2016 in review
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January
-A lot of months lack big, highlightable moments, since my free time is spent fixing up the house and doing research for the urbanism/history blog. January was one of those months.

February
-Sarah and I had a pretty sweet Indian food party catered by Chutney's.

March
-The Metro Times printed a kind writeup about my urbanism/history blog.

April
-Another month where I enjoyed life but don't have a flashy life event to show for it.

May
-We visited Liz and Abe in Portland, a city so perfectly functional, well-maintained, and beautiful, that you basically just get high off of the chemicals your body pumps into your bloodstream just from walking around and looking at shit. Sarah took advantage of our being in a progressive, unconventional city by proposing to me at the Wilamette Stone! (Hashtag I said yes.)



June
-Part six of Don't Hug Me I'm Scared was released on the 19th!
-Hannah from Minnesota paid us a visit.
-Sarah and I went kayaking on the Huron River, in part for historical research.

July
-I bought a new bike after not having owned one in about five years or so. I happened to need it to commute to work (in conjunction with the bus) when my car needed some serious work done.
-Sarah and I adopted a new cat, Charlie!



August
-My mom paid us a visit from Arizona.
-Sarah and I visited her family's cottage on Lake Michigan in Wawatam Township. Lot of cool nature and shit up north. Plus Petoskey is a beautiful city.


Gander at Lazarow Cottage.


September
-I got to meet, for the first time in person, fellow researchers Andrea and "Neil." "Neil" does the nailhed.com site.
-Joe and I went on an awesome roadtrip down the entire Michigan segment of the old Chicago Road. I absolutely recommend this drive to anybody interested in local history/geography.

October
-Helped Scott move a piano...

November
-I dropped my iPhone in the toilet after owning it less than one year.

December
-I got bad food poisoning. That was noteworthy I guess.


Anyway, on to the home improvement portion.
















Democratic Double Standards
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Who would have guessed that such a man would have ascended to the presidency by tapping into a great public desire to shake up the system, going on to sweep Pennsylvania, Ohio, Indiana, Michigan, Wisconsin, and Iowa? And how will future historians judge the unprecedented deportations, the construction of a barrier on the US-Mexico border, the bombings of Muslim countries surpassing even that of the Bush administration, the increased drone strikes, the expansion of the US government's spying powers, the cracking down on whistle-blowers, the extrajudicial assassination of US citizens, reversing nuclear disarmament, and carrying out yet another disastrous regime change in the Middle East? And now that president, Barack Obama, will be leaving office in a matter of weeks.

I remember the rage and disgust we Democrats felt during the reign of George W. Bush. I remember the creepy way Republicans marched in lock step behind him, telling us to "support our president." And I remember thinking, on that on some hopeful day when a Democrat is finally president again, we won't be party shills like them. We won't overlook a Democrat's wrongdoings just because we voted for them. We'll hold their feet to the fire because, unlike Republicans, we aren't the type of mindless crowd who puts party before country, for we are the objective and compassionate seekers of truth!

What a stupid man I am. And what a complete failure the progressive movement has been for the last eight years.

As Bush prepared to invade Iraq, we met him with the largest protest movement in human history, with millions demonstrating in dozens of cities throughout the world. When Obama went to war with the suspiciously oil-rich sovereign nation of Libya (under false pretenses and without Congressional consent), bringing about Iraq-style regime change and of course Iraq-style endless civil war and terrorism, where were the protests? When Libya's leader, Muammar Gaddafi, was killed by being anally raped with a bayonet by western-backed rebels, this was Hillary Clinton's reaction. But nobody is outraged because Obama and Clinton are on the "Blue Team." And we liberals have marched in lock step behind them.

We were all horrified by Bush's USA Patriot Act, and its unprecedented attack on our civil liberties. "What about the First and Fourth Amendments?" I asked a Republican. "Just don't try reading them on an airplane or in a skyscraper!" was his actual reply. If you call that cognitive dissonance, what do you call our complacency when Obama signed the National Defense Authorization Act of 2012 into law, granting himself the power to detain US citizens indefinitely?

Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton as senators voted in favor of a bill to construct a 700-mile-long barrier on our southern border in 2006. But when a Republican wants to continue the project, we suddenly remember what a stupid idea it is. We will only hold you accountable if you're not on "Our Team."

People are scared to death because Trump has threatened to deport from 2 to 3 million undocumented immigrants. Meanwhile, Obama is projected to have deported more than 3 million by the time he leaves office.




I am not telling anyone what to feel, think, say, or do. But I do believe that it would be a whole lot more honest for us to admit that our high moral standards only apply to people of the Other Tribe, and that we don't have to play by our own rules.

It's not that ALL of us were asleep at the wheel. Early last year, for example, Noam Chomsky wrote: "[I]gnored in the 'war against terrorism' is the most extreme terrorist campaign of modern times -- Barack Obama's global assassination campaign targeting people suspected of perhaps intending to harm us some day, and any unfortunates who happen to be nearby." We are rightfully outraged when a president threatens to deport Muslims, but not when a president kills Muslims where we can't see them. Despite carrying out "the most extreme terrorist campaign of modern times," we talk about how much we're going to miss our "cool" president. We are complacent party shills, just like the Republicans were under Bush.




Enough about the politicians. Let's talk about progressives, leftists, liberals and Democrats. I believe we're right about environmental protection, economic justice and exposing racial inequalities in the criminal justice system. But I'm not sure that the "Blue Team" has a monopoly on the truth or possesses moral superiority over conservatives.

When are argue, how often are we really using facts to defend our liberal values, and how often are we simply acting on a visceral "Us vs Them" mentality, where Our Team is righteous and pure, and Their Team is totally bad and evil?

If we are simply standing up for our values, then why don't we apply them consistently? For example, if you happen to be overweight and a member of the Blue Team, then we will defend you and oppose "fat shaming," because anyone who finds obesity funny is completely bad and totally evil. We react with pious indignity when Donald Trump calls Rosie O'Donnell a "fat pig." But if you're fat and on the Red Team...




I'm not even claiming that fatness can't be funny. But I do wonder how sincere our sanctimonious grandstanding is.

We pledge to stand in solidarity with the most marginalized members of society. Then we head on down to www.peopleofwalmart.com to remind ourselves of our superiority to those people.

We oppose hatred against Muslims, just as long as they voted for Hillary Clinton. I happened to see the following comment on Facebook, where a liberal linked to an op-ed by a Muslim woman who voted for Trump. He exclaims to the author that "Trump is anti-'you'," Then calls her "a piece of shit."




This guy reminds me of a man who will ask a woman out on a date, and when rejected, calls her a slut and a cunt and then wonders why "nice guys" like him can never find a companion. "He doesn't respect you like I do, you piece of shit!"

We're not even consistent in the values we claim to defend. We lectured conservatives on how important it is to be "colorblind." And then one day we decided that it's racist to be "colorblind." We ran programs promoting "tolerance," until that too is considered a bad word. (If you "tolerate" a meal, what does that say about it?) Perhaps we alone do not possess the eternal, unchanging truth?

Then you have comments like this:

"I have tremendous respect for [John] McCain but I don’t buy the war hero thing. Anybody can be captured. I thought the idea was to capture them. As far as I’m concerned he sat out the war."

No, that wasn't Donald Trump, it was Al Franken. Was Franken just joking? Was Trump joking when he said almost the same exact thing? Determining who was "kidding" and who "meant it" depends on which person is on your team. All other factors come second.

When we judge who is a flawed-but-forgivable human being, and who is irredeemably evil, Tribe counts for more than Truth. And when I say "we," I am including myself. It does feel different when Obama compares his bad bowling to the Special Olympics, or Al Gore says that his critics have an extra chromosome, compared to Trump mocking a person with arthrogryposis. It doesn't feel the same when liberal websites report that conservative protesters are secretly funded by the shady billionaire Koch brothers, and when conservative websites report that liberal protesters are secretly funded by the shady billionaire George Soros. Throughout Obama's presidency it was obvious that "death panels" and "FEMA camps" were moronic conspiracy theories, but when Bush was president I somehow thought it was plausible that Bush had covertly imprisoned Osama bin Laden, with a "capture" to be announced at a strategic moment; or that Bush would surround the white house with tanks at the end of his term in order to avoid giving up power. I'm not objective either.

