Clare County Review & Marion Press

Postcard from the Pines: Totally Forgotten and almost gone

I had the chance to talk with Doug and Sharon Cutler last week. In the course of our conversation Doug told me that he’s been curious about a certain old, unoccupied (on private property) house west of town. He’s been asking everyone he runs into about it in hopes they will have some answers. So far he’s been mostly striking out. He explained where this house is and asked me if I knew its history. My answer was pretty much like the rest. I know the house but not its story. And I, like almost everyone else he asked, couldn’t recall anyone living there for a very long time. Nor did I know anyone who had. But, I knew just who to ask and I did.
Said abandoned house is located on the south side of 20 Mile Rd at the corner of 60th Ave., behind and partially surrounded by what has become an enormous growth of lilac bushes and middle-aged maple trees. Only a later rear addition to the house is visible should one look. The house is located just to the west of the Omer Hall Homestead, and is in fact now part of that farm and has been for many, many years.
Our facts come from Mary Hall Mills, Omer Hall’s granddaughter, who along with her siblings are the current generation of Hall descendents to oversee the Highland Twp farm through the Hall Homestead Trust. It was the Hall siblings’ great-great-grandfather Isaac Hall, who homesteaded 160 acres in 1871, situated on either side of the Marion-Highland Twp line. It was also Isaac Hall and his sons who began clearing the heavy growth of trees to make the wide road toward the Village of Marion. Before it was rerouted in 1970, this busy highway was M-61. Today we call it 20 Mile Rd.
Isaac Hall gave his daughter Eliza Jane and her new husband MV George, the house, barn and acreage when they married before 1900. The George property was on the Highland side of the line. George also owned other properties in Section 25. By the time the 1950 Osceola Co. plat book came out, the property had once again become part of the Hall farm. In fact, during 1962-63, Omer’s son Garth, wife Jane and their young family called this house home while Garth worked on his Engineering Ph.D. Once his degree was earned, the young family moved to Wisconsin and the George house once again became a rental until Omer Hall’s death in 1974. At that time Garth felt that his mother did not need to deal with possible repair problems and upkeep. The old house was vacated. The old George house has now been vacant for the past 50 years. It has suffered roof damage and extensive harm from trees growing too closely.
Should you care to make note of the spot, the newer addition at rear of the house, clad in 1940’s slate-like white siding, is all that is visible to 20 Mile Rd travelers from the west. Out of sight, out of mind, and eventually out of time, the old George house is slated for demolition later this year.
We remind readers once again that this is private property and not available to ‘explorers’ or ‘scavengers’.
We’ll be talking more about the Hall Homestead later this summer when the family celebrates the farm’s sesquicentennial status and that is pretty impressive.
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We are sorry to learn of the passing of Eva Drake, 99, an adopted daughter of Marion, Michigan. She was a longstanding member of the Historical Society and a tireless volunteer. For many years the lovely flowers and shrubs in her Case Street yard were a wonder and worth a look. She truly had a proverbial green thumb. Our condolences to her family.

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