My Old Home

In just a few months, my historic home in Muskegon will turn 100. After moving to the Muskegon area, my wife and I spent almost a year renting, while we looked for a historic home in the core city. Our realtor, found this home on the market, which contained many things we were looking for; even the online listing stirred me.

A two unit home in a neighborhood where many homes reflect pride of ownership. Located in a historical area of Muskegon with a beautiful yard. This great home features main floor with two bedrooms, full bath, formal dining room, enclosed porches off master bedroom and living room. The upper unit includes one bedroom, large living room and kitchen with dining area. The beautiful hardwood floors, 10 foot ceilings, porches and two-stall garage with loft are added benefits.

It was exciting, to move from a lifetime as renters, to become first-time homeowners, paying cash for a historic home, being a part of the company of the committed, dedicated to preserving our community and strengthening our neighborhood.

I was enthralled as I considered the fact that a century of history had been lived in this home. Nameless faces had experienced the 20th century as America moved from the presidency of Woodrow Wilson, and into the 21st century toward the presidency of Barack Obama.

In January, 1915, the year our home was built, Typhoid Mary infected twenty-five people with the disease while working as a cook at Sloan Hospital in New York. On February 8, 1915, the film The Birth of a Nation premiered in Los Angeles, California. And on May 6, 1915, Babe Ruth hit his first career home run off of Jack Warhop. During this period, the first stop sign appeared in the roaring city of Detroit, Michigan, and the United States began its occupation of Haiti.

As the years moved forward, things began to change throughout the world. In 1917, on March 4th, as Woodrow Wilson began his second term, Jeannette Rankin of Montana was sworn in as the first woman member of the United States House of Representatives, on April 6th the United States entered into the fray of World War I by declaring war on Germany, setting the stage for another great war to follow, as America moved into a century of warfare.

In between those two World Wars, America experienced the excitement of the Roaring 20’s, and the despair of the 1930’s as the Wall Street Crash in October, 1929 moved the United States into the Great Depression. During this period, the Women’s Suffrage movement won women the right to vote, Prohibition ruled the land, and a young Michael King, later renamed Martin Luther King, Jr.,  was born on January 15th in Atlanta, Georgia.

During the mid-1940’s, with soldiers returning from overseas, the post-war Baby Boom was launched, as 76 million American children were born between 1945-1964, and I imagine some of these were raised in my home right here in Muskegon.

This generation would define a culture, especially the Leading Edge Baby Boomers (born between 1945-1955), who saw the assassination of a President, experienced Beatlemania, fought for Civil Rights for many, fought in and against Vietnam, partied at Haight Ashbury and Woodstock, and experienced the horror of the Manson family murders in 1969.

America was once again changing as it moved into the 1970’s. On January 14th, Diana Ross and the Supremes performed their farewell concert in Las Vegas, as Ross moved into a solo career. As the year neared an end, on October 5th, PBS began broadcasting, the United States moved out of a year-long recession, and the North Tower of the World Trade Center would be topped out at 1,368 feet.

Much would continue to happen as the waning decades of the twentieth century unfolded, and America entered the twenty-first century. Unresolved problems would continue to haunt America as we experienced two space shuttle disasters, economic highs and lows, and the fall of the World Trade Center’s Twin Towers on September 11, 2001.

As I sit in this home tonight, I wonder what the next hundred years will bring for America, to my city of Muskegon, and if this old home will survive the journey. As I look back over the years since 2001, and look forward to the years ahead, I am amazed at the rapidity of change, and secure that such change is an inevitable reality of life. So much has happened and this old home survives.

My hope is that the hope and promise, dwelling in the hearts of the nameless faces that have inhabited this home throughout its history; that have built this city and shaped this country, will continue in the generations ahead. That my old home will stand as a promise on the landscape of Muskegon that there is always a future and a hope for those who are dedicated to building and not destroying, to lifting and not tearing down, to gathering together rather than standing apart.



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