The history of Northville, Michigan, is alive at the Mill Race Historical Village. Created in 1972 by the Northville Historical Society, the village serves as a focal point for the Northville Community while preserving architectural styles common to the area prior to 1900.
The village was built on 12.5 acres of land donated to the City of Northville by the Ford Motor Company. The site was once the site of a grist mill, the village consists of an inn, blacksmith shop, school, church, gazebo, rustic wooden bridge, Interurban station and several homes reminiscent of an era gone by.
For more information on Mill Race Village, Click here for their Website
The Yerkes House was built in 1873 by William Purdy Yerkes, son of one of the earliest settlers of this area, and his wife, Sarah (Cady) Yerkes, daughter of one of Northville’s founders. W.P. Yerkes was an attorney, probate judge, and served as the first village president of Northville. The house originally stood on the south side of Cady Street between Church and Center. Moved to Mill Race in 1975, the nine room house features traditional Gothic style carpentry and is furnished in the elaborate style of the mid-Victorian era.
Paranormal phenomenon reported by Mill Race: A lady in white has been seen on the curving staircase, and in the upstairs hallway by the Children’s room. Many people report a creepy feeling in the basement and on the service stairs that were used by the household staff.
Investigators: John, Jason,Cathy, Art Katie, Rachel, Chass, Chris, Mike, Kenny, Rebecca & Patti. We split up into groups so we could cover all the buildings and each group was accompanied by a volunteer who works at Mill Race Village. We had at least 2-4 investigators in each building throughout the night.
Weather Conditions: Clear, warm 70s
Time: 8:00pm – 3:00am
Patti & Rebecca: In the living room, the couch smelled like pipe tobacco, as did the “encyclopedia” books in the upstairs sitting room. The opposite corners of the living room felt off to Rebecca. The back staircase made Rebecca feel like it was sucking energy into it.
Chass: While standing outside the house, I saw a person in the upstairs window looking down at us. While in the house I was up stairs with Katie and I said “what a creepy picture” and my arm was touched. It got real cold. I also felt my hair being played with.
Mike: When Mike pointed his digital thermometer at the seat where the organ is, for a split second it jumped up 88 degrees. When his team turned off their flashlights, they had this feeling that someone was watching from the master bedroom, but no one was there.
John: At the Yerkes home I felt drawn to organ. Chass was grabbed and felt a female presence.
Anomaly: possible shadow figure. In this photo, it is not so much the orb that is of interest but the shadow behind it. Parts of the shadow overlap the wood; so the shadow isn’t really in the background if it is between the orb and the wood. The uncropped version of the photo might lead people to think that “it’s not a logical place for an entity to be” except that we should remember that entities often appear in illogical places, like walking through walls and appearing knee-high in the floor. All these buildings were moved here and we don’t know what the original basement was like. If it’s an entity, it may not be bound to the house at all but instead to an item. In any case, the shadow poses more questions than it does answers.
Anomaly: possible white mist over the wallpaper between the banister & the wall. Note how the wallpaper looks faded on top left. Other photos show no fading, so the wallpaper isn’t actually faded. Is it an effect of the flash? Or is a mist making the wallpaper look faded?
Anomaly: Unusual amount of “orbs” in the cleanest building in the village. We don’t get excited about orbs because there could be so many natural explanations for them, but we also keep an open mind because so many people believe in orbs. It is worth noting that the church had the most activity in terms of EVPs and personal experiences. It also had the most orb photos… and it is the cleanest building in the village because it is frequently rented out for weddings. Why so much potential dust in the cleanest building? If these orbs are dust (and they probably are) why here more than anywhere else?
Hirsch Blacksmith Shop and Country Store
The Hirsch Blacksmith Shop is an exact replica of one of Northville’s early shops, based on a photograph of the building that stood on the corner of Main and Hutton streets from the mid-nineteenth century until its demolition in 1930. It has a working “smithy” as well as housing Mill Race’s Country Store, which will be moved to the General Store building when erected. It is chock full of children’s’ toys, candy, old-time postcards, household items, holiday merchandise, Northville books, and Mill Race Village note cards. Displays of antiques line the walls and shelves.
Paranormal Phenomenon reported by Mill Race: None
Patti & Rebecca: Certain areas (the vice grip and a tool cart) made the K-II meter go up to 3 lights even though we were told there is no electricity in the building.
Kenny: Felt like he was being watched.
John: Smelled flowers near Black Smiths Shop. No flowers were found.Store:
Patti & Rebecca: Rebecca and Heidi both were able to see a shimmery effect that stayed and did not dissipate in the back corner by a piece of old flag. Patti almost had the feeling there was something there, but wasn’t sensitive enough to see it.
Mike: Rachel kept getting a small spike on the K-II meter on this certain floor board. So I decided to put my K-II meter on the same spot and got the same results.
Wash Oak School
Wash Oak School, one of the few surviving one room schoolhouses in Michigan, was moved to the Village in 1975. Located on the west side of Currie Road between Seven and Eight Mile Roads, it was built in 1873 and remained in operation until 1966, serving Washtenaw and Oakland Counties. The one room schoolhouse is still used as a classroom for hundreds of elementary children who visit each year as part of a special history curriculum sponsored by the Northville Historical Society.
