|Pittsfield Township Historical Society|
|Historic Structures Report: Sutherland-Wilson Farmhouse|
IMPORTANT NOTE: This document is being scanned and loaded over a period of time. Only a portion has been loaded so far, and some of that content needs revisions -- e.g., footnotes need to be placed; scanning errors need to corrected after proofing against the original text; etc. In short, loading this document is a work in progress.
Location: Pittsfield Township, Michigan
Prepared by: Ilene Tyler, FAIA, QillNN EV ANS I ARCIllTECTS & Graduate Students in Eastern Michigan University's Historic Preservation Program
Date: 18 April 2005
Table of Contents
iii. Executive Summary
iii - Executive Summary
In order to produce an Historic Structures Report for the Sutherland- Wilson Fann, a two fold approach to research was utilized. Research of historical infonnation gathered from the Pittsfield Township Historical Society provided a background of the farm and its inhabitants as well as contextual data for the surround area. Existing documentation of the farm also was referenced in the form of a National Register Nomination. To further understand the context in which the farm evolved, it was necessary to research comparable structures and sites within the local area and also in nearby communities. Sites of comparable age, style, and design were researched and surveyed in order to supplement the significance of the fannstead. Through this research a chronology and timeline were developed which aided in the detennination of treatment zones and important historical characteristics of the farm. The physical features of the fann were assessed through onsite surveys.
After reviewing the historical research conducted on the fannstead, the findings allowed for the creation of episodes marking significant periods of time in the farm's history. Due to the considerable time that the farm was owned by the same family little changes were made to it during that time. Only two major episodes were identified, the first beginning in 1836 and ending in 1953 marking the end of the time that the Wilson family lived on the farm. The second episode covers the years from 1953 to the present including the donation of the farm to Pittsfield Township in 2000.
A survey of the existing conditions of the interior and exterior of the house, cottage, and various outbuildings provided a record of their physical features and condition. The house and adjoining cottage have largely retained what appear to be their original clapboards. These are weathered but overall in good condition. Most of the paint on the exterior has worn away, and there are several areas where wood trim and siding have rotted. Both the house and cottage sit on a stone rubble foundation. The mortar joints in several areas of the foundation have deteriorated and are either open or crumbling. The roofs of the house and cottage are in fair condition, with buckling and raised shingles in various areas. Gutter clip installation on the roof of the main house has caused shingles overlapping the clips to rise up at the edges.
Additionally, the ridgeline of the main house appears to sag somewhat, even with the installation of the modern ridgeline vent. The roof of the cottage also sags from the chimney to the outer wall. The cause of this was attributed to construction of the roof truss system without a ridge board. There is visible rotting on the cottage roof where the gable end meets the cottage roof. The interior of the house and cottage are in good condition overall. There are several areas of water damage to the plaster walls and wood floors. Most of the walls and ceilings have been covered in wall paper; the wood plank floor has been covered with carpeting in many areas. There have also been several modern additions to the interior, like electric outlets, vents for forced air ventilation, and smoke detectors.
As a result of the existing conditions assessment for the farmstead treatment recommendations and prioritized zones of treatment were compiled. The most important zones of the house were determined at a Level I and include all areas to be restored. Level I designation indicates the most intensive level of treatment requiring that those areas designated as Level I be restored to their original condition using historically accurate materials. Areas of the house that have been designated as Level I include areas of the first floor of the main house, porches and additions to the cottage and main house, and the entire second floor of the main house. The remaining areas are designated as Level II and III. The Level I areas are determined to be the most historically significant areas of the building both on the exterior and interior and will be restored accordingly.
Recommendations for Treatment are primarily concerned with the structural integrity of the building, determining historic features to be restored as well as modern elements to be removed, and also to divide these recommendations into prioritized areas. Work can then be delegated depending upon its urgency and importance in the process of opening the farm to the public.
The most urgent areas of treatment include repairing damage to the exterior and interior of the house (cottage and two-story) from water infiltration and possible structural problems. This includes damage to the flooring and plaster. Concern over sagging observed in the ridge line of the roof, open and loose mortar joints in the foundation are also a high impact priority. Replacement of the roof with historically appropriate materials was also found to be a priority of high importance.
