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MARKER DATABASE
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Somerset Center in Hillsdale County, Michigan — The American Midwest (Great Lakes)
 

W. H. L. McCourtie / W. H. L. McCourtie Estate

 
 
W. H. L. McCourtie Marker (front side) image. Click for full size.
By Joel S., July 9, 2010
1. W. H. L. McCourtie Marker (front side)
Inscription.
W. H. L. McCourtie
Somerset Center native W. H. L. McCourtie (1872-1933) was introduced to the cement industry by W. F. Cowham of Jackson in 1897. McCourtie soon went to Dallas, Texas, where he made a fortune speculating in oil and established the Trinity Portland Cement Company. During the 1920s McCourtie returned to Somerset Center. In 1924 he acquired his family's home and turned it into a community showplace. McCourtie sought to create a model town, giving free white paint to any homeowner who needed it. He also hosted the community's annual homecoming celebrations. Thousands of people came to "Aiden Lair" to witness stunt flyers and enjoy baseball, local musicians, dancing and unlimited refreshments. At the height of the Great Depression, McCourtie offered his estate as a place "Where Friends Meet Friends and Part More Friendly."

W. H. L. McCourtie Estate
The W. H. L. McCourtie Estate, may contain the country's largest collection of el trabeio rustico, the Mexican folk tradition of sculpting concrete to look like wood. Around 1930, most likely inspired by work he had seen in Texas, cement tycoon W. H. L. McCourtie hired itinerant Mexican artisans George Cardoso and Ralph Corona to construct seventeen bridges on his property. The artisans formed the bridges with steel rods and then hand sculpted wet concrete to resemble planed lumber, rough logs, thatch and rope. Different species of trees can be identified. Two concrete trees that stand on the property continue to serve
W. H. L. McCourtie Estate Marker (back side) image. Click for full size.
By Joel S., July 9, 2010
2. W. H. L. McCourtie Estate Marker (back side)
as chimneys for the underground rathskeller and garage. The McCourtie estate is listed in the National Register of Historic Places.
 
Erected 1994 by Bureau of Michigan History, Michigan Department of State. (Marker Number S0624.)
 
Marker series. This marker is included in the Michigan Historical Commission marker series.
 
Location. 42° 3.023′ N, 84° 24.578′ W. Marker is in Somerset Center, Michigan, in Hillsdale County. Marker is at the intersection of Chicago Road (U.S. 12) and South Jackson Road, on the right when traveling west on Chicago Road. Click for map. McCourtie Park is approx. 2.7 miles west of U.S. Highway 127. Marker is in this post office area: Somerset Center MI 49282, United States of America.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within 13 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. Woodstock Manual Labor Institute (approx. 4.6 miles away); Michigan and Ohio Railroad Depot (approx. 5.2 miles away); Wellman General Store (approx. 9 miles away); Brooklyn's Founder (approx. 9.2 miles away); Brooklyn Presbyterian Church (approx. 9.2 miles away); St. Michael and All Angels Church (approx. 9.8 miles away); Ella Sharp Museum (approx. 11.4 miles away); Ed Cross Farm (approx. 12.6 miles away).
 
More about this marker. The marker is very hard to see from the road. The park entrance is on South Jackson Road (on the left side when driving north).
 
Also see . . .
W. H. L. McCourtie / W. H. L. McCourtie Estate image. Click for full size.
By Dave Wilcox, October 9, 2008
3. W. H. L. McCourtie / W. H. L. McCourtie Estate
Concrete Covered Bridge

1. Peek Through Time: Gangsters, ghosts, graceful art all part of mystique of McCourtie Park. (Submitted on July 25, 2010, by Bill Pfingsten of Bel Air, Maryland.)
2. St. Joseph's Church / St. Joseph's Shrine Marker. Ralph Corona also worked on St. Joseph's Shrine in nearby Cambridge Township, Michigan. (Submitted on July 3, 2015, by Joel Seewald of Madison Heights, Michigan.) 
 
Categories. Arts, Letters, MusicBridges & ViaductsIndustry & Commerce
 
Concrete Chimneys and Marker image. Click for full size.
By Joel S., July 9, 2010
4. Concrete Chimneys and Marker
Pool and Concrete Bridges image. Click for full size.
By Joel S., July 9, 2010
5. Pool and Concrete Bridges
Concrete Bench image. Click for full size.
By Joel S., July 9, 2010
6. Concrete Bench
McCourtie Park Welcome Sign image. Click for full size.
By Joel S., July 9, 2010
7. McCourtie Park Welcome Sign
 
 
Credits. This page originally submitted on , by Joel Seewald of Madison Heights, Michigan. This page has been viewed 1,640 times since then and 25 times this year. Photos:   1, 2. submitted on , by Joel Seewald of Madison Heights, Michigan.   3. submitted on , by Dave Wilcox of Grass Lake, Michigan.   4, 5, 6, 7. submitted on , by Joel Seewald of Madison Heights, Michigan. • Bill Pfingsten was the editor who published this page. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016.
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