2017 Holiday Traditions Tour
2017 Holiday Traditions Tour – 43rd Annual
THE OPERA HOUSE ~ 121 S. BRIDGE ST. ~ 1884 VERNACULAR STYLE
The 1884 restored Opera House was originally built as Riverside Rink, a roller skating rink, but became Blake’s Opera House, a community center that hosted traveling productions. It also served as a gym and auditorium for the high school, was a silent movie theater and later a furniture store. On this year’s tour, it will showcase decorated trees and festive tables. Also, this year, you can purchase handmade, vintage, upcycled and re-purposed items, holiday greens and more at the Holiday Marketplace in the lower level of the Opera House!
THE GRAND LEDGE AREA DISTRICT LIBRARY ~ 131 E. JEFFERSON ST. ~ 1931 CLASSICAL/1958 MID-MODERN
The history of the Grand Ledge Area District Library reflects the grassroots initiative and support of a group of women that had the courage and faith, and especially the vision, to launch such an enterprise. A number of attempts were made to found a public library in Grand Ledge but none were effective until the Ladies Library Association was incorporated as a permanent organization in 1911. In 1912 the land where the library currently sits was donated. In 1921 there was a ballot proposal to establish a public library and the proposal overwhelmingly passed. The library was built and formally dedicated on November 7, 1931. In 1958 a mid-modern addition was added and in 2016 additional upgrades were made that include an elevator, and kitchen and restrooms in the 1931 room, part of the original library.
MARIE & BOB BROWN ~ 35 FERGUSON ST. ~ 1989 CONTEMPORARY
Take note of the views at this stop! The house sits on over an acre lot right on the Grand River. Marie and Bob have lived here for 10 years. They recently renovated the kitchen. Marie is an avid quilter and many of her quilts are displayed throughout the house. She also collects miniature teapots and thimbles. Bob enjoys painting in his basement studio and many of his paintings are displayed in the house. Marie and Bob enjoy traveling and are both active in the community.
BARBARA & ED GILLIS ~ 433 W. FRONT ST. ~ 1949 COTTAGE & MARKET SHED
This home was originally built in 1899 and has had many owners and renovations over the years. The house was expanded in 1949 and built as a custom art deco style. Barb and Ed purchased the home in 1978 and have enriched the property and home through the years adding a master suite and breezeway. In 2016, an Amish shed was added to the backyard where they run their business “Creative Flip and Rave” where you will find homemade soaps, essential oil products, pillows, signs, wreaths, lamps, antiques and much more. This will be open during the tour for you to make purchases.
M.J. D’SMITH ~ 1010 W. MAIN ST. ~ 1880s BRICK FARMHOUSE
Originally sitting on a much larger piece of property, this house was the homestead for the property behind it, which is now a subdivision. M.J. has lovingly restored the century old farmhouse and it resonates new life with her creative and artistic vision. M.J. is an artist and displayed upstairs is her artwork. One of the paintings is of the tools she uses to paint with. Make sure to visit her website at dsmithenterprises.org. You will see many antique light fixtures and antiques throughout the house. Take note of the original, gorgeous tin fireplace set with bird engravings. This home features much of the original character with added upgrades.
GRAND LEDGE AREA HISTORICAL SOCIETY MUSEUM ~ 118 W. LINCOLN ST. ~ 1880 GOTHIC REVIVAL
This house also known as the Pratt-Shearer cottage was built in 1880 by Byron S. Pratt, a local minister. Originally built on the corner of Lincoln and Harrison, around 1900 the home was moved to the lot next door, it’s current location. It was purchased in the 1940s by Mary Shearer where she lived for several decades. She then sold the home to the United Methodist Church. After Shearer’s death, the church rented the home until 1983 and then donated the building to the Historical Society for use as a museum. The current Museum exhibit is “Hurray for School” which will be displayed until the end of the year. The exhibit will take the viewer from the early one-room school houses in our district, to activities and graduation. A map of all the country schools, which consolidated to create the current school system, will be on display. School clubs, music, sports and other organizations will also be highlighted.
EILEEN & BOB MOONEY ~ 213 E. SCOTT ST. ~ 1930s CAPE COD COTTAGE
This beautiful home was built in 1936. In 1941, Jesse Phillips, who was the proprietor of the Sun Theater, lived in the home. Carroll Harrod, who was in the real estate business in Grand Ledge and was associated with Key Realty, lived in the home also. In the mid-70s, Elmer and Kitty Weaver lived in the home. Elmer was the Principal of Grand Ledge High School and was also on the Library Board. In 1957, a family room was added. In May of 2015, the Mooney’s purchased the house that had been unlived in for 4 years. They spent the next year renovating and updating the home. The 1957 family room addition was converted into the master bedroom suite. When renovations were complete, the Mooney’s moved into the home in May of 2016. Many of the original features remain in the house.
