Work Continues on Gordon Hall with New Challenge Grant

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Gordon Hall circa 1922. Courtesy of Bentley Historical Library, Regents of the University of Michigan. Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/)

By Doug Marrin, STN Reporter

The Dexter Area Historical Society is excited to announce a $20,500 challenge grant to be applied to the restoration of Gordon Hall.

The matching grant is one more step closer to the DAHS’s goal to have Gordon Hall fully restored by 2024. The current challenge runs through the end of January 2022 with the goal of raising $50,000.

Dexter’s founder, Judge Samuel Dexter, built his home in the early 1840s on 1,700 acres just west of his namesake village. The house was named Gordon Hall in honor of his mother, Catherine Gordon-Dexter. Calvin Filmore, Dexter resident and brother of President Millard Filmore was one of the designers of Gordon Hall.

Gordon Hall before 1875. Courtesy of Bentley Historical Library, Regents of the University of Michigan. Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/)

By 1938, Gordon Hall had fallen into disrepair. Judge Dexter’s granddaughter, Katherine Dexter-McCormick, repurchased Gordon Hall to restore it to its original elegance. In 1950, after repairs were completed, McCormick donated the property to the University of Michigan. The following year, despite protests from many historical preservationists, the University remodeled Gordon Hall into four apartments and rented them out to faculty and staff.

In 2005, the Dexter Area Historical Society, with help from Webster and Scio Townships, the Village of Dexter, Chelsea Retirement Community, and individual donations, purchased the property for $1.5 million.

The DAHS is steadily working to restore Gordon Hall. Photo: DAHS

Since acquiring the historical site, the DAHS has steadily and methodically set about restoring Gordon Hall to its original grandeur as funding allows. The DAHS hosts several fun events on the property throughout the year. Gordon Hall is also a popular place for private events.

Donations can be made by visiting the DAHS website at http://www.dexterhistory.org/ and clicking the “Donate” button.

Checks can be mailed to Dexter Area Historical Society, 3443 Inverness St., Dexter, MI, 48130

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