Centenarian Don Staebler: "Crick 'n the Back" family farm to become Washtenaw County Park





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Published on Jan 29, 2012

Learn more about the history of the Ann Arbor community: http://washtenawhistory.org/images/wa...
and video interviews and tributes with local personalities: http://washtenawhistory.org/images/da...

Instead of selling his farm to subdivision developers, Don Staebler wanted to preserve his family farm. So he made a special arrangement to transform his farm into a Washtenaw County Park.

The county won the award, "Barn of the Year" in 2011 for the restoration of the oldest barn on the property. The other barns were also restored, which included putting new roofs on them.

Don tells the story of how his family moved to the farm in 1912. He shares to stories of making a living as a farmer in Michigan.

His amazing memory is evidenced in this video. Don talks about:
• How the farm used direct current on the farm before alternating current.
• How the dinner bell was also used to alert people of an emergency.
• How he built a travel trailer in 1937, that was featured in Popular Science for his innovative design of the axle and brakes on the trailer.
• How friends arranged for him to meet Lena, his wife.
• How his family celebrated the end of World War I
• How he went to Eastern Michigan University and became a teacher and principal at Eaton Rapids, Michigan.
• How he went to Ypsilanti High School and took an interest in wood shop, building a buffet and spinet table that are in his home today.
• How gravel was taken from his farm to build the M-14 freeway, creating Peaceful Pond.
• Many other stories of how life was like in the early 1900's in Michigan.

This interview was conducted on Nov. 30, 2011 by
• Dale Leslie, an Ann Arbor area historian
• Tom Freeman, Deputy Director of the Washtenaw County Parks & Recreation Commission
Jim Campbell, a video journalist and producer for http://www.ExcitingProductions.com of Ann Arbor

This video was produced in memory of Richard D. and Grace P. Leslie.


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