Join us on Monday, Dec. 4 at 7 p.m. as Glenn O'Kray shares the history hidden in the Ford and Bryant family homes in Dearborn
Stories From the Sidewalk, a hefty new hardcover book at nearly 380 pages published by the Museum Guild of Dearborn, is on sale now at the Dearborn Historical Museum gift shop or available online at https://thedhm.org/books.
To say the least it is an oversized stocking stuffer for the holiday season that every fan of architecture and devotee of history will treasure.
Three years in the making, it is the work of a passionate group of history buffs and researchers. This coffee table book documents over 360 houses and buildings in Dearborn’s Arsenal and Riverbend neighborhoods. With the belief that every house and building has a story to tell, the editors organized the book by neighborhood and street address along with a full-color photograph and details on the history and architecture of each historic resource.
Subtitled, A Walk Through 137 Years That Shaped Dearborn (1833 – 1970) the book is designed as a walking tour of these two charming and historic west Dearborn neighborhoods. It surveys and preserves for future generations the story of Dearborn’s growth from a village on the Chicago Road (Michigan Avenue) to a bustling and thriving city as the area became the automotive capital of the world and the manufacturing epicenter of the Ford Motor Company.
Co-authors and editors Christopher Merlo and L. Glenn O’Kray undertook this project with a sense of urgency to document and preserve the stories of these historically significant houses and buildings before they are either razed or drastically renovated – a fate that has befallen several houses and buildings in the Arsenal and Riverbend neighborhoods.
All income from the sale of the book will go to the Museum Guild of Dearborn.
Preservation Dearborn advocates for the beautifully diverse historic homes and buildings of Dearborn, Michigan.
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The oldest home in the Levagood neighborhood is this little-known modernized farmhouse on Silvery Lane, just south of Ford Road.
It wasn’t built there. Originally, this home anchored an 80-acre farm stretching from Ford Road to Wilson.
John and Gertrude Wilhelmi, both German immigrants, first settled this 80-acre farm in 1866. John had just returned from Civil War service. They lived here together for nearly 40 years. Their home was probably built in the 1880s. Their son ran the farm into the 1920s. But he couldn’t hold out against subdividers.
Detroit real estate mogul Edith Mae Cummings purchased the entire Wilhelmi farm in 1925. Within 3 years, she platted the Cummings Park Annex Subdivision, and began selling lots for suburban homes. She saved the best lots for herself – and built the famous Kingsbury Castle in 1928.
Their little house, meanwhile, lived on. The Wilhelmis rented it to neighbors William and Ida Lab after their marriage in 1914. Around 1926, William Lab moved the home to Silvery Lane. The home has been modernized through the years, but retains the characteristic shape of a classic Michigan farmhouse today.
📸 and research by Ian Tomashik
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