Historic Farms in Brownstown

Brownstown was once filled with  many thriving farms.   As time passed, these farms slowly began to disappear in order to make way for freeways, sub-divisions and shopping centers.  This section of our site begins to capture some of the early stories of pioneer farmers and the farms that they operated.

The Boge Farm


The farm was located at 23927 Arsenal Rd (Between West and Van Horn roads) and is the current site of Wegienka Elementary School.  The farm was purchased in 1936 from Gus Bargue to John and Antoinette (Nuttmann) Boge.  The property consisted of 40 acres with many outbuildings and two homes.   The small home was used as a rental and the big farm house was the main residences.  It is believed that the home was built in the late 1800's.  John worked at Ford Motor Co and Antoinette worked at a restaurant.  After moving to the farm, they were able to save enough money  to purchase and additional 45 acres and retire the team of horses. They were able to purchase farm equipment and John retired from Ford and focused on being a full time farmer.  John enjoyed nature and farming was his joy in life.

The main source of income came from dairy, poultry and grain (corn, wheat, oats and soybeans)  John went to Detroit every Friday to sell eggs, chickens and vegetables.  Selling eggs and milk during the winter months was the money that was used for groceries, utilities, and taxes.  Money from the crops was used for seed for the next years planting, repairs on farm equipment, and new/used farm implements.

John passed away in 1958 after a battle with cancer. Antoinette, daughter Marilyn, and John's brother Joe continued to work the farm.  They had 19 head of cows to milk and feed and they continued to to farm the 80 acres of land.  In 1976 they sold the farm to Woodhaven School District and in 1977 Wegienka Elementary School was constructed.  A new home was built on a 3 acre parcel that was previously part of the farm.  Antoinette was happy to have a new home living so close to her grandchildren. She was able to live a good 10 years in her new home before passing away at 89.


This excerpt was taken from "The History of the Boge Farm" by Marilyn Boge Mentzert 

Boge  Homestead - Current site of Wegienka Elementary School.

Boge homestead

Hen house shortly after its construction.

Barn getting a new roof

Dances were once held in the upstairs of this barn 

Marilyn (Boge) Mentzert posing with 1956 Chevy parked on the farm.

Joe Boge working the fields.

John Boge posing with one of his cows.

The Demick Farm

Louis Demick Sr. was born in 1852 in Springwells Township.  His parents were German immigrants.  Louis Sr. married Julie  Kreger and they had 8 children.  Julia died in 1890.  In 1900, Louis Sr.  moved his family to his Uncle George Garling’s farm at 20156 Sibley Road in Brownstown Township.  George passed away in 1904 and left his farm to Louis Sr.  In  1908, son Louis Demick Jr.  married Alice Waites.  They lived on the Sibley Road farm and paid rent to Louis Sr.  Alice and Louis Jr.  had 7 children and together they worked the 80 acre farm.   Alice died in 1920.  Louis Jr. was left a widower with six young children.   He hired a housekeeper, Helen, whom he eventually married.  Louis Demick Sr. died in 1932.  He left the farm house and 10 acres to Louis Jr.  He left 10 acres of the farm to each of his 7 other children.  Louis Jr. continued to farm his 10 acres until he died in 1955.  (Louis Demick Jr.  worked this farm for 55 years!)  His wife Helen held a farm auction in March 1956.   Primo Concrete is now located where the farm house once stood.

Demick Homestead

Barn, silos & equipment

Louis Demick Sr with his 8 children

Demick farm auction

The Hopka Farm

Fred Hopka immigrated to the US from Germany in 1882. He purchased 80 acres around 1900.  Three of his sons lived and farmed the property from 1905 through 1971.  In 1905, son Reynold Hopka Sr.  and wife Frederekia moved here.  They had three children - Reynold Jr, Edward, and Herbert.  They also rented the neighboring 40 acres to farm.   Reynold Sr. was killed in a hunting accident in  1925.  Widow Frederekia and children moved near her parents in Ecorse Township.  Son William Hopka moved to the farm.  He lived here until he died in 1941.  Then youngest son Frank moved to the farm with his wife Helen.  In 1947, Fred’s grandson Edward Hopka purchased the neighboring 40 acre parcel that the family had rented when he was a boy.  In 1957, Edward sold 8 acres of his 40 acres to the highway department for the development of the I-75 Expressway. The expressway now divided the original 80 acre Hopka farm with Edward Hopka’s 40 acre farm.  Frank Hopka passed away in 1971.  The 80 acres was sold to the railroad.  The redistribution complex next to I-75 now sit on the original  80 acre farm.  Condos and Apartments now sit on Edward Hopka’s 40 acres.

The Hopka farm at 20538 King Rd

The Hopka men working the farm.

Edward Hopka riding his bicycle on the farm.

Reynold and Fredericka Hopka lived on this farm from 1907 through 1925.

The Scharboneau Farm

Otto & Susie Scharboneau owned this ranch on the corner of Gudith and King Roads. It was also known as the Circle S Ranch because their brand was an S inside of a circle. 

Bernard L. Scharboneau working on the ranch.

Circle S Ranch parade float

The Thurman Farm

This farm was located at West Road and Hall Road.  This farm was located at the present day Woodhaven City Hall and park.  The home was used as the Woodhaven City hall until the new city hall was built.

The Tillman Farm

Mr. and Mrs. Julius Tillman came to America in 1884 from Berlin Germany.  Their 66 acre farm was located at 23936 Telegraph Road. 1/2 mile south of West Road.  Over the years, the Tillman family split off parcels to Tillman family relatives.  Per an article in the Guardian Newspaper (January 22,1969) the home served as a "half-way house" between Monroe and Detroit.  Passengers on the stage coach would stay overnight in one of the five bedrooms, get up the next morning and have breakfast in the restaurant, and be on their way. Many generations of the Tillman family made this their home.   The family farmed the property for many years, harvesting wheat, oats, corn, and soybeans.  The farm and its contents were sold in 1977.  The location of the Tillman farm is now a small strip mall.  The home at 23912 Telegraph , just north of the strip mall, was the last home where Marion and Earl Tillman lived.

Tillman farm  (date unknown)