Just when I think I've seen all West Michigan has to offer-- I learn something new!

Having grown up in Allegan I consider myself to be quite familiar with the surrounding towns of Allegan County, especially neighboring Otsego. That's why I was so surprised to learn of a recently uncovered curiosity hidden within the small town!

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Otsego resident Abigail Mckee shared her find in the Allegan County Informed Facebook group saying,

Okay this is for the folks in the Otsego area, I have lived here for 10 years and NEVER noticed the house on top of the old factory on the corner of wilmott and hammond… Anyone know the back story to this?

Um, how did I never notice this either?

Michigan Cottage Cheese

According to the Otsego Area Historical Society, the factory located on Hammond Street was once home to Michigan Cottage Cheese. The story goes that as the business grew, the plant was built around it.

Otsego locals claim Max and Rowena Loebel, who started the original Michigan Cottage Cheese plant, lived in the house with their young children which included a daughter named Gwen.

In fact, Gwen's son-in-law chimed in on Abigail's original post to set the story straight!

via Google Earth
via Google Earth

Rooftop Rental

Duane Verhage shared some insight into the home's storied past saying,

My Mother-in-law, Gwen Holden-Norton, was the daughter of the founder of Michigan Cottage Cheese Max Loebel. She lived in the house from her birth on January 19,1931 until they moved to their home on River Road in 1938.The factory was built around it...She said her second husband, Howard Norton, remodeled the residence many years later for McPhersons
Duane also went on to add that once McPherson Plastics acquired the property they turned the home into an apartment for their daughter. Once the McPherson's daughter moved out the apartment was then rented to the factory's maintenance man. It is unconfirmed whether the apartment is still being rented or who may live there.
Thanks to Abigail's curiosity I just learned a whole new chapter in Otsego's history. I had no idea! Have you ever driven past this unique property?

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