Few houses in Metro Detroit have the staying power of the historic Kreger House in Franklin, which has seen 150 years pass by its front porch. Now residents in the tony suburb are paying hundreds of thousands of dollars to preserve the valuable house by moving it.
The Greek Revival home, barn, and outhouse started as an 80-acre farm in the 1860s. The original family lived on the property, at 26565 Scenic Drive, until a few years ago. It has been vacant ever since. The new owner didn’t want the farmhouse and chose to hand it over to the Franklin Historical Society so he could build his own new house on the 1.6 acre site.
The historical society is moving the Kreger House to the village green’s property next to the Franklin Village Hall on Franklin Road. It plans to incorporate parts of the original stone foundation and soil into the home’s new home. The historical society has raised $125,000 to move the dwelling and build a foundation, which is set to happen this summer. It needs another $250,000 for its renovation. The Kreger House will be used as a community center for the village.
“It’s in great shape,” says Bill Lamontt, vice president of the Franklin Historical Society. “Arthur Kreger was a builder and took great care of it.”
And he didn’t even build it. It became one of Franklin’s first farmhouses when Charles and Grace Johnston constructed it around the time of the Civil War. Grace Johnston’s maiden name was German and her father was the miller in town. German Mill Road was named in honor of her family.
The Johnstons passed the house down to their daughter, who married Kreger. He lived in it until his death in the 1980s. The last family member lived there until a few years ago.
Sources: Bill Lamontt, vice president of the Franklin Historical Society and Anne Lamontt, president of the Franklin Historical Society
Writer: Jon Zemke