The Grettenberger Farmhouse was the first building moved to the newly-developing Meridian Historical Village. Thanks to John Grettenberger, Sr. and his father, Orin, the donation of this Greek revival farmhouse truly launched the beginning of the Village. Originally built by Johann Grettenberger for his son, Jacob, and family between 1862 and 1865, the house was located on Marsh Road, between Hamilton Road and Grand River Avenue. The house was relocated to the Village in 1973.
The house was restored to represent a typical Michigan farmhouse of the period 1870 - 1890. The house includes a parlor used to entertain guests, a kitchen/dining/sitting room that served as the "heart of the house", a parent's bedroom and a small child's bedroom on the first floor. The second floor contains a large child's bedroom which would have housed several children, and a front room that has been set up as a weaving or spinning room.
A portion of the wall in the parlor was left unrestored to show how the building was constructed. After Mr. Grettenberger built the frame of the house, he split logs with an ax to create "lath boards" to build the base of the walls of each room. As split logs are not consistent in shape, there are gaps that remain between the boards.
We are planning our 50th Anniversary Pilgrim House Furniture
The Barnes House
This building is a historically significant structure because it is the first frame house ever constructed in the Village of Okemos. What does that mean? All the buildings constructed before this one were made of logs. This is the first building built with lumber from local sawmills.
Built in 1849 by cabinetmaker Melzor Turner, it was located on Okemos Road just south of the "old" Grand River Road (now known as Hamilton Road). The house was originally used as a residence; however, a subsequent owner converted it to an inn and tavern because of its close proximity of the Lansing to Howell plank road.Later uses of the building included a post office, millinery shop, antique shop and, finally, office space for attorneys.
In 1997, the Barnes House was slated for demolition in order to allow for the construction of a right-turn lane at the corner of Okemos and Hamilton Roads.An effort to save the house was championed by former Village Director, Paula Gangopahdya. Her tireless efforts at gathering local support and fundraising were instrumental in moving the building to the Village for restoration.
Now completely restored, the front room on the south side of the first floor (right side with two windows) contains a "tavern" exhibit.
Several artifacts were discovered during the excavation, including broken pottery and glass pieces, leather pieces, buttons, and broken metal pipes. One of the most important artifacts in our collection was a wooden box built by Melzor Turner! This box was in the possession of Jesse Turner, the great granddaughter of Melzor, which then found its way to Mrs. Gene McNitt, who then donated the box to the Friends of Historic Meridian.
The Barnes House is the only building in the Village with a working kitchen and was remodeled in 2003 to a style more in keeping with the 19th century, and most recently in 2016 to create an office addition to house the Village staff.
The Barnes House is available for rent to small gatherings (25 seated; 40 standing room only) for $75 for 3 hours. For additional rental requirements, or to arrange a tour of the building, please contact us. Online rental payments accepted here
The Randall Schoolhouse
The Randall Schoolhouse, a one-room rural schoolhouse, was originally located in Conway Township, north of Fowlerville, Michigan. The Randall School was built in 1883, at a cost of $853.45, to serve grades first through eighth living in parts of Conway and Handy Townships in Livingston County.
The school was continuously used until 1975, and then was used to store farm items (including corn) until the 1980's when it was slated for demolition. The Friends rescued the building and relocated it to the Village in 1987, where it is currently used to educate students about education in the 19th century.
For information about our school tours, visit our School Tours page.