Northville’s population has remained about 6000 people. It is surrounded by Northville township on the east and Novi on the west. It is 11 miles away from the city of Detroit and 17 miles from Ann Arbor. It was established in 1825 as a village and didn’t become a city until 1955.
As I walk the streets of my hometown, I see the changes. Both of my Grandparents old homes have been remodeled and painted to the point that I know them by address only. The wrap around cement porch on the Heatley’s home with it’s columns, has been removed and a smaller wooden porch has replaced it. The old Turnbull’s homestead has an attached garage removed and changed to a room in the house.
My childhood home is still standing but the home from my teen years has been demolished and replaced with a Mc Mansion.
Walking downtown, I see the the two main streets are now closed to traffic and it is a pedestrian walkway with outdoor eating. Only two and four legged use allowed. The Methodist church has changed from a house of worship to a restaurant to a private home. The doctor’s clinic is now a Bed and Breakfast.
I recognize most of the buildings but they are now selling antiques and items for tourists.
Continuing my walk to the Silver Spring well, I see that the spring still runs water, but the water is pumped in from Detroit.
The old Henry Ford valve plant is still present but it is now an exercise and training space. Across from the plant building is an area called the Mill Race. It contains many of the older buildings of the village. One small church building was the library when I was a child. On cold winter Saturdays, I would curl up in an overstuffed chair to read by the crackling fire.
This small town will celebrate it’s bicentennial in 2025. I hope to remember the past, enjoy the present and hope in the future of my hometown.
When I was growing up, most houses had front porches.
They were a great place to gather.
I played Canasta on neighbor Anna’s covered porch. We played til the street lights came on and we could no longer see the cards.
My Friend and I set up board games on her large cement porch. It stayed warm even on cool Fall afternoons.
When I had a sleep over at Grandma Turnbull’s, we sat on the screened porch drinking cold Vernor’s ginger ale.
We watched the people park to walk to the harness races.
“Who would be a winner?” we wondered.
Before we left the porch, I took down the barometer, shaped like a house.
It had the figures of Mickey Mouse and Donald Duck dressed for different weather conditions.
I knew the next day’s weather looking to see who was outside the house.
Grandma Heatley’s porch wrapped around two side of her house.
It was a large covered cement porch, perfect for observing thunder storms in safety.
I could watch traffic on two roads at the same time from the corner lot.
But my favorite porch was on my own home.
Situated on a small hill, we looked down at the street and sidewalk traffic.
The porch was a raised pedestal with cement stairs and a wrought iron railing.
On summer evenings, my family would gravitate to lounge in chairs or perch on the railings.
There we discussed the events of the day while greeting passerby’s.
Often, we stayed to enjoy the cool evenings to watch the first stars appear.
Front Porches have disappeared to be replaced by small cement stoops.
They are a step to quickly enter a house.
I wish for the front porch where I can sit, talk with my family and wave at passersby.
We may feel less isolated from each other.