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49800 Joy Rd

13 Sep

49800JoyRd

49800 Joy Road was built in 1958 and completed in 1959. This award winning mid-century design was built by long-time Plymouth resident and architect Tividar Balogh. This masterpiece design can be found nestled away in a deeply wooded lot that gives you the feeling of being far away from the hustle and bustle of a big city, yet is just down the road from our beloved downtown Plymouth and easily accessible to major highways. The thought of growing up here is simply charming. This was home to Tivadar, wife Dorothy (Bleismeister) and their 2 daughters.

Tividar was born in Detroit to Hungarian immigrants in 1926 and has a long list of accomplishments. He was also a Navy Veteran that served during WWII and then re-enlisted during the Korean war. Tiv worked for a number of the best known architectural firms in SE Michigan. Tividar also served as a professor at the University of Michigan and was awarded the Sol King award for teaching excellence in 1973. The only modification done to this home was when Tivadar decided to enclosed the carport on the bottom level of the home and transformed it into an office for his architectural firm. He retired in 1997 and passed away in 2006 and his beloved wife Dorothy passed in August of 2019.

In 2013 this home was added to the National Register of Historic Places. You can easily find additional information on this home and Tivadar by searching “Tivadar Balogh” on any major search engines. Here is the link to one of our favorite internet postings: MichiganModern

Interesting fact: You can think of Tivadar every time you drive into Plymouth Township and see one the welcome signs with the “Seal of Plymouth Township” which was one of his many designs. Inside this home you can also find that it has some of Tivadar’s own artwork displayed on the walls. Over 150 of Tiv’s 200+ projects can be found in Michigan, Illinois, and Arizona.

Below: Tivadar stands in front of one of his many home designs built near Plymouth in 1981.

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Photo: Ann Arbor News 1984

 

HIGH HOPES: As the Tivadar and Dorothy Balogh home will soon be on the real estate market, we hope that this home will be purchased by someone who has a great appreciation for this Mid-Century Modern Masterpiece. Being that this home is on the National Register of Historic places we can at least hope that this home will be “protected” and will be around for many years to come and continue to be a Plymouth treasure.

184 Caster Ave

8 Jul

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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:

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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

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

1090 N Holbrook

22 Jul

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1090 N Holbrook Street, built circa 1850 on a stone foundation. This was once part of the Henry Holbrook estate which once was home to one of Plymouth’s earliest mills. The Greek Revival home next door (1142 Holbrook) was the main house on the property and this home was built to house other family members. It’s been said that this was once the home of one of Henry’s 3 daughters. In 1850 it was recorded that Henry’s estate was worth $16,500 which by today’s standard would be just over a half-million dollars. This home was remodeled in 1922 to the current appearance that you see today. After nearly 170 years, it’s awesome to see this home is still standing strong. The current owners are proud of it’s rich Plymouth history and have done a great job keeping this home preserved.

Note: If you look closely to the left of the photo, you can see the yellow exterior walls of the well-known “Holbrook House”.

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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