the making of modern michigan

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Bloomfield Blossoms: p. 72-73
Smith, Kay, 1925-

Bloomfield Township Public Library

Bloomfield Township (Mich.) -- History

Hunter House (Birmingham, Mich.) -- History

Item Number

part of 'Bloomfield Blossoms' by Kay Smith

text, image


THE HUNTER HOUSE --THE EARLIEST FRAME HOUSE IN BLOOMFIELD 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 sawmill. 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.

Bloomfield Blossoms: p. 72-73 part 1 Bloomfield Blossoms: p. 72-73 part 2

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