Those problems not seen as urgent but still of importance to the restoration of the farmstead were designated as having a second priority, and are changes of moderate impact. These repairs include the gutter system, re-painting the exterior clapboard siding, and repair or reconstitution of windows and doors.
And lastly, changes of a more cosmetic nature were relegated to the third priority and are of low impact but are important in returning historic character to the house. This level is most concerned with decorative finishes and features such as the wood grained trim in the hall and first floor areas of the main house.
Historic Structure Report Organization and Format
The HSR is divided into two main sections, Developmental History and Treatment and Use. Developmental History is comprised of the historical background of the site, with an overview 0: the farn1stead, an architectural description of the house and farm buildings, a history of Pittsfield Township, and description of comparable structures in the region. The existing conditions are a description of all physical features and their condition both for the exterior and interior.
The Treatment and Use section of the HSR analyzes the proposed use of the structure, recommended treatments and approaches to those treatments. From this analysis the historic significance is described and an assessment of the architectural integrity will also be provided.
Following the statement of significance and architectural integrity is a chronology of the building with episodes attributed to significant changes or times in the history of the farmstead. These two episodes are based on site surveys, analysis, and historical research. Part of one episode is described as the period of significance, with a recommended approach and priorities for treatment. Treatment recommendations are then made for the exterior envelope and primary interior spaces.
An appendix provides the combination of research, documentation, bibliography, photographs, sketches, glossary, and other resources utilized in the compilation of the HSR.
The project team for this HSR is headed by Ilene R. Tyler, FAIA and Principal at QUINN EVANS I ARCHITECTS in Ann Arbor. The team is comprised of Annie Dowling, Carrie Duhl, Matthew Folland, Elizabeth Hall, Michael Limoges, Jennifer Mazurek, Doreen Mobley, Brad Munce, Alexis Reynolds, Lisa Rupple, Kelly Simpson, Mary Stachowiak, Natalie Thomas, and Brent Walsh. They are graduate students in the GHPR591 Preservation Technology Course at Eastern Michigan University.
Location: The Sutherland-Wilson fannstead is located at 797 Textile Road, Ann Arbor, Michigan 48108. It is in a semi-rural setting on the southwest side of Ann Arbor in Pittsfield Township, with new housing developments to the west, south, and north. The house faces north; the barns and outbuildings are south of the house.
Historic Structure Report Statement of Puroose: Creating this Historic Structure Report required teamwork and cooperation, as it was assigned as a class project. Students shared their individual contributions in email and using an online web- based forum. As individual parts were completed, the sections were compiled, edited, reviewed and printed as a master copy. The goal was to achieve a professional product with content useful to the clie1;1t, as part of an educational experience of significant value to the student.
Summary of Related or Past Studies: Reference materials from the Pittsfield Township Historical Society were consulted to provide an historical context for the farmstead. An ongoing National Register Nomination and a study by Cummins and Barnard were consulted for historical and architectural information.
Survey Methodology: The fam1stead was surveyed and assessed by the group. split into teams of two. The interior and exterior sections of the house and adjoining cottage were divided among the teams. On site. each team recorded observations of the materials and existing conditions of their interior and exterior sections. They also created sketches of elevations. took photos and measurements. and assessed the condition of their interior and exterior sections.
The sketches were created using eighth-inch graph paper. A black pen was used to draw the overall elevations, including details and significant features. Blue pen was used to record notable conditions on the elevations; red pen was used to record measurements. Green pen was used only to record corrections or information added at a later date.
Based on the survey notes of the existing condition and materials, the teams made lists of recommendations for each section. The house and cottage were then divided into treatment zones, based on the periods of significance determined by the group. A paint sample was collected and analyzed to determine historic paint colors used in the house.
I. DEVELOPMENTAL HISTORY
A. Historical Background and Context of the Sutherland- Wilson Farmstead
1. Historical Overview of the Farmstead
This historical overview of the Sutherland- Wilson Farm is from Pittsfield Township Historical Society's website.
The Sutherland- Wilson family lived on their farm at 797 Textile for six generations -- from the time Langford Sutherland purchased it in 1832 unti1 2000. This family may have been continuous residents of the township longer than any other.
[Note: On the Plat Map of 1840, the Langford Sutherland fann is shown northwest of the "double curve" on the Chicago Road (section 29). Langford Sutherland acquired the land from the original patentees of the land (first owners of the land) shortly after the land patents were granted.]
