Bloomfield Blossoms: p. 72-73 Creator
Smith, Kay, 1925- Institution
Bloomfield Township Public Library Subject
Bloomfield Township (Mich.) -- History Subject
Hunter House (Birmingham, Mich.) -- History Item Number
part of 'Bloomfield Blossoms' by Kay Smith Type
text, image Format
THE HUNTER HOUSE --THE EARLIEST FRAME HOUSE
John West Hunter replaced his original (second) log house
with a frame house in 1822. We know from history that
Hunter possessed that much-in-demand commodity, a
team of oxen and a wagon. We also know that one of the
first activities of the Pontiac Company was to erect a
These facts, along with the appearance at Hunter's of an
itinerant carpenter named George Taylor who had a
reputation for being the best in the business, allow us to
picture the circumstances under which the house was
built on the southeast corner of Maple and Woodward.
Taylor never bought land here nor settled, so we conjecture
that in 1822 it was now or never for the frame house to be
built. We can see Hunter, on an off day when his team was
not rented to plow a field or carry some produce into
Detroit, taking the Saginaw Trail northwest to Pontiac and
returning with a load of lumber cut with the mill's bandsaw.
Houses in the East, where the Hunters had come from four
years before, were built with vertical siding of random
widths, fastened as precisely as possible to one another
with wooden dowels and then affixed to a sill at the
bottom, and a girt, also with wooden dowels. Fireplaces
at that time generally covered almost one whole wall.
In the original house it must have been the north wall
at the gable end of the house.
Over the years the house underwent not only many alter-
ations, but three moves. From its original location on the
Saginaw Trail it was moved in 1893 to 264 West Brown
Street, then known as Freemont, and then on July 24,
1970, it was moved to its present location in the Birmingham
Historical Park on Maple near Southfield.
The house was restored in one of its later periods, about
the 1849-1850 era. The horizontal wood siding of that
period covered the old vertical planking in the front portion
of the house, there was a wing or "ell" added, as was a
"Michigan Porch," and the fireplace is now on the west wall.