Taylor celebrates 50th anniversary with peek at historical buildings

Sarah Rahal
The Detroit News
Taylor Historical Museum celebrates Heritage Park opening with open houses.

Taylor — Residents can join tours and open houses scheduled at historical buildings Saturday in celebration of the City of Taylor's 50th anniversary.

The historical buildings in Heritage Park will be open from noon to 5 p.m. Saturday with free admission to learn the city's history. The buildings include the Taylor Historical Museum and three of the facilities surrounding Coan Lake: the replica town hall, the Log Cabin and the one-room schoolhouse, city officials said. 

"The groups schedule open houses at the museum to provide visitors a look at city historical artifacts that have been collected and stored in the former Knope Farmhouse in the south end of Heritage Park," the city said in a press release.

The community's rich heritage dates back to the 1800s. Originally, Taylor was part of Ecorse Township, but residents found they lived too far away to participate in events held in the township. In 1847, residents petitioned for a separate community named Taylor Township, in honor of General Zachary Taylor, an American hero in the Mexican-American War who would go on to become President of the United States.

The first registered property owner was Peter Coan, who purchased an 80-acre parcel from the U.S. government in 1830. The Coan family name continues through Coan Lake at Heritage Park, officials said. 

The Taylor Historical Museum was a farmhouse owned by Fred and Clara Knope on Beech Daly just south of Northline Road in then-Ecorse Township. The 20-acre site was a productive farm from the mid-1920s until the city of Taylor purchased the property. The house served as offices for the city's Community Development Department for several years during the rebuild of Taylor City Hall and by the Historical Commission until 1999.

The farmhouse was moved on Nov. 1, 2000, to Heritage Park. The Historical Society restored the building and preserved it as a museum. 

The Log Cabin is Taylor’s oldest existing home. Built around 1850 and used as a hunting cabin, the dwelling belonged to several Taylor pioneer families. Originally situated on a 40-acre farm on Pennsylvania Road between Beech Daly and Telegraph, close to old Indian burial grounds, the home was donated by Fred Miller in 1985 and it was moved to Heritage Park in 1986.

The one-room schoolhouse, known as the Taylor Heritage School, was formerly attached to St. John’s Lutheran Church at Telegraph and Northline roads. The room was used for confirmation classes in 1852. In the 1930s, the building was sold to a Taylor resident and converted to a garage before it was donated to the city for use in Heritage Park in 1988. The Historical Society restored the building in 1993 and the facility is offered to teachers and their classrooms for a “day back in time.” Children could experience old-fashioned desks, slate boards and chalk, inkwells and pens, McGuffey Readers and even a hickory stick and dunce stool.

All four buildings are operated through the City of Taylor by the Taylor Historical Commission and Taylor Historical Society. Parking is available to visit the sites on Saturday at 12111 Pardee Road. 

srahal@detroitnews.com

Twitter: @SarahRahal_