Over the years Langford bought more land. He and his wife, Lydia, had eight children, one of whom, Tobias, made his home on the part of the farm that now is owned and preserved by Pittsfield Township as an historic site.
Tobias married Harriet Knaouse and they had two children, Ernest and Bessie. Ernest and his wife, Delia Rheinfrank Sutherland had an only child, Mildred who married Arthur Wilson; their son, Harold and his wife Mary Roy Wilson continued to live in the beautiful old farm house until 2000. Neal, their only child and his wife Anita Bruder Wilson lived next door in the old tenant house. In later years, the Wilson's rented their land to other farmers, but continued to garden as long as they lived there.
2. Architectural Description
The following architectural description was edited by Anne Kreykes of the Washtenaw County Historic District Commission and can be found on this website. It has been edited for the purposes of this report.
The Sutherland-Wilson house is located between State and Lohr Roads on the south side of Textile Road in Pittsfield Township.
Built as a one-and-one-half New England cottage type and in the Greek Revival style, the house was constructed with the orientation of the roof ridge parallel to the facade.
A centered, half-length porch with a half-hipped roof leads to the main entrance door which is flanked by sidelights and topped by a row of dentils under a wide entablature. Six-over-six window lights contain, in many cases, the original glass. The house is sided with white clapboard and supported by a stone foundation. A layer of handmade brick serves as insulation behind the clapboard on all the exterior walls.
A chimney is located on the east wall of the cottage unit which is adjacent to a side addition; the addition contains a central chimney. A brick chimney flue of smaller dimensions than the originals was added at some point to the exterior wall at the west end of the one-and-a-half.
In addition to the sidelights, entablature, and dentils, Greek Revival detailing includes molded cornices and returns, five frieze windows on the facade, three frieze windows on the south elevation, and the four porch columns. The two central columns are fluted and of the Doric order, and the two outside columns are square. The east and west extremities of the porch are marked by plain square pilasters which match the corner columns.
The one story addition, which originally served as a kitchen, was added to the eastern side of the house around the turn of the century. It was constructed in keeping with the style of the main unit with molded cornice, raking and frieze boards, returns, and three frieze windows on the rear elevation.
This addition originally had an open quarter-hip porch with columns and entablature; this porch is now enclosed. The drop wing now functions as a one-bedroom apartment. A rear exterior porch was enclosed in 1974 and now serves as a utility room.
Interior details include Greek Revival paneled moldings with corner blocks (also with recessed panels) around paneled doorways, apron panels under the living room windows, wide footboards, and a marble fireplace which, according to the owner, is original, built by a family cousin named Witherspoon. Within a large framed opening, original tapered columns divide the front living room from the rear dining room. An apron panel is located under the columns on each side of the opening. The frieze windows in the second floor bedrooms open by sliding into the wall.
The interior floor plan and room functions have been altered over the years. The central hallway is flanked by a large living room on its east side and a dining room and kitchen on the west side. The room now serving as a living room was once used as a parlor, and the dining room was likely a sitting room. At one time, the central hall probably extended the entire length of the home, but in 1958, a bathroom was built behind the open stairway. The rest of the central hall still remains and contains the original cherry wood staircase and a chandelier. The second floor carries out the original floor plan with one large bedroom on each side of the staircase.
Much of the original detailing of the home has been preserved. The house evidently remained in its original state for well over a hundred years. Plumbing and electricity were not installed until 1958, and the chandeliers in both the dining room and entrance hall were originally fueled by kerosene.
The Sutherland House is significant as one of the best surviving examples in the county of the synthesis of a New England tradition one-and-a-half cottage with a central hall version of the New England plan and Greek Revival stylistic expression. It is also significant because of its historic association with an early pioneering family, the Sutherlands.
The Sutherland house is a fine example of a one-and-one-half New England cottage in the Greek Revival mode, appearing to be somewhat larger than the average. The dwelling is representative of the synthesis of folk house form and stylistic fashion which occurred in the transitional period when folk housing traditions were being supplanted by national house types. The combination of Doric columns and square columns on the front porch is unusual as well as illustrative of the syncretic character of the house.
Although the interior floor plan has been somewhat altered, the Greek Revival door surrounds, the large, "columned" parlor, and the extant central hallway and cherry wood staircase appear much as they did at the time of construction.