Paranormal Phenomenon reported by Mill Race: None
Kenny: Had the feeling of being watched.
Chass: I felt that there was a man in the corner of the School looking at me we heard whispering, footsteps, laughing, my hair was played with.
Chris: Heard a giggle down in the basement. We felt that we were being watched by someone.
Rebecca: The back 4 desks held the impression of apprehension, like students might feel before a test.
Katie: In the school house I thought I heard some whispering behind me in the student seating area.
John: Heard laugh, also heard a tap. Sensed a school master and also a school mom and a little girl in a blue dress.
New School Church
The New School Church was built in 1845 by a splinter group of the Presbyterian Church of Northville, who used it as their church for only four years before reuniting with the original group. The church exhibits a Greek Revival architectural style with a columned entrance portico. Through the years it has served as a school, a township hall, and a Salvation Army barracks. For over seventy years it housed Northville’s library. The Northville Historical Society was formed in 1964 to save this building from demolition. Moved to the village in 1972 from its location on Wing Street, it is currently used for weddings, workshops, church services, and meetings.
Paranormal Phenomenon reported by Mill Race: The large cross is often moved, and a mist is sometimes seen in front of it. One of the volunteers said the cookies she had set out were rearranged.
Kenny: Uneasy feeling felt like I was being watched. Chris, the the two volunteers and I all heard kids laughing in the basement.
Chass: I felt like we were being watched by a male presence that was up stairs looking over the railing. We heard tapping, and a voice said yes or ya while on our way down to basement, and also heard laughing.
Patti & Rebecca: Rebecca had the feeling of not wanting to be there or not being welcome there. She was more comfy in the back storage room in the basement than anywhere else, but Patti felt sick to her stomach there.
Katie: In the church I heard what sounded like whispering in the upper balcony area. Also heard an odd sound in the basement that sounded human produced. Took several photos with the digital camera. Have a few with some “orbs” and one that might either be a reflection from church window or a mist of some sort.
John: Sensed male presence in church. Believe it to be pastor.
The Hunter House, a classic Greek revival home with half gabled wings, was built by Stephen and Mary Hunter in 1851. It was moved to the village in 1972 from its original location on the south side of Main Street at Griswold. This house serves as a Museum furnished with items typical of the period in which it was built.
Paranormal Phenomenon reported by Mill Race: A drawer is one of the hutches is open a little bit almost every day and is pushed back in by one of the staff. A woman from a cleaning company left the grounds saying she would not clean the basement of the house because “something was down there”.
June Bug: Upstairs back bedroom had a heavy feeling. We asked for a knock to “show that you’re here with us” and we heard something from the kitchen but were not sure what it was.
Chass: While in there it smelled of mold. I felt that there were spirits of a man, woman and child. We used the crystal and dowsing rods simultaneously, each getting the same answers to questions that were asked. Barbara felt a cat coming down from the stairs.
Chris: While we were in the basement, we heard a knock in the kitchen area. All of us all heard this.
Rachel: In one bedroom I felt very cold. I did comment to Jason about feeling like the air around me was icy but he did not feel the same thing.
Art: (According to Mike’s report) heard something whisper in his ear in the basement.
Patti & Rebecca: Rebecca was drawn to the trunk upstairs, said it made her very happy. She said she could imagine dolls inside it and coincidentally, one of the decorative images inside the trunk was of a little girl that looked a bit like a doll. She also had a strong connection with a cradle that she got good comforting and loving feelings from upstairs Patti had just shut off her camera and said “I’m not recording because I won’t catch anything here” when her flashlight went out. By the way—Rebecca went through 2 sets of batteries in her flashlight.
John: At the hunter home Chass & myself felt a male presence and also the presence of a cat on the stairway, black & white…very curious. Believe the family had two children. Mr. Hunter is very curious of people coming into his home.
The Cottage House was built in the 1890s on the east side of Center Street between Lake and Rayson. Moved to the village in 1976, its exterior is typical of the era, but the interior was set up for workshops and classes. It is used as a studio by the Mill Race Weavers’ Guild.
Paranormal phenomenon reported by Mill Race: none
Chass: When you walked in the Cottage you could feel something warm in the kitchen. The basement was very small and no room to stand up in, but Barbara went down there and said that she could see a green light and then it was gone. Upstairs, my arm got real cold, about 83*, and went back up.
John: Cold chills on right arm, the smell of perfume, and a warm feeling in kitchen.
There are several other buildings and structures that are of interest at Mill race Village which we did not investigate.
Audio Evidence Obtained During Paranormal Investigation
“Get the “F” outta my house” EVP Class B: Male voices in the Hunter House. Does it say something like, “Get the “F” outta my house?”
“Wanna talk to you” EVP Class C: From the Hunter House. It’s a whisper that sounds like “Wanna talk to you.
EVP-X: From the Hunter House. At the end of this is a loud “Boom.” The investigators don’t seem to react to it, but they all heard it and said it sounded like it came from the kitchen. They all went to investigate the sound but found nothing amiss.