Fayette Home Tour #1: Emerick-Ford 2012.11.14

Written by David Green.

tour.ford houseBy DAVID GREEN

The old square brick Emerick-Ford homestead on County Road S had been vacant about a dozen years when Dr. Robert Nyce and Tom Spiess decided to buy it in 1990.

It was overgrown, Tom recalls, and a tree had fallen and damaged one corner of the structure.

“When Doc and I purchased the property, most people thought the house would be torn down,” Tom said. “We chose to repair and reconstruct.”

He’s glad they made that decision because now one of the oldest homes in the area is still standing and back in good condition.

The house was restored and sold, and since then there have been two more owners before Tom bought it once again.

He's done extensive remodeling in recent months and the home is nearly ready for sale or rent.

"It was built by one of Fayette's original founding families," Tom said. The first members of the Emerick family settled in the area by 1840.

The house was built in 1870, two years before the incorporation of the village, when Ulysses S. Grant was in the White House. Twenty-two years after the Emerick house was built, Fayette Normal University was built to the southwest.

The two-story, 1,078 square foot house was surrounded by the family farm of more than 30 acres, with property on both sides of the road. The barn and other outbuildings are long gone, but the granary still exists, although it's been moved to a new location.

In the 1960s, several acres were sold for construction of Peter Stamping and for the village water treatment plant, and 15 acres remain. Some of the old ways were slow to change, Tom said, noting that an outhouse was still in use into the 1970s.

The symmetrical Georgian style home once included a kitchen, a coal-room and an add-on porch that were removed in the 1990s. At that time, the first floor included a dining room, pantry, front room and bedroom. Currently there’s a kitchen, living room and study. There are three bedrooms upstairs.

The full basement is made of native stone and the house walls are double brick without studs. The interior walls are plaster on brick.

Jim Bacon remembers the house well because his step-grandfather, Dorey Ford, was the owner at one time. In fact, Jim says, this is the house where he was born, although he doesn't know which room was the scene of his arrival.

  • Front.splash
    Water Fun—Carter Seitz and Colson Walter take a fast trip along a plastic sliding strip while water from a sprinkler provides the lubrication. The boys took a break from tie-dyeing last week at Morenci’s Summer Recreation Program to cool off in the water.
  • Front.starting
    BIKE-A-THON—Children in Morenci’s Summer Recreation Program brought their bikes last Tuesday to participate in a bike-a-thon. Riders await the start of the event at the elementary school before being led on a course through town by organizer Leonie Leahy.
  • Front.drum
    on your mark, get set, drum!—Drew Joughin (black shirt), Maddox Joughin and Kaleea Braun took the front row last week when Angela Rettle and assistants led the Stair District Library Summer Reading Program kids in a session of cardio drumming. The sports and healthy living theme continued yesterday with a Mini Jamboree at Lake Hudson State Park arranged by the Michigan Department of Natural Resources. Next week’s program features the Flying Aces Frisbee show.
  • Front.art.park
    ART PARK—A design created by Poggemeyer Design Group shows a “pocket art park” in the green space south of the State Line Observer building. The proposal includes a 12-foot sculpture based on a design created by Morenci sixth grade student Klara Wesley through a school and library collaboration. A wooden band shell is located at the back of the lot. The Observer wall would be covered with a synthetic stucco material. City council members are considering ways to fund the estimated $125,000 project and perhaps tackling construction one step at a time.
  • Front.train
    WRECKAGE—Morenci Fire Department member Taylor Schisler walks past the smoking wreckage of a semi-truck tractor on the north side of the Norfolk and Southern Railroad tracks on Ranger Highway. The truck trailer was on the south side of the tracks

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