184 Caster Ave

8 Jul

184Caster

184 Caster Ave. Built circa 1890; this was once the home of William “Phil” Markham. William F. Markham was born in Plymouth in 1851 and was the Son of A.B Markham one of Plymouth’s first pioneers that settled in this community. Markham became a Plymouth business owner that made tanks and cisterns. In 1887 William Markham was granted the first patent for an Air Rifle. Phil was instrumental in starting the industry that put Plymouth on the “map” Internationally… The Air Rifle Industry. Phil’s company became the Markham Air Rifle Company which later changed its name to the King Air Rifle Company. Markham started manufacturing Air Rifles prior to the formation of the Daisy Air Rifle Company which was literally within walking distance of the Markham Company. This statement about ‘who was first” is only made because of a popular misconception that Daisy Air Rifle Co. was the first to invent and manufacture Air Rifles.

As for this grand home and why it was built. Well, this home was built for Phil to reside at while he was estranged from his Wife Carrie who refused to grant him a divorce. In 1907 the home was sold to Elisha Caster. Markham owned a number of homes in S.E. Michigan. Interestingly enough he also owned and built the home located at 676 Penniman Ave which he built for his mistress Blanche. After his wife Carrie passed away in 1910, he married Blanche and moved into the home located on Penniman across the street from Kellogg Park.

This home that elegantly stands at the corner Caster and Holbrook in the Historic “Lower Town” also known as Plymouth’s “Old Village” has a history that is unrivaled when compared to other historic homes in the area considering that Markham not only invented the modern-day BB Gun but also started an industry that changed the landscape of Plymouth and helped put this community on the map as the “BB Gun capital of the world”. Today the Markham Air Rifle Company building still stands at 304 N. Main Street and is the largest commercial brick building in Plymouth. In 1911 Markham and his family moved to California and became successful in Real Estate. At one time Markham was the owner of a large parcel of property that today is now known as Hollywood. Phil Markham passed away in 1930.

Below is a photo of William Markham taken in 1900:

WilliamFMarham

At the time of this post this home is currently on the real estate market for sale. You can view the listing for this home by clicking here: 184 Caster

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