Introduction to the series
Posted on 01/12/2023
Mike Weyburne on his front porch of 226 West. What value does the city of Northville’s historic homes truly bring to this town? As the residential part of the Historic District, these homes have different facades that portray an intriguing personality of structures. It’s reason enough for city residents, people from neighboring communities, and even tourists to stroll down the historic residential streets and view the panorama of houses built a century ago that still look stunning today. Yet the beauty is more than skin deep. The appearance, charm and intrigue, which often constitute beauty, is not only apparent on the exterior material, whether wood-sided, stone or stucco, it also permeates the walls, the floorboards, and the rooms themselves. But the casual walker doesn’t see that. This is one of the reasons why it’s good to have a peek inside some of these historic beauties.

Communications Manager Liz Cezat sought to portray these treasured gems through the eyes of the homeowner. She interviewed nine homeowners – one on each of the residential streets in the Historic District. (Note: There are actually 11 residential streets in the Historic District but Linden Court features modern houses and houses on Wing, north of Main, mostly serve as businesses.)

The intent of this series is to inform and inspire all residents of Northville and the broader community about the benefits of houses in the Historic District and the realities of owning one.

The series, which will appear in City News and on the city website, will focus on these aspects:

• How homeowners discovered their houses.
• Nuts and bolts of owning a historic house, and interior elements that make these homes special
• Keeping up the exterior and working with the HDC
• Energy efficiency – costs of heating and cooling, shade trees
• Personality of a historic house – porches and gardens become a special space for homeowners and guests
• Historic aspects – including former occupants, previous uses, mentions from Historic District Survey
• Garages and outbuildings
• Social aspects – How owners of historic homes engage with neighbors and the community, and their proximity to Downtown Northville
• What the residential streets of the Historic District mean to the community. (How new development might impact the Historic District.)

Meet the homeowners interviewed for these articles. Throughout the series, you’ll learn more about what they like about living in an historic house and how their home fits in with the greater community of Northville.

Marianne and Thom Barry, 239 High St. ¬– A married couple with grown children and grandchildren. Thom serves on the Planning Commission.

Leanie Bayly and Robert Sochacki, 223 Linden – A married couple with grown children and grandchildren. Leanie serves on the Historic District Commission and is an alternate on the Board of Zoning Appeals.

Liz and John Carter, 536 W. Main – A married couple with school-aged children. John serves on City Council.

Joan Wadsworth and Stephen Calkins, 317 W. Dunlap – A married couple with grown children and grandchildren. Steve serves on the Board of Zoning Appeals.

Gail and Gerald LeVan, 132 Randolph Street – A married couple with grown children and grandchildren. Their house is currently for sale and they have moved to a condominium in Northville.

Kathleen (Kathy) and Thomas Spillane, 487 W. Cady – A married couple with grown children and grandchildren. Kathy serves on several task forces.

Pat Stein, 419 Dubuar – A single woman (widowed). She bought the home with her late husband, Bruce.

Raymond Bailey and AnnaMaryLee Vollick, 116 S. Rogers – An engaged couple with a blended family of four middle-school children. AnnaMaryLee serves on the Planning Commission.

Sarah and Mike Weyburne, 226 West – A married couple with two teenagers. Sarah moved to the United States from England. 

Photo below: From left, Jude Cook, Dax Bailey, Wren Cook and Hazel Bailey - children of the owners of 116 S. Rogers. Submitted by AnnaMaryLee Vollick. 

Four children standing inside house under construction