Preservation in your community
Melissa Archibald, Jeff Guyton
Owner Jeff Guyton speaks regarding his plans for the old place:
The most frequently asked question about the cabin Jeff is asked is "what are you going to do with it?" and the answer is there are no plans to do anything other than keep it open for the Bedford community and public at large. Even if he were to live in the house in retirement it would remain a place where scouts could go to help, volunteers could hold fund-raisers for the cabin or for other causes, public officials could hold campaign events, and neighbors could come to visit and walk through. He is very moved by the participation of good people to raise Victory gardens, plant flowers, raise funds for small projects, and generally bring community life to a once-threatened site. He restored the cabin because it was the right thing to do and he is very grateful for those who have organized for the cabin, donated materials and time, worked on building projects, and in many ways, joined his cause. If some day he is forced to sell the cabin to help send his daughter to college, he would be most willing to sell to the community in order to preserve its public function. He has spent thousands of hours and a good portion of his personal savings on the cabin because he loves it and the community that it has drawn together. That was always his dream.
Hi My name is Melissa Archibald and over ten years ago, I lived across the street from this old house. Every time I looked out the window I was intrigued by the old home. A friend of mine Trudy Urbani told me it was the Ina Duley Ogdon house so I began to research. I was able to locate Ina Duley Ogdon's family members Joseph Gardner and Barry Ogdon who provided a wealth of information as well as photos. Some of this information was used to write the history of Ina which Trudy Urbani wrote.
I was convinced that the house had to be saved so I asked the owner if I could start working on the property. I started in the yard by removing years of over growth to reveal a log cabin. In later years I was asked to buy the old house but it never worked out. During the time I was trying to buy the place I was able to clean up the inside of the cabin as well. I wanted to remove anything that could help deteriorate the home further. I ended up buying another historic home but I could not let this one be forgotten.
I started a website and an email group of people interested in saving the cabin. I started a petition online to save the cabin and Trudy Urbani started a paper petition and together we collected a good amount of signatures. We also went before the local Township board for our cause. Trudy pleaded our case as I was by her side.
In May of 2009 I included the cabin in the "This Place Matters" campaign through the National Trust. I contacted the Michigan Preservation office and was able to develop a good relationship with Deb Odette who offered many ideas on how we may be able to save the old place. At this time I was also friends with the owners son and offered to take potential buyers through the home when needed. My husband would secure the place when ever we found vandals had broken in.
I joined the local Historical Society so that we could potentially increase membership in order to gain more support for saving the old house but the local Historical Society voted twice to not be involved with the project. That did not stop me and I kept trying to draw the attention to the public. I ended up having cancer in 2007 and spent a good amount of time further researching Ina and created a video about her life. It is not professional but it did tell the story. I ended up with a Michigan Minute Man Award for that.
Trudy and myself did a number of newspaper stories as well as media stories to get the word out.
A few years back the owners contacted me and said if I could move the cabin section of the house I could have it and the remainder would be torn down. That was bad news that turned into good news. I sent out a message via my email group and Jeff Guyton called me right away and said he would buy the home to prevent it from being torn down. Jeff lived in New York so I told him that I along with Trudy would continue to help him restore the old home in any way that we could. Jeff bought the house and saved it. We continue to do fund raisers and have gained many volunteers. The home has had many repairs and is no longer at risk of being torn down.
We continue to gain public interest and raise funds for further restoration. I was lucky enough to be contacted by John Duley who is Ina Duley Ogdons nephew and he along with his daughter came for a visit. John talked about his time at the cabin so many years ago when his Aunt Ina lived there. John also brought a friend who spoke of what "Brighten The Corner" meant to him.
The petitions, publicity, tours and volunteers have kept the home in the public eye and droves of people in the community can continue to enjoy this historic property. I continue to be a leader in this process however we could not do this without Jeff Guyton and the many volunteers.
Some of our faithful volunteers.