Friday, December 2, 2011

1925 Defendorf House

W.H. Peek has sold the lot where his house stands to the Standard Oil Co. and has purchased a lot on Grand River just east of B.D. Grover where he will move the house.

And that, my friends, solves the mystery and when and why the long-considered oldest house in the village was relocated to 701 East Grand River, where it still stands and has been beautifully kept up.

For a little back history, Dr. Byron Defendorf lived and worked in a house that was located at the southwest corner of East Grand River and South Second street. It has long been known that the house was moved to where it now stands and the small building attached to the house, that he used as his office, was relocated to 235 South Collins street. When the office was moved there, it was converted into a small house which is now a rental piece.

A few weeks later, an additional blurb was found in the local paper, reporting on the 'office' portion of the house with, Willard Peek has purchased a part of the house of his father, W.H. Peek, and has moved it to a lot recently purchased of S.W. Tomion in the southeast part of the village and will make a fine home.

Numerous newspaper articles have been written up in recent years about the two-story portion on East Grand River and how it has been beautifully restored and kept-up. Most recently, the Press and Argus did a write-up when Ron and Tomye Daly owned it.

In my research, though, there never seemed to be a definitive reason and/or date when the move actually occurred. So now, here are some known factoids:

~~Lot sold by W.H. Peek to the Standard Oil Co. Mr. Peek also owned the building just to its west which, at the time, was the Orpheum Theatre. In later years, it became a variety store and is now Game Links.

~~The house was moved to 701 East Grand River, and was long-known -- and sometimes still called -- the Eaton house.

~~The Standard station then located at the southwest corner, where the house formerly stood, was owned by Wayne Eaton. In later years, it would be owned and operated by the Palmerton family before they relocated to where the BP station is located at South Ann Street.

~~The house has changed hands over the years and is now the home of one of the Shear Image proprietors.

~~The gas station no long exists and the lot serves as parking spaces for Chase Bank.

So now, in the name of progress, two icons within this village were moved or torn down in order to build gas stations. The above was the first and the second took place in 1937 when the Commercial hotel building at the southwest corner of the main four was torn down by the Lansing Wrecking Co. in order to building a Pure gas station.

No comments: