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994 Penniman Ave

18 Jan

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994 Penniman Ave. Built in 1925. This home was built by Elizabeth “Bessie” Rattenbury and was the childhood home of the well-known Plymouth business woman and beloved philanthropist Margaret Dunning (daughter of Bessie). This home was constructed by Gottschalk Home builders which built many homes in Plymouth. Margaret lived in this home for more than 90 years; she was nearly 105 years old when she died in May of 2015. Being a car enthusiast, this 2,337 square foot home also has a heated six-car garage that housed some of her most prized, award-winning vehicles, some of which can now be found at the Gilmore Car Museum.

Margaret was a graduate of Plymouth High School in 1929 she also attended the University of Michigan and Hamilton Business School. In the early 1930’s she worked at the Ford Phoenix Mill plant here in Plymouth located on Northville Rd. From 1935 to 1940 she was a bank teller and assistant cashier for the First National Bank of Plymouth after that she worked for the Plymouth United Savings Bank. During WWII Margaret volunteered driving a truck for the American Red Cross motor pool. After the war in 1947 Margaret and her mother purchased an apparel store on Main Street and renamed it Dunning’s. In 1950 she moved Dunning’s department store to Forest Ave in downtown Plymouth. Dunning served on the board of Community Federal Credit Union in Plymouth from 1962 to 1984 and was president of the board for 19 of those years. Through the years she served on different boards, volunteered and benefitted a number of causes.

As a philanthropist, Margaret helped many causes that benefited our community and beyond. Both the Plymouth Historical Museum and the Plymouth District Library bear the Dunning name. As benefactor of the Plymouth Historical Museum, Margaret was very active with the museum; in addition to being a financial contributor she was an advocate for preserving Plymouth history.

At the time of this post the home is property of the Margaret Dunning Foundation and is currently on the real estate market for sale. We can only hope that this uniquely historic home finds a new owner that will appreciate and preserve its elegance. Acquiring this home is about the closest a person could get to owning the home of “Plymouth Royalty.” This home has graced Plymouth’s Penniman Avenue for some 92 years and we look forward to having it continue to be a part of our community for years to come.

Below is a photo of Margaret Dunning during WWII as a Red Cross driver (left) photo of Margaret in 1965 as President of the Credit Union (center) photo of Margaret in 2014 with the author of this page Jim Salamay (right) and photo of Margaret with her prized 1930 Packard 740 (bottom) (from American Road Magazine)

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For sale information of this home contact (734) 453-8080

Here’s the Zillow listing:  http://www.zillow.com/homedetails/994-Penniman-Ave-Plymouth-MI-48170/88559914_zpid/ 

On a personal note: Margaret offered her support of our “Plymouth Discoveries” and encouraged us to continue to keep up our efforts and offered her personal memories and to help however she could. Her admiration of our page and her personal support had been one of the motivations for us to continue our research and to share the great history we have here in our wonderful town. Plymouth has been blessed to have such a wonderful member of our community. God bless Margaret and may she rest in peace.

1274 Penniman Ave

19 Mar

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1274 Penniman Ave. Built in 1894. Once serving as the home of Floyd W. Hillman who was a local business owner.  At one time Hillman actually owned a “Graham-Paige” auto dealership that once stood at 505 S. Main Street. In 1938 this home was purchased by Perry Richwine who was an attorney that also served as the Secretary-Treasurer of the Plymouth Federal Savings & Loan. Richwine also served a term as the Mayor of Plymouth. Today you can still see the plaque that bares Richwine’s name where he had his law practice at 863 Penniman. In 1948 this home was purchased by Arthur Jenkins who was the editor of the “Plymouth Mail” newspaper. Today this home is currently owned by an attorney that has put much work into preserving this wonderful Plymouth home that once housed some of Plymouth’s prominent people from days of long ago.

