1419 Sheridan St

20 Oct

1419SheridanAdj

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):

Lorenz43  LorenzR

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.

One Response to “1419 Sheridan St”

  1. Tom Dusbiber October 21, 2018 at 2:41 AM #

    Great story! Thank you for the history.

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