I wish I could claim the same level of detachment and equanimity that George Carlin expressed when he wrote:
"[I]f you read something in this book that sounds like advocacy of a particular political point of view, please reject the notion. My interest in 'issues' is merely to point out how badly we're doing, not to suggest a way we might do better."

I admit still cling to liberal views. I am disgusted by the idea of "registering" Muslims, but I am also disgusted by Obama's "most extreme terrorist campaign of modern times." I believe we should welcome Syrian refugees into our country, but maybe there wouldn't be so many refugees if Obama had not armed Al Quaeda's allies, who proceeded to use Syrian civilians as human shields in their civil war. I don't believe that "corporations are people," but I wonder why Obama never suggested a constitutional amendment to overturn the Citizens United decision.

There is one thing we liberals are better at than conservatives: lying. When Republicans say they're "pro-life", anti-big government, or pro-Christian values, their lies are so clumsy, idiotic and transparent that even a child could see through them. But when we Democrats say that we fight for the working class, that we will hold Wall Street accountable, or that we are anti-war, we may be completely and utterly full of shit, but at least we're convincing.

2015 In review
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I basically did not post in LiveJournal in 2015, so I had to scroll through Facebook to compile this list.

I was extremely preoccupied with renovating our house throughout the year, so I'll skip over those details and photos until the end.

January
-I was so effin busy with the house that not much else was written about on FB.

February
-Our cat Templeton, who Sarah had for many years, had become very old and totally blind, and finally his body started to shut down. The poor guy was euthanized this month.


We survived the snowiest winter in Detroit's recorded history.
This photo was taken in February, but it snowed until April.


March
-Sarah and I visited family in Arizona.

April
-Sarah and I moved out of Detroit and into Farmington Hills. I had been in Corktown for ten years, most of my adult life. I don't regret the decision, but I miss living in the city all the time.

May
-Abe, who had moved to Portland a year ago, visited Michigan and was the first person to stay in our guest room!
-Liz visited! She had Ethiopian food for the first time, and we all attended the "Diego & Frida" exhibit at the DIA.



-Sarah and I celebrated one year of living together on the 27th.
-Thanks to a hot tip from Melanie and a lot of help from Scott, I achieved my lifelong dream of owning my very own Miller-Melberg turtle.



June
-Sarah and I volunteered for our last Corktown Historical Homes Tour.
-Two days before the 5 year anniversary of Joel's death, the house he died in was up for auction. I came very close to bidding, but I did not.

July
-Not much non-house-related going on...

August
-Sarah and I visited Chicago to attend JR's wedding reception.
-Hannah visited!


Me & Sarah at the Field Museum in Chicago.


September
-Sarah and I visited JR, and also saw Flint, Bay City, and "White Rock."
-David Murray, an old timer who grew up in Corktown and who I only knew through Facebook, died unexpectedly. He commented on every photo I posted to the historical society FB page and had a ton of information to share. I always wanted to meet up with him in the old neighborhood "when I had more time." I failed to make time, and I'll always regret it.
-My mother was diagnosed with breast cancer, and Sarah and I made plans to visit Arizona again the following month.

October
-Gander ran away when I had my back turned. Luckily a woman who lives extremely close by who happens to be a vet tech found him at the goddamned gas station.
-We attended a commemoration of the 200th anniversary of the survey of Michigan at the Meridian-Baseline State Park.
-BACK TO THE FUTURE.
-Sarah and I visited Arizona for the second time in 2015.


Me & Mom.


November
-I "called in sick" to attend a seminar on the history of the survey of Michigan and the remonumentation of historical section corners.

