Sara Swanson

Freedom Township farmstead on its way to becoming a local historic district

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Outbuildings of the Kramer-Kuebler-Adler Farm on Bethel Church Rd.

A lovely, nineteenth century farmstead located at 9505 Bethel Church road is currently under consideration for designation as a local historic district. The farm, which is known as the Kramer-Kuebler-Adler Farm consists of a farmhouse, smokehouse, garage, chicken coop, windmill, bank barn, two tool sheds, and a pig barn on 85 acres and according to Melissa Milton-Pung of the Washtenaw County Historic District Commission, represents a farmstead typical of mid-19th to early 20th century agricultural production in Freedom Township. She goes on to state that “The increase in development of the county’s rural areas along with the decreased demand for daily use has led to the rapid loss of nineteenth century buildings in the cultural landscape of Washtenaw County. The impeccable care taken in maintaining these buildings has preserved an important piece of Washtenaw County’s agricultural and ethnic history which conveys the story of the German settlement and social history worthy of preservation.”

According to documents involved in the historic designation process, the farm is believed to have been originally owned by A. J. Andress, and in 1856 consisted of 90 acres including a large wetland area in the center. A farmstead is first depicted on the 1874 plat map on higher ground near the main road with the wetland drained and property owned at this time by Adam Kramer, Jr. Adam Kramer Sr., who had emigrated in 1836, operated a nearby farm. Adam, Jr. worked on his father’s farm until purchasing his own not long before 1874. The “upright and wing” farmhouse and assorted outbuildings were built during the Kramer ownership and some during the time Chris Kuebler’s family owned the farm during the 20th century.

Fran Cowen Adler, current owner of the farmstead stated last fall in her request to the county that she is interested in securing historic district designation for this property to preserve it for the enjoyment of future generations, to preserve the unique fringe suburban character of the area in the face of rising development pressures – thereby stabilizing and possibly contributing to steady and/or rising property value, ensuring the preservation of a well-kept and established property, and promoting Freedom Township history in the context of Michigan’s role in 19th century rural agricultural history. The Freedom Township Board passed a resolution in support of designation last summer.

A public meeting for community comment on this will take place at Freedom Township Hall located at 11508 E. Pleasant Lake Road this Wednesday, August 16th from 6 to 8pm.

Old Zion Parsonage

There are currently 13 local historic districts in Washtenaw County. If approved, the Kramer-Kuebler-Adler Farm would be the 14th. Two of the local historic districts are in the Manchester-area.

The first is also located in Freedom Township,the  Old Zion Parsonage at 2905 South Fletcher Road. This vernacular Gothic Revival parsonage formed the center of the hamlet at Rogers Corners. It played an important role in the German agricultural community, and was the site of much religious and social history in Western Washtenaw county. It was built in 1889-1890 and designated a local historic district in 2003.

Merriman Farm

The second is located in Manchester Township, the Merriman Farm at 15490 Buss Road.  This 78-acre farm includes a 19th century farmhouse, two barns, an outhouse, and a pig house within a wetlands, woodlands, and open fields landscape. In 2006, this property was honored by a historic marker from the WCHDC. It is also protected with open space easements held by The Legacy Land Conservancy. It was built in the late 1860s or early 1870s and received its designation in 2004.

 

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