Historic Preservation is Powerful

Jun. 7, 2024  PLYMOUTH VOICE.

Plymouth Michigan News


Guest Editorial

By:  Jack Dempsey


Historic Preservation is Powerful


The unfettered celebration of the saving and renewal of the Michigan Central in downtown Detroit should inspire people and policymakers of this State to redouble efforts to preserve our past.

The Plymouth community has been blessed recently by similar success stories. The Phoenix Mill property has been restored and an eyesore site converted. The Central Middle School/High School has been renewed to serve as a community center. The Wilcox Mill property is being renovated – after nearly reaching a stage where refurbishment was impossible. The Library has added an outdoor amphitheater; school additions at, e.g., Bird and Pioneer help further their educational mission. The list is lengthy.

Insightful private investment and voter support have been key factors. The formation of a Historic District Commission in the Township has helped educate about the rich heritage and historic structures and places that abound from east Ann Arbor Trail to McClumpha Road.

Places matter, and preserving and renewing historic sites help foster the uniqueness of a community. Preservation is most often environmentally better than demolition. The principle applies to parkland, and enhancement of the green space near Beck/Ann Arbor Road rather than sell-off to development has reaped dividends for health and welfare. Restoration is restorative.

If you seek a pleasant Plymouth, look around you. Look beyond the superficial into the stories behind the façade. Our bicentennial is three years off – may it be a joyful occasion to do more to preserve and protect heritage and cultural assets.



Jack Dempsey is an avid historian, former President of the Michigan Historical Commission, and award-winning author. His writing focuses on the Civil War, the history of Michigan, and cultural heritage.

His book presentations have been featured at The Henry Ford, the Historical Society of Michigan, the Kerrytown Book Fest, historical museums, public libraries, Civil War Round Tables, in schools, and on public television and radio. His newest books:  His Sword A Scalpel and When Slavery and Rebellion Are Destroyed.

Former Plymouth Township trustee and lawyer, Dempsey has a Bachelor of Arts degree in political science from Michigan State University and a law degree from George Washington University. He served as General Counsel at Michigan Bell Telephone for 14 years and for decades law partner in the offices of law firm Dickinson Wright, PLLC.

He and wife Suzzanne live in Plymouth Township, Michigan.


Plymouth Voice.



Previous post

These are our heroes and we shall never forget

Next post

Traffic snarled as workers begin bridge work