Acme Township will soon decide the fate of the 160-year-old house on Grand Traverse Bay built by the town's founder Leonard Hoxsie.
It's one of a few remaining historical buildings in Acme, though some people want it removed to make way for a natural waterfront park.
The pros and cons of keeping the Hoxsie House will be up for discussion at the Acme Township Board of Trustees meeting on Tuesday, March 6. They will have the final say, though it's not certain when that will be.
Built In 1850
The house was built in 1850 by Leonard Hoxsie, who also founded the town and laid out its first streets.
Dorothy Dunville wants the house to stay put and be a place for small get-togethers for community groups. She'd even like to help furnish it.
"I want to have curtains hanging from the windows and make it look pretty and put my grand piano right there," Dunville said, giving a tour of the home.
Leonard Hoxsie built the house - which is now a short distance south of the Grand Traverse Resort - after trekking across the winter ice of West and East Grand Traverse bays from Northport. He and his family brought all their belongings on sleighs.
He wanted to be along an established land-trade route, rather than at the tip of a peninsula, says David Hoxsie, Leonard's great-great-grandson.
"I think it was on the route to the Mackinacs," he said. "At that time, it was a trail, but it was still commerce. And Mackinaw City and Mackinac Island were thriving towns at that time."
Historical Value Vs. Natural Lakeshore
Once settled, Leonard Hoxsie started a sawmill and laid out the first streets in town.
Now, David Hoxsie and others are trying to save the house that was his ancestor's home for two years.
To do that they need to convince the township government that it has historical value.
It sits back from East Grand Traverse Bay on a strip of land the township has been buying up. The long-term plan is to make a mile-long, natural waterfront park.
The township has been awarded $6 million from the Natural Resources Trust Fund grant for the project. If the house stays, the township may lose $1 million or more of the grant.
Terms of the grant dictate that no buildings remain on the site, unless it is used for a recreational purpose approved by the trust fund.
Some local residents want it torn down or moved, as well, though most are reluctant to publicly oppose the founder's home.
The Grand Traverse Regional Land Conservancy helped raise money to protect the waterfront here, a long-time goal for Acme residents. Associate Director Megan Olds has received calls from donors threatening to take back donations for the project.
"I've heard other people say that they don't feel the house has historical value and they feel that the township really shouldn't have a part of protecting it," she said.