217 Ann Street

15 Apr

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217 Ann Street was built in 1912 and was home to a very well-known Teacher and School Principal of Plymouth-Canton Community Schools (PCCS). Nellie E. Bird (Smith) was born on a farm in Salem Township on March 4th, 1882. After graduating from Ypsilanti High School, she received her teaching degree from Ypsilanti Normal School (now known as Eastern Michigan University) while she was employed by PCCS, she earned her Masters Degree from the University of Michigan. Mrs. Bird was married to Frederick Bird and they moved into this Plymouth home in 1917 with their 2 daughters. When the Birds moved to Plymouth, Mrs Bird became a 5th grade teacher at Central Grade School. Mr Bird passed away in 1922. In 1923 Mrs Bird became the Principal of Central Grade School which was located in the same building as Plymouth High School (today known as PARC) until 1950. Mrs. Bird also served as Principal of Starkweather School.  In 1950 the Plymouth-Canton School Board voted unanimously to name the “new Elementary school” being built on Sheldon Rd after Mrs. Bird. In 1951 the Nellie E. Bird Elementary School located at 220 Sheldon Road in Plymouth was dedicated. (Go Thunderbirds!)

Mrs. Bird loved to plant a large garden and her specialty was raspberries. Many of her students stated that visiting her home on Halloween was always a delight especially since she would know most kids’ names even while wearing costumes. “She could see right though those disguises no matter what the costume” said a former student. It was said that Mrs Bird was very efficient, the child always came first and she was very fair with children and teachers. ” Working with her was really a delight, she was very strong on the fundamentals of education” stated by Mrs Tanger who taught under her. Nellie Bird passed away in 1980 and was laid to rest in the Riverside Cemetery. Mrs Nellie Bird was definitely an asset to the Plymouth-Canton Community and her legacy will continue to live on as hundreds of students are educated at the school named in her honor year after year.

Below is a photo of Nellie Bird at the dedication of Bird Elementary School.

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Bird Elementary at 220 Sheldon Rd

3 Responses to “217 Ann Street”

  1. Anita Risbridger April 15, 2019 at 9:11 PM #

    Nellie Bird was my great aunt. I have fond memories of going to her house for family dinners. Also eating those raspberries.
    Anita Risbridger

  2. Alicia P. Van Pelt April 16, 2019 at 1:27 AM #

    Thank you so much for all this history! Mrs. Bird was a relative of my son in law, Chad Downs, who recently won a wonderful award as Teacher of the Year in Ann Arbor.

  3. Stephanie April 16, 2019 at 12:31 PM #

    So I am curious, and maybe someone here would know! When we moved into our home (only a few houses north of this one), we had to pull the history to be sure there weren’t any liens, etc., and the record of who owned it showed that Nellie Bird owned our home. Could this be her family or children?

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