Longacre House was originally a small six-room Victorian House
built in 1869 by Palmer Sherman. Mr. Sherman had many fruit trees
and grew alfalfa seed for the Ferry Seed Company. The Sherman
House was the only brick house in the area and was a landmark for
those traveling on Farmington Road. The house consisted of a
parlor, dining room and kitchen downstairs and three bedrooms
upstairs. The front entrance faced Farmington Road. There was a
porch across the front, and the house was decorated with 19th
Barns, a spring house,
and a water well were also part of the property. Mr. Sherman,
father of nine children, owned 100 acres but gradually sold
portions to other farmers. He retired from farming in 1879 and the
house and grounds were rented to others for 36 years. In 1915 the
house and property were sold to Luman Goodenough, a Detroit
lawyer, and until 1918 was used only as a summer home. Then, Mr.
Goodenough employed Marcus Burrows to redesign and expand the
house into a 20 room Georgian country house, including four
porches, seven baths, a greenhouse and a library.
This was one of first houses in the area to have electricity
and a telephone. It was necessary for Mr. Goodenough to have
erected a long series of utility poles and the necessary electric
wire from Grand River Avenue, where there was a generating
station, a distance of about two miles. The final remodeling was
completed in 1930, when the library was added. With the help of
neighboring farmers, the stone wall was erected along Farmington
Road to replace the Sherman's white picket fence.
Mr. Goodenough's formal gardens were well known in the area.
Pools and fountains in the gardens added to the beauty. Five
gardeners were employed to maintain the grounds.
The Goodenoughs raised three
children in this house and kept horses, sheep and goats on their
40 acres. Several plots of ground were sold to others, including
Mr. Burrows who bought acreage west of The Longacre House and
built a home for himself. The architect also designed and built a
house for the late Mrs. Eleanor Spicer, Mr. Goodenoughs daughter.
This home is also west of The Longacre House.
In 1968, after the death of Mr. And Mrs. Goodenough, the
Goodenough family donated the house and five acres of ground to
the people of Farmington to be used as a non-profit community
Income to support the house is derived from classes, special
events, rentals and an annual fund drive. The formal gardens have
given way to the parking lot, an outdoor stage has been erected on
the site of a pool, and an old barn has been removed
A log cabin, which was a playhouse for the Goodenough children,
is still there, as is the old Sherman spring house and water well.
The lovely junipers, maples and elms planted by Mr. Goodenough
still shade the lawns.
These and the present flower beds are a pleasant reminder of
the days long gone when Mr. Goodenough would stroll through his
beloved gardens, always looking for new ways to bring beauty to