Prior to this post, we had not heard of Graham-Paige automobiles, let alone the fact that there was a dealership here in Plymouth. Learn more about Graham-Paige by clicking this Wikipedia link:  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Graham-Paige

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905 Penniman Ave

2 Aug

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905 Penniman. Built Circa 1886. This home stands at the South West corner of Penniman and Harvey Street. This place once served as the home of Nettie Dibble who lived here for several years from the 1920s up until her passing in 1944. Nettie was quite active in the community and also Authored “History of the Presbyterian Church in Plymouth” and “Historical Data of Plymouth Twp”. At one time this home was completely covered in siding which covered the brick work. In 1991 this home was remodeled and the siding was removed to reveal the hidden bricks by the current owners Dubois-Cooper Associates who now use this as a commercial office.

821 Penniman Ave

16 Mar

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821 Penniman Ave. Built in 1893. It’s hard to mistake this building when driving through downtown Plymouth considering that it’s one of the only historic 3 story brick buildings in town. The upper 2 floors once served as a hotel in the early years and the 1st floor originally was a General store then served as a number of different retail stores. For years the first floor served as Huston Hardware. In more recent history this building was home to the Community Crier newspaper. Today the top two floors are apartments but this structure is most known for being home to Sean O’Callahan’s Public House, a traditional style Irish Pub. It’s worth visiting this pub to take a step back into Plymouth’s past and though it may seem to be a strange recommendation, I would advise paying a visit to the restrooms on the lower level to see more of the original building materials such as the field stone foundation. When looking at historic photos this building once had a three sided brick facade (similar to a bay window effect) but was remodeled in the early 1900’s to a straight brick facade as we know it today. Check out O’Callahan’s web page at:  http://seanocallaghanspub.com/

Historic photo (below) of Penniman Ave taken circa 1923. If it wasn’t for the historic cars in the photo, this would almost seem to be a recent photo of Penniman Ave. The 3rd building from the left is the same building discussed in this post.Click on the photo to enlarge.

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1338 Penniman Ave

6 Mar

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1338 Penniman Ave at the intersection of Evergreen Street. Built in 1860 by Isaac M. Hoag. Isaac purchased the property that this home sits on from E.J. Penniman in 1858 and built this home for his family 2 years later. Mr. Hoag farmed this land and was a nurseryman. He actually operated a nursery from this home. If you look closely at the back of this residence, it appears to have a small house attached to the back side. It is believed that a small home was moved and added to the overall residence although it is unclear as to when this occurred or where the smaller structure was moved from. In the early 1900s more of the home’s property was slowly subdivided and additional homes were built around it. It was recorded that at one time this home had a number of large apple trees on the property.  In 1936 this home had been significantly remodeled by architect Thomas Moss. Although this Civil War era home has seen a number of occupants through the years, today it’s hard to miss this place when taking a cruise down Penniman and it’s easy to appreciate how well it’s survived.

865 Penniman Ave

27 Jan

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865 Penniman. Built circa 1879, This was once home to the Harry Robinson Family. Mr Robinson once served as a past President of the Village of Plymouth. Harry was a local business man and an auctioneer. The home now serves as commercial property.

Historic photo taken circa 1900

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860 Penniman Ave

2 Jan

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Construction of this Post Office began in 1935. On April 1st 1936 this branch known as the Pursell Station Post Office opened it’s doors to the public. This branch was closed in the Spring of 2014 and we are happy to announce this brief post about the future of this historic building. This Post Office was purchased by Plymouth Residents, Mark & Patty Malcolm who happen to also own other historic structures in Plymouth and are actively involved in the Plymouth Preservation Network … Meaning that we can only expect good things to happen with this piece of history. The Malcolms have signed a long-term lease with the Westborn Market to take residence here. There are also plans to restore the building and preserve much of it’s historical substance including a painted mural inside the building titled “Plymouth Trail” by Carlos Lopez who was commissioned to paint the mural by the U.S. Government in 1938.