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Historic Southfield Homes

Mary Thompson Farmhouse

Mary Thompson Farmhouse

Built by the Erwin family in about 1840, this house was purchased by James William and Margaret Ann Thompson in 1874.

The family home and surrounding acreage were left to the City of Southfield to serve as a senior recreation center by the Thompson’s daughter, Mary upon her death in 1967.

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Deer Lick Farm in 1905

Deer Lick Farm

The house at Deer Lick Farm was built by original landowner Morris Jenks about 1831.

Morris Jenks augmented his income by selling venison to his neighbors in the early days of the township.

The farm is named for a salt lick on the property which attracts deer and other animals. According to officers from the Southfield Police Department deer are still attracted to the property.

Morris Jenk’s daughter Esther married Charles Norton Lee of Farmington Hills at Deer Lick Farm on December 25, 1855.

“The bride’s dress was an all wool challis, ashes of roses in color and made with a very long full skirt, little tight waist with leg of mutton sleeves and an embroidery”

Eva seymour Jenks. “Reunion Papers of the Jenks Family.” Exerpt

Deer Lick Farm in 2008

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Bannister Detail

Code House

This city-owned home recently received a state restoration award.

The house is typical of the Greek Revival style popular in the 1830s.

The home is named for the Codes, a farm family who lived here the longest.   At one time the house also served as a girls’ boarding school.

Code House

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McDonnell House

McDonnell House

A designated historic landmark by the City of Southfield, this is the former home of Jean McDonnell, Southfield’s first councilwoman.  Known for her trademarks hats, Jean always said that a woman wasn’t dressed properly unless she was wearing a hat.

Jean McDonnell’s hat collection is on display at the Southfield Historical Society and her furniture collection is displayed in the Mary Thompson Farmhouse.

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Brooks Farm

Brooks Farm

The Brooks farm was the family home of Harry Brooks, pioneering aviator for Henry Ford at the dawn of aviation.  Ford didn’t just want a Model T and a Ford Tractor in every garage; he also wanted everyone to have a small plane.

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Weston Home

Weston Home

Privately owned at present, the Weston family is listed as residents in 1872 and 1896.  Later the Donaldson family may have lived here (circa 1908).  This home has a number of charming newer additions constructed in the style of the original farmhouse.

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Duckworth Home

Duckworth Home

Presently owned by the Duckworth family this farmhouse appears on the 1872, 1896, and 1908 plat maps of Southfield Township under the ownnership of the Gray family.

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Simmons Home

Simmons Home

Built in 1870 and moved to the Burgh in the 1974, the Simmons home currently houses the City of Southfield Human Services Department.

The Burgh of Southfield, a Bicentennial architectural analysis of the Burgh site which was published by the Southfield Bicentennial Commission, says that it is likely that the asymmetrical facade of the building was constructed in stages.

Simmons Home

Simmons Home Gable Detail

Simmons Home Back View

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Parks Home

Built in 1861 by the grandfather of Mary Thompson, David John Parks (1833-1902) this home was moved to the Burgh from Evergreen at 11 Mile Road in1984 when I-696 was created.

An Italianate structure with bay windows and roof brackets, the home has some unusual features for a farmhouse such as a spiral staircase in the front hall and a dumb waiter from the cellar to the kitchen.  The interior black walnut trimwork was cut from trees on the original property.

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Larkins Home in 1928

Larkins Home

A farm owned by L.B. Cocks was on this property as early as 1872.  In about 1905 the Larkins family built the home we see today.

Larkins Home in 2008

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Driver Home

Driver Home

Sears Roebuck home kits were popular in the 1920s and 1930s.  The Driver family are the original owners of this pristine Sears bungalow style home and as of 2008 a member of the Driver family continued to reside here.

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Magnolia Subdivision

One of Southfield’s best kept secrets is the Magnolia Subdivision, an area of stately homes created in the early 1930s and hidden in a maze of freeways and commercial property in the southeast corner of the city.

Lots in Magnolia were sold separately and many of the homes are custom built — only 2 of them are alike.

Homes were built in the Magnolia subdivision as early as 1932 — although most date from the postwar economic boom.  An early billboard promoting the subdivision to weary drivers during their evening commute advertised:

“If you lived here, you’d be home now!”

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Photos by Darla Van Hoey.  Copyright 2008 by the Southfield Historical Society.
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