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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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701 Church Street

2 Nov

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701 Church Street. Current structure built in 1937 but the church originally assembled in 1833. In our opinion there is an intriguing and amazing story when it comes to this place of worship. There is literally a book written about the history of this church which is deeply woven into the overall history of Plymouth.  This is the First Presbyterian Church of Plymouth and some of the previous congregation members include some of the most known and prominent members of our community, even members who’ve had streets named after them like Penniman, Starkweather and more. One of the first homes that the original members met at is still standing at 1496 Penniman Ave where it intersects with Sheldon Rd (North East corner).

Now for the amazing part… So the first chapel was built in 1846 and unfortunately it burned to the ground in 1936 with an amazing phenomenon that some will say was possible with the work of a higher power. When the original church burned down, there were many witnesses who saw the sight of a Bible and Lectern that were virtually untouched right below where it originally stood on the altar of the sanctuary. Keep in mind that the roof had also completely burned down and fell to the ground. Well these amazing facts were also featured on a publication of Ripley’s Believe It or Not.  Today you can see this awesome bible that survived the fire encased and preserved inside the church. When we had the opportunity to see this Bible for ourselves, we found it to be an emotionally moving experience and encourage you to stop by and see it for yourself if you get the chance!

There is much more to the story of this church but we’ll let you read the details of their story by reading the book which is available at the Plymouth District Library. It’s a Sam Hudson book and it made for a good read. We’re just glad to share just a couple the great historical details with you and hope you will appreciate the history of the place like we did.

Visit the First Presbyterian Church of Plymouth webpage at: www.fpcp.net

Historic photo taken circa 1901 and is courtesy of the Plymouth Historical Museum. The photo (below) of the Bible is the actual Bible that survived the destructive church fire of 1936.

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11808 Haggerty Road

3 Oct

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11808 Haggerty Rd. Built Circa 1855. This home sits at the corner of Haggerty and Gilbert Street. When the current owner purchased this home, the real estate agent told him that the house was built around 1910. After doing some research, we come to find that this house was built in the Mid 1800’s and was the farmstead of Gilbert M. Shattuck and his wife Mary. The farm used to extend from Ann Arbor Trail on the South Side to Plymouth Rd on the North Side and from Haggerty Rd on the West Side to Francis Ave on the East Side (where Miller Park is). This house blends into the row of homes on Haggerty and is hard to tell that it’s been sitting there longer than any other home in that area. We were also able to verify its approximate age based on dated materials discovered by a previous owner when remodelling. When you look closely at the photo, you can see the field stone foundation which is also visible in the basement where there are also signs of hewed timbers. Just another neat piece of Plymouth History!

1364 Maple Street

14 Jun

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1364 Maple St. Built in 1928 by Dr. John L. Olsaver. Doctor Olsaver was a dentist that put himself through the School of Dentistry at the University of Michigan (1911 Grad). John Olsaver married Marguerite Hough, the daughter of Lewis Cass Hough (President, Daisy Air Rifle Co.) and they were actually married in the Hough mansion which once stood at 243 N Main Street.

Today this piece of Plymouth history is definitely one to be admired. The current owners have worked meticulously to make this house an inspiration and to preserve all the historic aspects of this home. The interior is ornate and with detailed, hand painted walls, beautiful woodwork, and so much more that makes this home one to be marveled for years to come. Not only have the owners done a fabulous job with the restoration and preservation of this home but are two of our kindest residents that have put forth their own sweat equity and financial support to save some of Plymouth’s most treasured structures such as the Historic Plymouth High School (on Church St) and Post office (on Penniman Ave). Plymouth is very fortunate to have such magnificent residents and preservationists and we are also proud to have such a fantastic home as part of our community.

650 Church Street

11 May

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650 Church Street. Built in 1917 on property that was donated by Senator E.J. Penniman (who lived down the street).  The original High School built on this property in 1884 burned down in 1916. This served as Plymouth High School until 1970, this building then served as Central Middle School until 2015. This Plymouth treasure has served thousands of students and generations of families. Within these walls the education of so many occurred, many who went on to be Business owners, Authors, Attorneys, Doctors, Mayors, Teachers, War Heroes and so many more who have served our community and beyond. Today this beloved building now serves the community as PARC (Plymouth Arts & Recreation Complex).  Today we are able to enjoy the benefits of this historic structure due to the efforts of countless volunteers and people like Don Soenen and Mark & Patricia Malcolm. We highly encourage checking out all the new renovations and all the activities, programs, and organizations that are available to serve a number of interests. Be sure to check their web site at www.plymouthparc.com

Below is a photo of Plymouth High School as it appeared in the 1950s

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1071 N. Holbrook

5 Sep

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1071 N Holbrook. Built in 1898. This home is one of just a handful of houses in Plymouth’s Old Village that was built of all brick. This home was built by one of the very first successful business owners in this part of town. Andrew Jackson Lapham owned a substantial portion of the block bordered by Holbrook, Wilcox, Pearl and N Mill Streets and at one time had two store structures and two homes on his land. This home had replaced the wooden house that Andrew built in 1873. Lapham’s General store was very popular in the late 1800’s because of its close proximity to the Plymouth Mill, the Phoenix Mill and Gunsolly Mill. Growers would trade in their raw materials at the mills and head to Lapham’s to purchase all types of needed goods. Lapham’s also had an Ice house on the property where they would store ice that formed in Wilcox Lake in the winter and sell it through the year. In 1929 this home was deeded to Andrew’s Daughter Helen Shackleton and was kept in the family for many years.  Although it’s showing signs of its age being well over a century old, this home still stands strong and maintains a great deal of history within the walls of this structure. Today the old stores no longer stand on this property but other homes built by the Lapham & Shackleton family still exist in this part of town and descendants of Andrew still live here in town and surrounding areas.

Historic photo of this home, Lapham’s General Store and of Andrew Lapham provided by the Andrew’s Great Grand Daughter: Janet Millross Renwick. Photo below is Lapham’s General Store that was located on Holbrook right next to Andrew’s home. Look closely at the historic photo of the house and you can see the brick wall of the store. LaphamGenStoreHolbrookSt

Holbrook brick house (Lapham)

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