1960 photo of 5736 Summit Street

Sylvania – Then and Now – 5736 Summit Street

By Gayleen Gindy

The parcel where this house sits was originally supposed to be part of the route for the first railroad tracks through Sylvania. At that time Main Street was called Division Street because it divided David White’s town from William Wilson’s town. White had drawn his map for the Town of Whiteford in 1835. His town was to be established on properties east of Main Street, and his map showed the proposed railroad tracks running through his town. In the meantime, William Wilson developed his Town of Sylvania on properties west of Main Street and his map showed the proposed railroad tracks running through his side of town. Well, Wilson obviously won the dispute because the railroad tracks did run through his town, as they still do today. That left all the lots in the Town of Whiteford, that were originally going to have railroad tracks across them, available for sale.

This house was built in 1901 while the property was owned by Clark N. Comstock. He married Sarah Ann Little in 1871, and they lived in Riga, Mich. In the 1900 census they were farming in Whiteford Township, Mich. and had seven children. In 1901 they retired from farming and moved to their new home on Summit Street. In the 1910 census Clark and Sarah were living in the home. Clark was 62 years old and retired. Sarah was 58 years old and their children that were still living at home included: Florence – 24 years old; Ray – 18 years old; and Myrtle – 17 years old.

By the 1920 census they were listed still living here. Clark was listed as 72 years old – owned the home free of mortgage – retired, and Sarah was listed as 68 years old. Clark died in 1923 at the age of 76. His children are listed as Waldo B. Comstock, Ralph R. Comstock, Florence L. Comstock-Smith, Ray C. Comstock, Stella Comstock-Jameson, Myrtle Comstock and Ada L. Comstock-Hess.

As of the 1930 census Sarah still owned the home but was renting it out to Philip and Katherine Schettler. Philip was listed as 67 years old and employed as a laborer in the automobile trade. Katherine was listed as 65 years old, and living at home was their daughter, Rose Warrenfelt, listed as 34 years old and divorced, and their grandchildren Thelma Warrenfelt – 16 years old and Mildred Warrenfelt – 8 years old.

Sarah continued to own the home until 1937, and then it transferred into her children’s names. Sarah died in 1938. In 1937 her daughter Florence and her husband Erasmus E. Smith had purchased the home. Erasmus Smith had married Florence Comstock in 1910 and from 1937 to 1966 they rented it out.

By the 1940 census Carroll and Nora Shepherd were renting the home. He was 50 years old and employed as a clerk foreman for a scale company. She was 36 years old, and living at home was their son Robert, 18 years old and Jack, 17 years old. According to the Aug. 8, 1946 Sylvania Sentinel, the Shepherds were still renting the home and they held the 28th annual reunion of the Alcock family at this home, where 68 members were present for a picnic supper.

The Shepherds were still renting the home in July, 1952 when the newspaper announced that Bob Shepherd of 5736 Summit and three fishing buddies sighted a flying saucer while angle fishing at Iron Creek Mill Pond near Irish Hills.

This address was first listed in the 1959 Suburban Directory, which shows Charles Rodgers renting the home, and the directories through 1965 also show Charles Rodgers renting the home. Then in 1966 Charlotte Rodgers purchased the home. Research shows that Charlotte Clark married Charles Rodgers in 1928, and in 1936 Charles was fatally killed in an auto accident while in Nashville, Tennessee. His obituary said he was survived by wife Charlotte; sons, Charles Milton, 5, and Melvin, 3; and a daughter Charlene, 6 months. So while Charlotte was renting this home she was using her husband’s name in the directories. Charlotte lived here until she died in September of 1977. Her obituary notice said she worked at the downtown Lion Store for 31 years, retiring in 1973. A building permit had been issued to C.M. Rodgers in 1972 to enclose the front porch.

The home sold in 1978 to Norbert and Marjorie Abel. Norbert Abel married Marjorie Kronk in 1949 in Temperance, Mich. They rented this home out for the 10 years that they owned it. Marjorie died in 2010. Directories show that Edward Zak was renting the home in 1978 through 1985. The 1986 directory shows Drew L. Chany renting the home.

In 1988 the Abels sold the home to their daughter and her husband, Drew and Deborah Chany, who still own it today. Building permits issued since they purchased the property include in 1988 an addition; in 1995 tear down the existing garage and build new; in 2010 a two-story x 18 foot addition for office space and additional porch space.

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