Historical Summery of Plymouth, Michigan 48170

Historical Summery of Plymouth, Michigan 48170

Only a half-hour from Detroit by expressway, yet beyond the area of urban sprawl, Plymouth has managed to maintain the identity envisioned by its founding fathers when they named the Michigan village after Plymouth, Massachusetts, where some of its early settlers had lived.

Kellogg Park, the hub of the city's business district, reminds many visitors of a New England common. Once called Plymouth Green, its wide expanse of grass, variety of shade trees, and bubbling fountain make it an attractive focal point for the many civic, social and commercial activities that take place in the community.

Attracted by the land act of 1820, which made property available at $1.25 an acre, the firstsettlers arrived here in 1824. The first home was built in what is now the city in 1825.

Plymouth Township was organized in 1827, and the village incorporated in 1867. One hundred years later, in 1967, when the city observed its centennial, the Lord Mayor of Plymouth, England, accepted an invitation to come here and participate in the observance. He arrived with two alderman and his city clerk.

The ties between the two cities have been strong since World War II when the Plymouth Rotary Club sent food, clothing, money, and letters of encouragement to Plymouth, England, during the blitz. In front of City Hall in Plymouth, Michigan, stands a gift from the English city - a small piece of the rock quarry from which the pilgrims embarked from America in 1620.

Growing in front of the City Hall in Plymouth, England, is a gift from Plymouth, Michigan - four trees native to this area.

Among the town's early industries were Luther Lincoln's sawmill, established in 1826; the Plymouth Flour Mill, built about 1850; and May and Hendrick's rake plant located on Main Street in the 1850's. The first real factory, which stood at the corner of Main and Union streets in the 1870's made fanning mills used to clean grain by the action of riddles, sieves, and an air blast. The plant was owned by the Bennett Brothers, one of whom was the father of Charlie Bennett, who later became the president of the Daisy Manufacturing Company.

Next came the Plymouth Iron Windmill Works in 1882, the Markham Air Rifle Plant in 1886, and the Daisy Air Rifle Plant in 1895. Plymouth was the air rifle capital of the world from 1886 to 1958.

Henry Ford, who liked to visit Plymouth, built one of his celebrated "village industry" plants here in the 1920's. Located on Wilcox Pond, where the Plymouth Flour Mill had stood for over 70 years, the Ford Plant made taps for Ford's big Rouge Plant.

The Burrough's Corporation (now Unisys) built a large plant on Plymouth Road in 1938. During and after World War II, a number of nationally-known companies built factories in Plymouth Township, including Ford Motor Company, Western Electric, and the Packaging Corporation of America.

The plank road from Plymouth to Detroit was chartered in 1850, ceasing to operate as a toll road about 1875. Two railroads came to town in 1871. The Detroit, Lansing, and Lake Michigan gave service east and west; the Holly; Wayne, and Monroe (soon bought out by the Flint and Pere Marquette), provided service north and south. By 1916, Plymouth was a lively railroad center, with a 15-stall roundhouse.

Mettetal Airport, a private class B field with hard-surfaced runways, was built in the 1940's. In more recent years, two major freeways were completed on the outskirts of the city. The Jeffries Freeway, running from Detroit to Ann Arbor, and I-275, running north and south, cross each other in Plymouth Township.

Plymouth's first newspaper, the Plymouth Mail, began publishing in 1887.

Plymouth has been musically inclined since Michael Conner, village president and local hardware merchant, organized and led the first Plymouth band during the Civil War days. Thereafter, a series of local brass bands have regaled music lovers, either in Kellogg Park, or at the Plymouth Fairgrounds. The Plymouth Fair was organized in 1886, and closed in 1903.

The colonial architecture of Plymouth, influenced by its New England counterpart, is exemplified in its attractive public buildings. These include the Dunning-Hough Public Library building which the library has occupied since 1958; the City Hall building erected in 1964; and the Dunning Memorial building which Margaret Dunning presented to the Plymouth Historical Society in 1973.

For additional information on the history of Plymouth, Michigan
visit the Historical Museum/Society website.