More commonly known as the “Foster Farmhouse” is one of the coolest historical landmarks in Walled Lake. The home was first built in the 1830’s along an Indian trail. The house is unique for those who lived in it over the years and the purpose it served. Two of the Banks’ sons fought with the North during the civil war. The house was used as a depot on the Underground railroad before and during the war. In 2000 The National Park Service included the homestead in their Underground Railroad Freedom Trail Network Guide.
The post prominent member to ever live in the home was Dr. Sarah Gertrude Banks. She is said to be a descendent of the Myles Standish and was one of the first women to ever graduate from the University of Michigan Medical School. Dr. Banks went on to become personal physician to Mrs. Henry Ford and became a close personal friend of Susan B. Anthony. She was an active member of the women’s suffrage movement.
In 1995 there were plans to tear down the house, luckily the community came together and halted this action. Since, there have been numerous efforts to restore the house further. My family and I worked along side the Optimist Club of Walled Lake several years back to plant flowers and other landscaping around the house.
Click on this link to read an extremely intriguing first person account of the house being used as a depot on the Underground Railroad: http://walledlake.ploud.net/local-history-resources/documents/foster-farmhouse-documents/underground_rr.html