Mendon discussing future of historic building

Southwest Michigan

MENDON TOWNSHIP, Mich. (WOOD) — The Village of Mendon in St. Joseph County is trying to figure out what to do with a building that is nearly 150 years old.

The Wakeman House has been a landmark of Mendon since the mid-1870s.

Village Manager Kirk Spence says the Downtown Development Authority took possession of the property within the past couple of months.

According to the St. Joseph County Historical Society Facebook page, Adams Wakeman built the building after a fire destroyed his Western Hotel, which was on the same site, in 1873.

Bob Baker has lived in the village throughout his life and owned the property across the street for decades.

“I’d like to see somebody, the right person with the backing, come in and do the job on it, keep it pretty much original,” Baker said.

Roxanne Underwood and her family owns the Family Affair Restaurant in downtown Mendon. She would also like to see the property return to its former glory. She says the restoration would benefit the entire local economy.

“If someone were to turn it into an inn again, it would attract people to Mendon, which would benefit everybody,” Underwood said.

The village has created a committee to look into what to do with the property. The process is in the early stages and no decision has been made.

“I hope it finds a buyer that cares and wants to turn it into something that would benefit our town,” Underwood said.

Baker is also hoping an investor will see the potential of the building.

“It’s got some old character to it and it’s worth preserving, I think,” he said.

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