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Stephen Crawford Farm

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1837 and later. 12351 Crawford Rd., 4 miles northeast of Springport

The Crawford farm has been in the family since 1837, the year of Michigan's statehood, when the eighty acres on which the farm buildings are sited were granted by the federal government to Stephen Crawford of Coos County, New Hampshire. Crawford consolidated his claim to the property by constructing a log house. Family records note that it burned and was replaced by another log house. The remains of this second structure may be the ruins to the north of the farmhouse.

As the farm prospered, Crawford was granted an adjacent forty acres to the south, in 1848. A farmhouse of wood-frame construction replaced the log house. It, in turn, was replaced in 1883 by the present Victorian farmhouse that was constructed of brick manufactured locally in Brooklyn by Crawford's son Allen. The older frame house was moved across Crawford Road, became the property of Allen Crawford's eldest son, Orion, and has been modified substantially.

The barn located to the southwest of the house is a three-level bank barn that was converted to a carriage house at the turn of the twentieth century, when the big barn to the south was built. The earth berm on the north side insulated the lower level against chill north winds. Doors at this lower level open to the animal yard on the south, placed to capture the sun's warmth during the long, cold winters. The second level was used for threshing, winnowing, and tool storage, and as a granary. On the third level were mows for storing hay and hay chutes to the lower levels. The foundation is of random rubble stone from the land; the structure is timber-framed, doweled, and mortise-and-tenon joined; and the gable roof is shingled.

The big red barn south of the farmhouse was built at the turn of the twentieth century. It has the billowing gambrel roof and in size and configuration is an excellent example of the typical Michigan big barn. The gambrel roof increases its volume appreciably and provides more storage for hay and straw in the loft than a gable roof.

Several of the ancillary structures associated with Michigan family farming for local and regional markets, such as the chicken coop, the pig pen, the windmill, and the water pump, still exist on the Crawford farmstead and are visible from Crawford Road. The old sheep barn, the pump room, the corn cribs, and the original fencing of the animal yards unfortunately have not survived the ravages of time and have disappeared from the farmstead.

Writing Credits

Kathryn Bishop Eckert


What's Nearby


Kathryn Bishop Eckert, "Stephen Crawford Farm", [Springport, Michigan], SAH Archipedia, eds. Gabrielle Esperdy and Karen Kingsley, Charlottesville: UVaP, 2012—,

Print Source

Cover: Buildings of Michigan

Buildings of Michigan, Kathryn Bishop Eckert. Charlottesville: University of Virginia Press, 2012, 185-186.

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