December
-Abe visited a second time in 2015!
-I started my new blog, Detroit Urbanism.
-On my 36th birthday, Sarah and I tried to gain access to where I believe a prehistoric Native American earthworks is located, but the gentlemen who occupied the property were not happy to see us and politely warned us to "Stay Out Of The Woods."


And throughout the year, the house stuff... The "before" photos represent what the house looked like at the beginning of the year, as opposed to the beginning of the entire project (when we started gutting in October 2015).










A good example of how some things are still works in progress.










I'm never renovating another house again!

i've abandoned my livejournal
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2014
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• January

When January 2014 was actually happening, I thought at the time that the highlight of the month would be my long-overdue restoration of the doorway trim in the back parlor:



But obviously you all already know about Bob's suicide on January 25th, and my mom and I finding him. Our friends and family members did a lot to help us through it. Hannah and Sarah J. helped me bag up and donate Bob's clothes and throw away a ton of garbage. Dr. Girlfriend Sarah helped us notify his past clients, organize and clean the house, prepare for the funeral, and helped me care for Frida, Bob's turtle.


• February

Bob's funeral occurred in this month, ultimately taking the form of a luncheon in a private room of a restaurant. Kevin was extremely helpful with the arrangements, offering his services as a professional funeral director pro bono.

One evening, Sarah blew out a tire on her way to Ann Arbor and then blew out her spare on the way back. AAA just told her to walk from the M-14/US-23 ramp to a hotel. On my way to drive out and lend her my spare (since we both drive Aveos), **I** blew out a tire. I pleaded for help on Facebook at 1am. Ang saw my post and got Dale to loan me his Prius in the middle of the night. Thank you both!


• March

Highlight of the month: HOMEMADE VEGAN PACZKI!




• April

The estate sale to liquidate Bob's art collection was held. He had A LOT OF STUFF.



As an entry in a contest, Joe, the two Jeffs, and Tara submitted a music video to They Might Be Giants' "Am I Awake?", which I helped out with:



While cleaning up after the estate sale, my mom and I drove to take a lunch break and saw an odd vintage store we hadn't noticed before along the way. It was Mercury Retropolis. We checked it out and eerily noticed some of Bob's items inside. We became acquainted with the store owner, whose back story contained enough bizarre twists to flesh out a full season of the Serial podcast.


• May

Sarah moved into the Bumblebee House!

A historically-themed publishing company contacted me about writing a book on Corktown, but they refused to pay for any photo licensing and Becky pointed out shady stuff in the contract they sent me. I told them no thanks.


• June

I charged high rent on Airbnb rooms during the electronic music festival and used that money to rip up the side yard and paid Don to build a beautiful picket fence. Abe helped me paint it. I then spent way too much money on planting perennials in the new garden.



Sarah and I attending the Waterfront Film Festival in South Haven. We did not stay in a hotel or B&B, but I actually *went camping* for this trip.



Abe moved from Michigan to Portland. She loves her new job and city, but I'm sad she left.


• July

Sarah and I started jogging. We still do it even though it sucks and it's stupid.

My water heater died and Scott helped me install my new one. Thanks, Scott!

Sarah and I and a few strangers rescued two dogs from the freeway.



My car stereo's face plate was stolen so I installed a whole new stereo. I thought I did it right, but every once in awhile it will stop working, and when it works again all of my preset stations are erased. Whatever.


• August

Sarah and I stayed at a B&B on the west side of Michigan, a Christmas/birthday gift from my dad and stepmother. Here we are visiting some sand dunes on Lake Michigan:



I finally finished the trim in the rear parlor. This piece of trim was pulled out of a dumpster and refinished:



That month I first laid eyes on an ad for sale for a cottage on an acre of land in Farmington Hills.


• September

Scott and I checked out the Farmington Hills house. I liked it a lot and viewed it a second time with Sarah, and she also liked it. We negotiated with the seller and agreed on a price while negotiating the sale of the Bumblebee House to Dr. Matt.



• October

On October 28, I sold the Bumblebee House to Matt and purchased the house in Farmington Hills.





