The McFadden Ross House at 915 S Brady was built in 1839 to be the powder magazine for the Detroit Arsenal at Dearbornville. Located several blocks from the main Arsenal campus as a safety measure, the original structure was a relatively basic building with thick walls that can still be seen today.
Following the closure of the Arsenal in 1875, the powder magazine building was sold to Nathaniel Ross who in 1882-1883 began converting the structure into a farm house and homestead for his family. Nearly 70 years later in 1950, the house’s last inhabitant Mary Elizabeth “Lizzie” Ross willed the house to the City of Dearborn to become part of the Dearborn Historical Museum. After substantial renovations, the McFadden-Ross House officially opened as a Museum in 1956.
Today, the McFadden-Ross House serves many purposes for the Dearborn Historical Museum. It is open to the public for tours and has several rotating exhibit spaces, and also acts as the Museum’s primary event space with a large meeting area. A schoolhouse room in the basement is featured in the Museum’s Pioneer School Program for local second graders. Additionally, the Museum’s gift shop is located in the McFadden-Ross House and the upper floor contains the Museum’s archives for the City of Dearborn.
For more information on the Detroit Arsenal in Dearborn, click here.