Preservation

Weller School

Elisha Weller owned the land on which the school was situated for many years.  In May, 1831, Elisha purchased three 80 acre parcels of farm land in Chesterfield from the United States Government.  To date, the earliest records which we have been able to find are reports which were filed with the Sate of Michigan by the School Inspectors for the Township of Chesterfield.  An early map shows a school situated on Gratiot at 22 Mile Road and this school was known as District 1 (Weller School).  These records date back to 1862.  We assume that the school is at least that old.  Classes were taught continuously in that school until 1954.  With school consolidation, Weller School had become a part of the L’Anse Creuse School District along with other “one room schools”.  In 1954, the school district combined the students from Weller, Hartway, Bates, Milton, and several other schools in the newly built Chesterfield School on 23 Mile Road.  The Weller School is now located in the Chesterfield Historic Village.

Log Cabin

Before being moved to its present location in 2005, the log cabin was located at 29 Mile Road and Campground Road in Washington Township.  It was owned by Bob Neilsen’s family, and was the site of their annual get togethers.  Bob’s father, Cortland Neilsen was a salesman living in Detroit with his family, and since the cabin was only about 45 minutes from home, he could use it to “get away”.

In 1939, when Bob was 9 years old, his dad put in the foundation for the made-to-order home from Pioneer Log Cabin Company out of Roscommon.  With that done, the company put up the logs (no nails) in one day.  The logs had been marked with numbers where they went, and were put together in a tongue and groove fashion.  The walls and rafters were put up with sledge hammers.  Mr. Neilsen installed the roof boards and the entire interior, including the partitions.  Bob’s cousin and her husband painted the interior of the cabin with 5 coats of varnish.  There was a 50 foot flagpole installed outside the front door.

Electricity was never put in the cabin.  The kitchen had an icebox and a wood-burning cook stove (similar to the stove that is in there now).  The original cook stove and some other pieces were donated to the Washington Historical Society and are currently on display in there museum. A high shelf in the kitchen was for the kerosene lamps at night so the kids would not touch them.  The living room had a 10 foot table with 2 benches made out of one piece of log.  An over head lamp was hung from the beam above the table.  Four could sleep in the bedroom, and with an army cot they could sleep 2 more in the living room.  When Bob’s mother became a widow in 1947, she and her 2 sisters would come out and stay for a week or so.  His aunts were dressmakers in Detroit.

There was a strap hanging from the ceiling of the spiral outhouse (from one of the Detroit streetcars) to help you get up if you needed it.  Bob’s dad called on London Dairy in Port Huron, and he saw a spiral outhouse on Gratiot while on his way to Port Huron, (it might have been Muttonville).  The pump house exterior was constructed so the cows couldn’t get in.  (We hope to connect the pump house to water eventually.)  The stonework was done by a Free Methodist Minister from a church in Romeo.  The church he built (in Romeo) is still standing.  On Sundays the family would go to the cabin for picnics.  Sometimes the church (Danish Lutheran Church in Detroit – St. Peter’s) would also have picnics there, and they would borrow chairs from the undertaker in Romeo.