Archive | Uncategorized RSS feed for this section

217 N Main Street

2 Apr

217MainStreet

Built circa 1883 by Elmer W. Chaffee. Chaffee was a Plymouth merchant who became one of the earliest investors and was actively involved with the operation of the Markham Air Rifle Company. The Markham Company was the first company in the world to invent and commercially manufacturer Air Rifles and it all started right here in Plymouth, Michigan. Elmer had this home built within a short walking distance of the Markham Air rifle Company which was located at 304 N. Main Street (still standing today). Born here in 1851 Elmer had literally been a lifetime Plymouth resident who passed away in 1899 and is buried at Plymouth’s Riverside cemetery he is buried along the side of his wife Ella (1854-1946). After Elmer’s death, Ella moved to 815 Church Street and this home at 217 Main Street ironically became a funeral home which serviced the Plymouth community under a couple of different names in the 1900s. First known as the Edward F. Wilkie funeral home then the Karl J. Sonderegger funeral home it is still used for commercial purposes today. As seen in the photo, the home is still very much in tact but now has a commercial facade.

Below is the front page obituary from the Plymouth Mail Newspaper from June 1899:

PLYMOUTH MOURNS THE LOSS OF AN ESTEEMED CITIZEN AND EXEMPLARY BUSINESS MAN.

Elmer W. Chaffee Died at His Late Home on Tuesday, June 6th.

Seldom in the history of Plymouth has the dark pall of the shadow if death fallen so heavily upon the community as that caused by the death of Mr. Elmer W. Chaffee which occurred at his residence on Main street, Tuesday afternoon, June 6th, 1899.

Although Mr. Chaffee had not been in good health for several years, he felt so much better during the winter and spring that his family and friends thought he would overcome his predisposition to pneumonia and lung trouble and cheer them with his presence for many years, but on Monday, May 29th, he had a severe attack of pleurisy followed by typhoid fever and though receiving the very best of medical treatment and nursing, he passed peacefully away in quiet sleep after a week’s illness.

Elmer Wadsworth Chaffee was born in Plymouth Township, April 19, 1851. His father, Elmer W. Chaffee, who died in 1853, owned a farm on the town line between Plymouth and Canton, just south of the farm now owned by Chas. Bradner in the south eastern part of Plymouth.

On this farm, under the careful training of his excellent widowed mother, supplemented by a liberal education received at the Plymouth high school then under the superintendency of Charles A. Frisbee, Mr. Chaffee early imbibed those high ideals of rectitude, those strict principles of honesty and integrity, and those generous and kindly impulses, which, all through the forty-eight years of his life made him the genial companion, the trusted friend, the ideal business man, and the generous and lovable neighbor.

In 1876, at the age of 25, Mr. Chaffee left the farm to take the position of clerk in the drug and grocery house of John L. Gale with whom he remained until 1880 when he formed a partnership with Cyrus A. Pinckney and purchased the store of the late A. B. Coleman, who at that time retired from business.

In 1877 he became associated with W. F. Markham in the manufacture of air rifles and continued in this business until his death. He was also at the head of the drug and grocery firm of Chaffee & Hunter from 1888 to 1893 and of Chaffee, Hunter & Lauffer from 1893 to 1895, although he gave but little of his time and attention to the affairs of the firm.

In politics, Mr. Chaffee was a republican and though in no sense a politician, he held several positions of trust in the village and township, with honor to himself and credit to the community. At the time of his death he was a member of the School Board, Vice-President of the First National Exchange Bank of Plymouth and Treasurer of the Plymouth Fair Association.

In 1890 Mr. Chaffee was united in marriage to Miss Ella C. Smith, of Novi, who survives him. He also leaves a mother, to whom he was devotedly attached and who is now in her eighty-sixth year, also three brothers, Albert W. who resides at Wayne, Alfred W., a citizen of Plymouth and Theodore W., of Pontiac.

All business places in the village were closed during the funeral services, which were held Thursday afternoon from his late residence, conducted by the Rev. J. H. Herbener, of the Presbyterian church, assisted by Rev. J. B. Oliver, of the M. E. church. Dr. Edward B. Spalding, of Detroit, sang without accompaniment the beautiful solos, “Lead Kindly Light” and “There Is a Calm for those who Weep”.

The remains were interred in Riverside cemetery and placed in the last resting place by Messrs. W. F. Markham, Frank Polley, C. A. Pinckney. W. O. Allen, Jno. L. Gale and O. A. Fraser, who acted as pallbearers, attended by nearly seventy-five workmen from the air rifle shops, who in a body paid their last tribute of respect to their late employer for whom they sincerely mourned.

Plymouth has lost many good men in the past, but none with more friends and fewer enemies than had Elmer W. Chaffee.

~ The Plymouth Mail – Plymouth, Michigan – Friday, 9 June 1899

Below is a photo of 217 N Main Street in the 1950s:

217NMainSt

Photo courtesy of the Plymouth Historical Museum.

