Hyser Rivers Museum
Hyser Rivers Museum
6440 West River Drive NE
Belmont, Michigan 49306
Hyser Rivers Museum is located at 6440 West River Road, Belmont, Michigan, in Plainfield Charter Township. Donald and Florence Hunting donated the house to Plainfield Charter Township. Mrs. Hunting’s mother and stepfather, Mr. and Mrs. Morton Reed were the last residents of the house.
In 1852, Dr. William Hyser built a house for his family in Plainfield Village, on the north side of what is now West River Drive. The house played many roles during that time including that of a stagecoach stop, post office, and office of Township Clerk, Justice of the Peace, and school inspector. For over a century history passed up and down the broad waters of the Grand River and traveled the overland routes to Greenville, Saginaw, Ionia and Detroit. The house is a well-proportioned example of early Northern Greek revival architecture, with the attractive shaping of the front gable and white pillars supporting the roof of the front porch. It is the last of the original buildings still standing at the site of what once was the Austerlitz Post Office and Plainfield Village.
When West River Drive was to be widened in 1973, the house was in the direct path of the new four-lane highway. The Plainfield Township Board was persuaded to save the historic site and/or the house. The house was moved west to an open field belonging to the Michigan Department of Natural Resources. The Township created a Historical Committee to determine its future use. On August 24, 1976, the house was moved to the Briggs property further west on West River Road. The use of the house has been decided: Rivers Museum near the confluence of the Rogue and Grand Rivers. Since the Hyser House was the last remaining building of the Village, it was decided to select this site within the original village boundaries.
Inside, the house has an open stairway rising along the North wall with a lovely banister rail. A hallway runs the length of the north side of the house past the stairs. The rest of the downstairs consists of three rooms; sitting room, doctor’s office and kitchen. Upstairs is a short hallway that opens into two bedrooms and a sewing room/nursery. The entire house speaks of a time when homes were built with craftsmanship and care.
The adaptive reuse of the house as a museum is especially appropriate since the Grand and Rogue Rivers played such an important part in the Village’s existence. The Township Board’s agreement to restore the Hyser House shows their commitment to preserving the era and history of Plainfield Village and its history.