The house is also significant as the home of Pittsfield Township pioneers, Langford and Lydia Sutherland. Langford Sutherland was born in Ontario County, Ne~ York in 1802. He came to Pittsfield Township, Washtenaw County in 1832 with his wife Lydia and two children. It is known that he first built a log cabin and then the house, although the exact date of construction has not been determined. The Sutherlands raised a large family of at least eight children. Langford Sutherland died in 1865.
This property was designated a Centennial Farm in 1981. Through his mother, Mr. Harold Wilson, the present owner, is a direct descendant of Langford and Lydia Sutherland. His son is the sixth generation of Sutherlands to live in the home.
3. Contextual History of Pittsfield Township
The following infonnation is summarized/edited from the Pittsfield Township web.
In 1824, the first purchase of federal land in what later would become Pittsfield Township was made by Geo. W. Noyes in what is now Township Section 10. Section 10 is located between Platt and Stone School Roads, bordered by Packard Road on the north and Ellsworth Road on the south. Most of this area now has been annexed into the City of Ann Arbor.
Government land in the township was rapidly taken after Noyes purchased his lot in May 1824. Since little land was taken by speculators, it was acquired and settled quickly by individual land owners.
This area, which was part of Wayne County, became Ann Arbor Township in 1827. The population consisted of mostly immigrants from eastern states such as New York and Pennsylvania. By 1830, the land had been divided between Ann Arbor, Ypsilanti, and Saline Townships.
The township of Pittsfield was organized according to the act of the Territorial Council in 1834. Prior to the organization of the township, a meeting was held at the McCracken schoolhouse, for the purpose of selecting a name. At this meeting there were 13 persons present, each of whom chose the name of the town from which he had come. Finally, Ezra Carpenter offered the name of "Pitt", for William Pitt, Earl of Chatham. Such admiration and respect was inspired by the great British orator and statesman, fifty years after his death, that the Township was named "Pitt Township" by its residents.
The Sixth Legislative Council of the Territory of Michigan passed the Act enabling the organization of the "Township ofPitt" on 7 March 1834. This name was retained unti1 22 March 1839 when it was changed to "Pittsfield Township" by act of the Michigan State Legislature. One hundred and thirty-three years later (1972) the residents of Pittsfield Township voted to become a charter township and the name was changed once more to "Pittsfield Charter Township".
4. Description of Comparable Structures or Sites
Sutherland- Wilson Farmhouse
The Sutherland Wilson fannhouse exists as an excellent example of the New England One-and-a-half Cottage. Built in the Greek Revival style between 1830 and 1865, this type takes its name from its most fundamental distinguishing characteristic -- its one-and-one half story height. It has a gable roof with the eave lines parallel the street or road. The New England One-an-a-half Cottage house form was often built wherever lot frontages were wide enough to accommodate it and it is the long dimension of the dwelling that presents its facade to the public.
One-and-a-half cottages frequently feature a row of small, horizontally-oriented windows under the eaves of the fayade. These windows are located in a frieze, but in most Michigan examples, they are placed below or partly into any frieze board that may be present. Double sash windows located in the gable end generally break the plane of the eave line4. The roof is emphasized by the use of -classical cornice moldings, box cornice or abbreviated cornice returns along the eaves and across the gable to form the suggestion of gable-end pediments5. True to the vernacular nature of Greek Revival houses in rural Michigan, the use of classical motifs were generally more restrained, characterized by more modest door surrounds, simple wooden lintels over windows and less frequent use of comer pilasters6.
The typical Michigan One-and-a-half Cottage is two rooms wide with the entry placed centrally in the eave-side of the dwelling and opening into a central hallway7. Door surrounds made use of entablatures, pediments, pilasters and if the house had a central passage, entry sidelights. This is evident in the high level of detail seen in the front door surround of the Sutherland Wilson farmhouse. The modified New England plans common in New England One-and-a-half Cottages, bears a striking resemblance to room layout in the main part on the first floor of the Sutherland Wilson farmhouse.