• November

I have been working on the house nonstop in all of my free time. The house was severely neglected and needs a complete renovation, including a new roof, all new plumbing, new furnace, etc. I am doing as much of the work myself as I possibly can. It will take until at least April or so for the house to even be livable.




• December

My mom moved to Mesa, Arizona.

Sarah and I adopted a stray cat brought into her clinic. We named her Contessa. The name was half chosen at random by Stacey as a baby name for me and Sarah, and half a reference to Liz Baillie's "Freewheel".


are people just bad at googling?
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I got this email yesterday:
* * * * *
Hi,
 
My name is Christopher _____ and I stumbled upon your blog today. I am a real estate investor and I recently turned my attention to Detroit as an area with a lot of potential.

The housing stock in Detroit is very strong and I think with time, patience, and the right investment, the area can return to its former glory. I am at the very early stages of research and am trying to familiarize myself as much as I can with the area before I take a trip to Detroit to see the place myself. Corktown is an area that immediately stood out as an area with great architecture, access to downtown, green space, and lively nightlife. I was hoping you could take a few minutes and give me your opinion on the area. As someone who has been there since 2005 you have firsthand witnessed the crash and now slow rebirth of the city. How greatly was Corktown affected by the recession, and has it started to recover? What are the demographic trends you see in the area?

Are young professionals moving there? Artists? What kind of businesses are starting to pop up in the area?
 
I realize this email is quite random but I thought maybe as someone who appreciates old architecture like myself, you might have some insight you are willing to share. Any info you can give me is helpful. I appreciate your time.
 
Please feel free to reach outanytime.
 
Thanks very much.

Chris _____
* * * * *
This was my reply:
* * * * *
Hey Chris:

Now is not a good time to invest in Corktown due to a lot of issues affecting our properties over here. One problem, for example, is that a lot of absentee owners from outside of the area buy up land or buildings and sit on them, doing nothing, and waiting for a big windfall profit after expending no investment in their properties. While my neighbors work their asses off and take on big financial risks building businesses and renovating homes, these speculators are content to let their own property rot, only waiting for a big work-free payout day when the neighborhood improves (due, of course, to no effort or innovation of their own). You probably don't want to buy in an area with those kinds of speculators ruining everything for the rest of us.

-Paul

closing time
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Yesterday was a good day, despite starting off with a sewer snaking. The tree roots were on time for their annual blockage, but I purchased a $111 coupon on Angie's List to have Cregger Plumbing from Ferndale come down to snake out the main drainpipe, and everything is back to normal.

I took the day off to finalize my sale of 1242 Bagley and my purchase of 24500 Orchard Lake Road. We met the agent at the Farmington Hills house beforehand to do a walk-through to make sure that everything was as we last saw it. She provided contact information of the seller's former partner who still lives in Michigan and has made himself available for gardening advice next spring, which I will definitely need. The agent also conveyed information about leaving food out for the deer--but Sarah, who does have veterinary experience directly related to wildlife, thinks that we probably shouldn't provide the deer with much more than salt licks.

We met Matt and Joe at the title company office and the closing went off almost without a hitch. The wire transfer to the title company from Matt's mortgage company was delayed, but thankfully that delay was not long. Dr. Hynes is now the official owner of the Bumble Bee House!

To sell my house, I deliberately used the same title company that the owner of the Farmington Hills house used so that our closings could be back-to-back, and that worked out perfectly. The agent and the owner's power-of-attorney (the actual owner has moved to India) were already waiting as Joe and Matt were on their way out of the building. That closing also went perfectly and I am now the official owner of that house, which doesn't have a cute nickname yet. Maybe it needs an animal mascot. The ... Opossum Cottage?

The title company cut me a check for the price of 1242 Bagley minus the price of 24500 Orchard Lake Road--a check that will pay off the construction loan for the Bagley house and cover all renovations for the Orchard Lake Road house. I am now debt-free, hopefully forever. Walking into the bank to deposit the check, Sarah and I felt like Abbi and Ilana in this clip from Broad City, which we watched probably five times yesterday:



It's strange how the stress and burden of being screwed over by Juan Carlos and all of the misery associated with the Bagley house has ultimately transformed into a very positive final outcome. I am extremely lucky that it turned out this way. I am very fortunate for the people who helped me work on the house, especially in those early dark days. And of course thanks to all the hipsters who gentrified Corktown! (I'm not kidding!)

