The Wait House
Year Built: UNCERTAIN – 1824-1831 (possibly as early as 1812)
Sq Ft: 1,724
Bathrooms: 1 1/2
Lot Size: .13 acres
Built by Luther Wait for his wife Laura (Pierce) this Greek revival style home is believed to be Redford’s oldest residence. Although we do not know the exact year it was built, we do know that Luther received a land grant for 238 acres on January 5, 1831. An additional land grant for 80 acres was drafted December 1, 1831, but was not signed by Andrew Jackson until April 4, 1833. This home sat on what later became Western Golf & Country Club and served as its original club house. As Western’s membership grew, a bigger clubhouse was built on the property and the home was moved across the street, closer to Five Mile. At that time it was owned by the Baker family and referred to as the Baker house. When they retired it was sold to the Smiths. It was eventually moved again, to the other side of 5 Mile to its current location. According to a July 4, 1977 article in The Redford Observer, the home was moved to its current location in 1939. The article also mentions that the home has hand hewn beams and later built rooms have wrought iron nails.
The last family to live in the home was that of Charles & Katerina Smith, who resided in the home for about 45 years. After Charles’ death, the family donated the home to the Township in 2008.
Charles was a university professor and also worked at Northwestern Mutual Life Insurance Co. Katerina, whose stage name was Sunny West, was a vocalist, performing all over the country, as well as with The Clyde McCoy band. In later years, after marrying Charles, “Sunny” used a room in the Wait house for an art studio, complete with a kiln. She was known to not only make porcelain dolls, but paint them and sew the clothing they were outfitted in as well. In one article she is quoted saying “The worst thing you can do is overpaint; the doll will look like a floozy.” We can certainly appreciate her sense of humor. She also made raku pots (after taking a raku course at Pewabic Pottery in Detroit) and ceramic fountains.