The workshops that kicked off this project were completed in early November. We have, indeed, discovered a lot that we will be sharing soon. We continue to discover more of the intriguing history of this humble farmhouse in southwest Manchester Township. Built in about 1858, renovated and expanded in 1949, its history is being preserved with support from the Manchester Area Historical Society.
This project is ongoing. After lots of preliminary work, and a few delays, the frame of the house and shed will be taken apart during November to save as much of the lumber and timbers as possible. The last step will be removal of the foundation, with portions of the stone foundation to be saved. A commemorative sign is planned.
We will soon share a few of the fun things we have found. Other plans are in the works.
The house that is the focus of these workshops was slated to be demolished to support the creation of a nature preserve as Legacy Land Conservancy becomes the new steward of this property as a public nature preserve. The Iron Creek Preserve is expected to open in the fall of 2024. Though restoration was considered, it was determined not to be feasible.
Deconstruction has given us a chance to honor this humble house and those who lived here. The process has been documented through photos and videos, and will be compiled and made available here, along with many other historical records. We are doing our best to interpret what we have found in order to share what we have learned with the wider community. All of the compiled information will be hosted here.
Some of the recovered timbers will be used to build benches and other amenities for the preserve. All of the reclaimed materials will be reused and repurposed, eliminating landfill waste and providing raw material for modern and historic projects.
CURRENT STATUS & PLANS
- The deconstruction is continuing and should be wrapped up by December.
- A presentation is being planned for late January 2024, to share what we have learned so far.
- Videos taken during the deconstruction and workshops will be made into a series of short films to be shared here (we will be seeking volunteers and funding).
- Additional history is being gathered by the descendants of the Sutton and Kolongowski families, and by Marian Feinberg, Preservation Studies M.S. Candidate at Eastern Michigan University.
- The goal is to create a comprehensive, digital document that will tie several topics together in a way that will allow others to learn from this endeavor.
TOPICS TO BE COVERED
- Sutton family history
- Kolongowski family history
- Iron Creek area history
- Deconstruction vs demolition
- Building methods and materials over time
- The evolution of the landscape over time as human culture evolved
This project has been made possible due to the commitments of many:
- Manchester Area Historical Society (MAHS)
- Legacy Land Conservancy
- Architectural Salvage Warehouse of Detroit (ASWD)
- Ray Berg, President MAHS
- Laura Sutton, Great-great granddaughter of Richard Sutton who built the house in 1858
- Sybil Kolon, Granddaughter of Louis Kolongowski who updated the house in 1949
- Marian Feinberg, Eastern Michigan University, Preservation Studies M.S. Candidate & Halle Library Archival Employee
- Silas Bialecki, Lifelong Iron Creek resident and passionate interpreter of natural resources and local Indigenous history
- Sarah Felder, Artwork and Media
- Peter Knox, Videography
- Linda Knox, Media
- Susan LaCroix, Legacy Land Conservancy
- Katie Delahoyde, Eastern Michigan University, Preservation Studies M.S Graduate
- Chris Rutherford, Executive Director, ASWD
- Jaimie Schmidt, Trustee, MAHS