Just over a year ago, we got the keys to what the locals call "The Lefere Mansion". The older generation know it as "Trail Acres". Originally, Trail acres was property to Townsend Gidley, who acquired the first 80 acres in 1834, and later added an additional 40 acres.
Fast forward to 2014, when to our shock, we won the bid on an online auction for an estate that I had admired since moving to Michigan in 2000. Never would I have dreamed to be holding the keys to the place! Although much smaller of a property now, with just eight acres on our deed (we've since added another one), it still had a wealth of territory in those eight acres to explore. We pulled in the driveway, and I was so anxious to start investigating the barns and property! The son of the previous (deceased) owner pulled in behind us and was handing us over a large rolled up yellowed map. I was so intrigued I felt like a little kid discovering treasure! But there was so much to think about - I hardly sat still to study it. I took note when he pointed out the "waterfalls" but didn't really know what he was talking about and tucked his comment in to the back of my numbskull.
Thanks to this old map, we discovered all kinds of intriguing history, uncovered a brick sidewalk from the front porch to the road that had grown over, and on that first day - Hubby called me on my cell phone while I was in the barn with a giddy "I found the waterfall from the map - come quick - you won't believe it!"
The "stone lined walk" and "sunken garden" however, have disappeared completely from view. Maybe if one my kids wants to try their hand at archaeology someday, we'll uncover it! But for now, it's a big grassy place to rip around on the four wheeler.
The map was tearing and very fragile so I finally took it to a local shop that does custom framing in Jackson called I've Been Framed. I painted a large frame that I had on hand black and brought it in with me. She matched the color of paper and carefully spread it on top. I did not have it matted since I didn't want to cover any of the words of the "schedule of buildings". I had never even heard of such terminology before, but I am so glad it is there! All the buildings on the map are numbered, and you can check the "schedule" to see what they all once were.
For instance, what's this cute little building? I can't get the door open... oh it's #4 on the "schedule". Surprise - an outhouse! ;)
Pretty awesome, huh?!
UPDATE: We peeked inside the outhouse, it's not your typical one or two-holer. :)
See it HERE.
I decided to hang the map in the eating area over my kitchen cart (view that cart's pretty swell before and after HERE) as it's a superb conversation piece.
I love referring to it!
I should point out, that while the majority of the map is ours, not everything is. Some has been split and divided off. And in case you're wondering, how about a "You Are Here":
You can see the post on the waterfalls HERE,
and view the Dutch Windmill post HERE.