. of Mt Pleasant; two sisters Mrs. Christina Ingersoll of Caro, and Amelia Peterhans of Cleveland, Ohio, also several other relatives and a host of friends. “

~ Today we are happy to still be graced with the presence of his former home adding to the historic beauty of Plymouth’s Old Village. Although the home has a large, modern addition on the backside, the original structure is still very much intact and is also used for commercial purposes.

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John Christian Peterhans

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View of Mill Street (near Liberty St) looking South circa 1905

994 Penniman Ave

18 Jan

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994 Penniman Ave. Built in 1925. This home was built by Elizabeth “Bessie” Rattenbury and was the childhood home of the well-known Plymouth business woman and beloved philanthropist Margaret Dunning (daughter of Bessie). This home was constructed by Gottschalk Home builders which built many homes in Plymouth. Margaret lived in this home for more than 90 years; she was nearly 105 years old when she died in May of 2015. Being a car enthusiast, this 2,337 square foot home also has a heated six-car garage that housed some of her most prized, award-winning vehicles, some of which can now be found at the Gilmore Car Museum.

Margaret was a graduate of Plymouth High School in 1927 she also attended the University of Michigan and Hamilton Business School. In the early 1930’s she worked at the Ford Phoenix Mill plant here in Plymouth located on Northville Rd. From 1935 to 1940 she was a bank teller and assistant cashier for the First National Bank of Plymouth after that she worked for the Plymouth United Savings Bank. During WWII Margaret volunteered driving a truck for the American Red Cross motor pool. After the war in 1947 Margaret and her mother purchased an apparel store on Main Street and renamed it Dunning’s. In 1950 she moved Dunning’s department store to Forest Ave in downtown Plymouth. Dunning served on the board of Community Federal Credit Union in Plymouth from 1962 to 1984 and was president of the board for 19 of those years. Through the years she served on different boards, volunteered and benefitted a number of causes.

As a philanthropist, Margaret helped many causes that benefited our community and beyond. Both the Plymouth Historical Museum and the Plymouth District Library bear the Dunning name. As benefactor of the Plymouth Historical Museum, Margaret was very active with the museum; in addition to being a financial contributor she was an advocate for preserving Plymouth history.

At the time of this post the home is property of the Margaret Dunning Foundation and is currently on the real estate market for sale. We can only hope that this uniquely historic home finds a new owner that will appreciate and preserve its elegance. Acquiring this home is about the closest a person could get to owning the home of “Plymouth Royalty.” This home has graced Plymouth’s Penniman Avenue for some 92 years and we look forward to having it continue to be a part of our community for years to come.

Below is a photo of Margaret Dunning during WWII as a Red Cross driver (left) photo of Margaret in 1965 as President of the Credit Union (center) photo of Margaret in 2014 with the author of this page Jim Salamay (right) and photo of Margaret with her prized 1930 Packard 740 (bottom) (from American Road Magazine)

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For sale information of this home contact (734) 453-8080

Here’s the Zillow listing:  http://www.zillow.com/homedetails/994-Penniman-Ave-Plymouth-MI-48170/88559914_zpid/ 

On a personal note: Margaret offered her support of our “Plymouth Discoveries” and encouraged us to continue to keep up our efforts and offered her personal memories and to help however she could. Her admiration of our page and her personal support had been one of the motivations for us to continue our research and to share the great history we have here in our wonderful town. Plymouth has been blessed to have such a wonderful member of our community. God bless Margaret and may she rest in peace.

Night for the Museum

16 Jan

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Tickets are on sale now! Only 200 available. Get them before they’re gone!
This is a very special evening celebrating Plymouth’s history and supporting the Plymouth Historical Museum.
Tickets available here: http://www.plymouthhistory.org/A-Night-FOR-the-Museum–Annual-Gala_AE21.html

195 Liberty Street

15 Jan

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195 W Liberty St. Built in 1871. This is the Starkweather building built by George Starkweather. This was the first commercial building built on Liberty St. Starkweather was very instrumental in bringing the Rail Roads to Plymouth and in anticipation of the business that the RR lines would bring to Plymouth, he actually carved Liberty Street through his own property and built this structure to house his Dry Goods store. After building his store, he lived upstairs with his family until 1875 when he built his house diagonally across the street (711 Starkweather) which still stands today. In addition to his Dry Goods store, Peter Gayde’s Grocery was also in this building. Gayde and Starkweather were very good friends, good enough to where Peter Gayde built his home right next door to the Starkweather home. Although the Starkweather building has served as home to a number of businesses through the years, since 2003 this has been the home of Hermann’s Olde Town Grille. This structure has been so well preserved that we definitely recommend paying a visit to Hermann’s to dine and/or enjoy spirits in the ambiance of a great piece of Plymouth history. Check Hermann’s website at:  www.HermannsOTG.com

