Students Learn Holly History at Hadley House

Students Learn Holly History at Hadley House

(Crystal A. Proxmire, Oct. 27, 2017)

Holly, MI – Students from Holly Schools and Holly Academy have been treated to in person history lessons this month at the historic Hadley House Museum at 306 S. Saginaw Street this month.

Classes toured the home, which was built around 1873, with their teachers including Ms. Craven and Ms. White last week.  They also went to the Detroit Model Railroad Club, a local farm, and the police and fire stations as part of their day.

“The students have been studying local social studies about local history of Holly,” Ms. White said.  “It’s important for them to see history come to life and to know more about their community.”

Museum volunteers shared parts of the story in each room of the large Victorian Home.  The house was built by local builders Webb & Rickers and was occupied by Dr. Daniel D. Bartholomew who came from New York to Holly.  The youngsters squirmed when volunteer Worley Smith, dressed as Dr. Bartholomew, showed a picture of the instrument used to remove tonsils in the 1800s.  Bartholomew lived in the home and operated his practice out of it until his death in 1904.

The home was then bought by the Hadley Family.  The most recent owner before the Holly Historical Society was Tom Hadley who was the architect for Tiger Stadium, the “Round School” in Alaska, the newer addition of Pontiac State Hospital and many more structure.  He and his wife Arlene also hosted regular nature films for television and contributed to Walt Disney’s nature films. Arlene worked for the Audubon Society as a wildlife photographer.  When Arlene was no longer able to live alone in the home, she sold it to the Historical Society.

Much of the home still has the original wallpaper, although water damage has created a need for repairs to the walls in one of the upper bedrooms.  Many of the rooms house historic artifacts, photos, documents and more.  In one room a volunteer talked about rope beds, where instead of slats to hold the mattress there were ropes tied across the frames.  The phrase “Good night, sleep tight” came from wishes for these types of beds to hold firm.

Students also learned that Holly’s first non-native settlers were Ira Alger and Jonathan Allen who came in 1835 from Mt. Holly, New Jersey and built the community’s first mill.

Later in November the Hadley House will be decorated for the Christmas holiday season and tours for the public will be given. To learn more about Hadley House visit

For other “Daytrip to Holly” stories CLICK HERE.


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