The Jacob and Rebecca Fuerst Farmstead is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and the State Register of Historic Sites. Improvements have been made by volunteers with support provided by local businesses and private organizations.

History


Scott Harrison Dunham PDF Print E-mail

Scott Harrison DunhamScott Harrison Dunham, the son of James and Minnie Dunham, grew up on what is now the Fuerst Farmstead. Dunham died a hero’s death in France, the only Novi soldier in World War I known not to return. He was sent overseas and was a runner with the 32nd Infantry Division and died on October 15, 1918 in the Argonne Forest, France while carrying dispatches as a runner. He was killed by artillery during a heavy barrage. After Scott's death, the Dunhams put the farm up for sale. Jacob Fuerst and his second wife, Rebecca Raupp, reassemble the original 160 acres and establish the Fuerst Farmstead for their family of two sons and four daughters.

 
The Orchard and Gardens PDF Print E-mail
Apple and pear trees still stand and produce fine fruit every year.  The Fuersts were wonderful gardeners whose handiwork can still be seen from earliest spring through the fall: the wildflowers they cultivated, the many tulip, daffodil and iris bulbs they planted, the large lilac bushes and the raspberry patch growing in the orchard near a small grove of black walnut trees.  The fragrant bush and climbing roses the Fuersts favored are gone, but those too may be restored soon.
 
The Barns and Outbuildings PDF Print E-mail
There are three barns remaining on the property.  The largest barn was used to house cattle and store hay.  The second argest is a four-stall horse barn with a grain storage area.  It has an attached milk-house. The third barn was used to store farm machinery.  A fourth barn, built in 1876, was destroyed by arson.  An outhouse, a pump house, and two dog houses are clustered near the house. The smokehouse which was previously on the site was lost to damage by landscaping contractors. The chicken coop is no longer standing but is still on the site.
 
The House PDF Print E-mail
The Fuersts built this Arts and Crafts style bungalow in 1930.  They utilized the cobblestone foundation of an existing Greek Revival house which this house replaced. The bungalow features fieldstone in a distinctive pattern in the chimney and in the foundation and supporting pillars of the porch. The windows that once flanked the chimney, the glass in the interior French doors separating the living and dining rooms, and in the doors to built-in bookcases on either side of the stone fireplace, were all of matched beveled glass design. Art Nouveau wall sconces line the living room walls and match a ceiling fixture in the dining room. Art Deco brass hardware accents the dark wood trim throughout the house.  All are original to the house.  Additional rooms on the first floor include a bathroom, two bedrooms and a kitchen.  There are four bedrooms and a sleeping porch on the second floor and access to the attic. Windows, doors, shelving and wood trim recycled by the Fuersts from the original house can be seen in the basement.
 
The Fuerst Sisters PDF Print E-mail
The Fuerst Farmstead is known for its last owners, sisters Ruby and Iva Fuerst, who lived in their family home until their deaths in 1991. The farm property has had a long and rich history that parallels the growth of Novi as a community.

The property is now owned by the City of Novi and plans are underway for its restoration, rehabilitation and reuse as a community facility for educational and recreational purposes. At this time the buildings are closed, but the gardens and walkways are open to the public.
 
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