1165 W Ann Arbor Trail

5 Mar

1165annarbortr

1165 W Ann Arbor Trail built circa 1869. This home was most known for being the home of Romeo and Dora Wood who also set up the Wood’s Photography Studio in this home. “Romey” and Dora had been childhood schoolmates that were married in 1911. After settling in Plymouth, Romey had started his photo studio in a shop on Main Street. Romey had spent time working for the Hamilton Rifle company which was located on Depot Street (today’s Hamilton Street). In 1918 the Woods purchased this/their dream home at a cost of $2,250 and filled it with many antiques and furniture which had been passed down from their families and of course also decided to set up a studio in the house. For several years many members of our community and surrounding areas had their photos done here at this studio where Romey was known to still use bellows type cameras. In 1975 Romey passed away at the age of 90 and wife Dora continued to live here until the home was sold in 1987. Dora Wood passed away at the age of 104 in 1991. Both are at rest in Plymouth’s Riverside cemetery. Prior to her passing, Mrs. Dora Wood had donated many articles to the Plymouth Historical Museum. Today you can see a display dedicated to Wood studio located on the lower level of the museum. This home still contributes to the wonderfully historic character of Plymouth and we are glad to see that the current owners keep this home in excellent condition.

Below is a photo of Romeo and Dora Wood as well as an old photo of their home and a family photo that was taken in front of their home.

9460 McClumpha Rd

7 Jan

9460mcclumpha

9460 McClumpha Rd. Built circa 1858 was the home of Thomas McClumpha. Thomas was born in New York in 1816 to William & Betsey McClumpha. Thomas and Wife Margaret moved to Michigan in November of 1838 and eventually settled in Plymouth around 1857. This home was where Thomas & Margaret raised their kids: Elizabeth, Sarah, Ida Belle, and William. Not only was Thomas a farmer but he also served as an elected official here in Plymouth and was dedicated to serving our community well. This road carries the family’s namesake.

The years took its toll on this old farmhouse and in the early 70’s this home was in rough shape. This house was saved and restored by David and Janet Sibbold where they resided from 1975-1988. The Sibbold’s were also in collaboration with the Hulce family in building the New England Corners condominiums where this home sits as the cornerstone of that development. Today this home blends in so well with the surrounding homes that it’s difficult to tell that there is a 160 year old historic home with many stories to tell quietly sitting in this developed corner of Plymouth.

Below is the street view of the South East corner of McClumpha and Ann Arbor Rd where this home sits (at New England Corners).

mcclumphaa2corner

511 N. Holbrook

14 Nov

511nholbrook

511 N. Holbrook built in 1867 by Henry Robinson. Henry was born in 1833 in England and immigrated to the US and chose to move to Detroit. In 1862 Henry joined the efforts of the Civil War and became a part of Company G of the Michigan 24th Infantry in the G.A.R. (Grand Army of the Republic). At age 30 he was actually the oldest in his regiment. In April of 1863 Henry received a disabling head injury from an exploding shell at Fitzhugh Crossings which was part of the Chancellorsville campaign during the war. After recovery, Henry served in the Veterans Reserve Corps and in 1865 was honorably discharged. After his discharge he moved back to Detroit and then chose to settle with his wife in Plymouth. When Henry and his wife Helen moved to Plymouth in 1867 they built their home at the corner of Holbrook and Caster Street where they raised 4 Kids (William, Herbert, Helen, & Marion). Henry and his family can be found resting in the Riverside Cemetery. We are happy to see that the home of this Civil War Soldier is still standing strong and is an attractive asset in “Old Village” Plymouth.

505 McKinley St

14 Jun

505McKinley

505 McKinley St. Built in 1940 by Mr. & Mrs. Robert O. Wesley. Mr. Wesley was the Sales and Advertising Manager of the Daisy Air Rifle Company. When this home was built it was featured in the Detroit News’ Sunday Paper in 1940 and had nearly a full page describing all the details and descriptions of the home and each room. The article featured interior and exterior photos and was described as a “modern adaptation of an American farmhouse”. This home is located in the Hough Park neighborhood and was considered impressive in 1940 and today still maintains a look and appearance that is not only impressive but one to be admired. As a result of the Air Rifle industry in Plymouth, this home was built with a sense of class and ornate details that have been well preserved and is sure to be a great part of Plymouth’s history for years to come.

1940 photo, compliments of Karen Jallos: 505McKinley1940

304 N. Main St

31 May

304NMain

340 N. Main Street. Plymouth was once known as the “Air Rifle Capital of the World” and it all started here: This building was originally the Markham Air Rifle Company. Markham started making BB Guns in 1886. The modern day BB gun was invented/developed here in Plymouth, MI by Markham (2 yrs prior to Daisy). Markham Air Rifle was the supplier of BB guns to one of the Nation’s largest toy companies. The demand for BB Guns became so popular that the Plymouth Iron Windmill company changed it’s name to Daisy and started making Air Rifles themselves. In 1916 Daisy Air Rifle acquired controlling interest and in 1928 Markham was renamed King Air Rifle. This structure is the largest commercial all brick building in Plymouth. Today this building now houses office space and has a restaurant on the first floor.

Additional info: Founder William F. “Philip” Markham also built the iconic white Victorian home that sits in the center of town across from Kellogg Park which is most known today as the “Wilcox House”.

Below is a photo of the Markham building before the SW section was torn down.

MarkhamAirRifle

650 Church Street

11 May

650Church

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

PlymouthHS1160