Tag Archives: Plymouth MI

44525 Gov. Bradford Rd

19 Mar

44525GovBradford

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.

JohnBSwainson

Gov. John Swainson (D)

SwainsonMLK SwainsonJFKSwainsonBook

195 Liberty Street

15 Jan

195liberty

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:

libertyst

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.

701 Church Street

2 Nov

701church

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.

firstpresbyterian pfpc-bible

1364 Maple Street

14 Jun

1364Maple

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.