In 1860, the Greek Revival New England One-and-a-half Cottage may have been the most common farmhouse type on southern Michigan. Because it is a small house plan, there has been a tendency over the years to add wings [and] absorb the original structure9. In the area surrounding the Sutherland Wilson farmhouse, including Pittsfield Township and greater Washtenaw County, there are several Greek Revival fannhouses that are comparable to the Sutherland-Wilson farmhouse. In a 1980-1982 Washtenaw County Rural Building Survey directed by project director Dr. Marshall McLennan of the Eastern Michigan University Historic Preservation Program, several farmhouses similar to the Sutherland- Wilson farmhouse were documentedlo. The Sutherland-Wilson farmhouse itself was listed as having the structural shape of"narrow oblong", having 2 or 2 Y2 stories with a "gable eave to front" rooftype with "boxed cornice and returns" and "horizontal board" for trim. The sidelights were recorded as a door trim building detail, the porch was considered a "half porch" with a "hip" roof. For special features, "nice ionic columns" is written. [footnote ]]]
Just down the street from the Sutherland- Wilson farmhouse, stands the Cody Fann. Located at 670 Textile Road in Pittsfield Township, this neighboring farmhouse resembles the Sutherland-Wilson farmhouse with its oblong house shape complete with an extended addition. There is a full~story, hip-roof porch but it stretches the length of the house instead of being three facade bays like the Sutherland Wilson fannhouse porch. Although this house has the gable eave to front roof type and boxed cornice returns, it also lacks the frieze band windows that the Sutherland-Wilson farmhouse possesses. [footnote 12]
Another property that resembles the Sutherland- Wilson farmhouse is the Davis-Aprill Farm located at 5876 Waters Road in Lodi Township. A New England One-and-a-half Cottage with an extended addition, this house consists of five facade bays on the lower level with a three bay porch complete with hip roof. [footnote 13] The side elevations consist of two bay-wide windows similar to those at the Sutherland-Wilson fannhouse. The chimney placement, with two end chimney, is similar to the chimney placement at the Sutherland- Wilson fannhouse as well. As of the survey date in 1997, the Davis-Aprill farm was still an intact farmstead consisting of a large barn with various outbuildings including chicken coops, a chicken house and a corn crib.
Additionally, there is another fannhouse that compares to the Sutherland-Wilson farmhouse, but lacks documentation. The Lindemann House, also known by its historic name as the Newton- Sheldon, is located 6871 Saline Waterworks Road in Lodi Township. Built by architect Stephen Mills sometime before 1840, this is an adobe brick house covered in stucco and scored to look like stone. Like the Davis-Aprill fannhouse, the Lindemann House also have five facade bays on the first level with the proch covering three bays. There are four-fa9ade bays on the second level in the frieze band. Its side elevation windows are also two bays wide similar to those at the Sutherland-Wilson farmhouse. The porch has a hip roof with square columns and its walls are made of the same fieldstone as the foundation. [footnote l4]
Finally, another house bears a strong resemblance to the Sutherland-Wilson farmhouse, but lacks documentation at this time. This house has the same number of facade bays as the Sutherland Wilson farmhouse and the porch is the exact same size at three fa~ade bays wide. It has the same porch detailing around the door surround and the same column placement, with two square columns on the outside of the porch and two round, fluted columns on the inside. Like the Sutherland-Wilson farmstead, this house has an addition extension, but in this case, there is another open porch with two square columns. This house also has a similar chimney that is completely within the roof. Although frieze boards are not present, it appears that this house. has been resided at some point and this detail may have been lost with modem siding application. Further investigation of this house would be required for no information exists on the Washtenaw County Historic Resources database.
As for the intact famlstead, there are two farm museums that are relatively close to the Sutherland-Wilson Farnl that serve as comparable farnlsteads: Rentschler Farnl in Saline and Cobblestone Farnl in Ann Arbor.
Rentschler Fann, also known as Tate-Rentschler Fann, is located in an area that is rich in agricultural history at 1265 East Michigan Avenue, which is the major roadway of this area. It is considered historically significant because of "its architectural characteristics and long association with agricultural developments in Washtenaw County",15 and it is the last intact example of its kind left in the Saline area. This property was in the Tate family from 1845 until 1904 when it was sold by auction to the Rentschlers, who were distantly related to the Tates. By the mid-1960s the Rentschlers began selling parcels of land to encroaching development, and in 1998 it was sold to the City of Saline. It is now owned by the City of Saline and is used as an interpretive fann museum "portraying life on the fann during the first half of the 20th century;" [footnote 16] its period of significance was determined as 1904-1950.
