A local couple has been honored for their work at restoring a historic homestead in Livingston County.

Tim and Kerry Bennett were recently named one of the winners of the 2019 Governor’s Award for Historic Preservation for their restoration of the Warner Historic Homestead in Brighton Township and associated archaeological education program. According to the Michigan State Historic Preservation Office, generations of the Warner Family have lived on the plot of land east of Brighton since Timothy and Lucretia Warner arrived from New York state in 1841.

The traditional Greek Revival style farmhouse was built by the family in 1855. Once several hundred acres in size, twelve acres of land surrounding the house are still farmed for agricultural purposes today. The Bennetts are the sixth generation of the Warner family to own the land. Recognizing how few farm structures of this era remain intact, they began restoration work on the house in 2015, tackling many structural, exterior and interior projects piece by piece. Investing their own money, the family funded the work and contributed labor to the project.

The farmstead is also significant for its archaeological finds. Numerous excavations have been completed on the property yielding hundreds of artifacts dating as far back as the 1840s. The Bennetts share those discoveries by hosting school field trips on the property and showcasing artifacts to the public at special events. Officials say their commitment to preserve the history of the Warner homestead has led to a better understanding and appreciation for pioneer life in Michigan. The Warner Homestead was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 2011. (JK)