Next we went to the Farmington Hills city hall to claim my homestead tax exemption and get information about permits, pet licenses, etc. There were no lines and the people we spoke to were friendly, helpful, and professional. I remember going to the Detroit city-county building to claim the homestead exemption on the Wabash house. While waiting for my number to be called, I overheard a disagreement between a customer and a lady behind the counter over some fees, which the customer insisted he did not have to pay. A different woman behind the counter interrupted them and said something rude and condescending to the customer, then turned to her colleague and told her deliberately loud enough for everyone in the room to hear, "SEE? YOU JUST HAVE TO SLAP THEM AROUND A LITTLE." The folks at the Farmington Hills city hall, on the other hand, actually seemed happy to have customers to help.

Sarah and I commenced our new life as (transitioning) Farmington Hills residents by engaging in what I'm sure will soon be a familiar activity: slogging through Orchard Lake Road traffic while running errands at various strip malls. We were excited by the bounty of Indian restaurants in the area, but oddly they're mostly the kind that close between lunch and dinner, which is when we wanted to eat. One of the few places open was a Pakistani restaurant that wasn't great, but I'm optimistic about our future options.

I also bought my Halloween candy--three hundred pieces of Goldenberg's Peanut Chews. They're not as sweet as Snickers, but they're vegan and they got chocolate in them, so that's what the kids are getting.


economycandy.com


It will take a few months to get the new house ready. The asbestos remediation company can remove the old furnace and basement ducts next week, and the roof company can do their job in 3-4 weeks. I want to gut the upstairs, add a second bathroom, and possibly gut the kitchen, although I've been considering just remodeling what's already there. We'll figure it out as we spend more time at the house.

lj posts = backlogs of unposted fb statuses
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On Friday night Sarah and I semi-spontaneously drove to Lansing and back. She had to deliver a deceased cat to MSU for a necropsy. The cat's sickness and death were never figured out, and another cat from the same house is having similar symptoms. The hope is that if the vets at MSU can figure it out, they will know how to treat the other sick cat. I met Sarah at her work at 9pm, and we got home around 12:30am.

Last Saturday there was a WSU archaeological dig in Roosevelt Park (where, if you don't know, there used to be houses). Scott and I checked it out since one of the people involved directly asked me to come. I don't think I looked as scholarly in real life as they might have imagined me.

On Sunday Sarah and I met my mom and an old family friend Debbie for an early lunch "up north" (by which I mean Hall Road). We went to one of those restaurants that is baffled by attempts to order something vegan, even though we avoided using that word. Sarah asked for cubed potatoes (which are in their skillets) with vegetables added, and nothing else. The server asked, "How would you like your eggs done?" -- "No eggs please, just cubed potatoes and vegetables only." The food came back covered in cheese. Sarah politely sent the food back and asked for just cubed potatoes and vegetables, please. The food came back without cheese, but this time with sausage added. What the hell is the matter with you people?

Immediately after lunch we drove down to a cemetery picnic Joe had planned at Elmwood. The cemetery was designed to be beautiful and park-like, and the caretakers encourage joggers, walkers, and picnickers in addition to your regular mourners and genealogists. We only brought dessert since we had just eaten, and it was a very pleasant autumn day.

That night I received an email from a Detroit tour guide asking if I would be interested in researching stories of "murder, mayhem, and mysticism" in Corktown. This person organizes normal tours in addition to true crime and ghost tours. I was nice and simply said "No thank you, I am not interested" rather than reply with snarky rhetorical questions. Crime is a part of history, but the context in which it's discussed is important. For a person to have lived their last moment on earth in fear and violent suffering is not something I feel should be used as "spooky" Halloween entertainment. And don't get me started on ghosts, which don't frigging exist.