Rentschler Farm is made up of a farmhouse, eleven outbuildings built at various dates, and a windmill on four acres of land. All of these buildings are painstakingly maintained and well- preserved. The farmhouse has Queen Anne influences and a cross-gable form; it was built in 1906 and still looks much as it did then (note that this was not the first fannhouse on the property). When this farm was purchased in 1904 it consisted of216 acres of land and was laid out using an open courtyard design, Currently, Rentschler Farm is surrounded by major urban development comprising chain restaurants and stores and their accompanying parking lots. [footnote 17]
Cobblestone FanI1, also known as the Benajah Ticknor Farm, is located at 2781 Packard Road. The Ticknors owned this land from 1835 until 1860 when it was sold to the Booths. During the ownership of the Booths the fanI1 was expanded from 183 acres to 400, an Italianate front porch was added to the house, and more barns were built. h11881 the Campbells bought the farm, which had been downsized to 225 acres and farmed unti1 1955. After World War n they began to sell parcels of land for park land and housing developments. By 1972 there were only 4.5 acres left which were then sold to the City of Ann Arbor to add to Buhr Park. h11974 a group called the Cobblestone FanI1 Association began plans for restoring the farm as a working farm museum interpreting life in the mid-19th century/ ]fpptmpte l8]
Cobblestone Farm encompasses the fannhouse, a smokehouse, a corncrib, an animal barn (recently built), a barn, and a 170 year old cabin that was moved from another area to this site. The fannhouse, built in 1844, has classical characteristics and is significant because it has a cobblestone fayade laid in herringbone rows. A new barn was constructed circa 1987 on the site of the original to be used as a multipurpose facility for weddings, conferences, dances, and more. [footnote l9]
Part I.B. EXISTING CONDITIONS
I. Exterior Envelope: Exterior conditions of the house are described by elevation, beginning with the front, or North Elevation, and moving around counterclockwise to the West, South, and East Elevations. The North and South Elevations are further divided by "cottage" and "main house" segments.
North Elevation. Cottage - The North elevation of the exterior of what is commonly called the cottage portion of the Sutherland- Wilson Fannhouse does much to assist in further understanding of the interior spaces.
This portion of the elevation has three windows, one in the second floor dormer and two on the lower portion of the house. The window in the second floor dormer is a 4 paned casement window which is currently nailed shut with a 4-paned wood storm sash to match. The lower two windows are simple loverd double hung windows which are currently covered on the exterior by lover aluminum storm windows.
The main entrance to the cottage is serviced by a wood door which has two vertically oriented panels below and a single rectangular window above. The door is somewhat hidden by a more recent storm door which has one horizontally oriented panel at the bottom and a large window with four horizontal panes above. The 4 inch trim which surrounds the door has been patched at the base on both sides, indicating there may have been some rot in the past which was fixed.
The secondary entrance to the cottage on this portion of the facade is serviced by wooden door ornamented with two vertically oriented panels on the lower portion, topped with a horizontally oriented panel and finally capped with a square window above. This door is also somewhat hidden by a more recent storm door which has a horizontally oriented panel below and a large screen area above.
Each of the doors features a nearby exterior light. The light near the main cottage entrance was likely added within the last 15 years since it is a common low-end replacement light still in production. The light near the second entrance to cottage appears to be of a slightly modified Arts & Crafts style, which may or may not be historic, but is nevertheless out of character.
The roof is covered in a green asphalt shingle and the ridge line dips from the chimney and the outer wall. Survey work on the interior revealed the cause of the sag to be attributed to construction of the roof truss system without a ridge board. It is unclear if this portion of the building was built without a ridge board or if it was removed in order to allow for the ridge vent which is now in place.
The drainage system on this portion of the facade is in various states of repair. The main cottage has rusted. metal gutters which drain onto the sidewalk. The addition on the front of this facade has recently added plastic gutters and downspouts. Rot, likely from rain and snow accumulation, is visible on the roof where the gable end meets the cottage roof.
All of the clapboard on this portion of the house appears original except for the addition on the front, which has newer siding. There is also a notable patched portion to the left of the secondary access door to the cottage. Inspection on the interior indicated a remodel of that interior space to create three closets was likely the reason this window was closed off.
The foundation on this elevation is consistent with the rest of the property and is constructed of rubble stone.