PAT HUHN ~ 819 DEGROFF ~ 1929 AMERICAN COLONIAL
In 1929, Dr. Douglas and Mildred Bouck took out a mortgage for $8,000 to have the house built. An interesting addition to the property was a large bomb shelter in the backyard which has since been filled in. The Bouck’s lived in the home with their family, and after Douglas’ death, Mildred sold the home to one of their sons and his family. Current owner Pat Huhn has many family antique pieces, crystal and artwork displayed in the house. Pat made some upgrades to the home with the renovation of the kitchen, adding a large side and back deck, adding a patio and beautifully landscaping the yard. Take note of the huge walnut tree in the back yard. The backyard of the house was always a gathering place for neighborhood kids where they often played baseball. If they hit the walnut tree, it was an automatic triple.
NICOLE & JOSH OSTRANDER ~ 1087 BROOKSIDE DR. ~ 1983 TWO-STORIED CONTEMPORARY
The land where this home sits has a unique history. The Grand Ledge Sewer Pipe Company owned the land in the late 1800s into the first half of the twentieth century. When Beagle Middle School (now Beagle Elementary School) was built in the area, most of the undeveloped property was sold for housing. The 1,368 sq ft house was built in 1983 for a cost of $51,000. Make sure to read the story in the ticket booklet about the boulevard tree dispute. The Ostrander’s moved into the home in June of 2015 after being attracted to the location and the proximity to schools and downtown. The Christmas spirit is very merry and bright at this stop! The house is decorated in the theme of “How the Grinch Stole Christmas.” Every Who in Whoville will sure to be delighted!
1800s HISTORIC GRANARY ~ 9110 HARTEL RD. ~ ARTISAN MARKET
In 1836, a group of men from Canada came upon the southeast corner in Oneida Township. They set about exploring the area and decided this would be a good place to form a community. This section of land became known as the Canada Settlement. In 1837, one member, Truman Walker Nichols built his first structure on this property. Eventually the Nichols family cleared the land and built wooden farm structures including the Historic Granary. The Granary is believed to have been built prior to the American Civil War. In 2010, current owner Norma Pryor and her friend decided to rehab the Granary. The goal was to have a studio space for creating pottery and doing wood working. Effort was made to keep the structure as original as possible. In the fall of 2013, the Historic Granary was opened as an artistic workspace and occasional gallery with the intent to host sales of their creative endeavors. The Granary will be open during the tour and have handmade, vintage and decorative items for sale.
JENNIFER EDWARDS-DRIVER ~ 8975 HARTEL RD. ~ 1887 CANADA SETTLEMENT SCHOOL
The Canada Settlement Rural School District #1 was originally located on the northwest corner of Strange and Hartel Rd. Several different buildings were used and either fell to fire, decay or were moved. The final brick schoolhouse was built in 1887 at the current location. Around the 1950s classes were discontinued and the schoolhouse stood vacant. Local 4-H clubs leased the building year-to-year for holding meetings and events. In 1995 Patricia Nicol renovated and remodeled the schoolhouse and turned it into a craft shop. Holly Way purchased the building in 2002 and converted it into living space. The ceiling was lowered and a second floor added. An addition was also added to the back of the schoolhouse which allowed for the addition of a basement. Way listed the schoolhouse for sale in 2015 and in October of 2016 Jennifer Edwards-Driver purchased the schoolhouse saying she enjoys living in the unique home with historical significance and she knew it was meant for her and her family.
ONEIDA GOSPEL CHURCH ~ 3048 E. STRANGE HWY ~ ESTABLISHED IN 1848/1966 MID-CENTURY/1980s ADDITION
Coming to Michigan from Massachusetts in 1836, a group of Oneida Township settlers had no church to call their own. They had to travel to Vermontville for Sunday services which was not an easy task having to go by horse or ox cart. They decided to organize a church of their own and on May 21, 1848 the First Presbyterian Church of Oneida was organized. In the 1940s the church shifted away from that affiliation and in 1950 the Presbyterian Church donated the building and land to what is now the Oneida Gospel Church. The original church was raised in 1966 and the larger, present facility was built. Since then, the congregation has added classrooms, a large gymnasium, a new youth ministry Sunday school and community building.
STRANGE SCHOOL ~ 8981 ONEIDA RD. ~ 1879 TWO-TONED BRICK SCHOOLHOUSE, ACTIVE K-5 ELEMENTARY SCHOOL
The Strange School also known as Oneida School District No. 3 and South Oneida School was founded in 1839. The first structure was about a half of a mile from the present location and was voted on to be moved to the current site in 1854. The half-acre property was purchased for $20 and a framed building was built and ready for students in the fall of 1855. The framed structure was sold in 1879 for $3.50 and moved. A two-toned brick schoolhouse was completed in late 1879 with brick privies the following spring. Several things including the bell tower have been added over the years. In the 1940s, the State of Michigan was promoting school consolidation and in 1968 the Board of Education ruled to close all one-room schoolhouses. The school district residents and board members of Strange School went to the court to save their school. The case was dismissed by default and the school remains still today as a one-room schoolhouse serving kindergarten through fifth grade.