Yesterday when I was walking Gander, some college students walked up to me as part of an assigned survey about Corktown. "How long have you lived in Corktown?"--"Just under ten years."--"Has Corktown changed in that time?"--"Yes."--"Would you say it has changed for the better or worse?" I thought for a few seconds and sincerely answered "both," but they did not ask me to elaborate even though I would have been prepared to. "What do you like about Corktown?"--"I've never lived anywhere else where I knew this many of my neighbors." That answer surprised them, so maybe my experience of the suburbs is not typical. "What makes Corktown different from all other neighborhoods in Detroit?" I had to think again, but finally went with, "The architecture and layout of the houses have been like this before cars or even streetcars. It was designed to be walkable, and it's probably the only surviving neighborhood in Detroit like that. There are other desirable neighborhoods in Detroit, but the houses tend to be bigger and farther apart. The style of the buildings in Corktown give it a unique feeling."

Today is the day that I officially sell my house and own the new one. I'm also having the sewer line snaked, because the Siberian elm roots seem to cause a blockage every year or so. It's right on schedule, unlike the plumbers. Has any plumber in history ever been on time for anything?

the old brooks farm
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I recently observed this old farmhouse for sale in Southfield. It sits on just over one acre of land and includes a barn that was built in 1925, according to the real estate ad.



This house lies on section 9 of what was originally Southfield Township. Section 9 is bounded by 12 Mile, 13 Mile, Lahser and Telegraph Roads. It is worth noting that sections 8 and 9 of Southfield Township were an Indian reservation following the 1807 Treaty of Detroit, in which several First Nations ceded claim of most of southeast Michigan to the United States government. This reservation was named Segin Siwin's Village after its chief. There was another reservation in Southfield, on sections 30 and 31, which I have written about previously.



An 1877 history of Oakland County notes that "signs of ancient Indian occupation" had been observed in this area, noting that "there are those living who recollect small patches of maize and irregular clusters of neglected apple-trees" and "an Indian sugar-orchard" in section 9. I do not know exactly how long the reservations existed, but the 1877 history said that at some point after Michigan achieved statehood, the reservations "were disposed of in the usual way ... and the Indians were reimbursed in the form of annuities."

This farmhouse was built by Cornelius Brooks, but it was not his first house on the property. A 1912 history of Oakland County includes these details of his life: He was born in Berkshire, England in 1823 and moved to London at the age of 16 to learn carpentry. Two years later, in 1841, he came to America and worked in New Jersey for a time. He bought 160 acres in Southfield Township in 1846 and the following year married Mary Ann Stewart of Orange County, New York. For the first 27 years they lived on their farm, they stayed in a small log cabin, not building a new house until 1873.



A date of construction of the house for sale seems to be indicated in the 1912 history book. It reads, "the house where they [Cornelius and Mary Ann Brooks] died and in which Joseph Brooks now lives was built in 1885." The map above is from an atlas published in 1896, the year Cornelius Brooks died. The image below is from a 1908 atlas, and shows Joseph Brooks living in the home that we now know of as 23410 Twelve Mile Road.




Joseph Brooks (1861-1945)


One of the children of Joseph Brooks who grew up in th is home was Harry Joseph Brooks (1903-1928), who went on to become the chief test pilot of the Ford Motor Company's short-lived airplane division. According to his Wikipedia page:

Brooks began pursuing his interest in aviation, taking flying lessons at a local airstrip, where he was observed on several occasions by Henry Ford. His father played the violin at dances at a local inn and met Ford. The elder Brooks invited Ford home for dinner and introduced him to his son.

In February 1928, Harry Brooks set a long-distance flying record, traveling from Dearborn to Titusville, Florida--about 1200 miles--on 48 gallons of fuel. On his flight home, his plane--a Ford Flivver--crashed into the Atlantic Ocean, and his remains were never found.



The ad mentions that the house needs to be extensively renovated or torn down. If you know anyone who might be interested in preserving this piece of local history, please let them know about this property!




HENRY FORD ONCE HAD DINNER HERE, PEOPLE!










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