This portion of the facade includes the unusual feature of a bell on the roofline. It is unclear what the original purpose of the bell was, although it may have some direct link with the farming nature of the property. The roofline also includes 3 lightning rods.
Recent new construction on this elevation includes two new stoops built in pressure-treated lumber which serve the two entrances. They are out of character with the Greek Revival architecture of the fannhouse.
North Elevation. Main House
The north elevation paint is weathered but overall is in good condition. Asphalt shingles on the roof are mostly intact and no shingles appear to be missing. Gutter clip installation at the eave line has caused shingles overlapping the clips to rise up at the edges. The ridgeline is sagging notably with low areas between the center of the elevation and the chimneys, on either side of the lightening rods. There is also a ridge line vent installed as a modern roof treatment but it also sags with the ridgeline. The gutters and downspouts are plastic and appear to be in good condition, the bottom half of the primary downspouts changes to an aluminum piece and is directed out from the house by about five feet to the north and east, respectively.
The windows of the first floor are wood, covered with aluminum storm windows. The west side windows have wood muntins and are 6/6; those on the east side are newer. The second level windows have original window frames and openings; all are small three-light knee windows with matching screens, but the middle window is missing its screen. These small windows within the frieze are a Greek Revival feature of the facade, along with the porch. In between the windows at story level are circular wooden details which are also mirrored on the porch; their purpose is unknown. The foundation has some open mortar joints and cementitious patching.
The porch is the main feature of the north elevation and, although it is weathered, it is in good condition. Tongue and groove flooring is painted and appeared stable except for the northwest comer where a large hole was observed near the square corner column. The flooring on the west side of the porch near the hole did not seem safe to walk on, though the column appeared to be sound. Features of note on the porch are the columns and pilasters which support a frieze but not a full pediment; this shows the vernacular character of the home and its departure from the high style. The entryway also contains Greek Revival detailing in the sidelights of the door, framing pilasters, frieze, and tongue and groove siding that is unique to the porch. Overall, the wood is in good condition and did not show any softness when tested with a sharp point.
West Elevation. Main House
The west side of the Sutherland-Wilson fannhouse is in fair condition overall with several noticeable defects. The roof is covered with green asphalt shingles that appear to be in good condition with the exception of the corner and edges of the first story roof where they are curling up. The south roof edge is also missing a portion of its gutter at the corner where it meets the west wall, which is presumably creating some drainage issues and causing further water damage.
The walls are covered with wood clapboard siding and the trim pieces at several corners are showing some rot. The soffit at the southern corner of the second story is particularly bad, as is the corner where the first story roof meets the wall of the second story. A metal strap braces the chimney to the center of the west facade but has a long crack in the brick and mortar work down its center.
The foundation is a mix of stone and mortar while the foundation on the building addition to the rear of the house has a stucco coating on it. There is a bubble in the stucco with cracks spreading from it. The northwest comer of the foundation has some cementitious patching indicating past repairs.
The west wall has two 616 windows on the first and second stories each. The windows are double-hung and all have paint peeling on the sashes. The basement has one window with a metal frame set into the stone portion of the foundation. However, the window is suuounded by concrete that does not match the foundation on either side of the opening. This window is not original; it probably replaced an earlier wood sash in a wood frame.
All of the wood trim is in good condition. The most modem features on the west side of the home are an electrical wire that drapes down the side of the home, an air conditioning unit, and a plastic dryer vent.
South Elevation. Main House
The roof is clad with green asphalt shingles that appear to be in good condition. Viewing the south elevation, it appears that there is slight buckling where the shingles overlap on different parts of the roof. A gutter stretches above the frieze band and appears to be in good condition, except in the upper east corner where it seems that several prongs are missing and the gutter is detached from the roofline. The lower roof gutter is in good condition. The downspouts are in good condition and connect into the gutter system of the cottage portion of the house.
The south elevation walls are covered in clapboards except for the long frieze boards in the upper wall section of the house. The frieze board trim is in good condition, however the clapboards have peeling paint and are in fair condition. The foundation on the original part of the house is fieldstone, while the foundation on the new shed addition is concrete block. The concrete block section is covered with stucco and is in good condition. Parts of the fieldstone foundation near the shed addition are also covered in stuc~o, perhaps to protect any failing mortar joints. There is a crumbling section near the west elevation of the house. The condition of the fieldstone foundation is fair.
