Every day when I drive to work I pass by a home that always gets my attention. I love historic houses and I always feel that this home has a lot of stories to tell. One weekend day as I drove by I noticed there were people walking around the grounds in Civil War era uniforms and dresses. Unfortunately I was unable to stop and investigate but when I got home I looked it up on the internet.
I learned that this property is the Historic Perry McGrath homestead. It is located at 5078 Perry Road in Grand Blanc. Apparently the house was built around 1825 by Edmund Perry and his son Simeon and is thought to be the second settlement in Grand Blanc. Simeon Perry was born in Schenectady, New York in 1804 and came west with his father (Edmund), his sister and a cousin around 1825. At that time the area of Grand Blanc was known as Grumlaw. Edmund and his daughter later returned to New York leaving Simeon and his cousin behind on the farm.
The day I saw the people dressed in Civil War era uniforms was a celebration of Arbor Day and Grand Blanc Township’s 180th birthday. There were archaeological artifacts on display and tours being guided through the house. Darn it, I wish I could have stopped!
The Grand Blanc Historic District Commission is currently repairing and preserving the home. Amongst many other restoration projects, they have repaired the roof and the siding and removed the lead based paint in the home. They have also created two bathrooms inside. There are various landscaping plans for the 20 acres surrounding the house including vegetable gardens and butterfly gardens. An area for weddings and other events will be incorporated as well. According to Grand Blanc Township Supervisor Marilyn “Micki” Hoffman, “Our ultimate purpose (for the house) is for (a) meeting place for small groups and education for small kids…..This is a place that people can come … paint, sit down and read a book and just be in nature.” (http://www.mlive.com/news/flint/index.ssf/2012/03/historic_perry_mcgrath_home_in.html).
Historic homes, if protected and conserved are like living museums. You can step inside and imagine how the family(s) once lived and what was important to them. To me that is fascinating. I’m so glad the Grand Blanc community is preserving part of its history for all of us to enjoy.