Ode to an Old Farmhouse (NEEDED: Lots of Moolah and One Patient Soul)

Every day on my way to and from work, I drive past this beauty of an old farmhouse.

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The good news: this home is for sale! For less than $100k! See the listing here (many photos taken from the listing for this post).

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The house sits at the corner of Whitneyville and 60th St. southeast of Grand Rapids.

What’s more, this is one of the oldest buildings that still exist from the settlement of Whitney. This home was possibly built around 1836, though records seem to be sketchy and often disagree about the exact date (I’ve seen as early as 1820 listed, but I find that hard to believe). There would have been NOTHING around here at that time, except for the Whitney Tavern that was established in 1853 and the post office that was built in the 1840s.

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The home is currently surrounded by farmland (though I don’t think this will last) and the property boasts a detached, 2-stall garage, a long chicken coop/shed structure, and a very dilapidated barn. Also…a stairway into a cement room in the ground. An old root cellar, possibly?

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Unfortunately, the barn no longer looks like it did when the picture was taken below. More on that later. The garage is in great shape.

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Kenny and I walked through this property back in January. It had been on and off the market (someone purchased a larger parcel and split the land off and then put these 2 acres back on the market). It’s been on and off the market since then.

We LOVED the home and land and history, but unfortunately, we don’t have the financial means or energy to take on a project of this magnitude. Let me explain and share a walk-through of the home.

The entry is part of the back addition and it’s in rough shape. There’s a room carved out of a much larger space that could be very cool if vaulted.

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Here’s a better view of the ceiling in this area. To the right you can see the entry room that was literally built inside this larger space.

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In this half (the larger, cavernous half) was this very cool vintage stove.

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After you walk through the entry, you’ll be in the kitchen. This actually seems technically liveable. A working bathroom (the only one in the home) is to the right of the picture below.

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Here’s a snapshot of the bathroom (shower and tub on the left; toilet on the right). The floor is raised a step, probably to accommodate modern plumbing.

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Through the kitchen there are some living/family spaces and a bedroom. Most of this looks like it had been updated in the 60’s. Drop ceiling, paneled walls, aluminum windows…whooo.

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The door in the photo below is the front door that looks out onto Whitneyville Ave. The white door on the left is the door to the stairway.

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The upstairs of this home I LOVED but it was in rough shape. It has obviously not been updated (or even used?) for perhaps decades. There did not seem to be any heat up here, and the electrical was VERY old (knob and tube?) and missing in places.

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There were four very spacious bedrooms up here.

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It would take a lot of work and elbow grease to return these rooms to their former glory, but aren’t they cool? The floors were incredible wide-planks that appeared unfinished.

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Back downstairs is a “Michigan” basement–unfinished, but used for the home’s systems like laundry, septic, hot water, etc. It was the CREEPIEST but also SO cool to see the home’s foundation (massive rock walls)…

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…and these joists under the first floor. They don’t make homes like this anymore.

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Back outside to the barn. It’s deteriorated rapidly over the last year and is looking even worse than this now though it hasn’t collapsed yet. I think it’s beyond saving, but the wood (including many very large barn beams) could be repurposed or sold.

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Almost no siding remains on the barn at all today–it’s just a skeleton.

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You may be wondering why I’m blogging about this home instead of my own and I’ll try to explain.

This home (and estate) is a piece of incredible history in our area, and there are very few structures that are this old in Michigan. it is obvious when walking through this space that so much life was lived here–this home was very loved at one time.

I’m also more than a little concerned that this home will be torn down if a buyer is not found. When we walked through it in January, our realtor was under the impression that there were to be two homes built on the adjoining field that had been split off the original larger parcel and that if this house didn’t sell, it would be torn down and a third new home would be built.

I love new homes, but we can build them at any time. What we cannot do is get more of these old pieces of history. They are a very finite, rapidly disappearing piece of our culture that we cannot get back once they are gone.

This home needs someone with some vision and a deep pocketbook, but it could be very beautiful once again.

View the listing here.

 

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