Raab Centennial Home

By dhowell - Posted on 03 January 2008

The farm residence of Oscar Raab, 11665 Bemis Road, Manchester, which is owned jointly by Raab and his brother, Rolland of Ypsilanti, is a centennial farm.

Their great-grandfather, Jacob Raab Sr. bought the 180-acre farm, located 5.5 miles east of Manchester. It was handed down to his son, Jacob Jr., and then to Theodore Raab, father of the present owners.

For the first eight years, Jacob Raab Sr. and his wife lived in a log house until they could put up the present stone structure. Building a house of stone in those days created no problem, for as the land was cleared, the stones could be gathered for building.

In 1866 a brick addition was built to the rear of the stone house. Oscar Raab believes the first log house was in that location. To the rear of the frame kitchen was a second addition, erected in 1888.

Part of the farm borders Columbia Lake, a private 70-acre lake surrounded by farms. Three lakeside cottages have been built by the Raabs which can be reached through a private drive.

During World War II, when housing was at a premium, Oscar said, they rented the cottages year around. But that had drawbacks. The long private road to the lake had to be cleared of snow every day so the tenants could get to work.

Although the farm is in Bridgewater Township, the family owned 32 acres of timber across the road in Freedom township. Oscar has lived all his life on the farm. He enjoys the location, but farm work never appealed to him. He has been a plumber and rented out the farm.

They can remember hearing their grandmother tell about the Indian family which lived across the fields on a nearby farm for several years and can understand why it was an area where Indians would have settled. There would have been very good hunting and fishing. They have never found arrow heads in the area, but they do have a stone which Indians used as a tool to pound the grain.