The Walkabouts are off to a fast start. On Saturday, June 12, nine walkers received the group’s first incentive for logging five miles. Thanks to Beaumont Health System for the drawstring bag, first aid kit and shoe light that will help make walking safe.
This week's walk will be to Shiawassee Park, one of our city’s most popular attractions. Our guest walker is Brian Golden, president of the Farmington Historical Society, who will give a brief history of the park. The group will walk down the stairs to the park and then follow the path east to the Historical Marker at the Power Road entrance, where Brian will give his talk. Walkers can return to the market by going back to the stairs or taking Power Road to Grand River. Either way, this walk will be 1.5 miles. Hope to see you at 10 a.m. at the compass rose!
Incentives for Walkabouts
Big news for Walkabouts, who join us on our weekly mile or mile-and-a-half walks. We are ready to hand out our first incentive awards to all those who will be walking their fifth mile this Saturday.
“Our Farmington Walkabouts group has incentives for walkers to keep coming back and joining us on our weekly walk,” says Jake Ivey, our own AmeriCorps Farmers Market Food Navigator.
This first incentive is a good one. Donated by market sponsor Beaumont Hospital, it includes a Beaumont drawstring backpack with the words “Beaumont Gets Walking” as well as a small first-aid kit and a Shoe Clip Light that goes on the heel of your shoe and lights up to help keep you safe when you’re walking or running in the dark.
Don’t worry if you haven’t hit the five-mile mark yet because you’ve missed a walk. This incentive will be awarded to walkers who complete their first five miles at any time this market season.
And there are more incentives to come.
If you haven’t registered yet, you can do so any Saturday at the Market Information Tent. Then meet us at the compass rose in the middle of Riley Park at 10 a.m. Saturday as we explore the city of Farmington.
It’s fun, it’s educational and, most of all, it’s healthy.
Paying their respects
For the third Walkabout outing, the group headed for Oakwood Cemetery on Grand River just west of Shiawassee.
Walking to the Mansion
On its second walk, the Market's Walkabouts walking club headed west on Grand River to the Gov. Warner Mansion. Here are photos from the trek:
Discovering a treasure in Farmington
The Walkabouts, the Market's new walking club, began their season with a brisk stroll in downtown Farmington that took the group of three dozen past one of the city's most importantt historic houses.
Club leaders Sandy Boland, Suzanne Clinton and Polly Varhol, who are also market volunteers, led the walkers to the eye-catching house at 23700 Warner that built around 1865. The group had contacted the current owners in advance, and they were thrilled to share with the Walkabouts information about their home. Here is the history lesson they provided:
The land was originally part of the plot owned by the Power Family, one of Farmington's founding families. Seth Warner Jr., father of P.D. Warner and the grandfather of the future governor, Fred Warner, acquired the six-acre parcel in 1864. The Warner Mansion on Grand River was built around the same time period, in 1867, by P.D. Warner.
The home has had many owners, but a most significant period was when Mark and Evelyn Wixom owned it from 1917-1932. In the 1920s, the Wixoms sold off several lots along Warner where neighboring houses were built. Sadly, they lost the house to the People’s State Bank in 1935 during the Great Depression.
After that, the house went into disrepair. Luckily, Lloyd Gullen and his artist wife, Annie, purchased it and undertook a major renovation around 1942. They raised the house off its foundation, adding block above the Michigan stone basement walls. They removed dilapidated porches, added windows and fancy doorways on the exterior and gave the home “a new lease on life.”
The current owners also undertook some major renovations to the home in 1983, bringing it up to current standards. They removed a back section of the house and added on a family room, mud room, laundry room, half bath and an attached garage – all while maintaining its style and character.
The stye of the house is considered Victorian, its characteristics being the bay windows (here a double bay), peaked gable, fancy trim, eyebrows over the windows and fish scales. Although the porches were removed and a few features may not be entirely period, the house was used as a contributing resource in gaining Farmngton the designation of a State and National Historic District.
Over the years, the home and its yard have been the setting for several film shoots and commercials. One exciting shoot, for TNT and the NBA, featured former Piston basketball star Grant Hill shooting hoops with his dad on the backyard driveway court. The setting had been chosen for its “character and charm” and because it seems like a “throw-back to another era.”