If you don’t live in Walled Lake, you may have never heard of the Banks-Dolbeer-Bradley Foster Farm House.

But the people who live in this small community know the important historical significance of the structure.

Jerry Millen of the Greenhouse of Walled Lake is no exception.

The Story of the Banks-Dolbeer-Bradley Foster Farm House

The historical home in Walled Lake was a last stop on the Underground Railroad as escaped slaves made their way toward freedom.

Walled Lake Mayor, Linda Ackley, recalls listening to her father speak of the farm house. He was a Civil War Historian and would share with her tales about how slaves would stop there overnight. There was an old shed where the family would provide food, clothing, and money to help them travel to their next location – all at great risk to themselves.

Over the years, the structure fell into neglect. While in the mid-1990s the City Council decided to restore it, there just weren’t enough funds.

Finally, they decided to take on the project themselves. Members of the council and other interested citizens of Walled Lake have spent countless Saturdays and Sundays working to restore the structure.

“This is part of our history of helping leave any area of enslavement to freedom, it’s that road that every individual needs to understand,” says City Councilman John Owsinek. “I would love to be able to leave this planet, knowing that the farmhouse is finally open for business, with a certificate of occupancy.”

The Greenhouse of Walled Lake Kicks in to Help

Always involved with the community, and grateful to do business in such a charitable city, Jerry Millen, owner of the Greenhouse, decided to rally to keep this important part of history alive in Walled Lake.

“I’ve heard the history of the house and I said, ‘this is something important’,” says Millen. “This needs to be talked about and people need to know about this place and understand what it meant.” Both then, and today.

So he donated $10,000 to restart the renovation once and for all. He hopes that new awareness of the project will inspire other businesses and even restoration companies to step up and help in this effort.

“It is important that we never forget that every life has meaning,” says Owsinek. “And there is no such thing as a person who is beholden to someone else, other than themselves and their creator.”

We couldn’t agree more.

Want to Help?

If you would like to get involved with this restoration project, the Walled Lake City Council and Jerry Millen of the Greenhouse of Walled Lake would happily welcome your assistance!

Reach out to:

Jerry Millen at info@greenhousemi.com
Mayor Linda Ackley at lackley@walledlake.com

Councilman John Owsinek at jowsinek@walledlake.com

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