Created By: Northville Historical Society
Walking Tour of Historic Northville
In 1824 and 1825, the first settlers came to the Northville area, clearing the wilderness to make a home for themselves. Most of these early pioneers were from New York, coming through the newly-opened Erie Canal. The first land located in what was then Plymouth Township was purchased by Alanson Aldrich. His eighty-acre tract contained the highest point of land in Wayne County. This is the area north of West Main Street and east of Linden. Shortly thereafter Alvale Smith purchased land to the east of this and sold it to John Miller. The opening of a grist mill by Miller around 1826 encouraged additional settlement, and by the mid-1800's Northville had become a well-populated little town. Land grants signed by President John Quincy Adams in 1825 and 1826 gave title to the first property that is today Northville.
Some of these early owners sold within the first year or two of ownership. Among early landowners of what is today the central city were Alanson Aldrich, Alva Smith, John Miller, Daniel L. Cady, Ira Rice, Hiram Robinson, and William Dunlap. Most of the homes on this tour will trace property ownership back to one of these men and their original land grants. The homes built by these people and others were sturdy, well-made structures, some of which still stand today. Many of these 19th century homes have been proudly and painstakingly restored and have helped make the City of Northville a showplace of Victoriana.
This walking tour is based on information from the book: Step by Step Through Northville: Four Walking tours, by Barbara G. Louie and Diane Rockall, Published by the Northville Historical Society, Copyright 1989. We will continue to update and add to its content, and woud be happy to receive feedback with any additional information you may have.
The Walking Tour was developed as part of a Girl Scout Gold Award by Jennifer Chalom, Northville Girl Scout Troop 40059.