There are three frieze band windows in the upper section of the house. The middle window is missing a screen, but the other two windows have screens intact. There is no visible hardware or trim. There is a projecting bay window with a metal roof, a wood window section, and a tapered bead board base. The windows in the bay consist of two double-hung, one-over-one sash. The sides of the bay window are trimt:ned with four rectangular coffers per side. This is a distinct feature of the south elevation of the house. The metal roof of the bay window is rusted and the paint is peeling on the coffers and bead board. It is in fair condition. In the newer shed addition, there is one large, sliding plate glass window. This is in good condition.
A bulkhead, or door that provides exterior access to the basement, is present on the south side of the bay window. It rests on a small, poured concrete foundation and consists of a metal frame and two metal doors that open outwards. A pull handle is located on the right door. There is some paint peeling on the right door and the metal has rusted. The doors open to the basement stairs below and the bulkhead is in good condition. The only door on this elevation is the metal utility door on the shed addition. It has two windows within the doorframe along with a push button handle. There is no other hardware or trim visible for this door. It is of newer materials and in good condition.
South Elevation. Cottagee
The cottage foundation is made of fieldstone with one basement window made of wood on the south elevation. The walls are covered with horizontal wood siding, painted white. The paint is peeling and the siding is in poor condition. Rotting of the wood is occurring just above the foundation.
From left to right there is an aluminum window in good condition, a wooden door with a wood storm door in good condition; underneath the door are new stairs in treated wood, and then another window made of aluminum.
Continuing to the right, there is a shed addition supported on concrete block. The bottom part of the addition has wood siding that is flush with the ground and beginning to rot from moisture. Moving up the addition, there is a wood door with a wood storm door and one window that are both framed in wood. The shed addition is not insulated and is exposed to the elements along the base.
page 17 --
1 McLennan, Marshall. Professor Emeritus of Historic Preservation at Eastern Michigan University T elephone interview by Annie Dowling. April 1 ,2005.
2 McLennan, Marshall. "The Cultural LandscaRe in Southern Michiaan: The Interaction of Regional and National Influences as Exemplified by Rural Greek Revival Houses." Eastern Michigan University: Ypsilanti, Michigan, n.d., 1]
3 Ibid, 14.
4 Ibid, 10.
5 Ibid, 11.
6 Ibid, 12.
7 Ibid, 10.
B Ibid, 11 .
9 Ibid, 12.
10 Mclennon interview.
11 Mclennon, Marshall. "Sutherland-Wilson Farm Survey Sheet". Washtenaw County Rural Building Survey. 8 Apri11982. Accessed on 2 April 2004 at htt : isweb.ewashtenaw.or website histweb Hdc is wcrbs l l%20- 12-29- 1 00-006.Qdf
12 Mclennon, Marshall. "Cody Farm Survey Form." Washtenaw County Rural Building Survey. 10 Apri11982. Accessed on 2 April 2004 at htt : isweb.ewashtenaw.or website histweb Hdc is wcrbs l l%20-12-21-300- 016.~df
13 Honel, Ina. "Dovis-Aprill Farm Survey Card." Washtenaw County German Thematic Survey. February 26, 1997. Accessed on April 2, 2005 at http:/ /gisweb.ewashtenaw.org/website/histweb/Hdcgis/wcts97 /M/M 13-04-400-009.pd
14 McLennan, Marshall. "Newton-Sheldon House [Lindemann] Survey Sheet." Greek Revival Houses in Washtenaw County Survey .1997. Accessed on 2 April 2005 at http:/ /gisweb. ewashtenaw org/web=site/histweb/Hdcgis/ grwc/M/M%20- 1 3-32 -400-008.pdf
15 National Register of Historic Places Nomination Form for Rentschler Farm, 12.
17 Ibid, passim.
18 Reade, Marjorie and Susan Wineberg, Historic Buildings: Ann Arbor (Ann Arbor Historical Foundation and the Ann Arbor Historic District Commission, 1998); Cobblestone Farm Association, 2 Apri1 2005.
| Home |
| Giftshop | Contact | Donate | Site Map | Admin |
Site: © 2002-2018 by: Pierian Press Web Services | Hosted by: Stratton House Inn
Content: © 2002-2018 Pittsfield Township Historical Society. All rights reserved.