Below is a historic photo of the Starkweather building circa 1905 courtesy of the Plymouth Historical Museum:

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1395 Park Place

8 Jan

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1395 Park Place. Built by Cass Sheffield Hough in 1927. This was the first home built in the Hough Park neighborhood and was the home of Cass and his first wife Margaret. Cass was born in 1904 here in Plymouth and was the Grandson of Lewis Cass Hough (an original founder of Daisy Air Rifle Co).  At an early age Cass was very interested in aircrafts and became one of the earliest licensed pilots in Michigan in the 1920s. He graduated from the Culver Military Academy in 1921 and then graduated from the University of Michigan in 1925. Cass went to work as the Sales Manager of Daisy Air Rifles. In 1939 Cass joined the US Army Air Corps. During World War II he flew regular missions escorting bombers over Europe and was assigned by Gen. Jimmy Doolittle to head a unit to solve operational problems. The group of talented pilots developed lightweight external fuel tanks, the P-38 Droop Snoot, bomb sight, 2,000-pound bombs and rocket-propelled bombs to penetrate German submarine pens. Chuck Yeager is better-known for being the first man to break the sound barrier in level flight in 1947, but Hough and perhaps some others broke it much earlier during dives.

After WWII, Hough rose to chairman of Daisy Manufacturing and served as member, acting director, and chairman of Michigan Aeronautics Commission. Today Col. Cass Hough is also enshrined in the Aviation Hall of Fame. In 1976 Cass authored the book “It’s a Daisy” telling the detailed story of the Daisy Air Rifle Company. Mr. Hough passed away in 1990 at his Florida home but is forever resting in peace here in Plymouth at the Riverside Cemetery. We are proud to have his well preserved home as a part of our great community of Plymouth.

Below is a photo of Cass Hough as a pilot during World War II and a photo of Cass in 1950 at his desk serving as President of the Daisy Air Rifle Company here in Plymouth.

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9460 McClumpha Rd

7 Jan

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9460 McClumpha Rd. Built circa 1858 was the home of Thomas McClumpha. Thomas was born in New York in 1816 to William & Betsey McClumpha. Thomas and Wife Margaret moved to Michigan in November of 1838 and eventually settled in Plymouth around 1857. This home was where Thomas & Margaret raised their kids: Elizabeth, Sarah, Ida Belle, and William. Not only was Thomas a farmer but he also served as an elected official here in Plymouth and was dedicated to serving our community well. This road carries the family’s namesake.

The years took its toll on this old farmhouse and in the early 70’s this home was in rough shape. This house was saved and restored by David and Janet Sibbold where they resided from 1975-1988. The Sibbold’s were also in collaboration with the Hulce family in building the New England Corners condominiums where this home sits as the cornerstone of that development. Today this home blends in so well with the surrounding homes that it’s difficult to tell that there is a 160 year old historic home with many stories to tell quietly sitting in this developed corner of Plymouth.

Below is the street view of the South East corner of McClumpha and Ann Arbor Rd where this home sits (at New England Corners).

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511 N. Holbrook

14 Nov

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511 N. Holbrook built in 1867 by Henry Robinson. Henry was born in 1833 in England and immigrated to the US and chose to move to Detroit. In 1862 Henry joined the efforts of the Civil War and became a part of Company G of the Michigan 24th Infantry in the G.A.R. (Grand Army of the Republic). At age 30 he was actually the oldest in his regiment. In April of 1863 Henry received a disabling head injury from an exploding shell at Fitzhugh Crossings which was part of the Chancellorsville campaign during the war. After recovery, Henry served in the Veterans Reserve Corps and in 1865 was honorably discharged. After his discharge he moved back to Detroit and then chose to settle with his wife in Plymouth. When Henry and his wife Helen moved to Plymouth in 1867 they built their home at the corner of Holbrook and Caster Street where they raised 4 Kids (William, Herbert, Helen, & Marion). Henry and his family can be found resting in the Riverside Cemetery. We are happy to see that the home of this Civil War Soldier is still standing strong and is an attractive asset in “Old Village” Plymouth.