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“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Near Brooklyn in Lenawee County, Michigan — The American Midwest (Great Lakes)
 

Cambridge Junction Historic State Park

 
 
Cambridge Junction Historic State Park Marker — left panel image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Joel Seewald, September 4, 2022
1. Cambridge Junction Historic State Park Marker — left panel
Inscription.  
Location, Location, Location
(left panel)

Nature made Sylvester Walker for his business. Men of every class and condition of life from the earliest times would stretch out their day's drive to reach the hospitable roof of Walker's hotel.
— Francis A. Dewey

In 1832, Calvin Snell found the new road junction in Cambridge township ideally suited to build a tavern. Eleven years later he sold the business to Sylvester and Lucy Walker of Cooperstown, New York.

The Walkers worked hard to serve tired and hungry road travelers, and their business boomed. In 1853 they built the brick tavern across the road. The taverns were community meeting places where people socialized, picked up mail from postmaster Walker, and sometimes held church services.

The original tavern became a private home when Francis A. Dewey, a local stagecoach driver, bought it in 1865.

On a lovely summer's day..., there came winding through the north part of this township, near the Indian trail and marked trees, an emigrant wagon, with horse and six persons; also cows, with a goodly
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number of fair traveling hogs, all wearied with overland travel from Ohio.

— Francis A. Dewey


Walker Tavern Historic Site
(middle panel)

In the 1830s, two roads built atop Native American trails — the Chicago Road (US-12) and the La Plaisance Bay Pike (M-50) — met here.

These roads, and the recently completed Erie Canal in New York, brought thousands of newcomers to inexpensive lands in southern Michigan as part of a national westward movement.

Building the Roads
Following the Native American "Sauk Trail," the Chicago Road began as a military road in 1812. Twenty years later, Michigan's Territorial government contracted with local surveyor Musgrove Evans to map a new road from La Plaisance Bay on Lake Erie to the Chicago Road. Avoiding lowland marshes, Evans chose Cambridge Township's high ground for the junction.

Changes
In 1926, US-12 and M-50 were graded and paved. In the 1960s, road engineers created left turn lanes and flattened US-12 to create better traffic sighlines at this busy intersection.

Bottom image caption:
Cambridge Junction Historic State Park features the original 1832 Walker Tavern, the reconstructed barn and the 1929 Hewitt House.
The Michigan History Center invites you to discover life at the junction
Cambridge Junction Historic State Park Marker — middle panel image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Joel Seewald, September 4, 2022
2. Cambridge Junction Historic State Park Marker — middle panel
of two of Michigan's most important roads.

Selling Nostalgia
(right panel)

In the 1920s, middle-class workers had growing leisure time and disposable income. Ford Motor Company workers could afford to purchase a car they produced and go for a drive in the country. Detroiters and other tourists on US-12 or M-50 explored the lush green landscape and clear blue lakes of the Irish Hills, where the Walker Taverns provided places to eat, shop, and learn a little history.

In 1922, Episcopal priest Frederick Hewitt, a friend of automobile baron Henry Ford, purchased the two Walker Taverns to showcase his business ventures — selling antiques and serving chicken dinners. Hewitt capitalized on the nation's colonial nostalgia, creating one of the oldest operating tourist attractions in the area: Historic Walker Tavern.

Bottom image caption:
Hewitt House — Frederick and Edna Hewitt built this Colonial Revival house (designed by their son, James) as their new home in 1929. Two of the Hewitts' four grandchildren, Elizabeth and Ann, posed for this photo in 1940. Visit the Hewitt House Visitors Center to discover more about the Hewitt family and the Irish Hills.
 
Erected by Michigan History Center, Michigan Department of Natural Resources.
 
Topics. This historical marker is listed in these
Cambridge Junction Historic State Park Marker — right panel image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Joel Seewald, September 4, 2022
3. Cambridge Junction Historic State Park Marker — right panel
topic lists: Industry & CommerceRoads & Vehicles. A significant historical year for this entry is 1832.
 
Location. 42° 3.601′ N, 84° 13.411′ W. Marker is near Brooklyn, Michigan, in Lenawee County. Marker can be reached from State Highway 50 north of U.S. 12. Marker is in Cambridge Junction Historic State Park and is at the end of the parking lot. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 13220 M-50, Brooklyn MI 49230, United States of America. Touch for directions.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within 3 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. At the Crossroads (within shouting distance of this marker); Walker Tavern (about 500 feet away, measured in a direct line); a different marker also named The Walker Tavern (about 600 feet away); Cambridge Junction (about 700 feet away); St. Michael and All Angels Church (approx. 0.4 miles away); Michigan International Speedway: (approx. 0.9 miles away); An Gorta Mor (approx. 2.9 miles away); a different marker also named An Gorta Mor (approx. 2.9 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Brooklyn.
 
Cambridge Junction Historic State Park Marker image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Joel Seewald, September 4, 2022
4. Cambridge Junction Historic State Park Marker
View looking toward the southeast. In the background on the right are the Walker Tavern and Brick Walker Tavern. On the left is a reconstructed barn.
Cambridge Junction Historic State Park Marker image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Joel Seewald, September 4, 2022
5. Cambridge Junction Historic State Park Marker
View looking west toward the Hewitt house.
Cambridge Junction Historic State Park Marker image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Joel Seewald, September 4, 2022
6. Cambridge Junction Historic State Park Marker
Front (south side) of the Hewitt House.
Cambridge Junction Historic State Park Sign image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Joel Seewald, September 4, 2022
7. Cambridge Junction Historic State Park Sign
Sign at the entrance to the park on M-50.
 
 
Credits. This page was last revised on September 19, 2022. It was originally submitted on September 5, 2022, by Joel Seewald of Madison Heights, Michigan. This page has been viewed 117 times since then and 12 times this year. Photos:   1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7. submitted on September 5, 2022, by Joel Seewald of Madison Heights, Michigan.

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Apr. 23, 2024