VINTAGE POINT: 23605 Warner

This house at 23605 Warner, built in 1905, looks just about the same now as it did when the black-and-white photo was taken in 1943. A couple years earlier, at the time of the 1940 census, Ed Thayer lived here with his with his elderly parents, John and Elizabeth Thayer. He was 41. They were 87 and 70, respectively. The house is located just behind the Los Tres Amigos parking lot.

Historic photo from the Farmington Community Library Heritage Room. Contemporary photo by Maria Taylor.

VINTAGE POINT is Preservation Farmington’s photo column, featuring an exclusive focus on Farmington history: a look at our city through the lens of time. Look for Vintage Point every month in the Farmington Observer and Farmington Voice and on our Facebook and Twitter pages. We also keep an archive of all past issues on our website under the Vintage Point tab.

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TOUR HISTORIC HOME DESIGNED BY MICHIGAN’S FIRST FEMALE ARCHITECT AT UPCOMING FARMINGTON HILLS LECTURE

She was a graduate of Syracuse University, at a time when few women were graduating in what was then a traditionally “male” field: architecture. She founded Alpha Gamma Delta fraternity, broke ground as the first licensed female architect in the state of Michigan, and became the principal of the firm Butterfield & Butterfield. And she was a beloved painter in her hometown of Farmington, Michigan.

Her name was Emily Butterfield.

Farmington’s own female architect is the subject of an upcoming history lecture hosted by Preservation Farmington: “Emily Helen Butterfield: Artist, Architect & Activist,” to be held the evening of Thursday, Sept. 20 in Farmington Hills. The lecture will be presented by historian Ken Klemmer, chair of the Farmington Hills Historic District Commission.

Klemmer’s interest in Butterfield’s work is personal: He and his wife live in a 1920s Butterfield home, which they have painstakingly restored. Like many historic home owners, they’re proud of their home’s heritage, and they like to share its story. You can even have a behind-the-scenes peek at their blog.

The Sept. 20 event will begin at 6:30 p.m. with a brief walking tour of several sites designed by Butterfield, all located in the Oaklands subdivision in Farmington Hills.

Following the walking will be the lecture and then a tour of Oakewood Cottage, the Klemmers’ home: another Butterfield masterpiece, located at 31805 Bond Blvd.

Admission is $5/person.

Please RSVP by emailing preservationfarmington@gmail.com or via the event’s Facebook listing, so the organizers can ensure enough seating. Tours will leave from the Klemmer home.

Preservation Farmington is a local-history advocacy group dedicated to preserving the architectural heritage that defines downtown Farmington. Learn more at preservationfarmington.org or facebook.com/PreservationFarmington.

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VINTAGE POINT: Parking in downtown Farmington

Cars park on both sides of Grand River in this photo of circa 1930s Farmington, taken looking east at the tree-lined Grand River/Farmington Road intersection.

Click here for the then-and-now slider.

Historic photo from the Farmington Community Library Heritage Room. Contemporary photo by Maria Taylor.

VINTAGE POINT is Preservation Farmington’s photo column, featuring an exclusive focus on Farmington history: a look at our city through the lens of time. Look for Vintage Point every month in the Farmington Observer and Farmington Voice and on our Facebook and Twitter pages. We also keep an archive of all past issues on our website under the Vintage Point tab.

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VINTAGE POINT: Oakwood Cemetery

The first person buried at Farmington’s Oakwood Cemetery was a Mr. Green, the village cobbler, in 1825. For a long time, the Memorial Day parade ended at the top of the hill at the back of the cemetery, by the water tower – until the late 1950s or early ‘60s, when the veterans’ monument was moved downtown near the Masonic Temple.

Historic photo from the Farmington Community Library Heritage Room. Contemporary photo by Maria Taylor.

VINTAGE POINT is Preservation Farmington’s photo column, featuring an exclusive focus on Farmington history: a look at our city through the lens of time. Look for Vintage Point every month in the Farmington Observer and Farmington Voice and on our Facebook and Twitter pages. We also keep an archive of all past issues on our website under the Vintage Point tab.

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VINTAGE POINT: McGee Hill

 

You know that “jog” that Farmington Road makes at Shiawassee, after it dead-ends in front of the First Baptist Church? Back in the day, Farmington Road ran straight through, angling down McGee Hill in a sharp, steep curve.

By the early 1960s, the road over the Rouge (in this photo, downtown Farmington is behind you) had been closed for traffic safety. The farmhouse is gone, and the area is now the Twin Valley subdivision.

Historic photo from Farmington: A Pictorial History by Lee Peel. Contemporary photo by Maria Taylor.

VINTAGE POINT is Preservation Farmington’s photo column, featuring an exclusive focus on Farmington history: a look at our city through the lens of time. Look for Vintage Point every month in the Farmington Observer and Farmington Voice and on our Facebook and Twitter pages. We also keep an archive of all past issues on our website under the Vintage Point tab.

