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9275 McClumpha Rd

28 Apr

9275 MClumpha Rd was built circa 1869. This was once the home of Elizabeth McClumpha, the daughter of Thomas McClumpha who once owned and farmed much of the land along McClumpha Rd South of Ann Arbor Rd. Elizabeth was the eldest of her siblings, was well-known in the community and was remembered for her extreme kindness and love of children although she was unmarried and had no children of her own. She passed away in 1899 and is buried in the Riverside Cemetery.

Most recently this home has become known for being the childhood home of the leading Star of an Oscar-Winning movie, Amadeus. Thomas Edward Hulce was born in Detroit, and grew up here in Plymouth, where he was raised with his two sisters and older brother. He is the son of Joanne (Winkleman), who had sung professionally, and Raymond Albert Hulce, who worked for Ford. He has English, German, and Irish ancestry. Wanting to be a singer, Tom had to make a switch in plans when his voice began changing. Knowing that if he wanted to be in show business he needed to become an actor, Tom began taking the necessary steps almost immediately. Today Tom is known for being an Oscar-nominated multi award winning Actor, Producer and entertainer with a number of accolades. Simply “google” Tom Hulce and you can read his entire filmography, awards and more.

Here in Plymouth we are also proud of Tom’s mother, Joanne (Winkleman) Hulce, known as Jo Hulce. Jo was a member of the Winkleman family that was known for their department stores that started in 1928. In her twenties Jo who was a singer, became a featured soloist, “The Golden Voice of Joanne” on the nationally syndicated and popular radio show “The Hour of Charm”. The show was broadcast from New York every Sunday and toured the United States.

Jo and her husband Ray purchased this home in 1953. While raising her four children, she sang as a soloist with the Presbyterian Church choir and the Plymouth Symphony, and joined the League Board. The home of the Plymouth Community Arts Council at 774 N Sheldon is named in her honor… The Joanne Winkleman Hulce Center for the Arts.

Today the current owners of this home take great pride in the history of this house and also shared the fact that the addition on the back side of this home was built with some repurposed wood from the old Daisy Air Rifle factory. Many of us in the community are pleased to see how this historic home adds to the charm of Plymouth.

Tom Hulce as Amadeus in the Oscar-Winning movie “Amadeus”

 

9275 McClumpha Rd in 1977

 

 

44525 Gov. Bradford Rd

19 Mar

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44525 Gov. Bradford Rd. Built in 1956 was the home of Former Michigan Governor John Swainson (D).  This home was originally designed to easily accommodate a wheel chair. Read more and learn why…

John Burley Swainson was born in Windsor, Ontario Canada in 1925 and came to Michigan with his family when he was two years old. He fought with the 95th Infantry Division of the United States Army during World War II, losing both his legs to a land mine explosion in France in 1944. He was awarded France’s Croix de Guerre, the Presidential Unit Citation with two battle stars, and the Purple Heart, all before his twentieth birthday. After earning his law degree in 1951, Swainson was elected as a Democrat to the state senate and served there from 1954 to 1958, as Lieutenant Governor from 1958 and 1961, and as Governor from 1961 to 1963 after his election in 1960. As Governor, Swainson appointed the first African American to sit on the Michigan Supreme Court. He was defeated in the 1962 election by Republican candidate George Romney (father of future Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney).

He later served as a Wayne County circuit judge, was elected to the state Supreme Court in 1970 and came to be seen as a prospective candidate for the United States Senate. Unfortunately his political career ended in 1975 after he was convicted, in Federal District Court in Detroit, of lying to a Federal grand jury in connection with accusations that he had accepted a bribe in 1972 to help a convicted burglar gain a review of his case. He was acquitted of conspiracy and served 60 days in a halfway house in Detroit. Some say that he was framed.

Swainson later became the president of the Michigan Historical Commission, a title which he held until his death of a heart attack in 1994. John passed away at his Manchester, MI home. Two years later, the Commission established the Governor John B. Swainson Award to recognize “State, County, or Municipal employees who have contributed to the preservation of Michigan history even though such activities are not part of their primary job responsibility.”

In 2010 Author Lawrence Glazer wrote an award-winning book about Swainson titled: “Wounded Warrior: The Rise and Fall of Michigan Governor John Swainson”.

You can also find a display commemorating Swainson’s Army service at the Michigan Military & Space Heroes Museum in Frankenmuth, MI

Below see a photo of John Swainson, photo of Swainson with Martin Luther King Jr in June 1963 on the day that MLK first gave his “I have a dream” speech in Detroit. Photo of Swainson with John F. Kennedy. Last image is the book cover of the book written about John Swainson.

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Gov. John Swainson (D)

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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.