The mission of the Webster Township Historical Society (WTHS): To bring together those people interested in the history of the area to foster community appreciation for that which shaped the character of Webster and to discover and preserve significant artifacts and information illustrative of life in Webster Township. Acknowledging that every generation bestows a life-style legacy upon succeeding generations, our primary focus is on the rescue, care, and preservation of historical accounts, buildings, and artifacts to share with and help educate future generations.
WTHS is guided by four officers (president, vice-president, secretary, treasurer) and up to seven directors, comprising the Board of Directors operating according to organizational By-Laws. WTHS is a federal not-for-profit 501(c)3 organization.
A Brief History of the WTHS
September 1980. A dozen Webster Church members and friends with an interest in history set about to form a historic committee. On December 29, 1980 WTHS formally incorporated under laws of the State of Michigan as a nonprofit corporation.
February 1981. The Society had its first fund-raising event, a box social and square dance held in the Community Center. That event evolved into the 1981 Webster Fall Festival. Co-sponsored with the Webster United Church of Christ, this annual community celebration supports the acquisitions and work of the Society.
January 12, 1983. The IRS granted 501(c)3 status making the Society exempt from Federal tax and eligible to receive tax deductible gifts and donations.
The first major project of the WTHS began with the purchase in 1983 of one plus acres of the Williams Farm from May Kleinschmidt Mast, a founder of the Society. Over time May sold three parcels to the WTHS, always on most favorable terms.
February 23, 1984. The Society adopted by-laws, confirming it to be a community organization.
On the first parcel, the WTHS reconstructed a circa 1870 wheelwright and blacksmith shop built by Victor Jean Wheeler. This building was transported in sections from three miles further north. On August 20, 1985, the WTHS Board of Directors decreed: “Wheeler Blacksmith Shop, an historic structure, a significant relic of early Webster Township history, its architectural and structural integrity shall be preserved.”
Located just north of Farrell Road in the 5500 block of Webster Church Road outside of Dexter, MI, the buildings and grounds on the almost 4-acre parcel of land are part of the Historic Webster Village. Today there are 7 buildings surrounded by beautiful grounds that are owned and maintained by the WTHS: (1) Crossroads Community Center, built in 1867; (2) Wheeler Wheelwright & Blacksmith Shop, built in the mid-1870s; (3) Podunk School, built about 1850; (4) Old Township Hall, built in 1871; (5) May Mast’s Old North Barn, built in the 1940s; (6) Kleinschmidt General Store, a replica built in 2005; (7) Dieterle’s Corncrib, a music stage built in 2016. In addition, the center of our grounds showcases May’s Memorial Garden, currently in Phase III of redesign to showcase plants from 1750-1850, reflecting the time period of the buildings surrounding it.
Our grounds are often used by groups of fresh-air painters and would be a wonderful wedding venue or back-drop for senior pictures. Our Crossroads Community Center is the perfect place for classes/workshops, birthday or anniversary parties, wedding or baby showers, and much more. Recently a wedding was held in Crossroads. Please contact us (firstname.lastname@example.org) for information about renting our buildings and/or grounds.
WTHS maintains an archives of donated materials, the Historic Webster Archives (HWA). Artifacts donated to the Society become part of the HWA and are preserved and displayed in our buildings.