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VINTAGE POINT: Salem church

In May 1902, 500 people watched as the cornerstone for the Salem Evangelical Church (now Salem United Church of Christ) was laid at 33424 Oakland, a block north of downtown Farmington. During World War I, a Red Cross sewing circle met there weekly to make bandages, socks, and helmet liners.

Here’s another shot, taken at a point when the church was covered with ivy:

And here’s one taken from near the Masonic Lodge/Old Town Hall:

Historic photos from the Farmington Community Library Heritage Room. Contemporary photo by Maria Taylor.

VINTAGE POINT is Preservation Farmington’s photo column, featuring an exclusive focus on Farmington history: a look at our city through the lens of time. Look for Vintage Point every month in the Farmington Observer and Farmington Voice and on our Facebook and Twitter pages. We also keep an archive of all past issues on our website under the Vintage Point tab.

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VINTAGE POINT: Slocum House

This house at 33702 Oakland, two blocks north of downtown, was built in 1924 and was once home to the Slocum family. The tiny tree in the front yard still stands, and the area to the right of the house, where the light-colored building was, is now a small public park.

Historic photo from the Farmington Community Library Heritage Room. Contemporary photo by Maria Taylor.

VINTAGE POINT is Preservation Farmington’s photo column, featuring an exclusive focus on Farmington history: a look at our city through the lens of time. Look for Vintage Point every month in the Farmington Observer and Farmington Voice and on our Facebook and Twitter pages. We also keep an archive of all past issues on our website under the Vintage Point tab.

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A Few Updates

A BARN UPDATE

While we’ve been quiet on the Grand River barn front, other’s have been at work making sure this gem is saved. Somehow, somewhere our contact information was passed incorrectly, but through the efforts of a contractor for the new property owner, our DDA president and fellow preservationists at the Oakland County Pioneer and Historical Society, the barn is going to be disassembled and moved to the property of Pine Grove Historical Museum in Pontiac. The barn will not be immediately assembled in its new location, but Preservation Farmington and OCPHS will retain open communication on the barn, with PF contributing history for a display on the barn’s original location.  We’re very sad that we’re losing another part of our history, but are thankful the barn isn’t going to be lost.  Look for disassembly of the barn to commence as soon as tomorrow.

Here are a few interior shots from our trip last Thursday to photodocument the barn and house:

 

The house will be lost, unfortunately. According to assessor records, it was built in 1890. At some point the interior layout was reconfigured. The walls are now drywall rather than plaster. We’re currently researching the property to find out if the barn pre-dates the house or post-dates it.  We have a very tight time-frame, but are trying to relocate architectural salvage to other historic homeowners, though none of the trim appears to be the original trim for the home.  We’ll also be looking for a few helping hands, so let us know if you’re ready to wield your Wonder Bar soon!

HISTORIC HOUSE RESEARCH WORKSHOP IN THE HERITAGE ROOM

Are you starting your historic house research? Would you be interested in getting a boost from an experienced researcher? We’re floating the idea of doing a small group workshop in the Heritage Room where researchers can get help from Jena Stacey as they begin or continue their research. Group sizes would be limited to eight (8) researchers per workshop and would be on a weekend day. Email us at PreservationFarmington@gmail.com with your interest.

 

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VINTAGE POINT: Orchard-Ten strip mall

Farmington’s first strip mall outside the downtown was the Bel-Aire Shopping Center at the southwest corner of Orchard Lake and 10 Mile, which opened in July 1959. This photo is from the Farmington Enterprise; the caption notes that the center has parking for 350 cars and provides the “heavily built-up communities around it” with five different stores.

Historic photo from the Farmington Community Library Heritage Room. Contemporary photo by Maria Taylor.

VINTAGE POINT is Preservation Farmington’s photo column, featuring an exclusive focus on Farmington history: a look at our city through the lens of time. Look for Vintage Point every month in the Farmington Observer and Farmington Voice and on our Facebook and Twitter pages. We also keep an archive of all past issues on our website under the Vintage Point tab.

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VINTAGE POINT: Bel-Aire plane crash

On October 9, 1960, a single-engine plane carrying three people crash-landed at Prospect and Loomis in the Bel-Aire subdivision, just west of Farmington High, where the St. Leo football team was playing Our Lady of Sorrows. It crashed in the Mathiesons’ front yard at 23680 Prospect, then skidded 100 feet. The right wing knocked a utility pole. The left wing hit 12-year-old Michael Wilson, who’d been riding his bike and had stopped to watch the plane circle. No one died, although all were injured.

Historic photo from the Farmington Public Safety Facebook page (it’s a cool album: see it here). Contemporary photo by Maria Taylor.

Crazy story, right? Here’s the story on the front page of the Detroit Free Press on Monday, October 10, 1960:

From the Farmington Observer:

And a follow-up from the Observer on the fate of those involved:

VINTAGE POINT is Preservation Farmington’s photo column, featuring an exclusive focus on Farmington history: a look at our city through the lens of time. Look for Vintage Point every month in the Farmington Observer and Farmington Voice and on our Facebook and Twitter pages. We’ll also keep an archive of all past issues on our website under the Vintage Point tab.

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