Welcome to Plymouth MI Discoveries!

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

This page is committed to sharing the history and facts of historical structures and homes in Plymouth, Michigan. This page is dedicated to the past and present residents of Plymouth. As a Plymouth resident, my family is Proud of the richness of history, the great schools, and the great people of this wonderful community. 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 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 hope that our page helps encourage the preservation of structures that hold much of the great history of Plymouth. We invite the public abroad 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.

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Author of Plymouth Discoveries

1419 Sheridan St

20 Oct

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1419 Sheridan Street was built in 1927. This was the home of Ralph Lorenz who was once known to some as “Father Plymouth” and “Mr Thanksgiving” because of the colonial theme he promoted at the Mayflower and downtown Plymouth. Ralph G. Lorenz was born in Austria in 1910 and moved to Plymouth as a child in 1921. His father had come to America 4 yrs prior and made his way to Plymouth and secured a job working for the Daisy Air Rifle Company. Ralph made his way into the US through Ellis Island with his Mother and siblings, they were quarantined for 2 weeks, then traveled to their new home in Plymouth. Ralph’s first language was German and starting school here without knowing English was tough but made friends quickly after beating up the town bully who stole his hat and tore it up. Ralph graduated from Plymouth High School (now PARC @ 650 Church St) in 1930. He attended college at EMU (and has an honorary degree from Schoolcraft College).

In 1939 Ralph was hired as the Manager of Plymouth’s Mayflower Hotel. At the time, the hotel was bankrupt and in dept. Ralph was able to secure funds to rescue the hotel and the rest is history! Well yes, there is much history when it comes to the beloved Mayflower and the positive impact that Lorenz had on our community. Ralph was also instrumental in the reopening of the First National Bank of Plymouth during the depression. In 1943 Ralph actually resigned as the manager of the Mayflower so that he could join the Navy and served as an officer during WWII and came back home after the war. Lorenz had purchased the Mayflower from the City Stockholders who actually built the Hotel. There were 3 things that Lorenz felt that was instrumental (at the time) was a recipe for a thriving community were: A good bank, a good newspaper, and a good Hotel or Inn. Lorenz was once quoted as saying: ” Plymouth to me is the greatest place on earth, I grew up with the trees out there in the (Kellogg) park. I think everything I’m obligate to is experience of living here (in Plymouth). I’ve received more here than I’ve given”.

In 1986 Ralph sold the Mayflower to his sons Scott & Randy and family friend & associate Creon Smith. In 2000 the Hotel was razed and was replaced by the Mayflower Centre. See more about the Mayflower site here on our page (Mayflower Hotel Site).

Ralph Lorenz passed away in 1992 and was laid to rest at the Riverside Cemetery here in Plymouth.

Below are a photos of Ralph Lorenz (left from 1943 newspaper, right from later in life):

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Below is a photo of Ralph Lorenz and the Mayflower Hotel staff when he became Manager in 1939:

MayflowerStaff1939

Historic photos courtesy of the Plymouth Historical Museum.

Halloween 2018

19 Oct

We put this video together for your entertainment. Happy Halloween season 2018. 🎃👻

1156 W. Ann Arbor Trail

30 Sep

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1156 W Ann Arbor trail was built in 1914 and was the residence of John J. McLaren not to be mistaken with his Father or his Son who both shared the name: John D. McLaren.  In 1901 J.D. McLaren purchased the Hough Grain Elevator business (315 N Main Street) from Lewis C. Hough whose family was doing well putting all their efforts into the Daisy Air Rifle Company. J.D. McLaren died prematurely in 1915. After his death the McLaren Firm was run by John J. who was born on the family farm 3 miles West of Plymouth. John J. a graduate of the University of Michigan had run a Ford agency at 331 N Main Street which was virtually on the same property of the Grain Elevator Co. Above the Ford Agency John J. also ran a fishing lure and frog spear company. After the death of his father, he closed the spear factory and sold the (Bonafide) Ford Agency to William J. Beyer.

For the remainder of his life John J. ran the family business which gradually changed from one of handling grains to one of selling coal, lumber, and building supplies. The six elevators the McLaren’s had acquired in 1901 had expanded to 15. In addition to the headquarter location in Plymouth, there were McLaren elevators in Romulus, Wixom, Salem, Olivet, South Lyon, Charlotte, Ionia, Clare, Novi, New Hudson, Oxford, Watrousville, Collins & Colling. During John J’s time, the firm also established a transit mix company on Junction St, later sold to Gene Glynn.

John J. served on the Plymouth board of Review and was a member of the Plymouth School Board. When he died in 1968 (at age 81) he had been President of the McLaren Company for 53 years. He was succeeded in the business by his Son, John D. who was born in 1916. In 1977 J.D. decided to start liquidating the company so he could retire and in 1983 the building which once housed the elevator company located on Main Street caught on fire and burned down. In 2018 the land still sits vacant.

