Years after city officials began planning to nominate the Rentschler Farm for the National Register of Historic Places, it looks as if Saline’s most famous farmhouse is getting close to earning the historic designation.
“I’m very pleased to see this application finally moving forward,” said David Rhoads, Saline City Council member at the Dec. 17 city meeting, where Department of Public Works Director Jeff Fordice notified council about the development. “Thank you for keeping after it.”
Mayor Gretchen Driskell echoed Rhoads’ gratitude to Fordice.
“It takes a lot of work to keep the project moving forward,” she said.
The Rentschler Farm House, built by Emanuel and Elizabeth Rentschler in 1906 on the north side of U.S. 12, originally sat on 215 acres of land. Today, the gabled 12-room house sits on four acres at 1265 E. Michigan Ave, is owned by the city and operated by the Saline Area Historical Society.
Earning the designation would add a little more prestige to Saline’s historic museum. It would also the Saline Area Historical Society to apply for federal historic preservation funds to maintain the aging house and the 13 other historic farm buildings on the site.
In 2003, city council approved a contract with Eastern Michigan University to study and document the city’s historic properties. As part of a project, Fordice told council, students studied the Rentschler Farm and used the documentation to prepare a nomination to the National Register of Historic Places for the farm. The application was updated, formalized and resubmitted. Fordice said the application has been accepted and will now be considered by the state historic review board.
Last week, the Saline Historic District Commission reviewed the application. The application is expected to go before Saline City Council Jan. 7.
The Saline Depot Museum is already on the National Register of Historic Places.