Today the J.J. McLaren Family home is another example of a beautifully maintained piece of Plymouth history. On a side-note: Fishing lures made by McLaren (Bonafide) company are highly collectible and some are known to fetch thousands of dollars for some of the most rare lures.

Below is an early 1900s photo of the J.D. McLaren Company located on the North Side of train tracks on Main Street:

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Photo below is an image of this home while under construction:

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1477 W. Ann Arbor Trail

30 Jul

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1477 W. Ann Arbor Trail was built in 1938 by Cass & Margaret Hough. Their first home was actually the first home built in the Hough Park neighborhood (located at 1395 Park Place). When this Georgian Colonial was built, it was constructed to the satisfaction of wife Margaret who loved many homes in New England and this home shares many attributes of some of her favorite houses. At the time of construction, Cass was the President of the Daisy Air Rifle factory and was a third generation Hough family member to serve as an executive for the company. An interesting note about the stone wall that sits at the perimeter of the property is the fact that Cass built the wall in 1920 well before the home was built.

In 1941 the Detroit News (newspaper) featured this home in an article touting its elegance and beauty. In 1955 Cass and Margaret had split up. Margaret continued to live here for another ten years. In 1965 a couple happen to be driving through town and came to a stop and got out of their vehicle to admire this home. A woman by the name of Janet Warrick insisted to her husband Chip that they get out and speak to the owner. The couple met with Margaret and stated that if she would consider selling her home to please contact them. Margaret contacted them not long after their meeting and agreed to sell her home to the eager couple. In 1965 this 3700 SQFT, 5 Bedroom, 4.5 bath home was sold to the Warricks. They loved everything about this home so much that it was virtually left “untouched” until 2010 when the home was sold to new owners.

Cass Hough not only served as the President of Daisy but was also a war hero that served as a pilot during WWII and is featured in the Aviation Hall of Fame. Cass passed away at his Florida home in 1990 and was laid to rest here in Plymouth at the Riverside Cemetery.

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Cass Hough 1949 presenting awards

 

ItsADaisy

“It’s a Daisy!” is the most complete published book about the history of Daisy written by Cass Hough in 1976.

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1477 W. Ann Arbor Trail in the winter.

1411 W. Ann Arbor Trail

29 Jul

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1411 W. Ann Arbor Trail was built in 1918 by Edward C. Hough. This was the home of Ed & Louise (Sheffield) Hough from 1918-1959. They had given their estate the name of “The Elms”. Edward Hough was the son of Lewis C. Hough who was an original founder of the Plymouth Iron Windmill Company which eventually became the Daisy Air Rifle Company. Ed joined the business in 1893 as the Treasurer for the company.  In later years, Ed’s Son Cass Hough would go on to become the President of Daisy. Both Edward & Louise Hough have been laid to rest at the Riverside Cemetery.  The Hough family played a significant role in the history of Plymouth and their legacy will continue to live on for many years to come.

This home still retains all of its original elements including the original carriage port on the West side of the home and the 2-story carriage house located behind the home. This home still has an unpaved driveway which makes it easy to look at the home and picture yourself stepping back into time and looking at the grandeur of this home as if it were still the early 1900s.

Below is a photo of the executive team that operated the Daisy Air Rifle Company in 1895. The Team included Lewis C. Hough, Edward Hough, Charles H. Bennett, George W. Hunter, and Alfred W. Chaffee

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View of Ann Arbor Trail in 1930. The Hough home sits on the right of the photo:

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796 N. Mill Street

29 Jul

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796 N. Mill Street is one of the oldest homes in this part of Plymouth. Built on a field stone foundation it was recorded that this home was built in 1866 but upon further inspection, this structure has materials and structural signs that date it back circa 1837. There are also records that show that this home was standing prior to the Civil War.

In 1886 this was the home of Conrad Springer who was a German Immigrant born in 1834. Springer had served as a volunteer soldier in the 24th Regiment, Company K for the Union Army during the Civil War. Conrad passed away in 1916 and was laid to rest in Plymouth’s Riverside Cemetery.

Through the years ownership of this home changed a number of times but today this place now serves as the home of the Red Twig Art Gallery. The owners of this home have not only cared for this historical home but they also have done a great job of preserving the historic home of William Starkweather just down the street.

1090 N Holbrook

22 Jul

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1090 N Holbrook Street, built circa 1850 on a stone foundation. This was once part of the Henry Holbrook estate which once was home to one of Plymouth’s earliest mills. The Greek Revival home next door (1142 Holbrook) was the main house on the property and this home was built to house other family members. It’s been said that this was once the home of one of Henry’s 3 daughters. In 1850 it was recorded that Henry’s estate was worth $16,500 which by today’s standard would be just over a half-million dollars. This home was remodeled in 1922 to the current appearance that you see today. After nearly 170 years, it’s awesome to see this home is still standing strong. The current owners are proud of it’s rich Plymouth history and have done a great job keeping this home preserved.

Note: If you look closely to the left of the photo, you can see the yellow exterior walls of the well-known “Holbrook House”.