The Upton House is a 19th-century building that will be open for monthly tours this year.

The Upton House is a 19th-century building that will be open for monthly tours this year.

Photo by Deb Jacques

City ups its invitations to Upton House

By: Eric Czarnik | Sterling Heights Sentry | Published January 31, 2018

 The Upton House recently acquired this Story & Clark pump organ.

The Upton House recently acquired this Story & Clark pump organ.

Photo by Deb Jacques

For Meghan Mott, the Upton House is more than a historical landmark. It’s also a roadmap to Sterling Heights’ past.

The old house, which is owned by the city of Sterling Heights and resides in the Richard J. Notte Sterling Heights City Center, allows touring visitors to view several maps that were made in the 1800s through the early 1960s.

“You can see how the land is shaped and changed,” Mott said. “There is a map from the early 1960s that shows a couple subdivisions that are plotted. And now, 50 years later, (you can see) how developed the area is.”

The city is hosting tours of the Upton House once per month as the city celebrates its 50th anniversary in 2018.

The tours will be held 1-3 p.m. on the second Sunday of every month, with the exception of May, which will have its tour May 20. The next Upton House tour will be held Feb. 11. Registration is not necessary.

According to city officials, the Upton House has recently only been open for tours during the Sterlingfest Art and Music Fair, A Sterling Christmas and on some of the days when the Dodge Park Farmers Market was open.

Mott, who is chair of the Sterling Heights Historical Commission, said her seven-member volunteer commission oversees the Upton House and its tours. She said the tours are staffed by volunteers but are mostly self-guided, with plenty of photos and artifacts both downstairs and upstairs.

Library Director Tammy Turgeon, who is a liaison to the Historical Commission, described some of what can be found in the Upton House.

“We’ve got an old school desk, historic artifacts,” she said. “We also have a video about the Upton House that plays continuously, so you can find out about the Uptons.”

The Upton House was constructed from 1866 to 1867 by William and Sarah Aldrich Upton as a place to live. After the Uptons left, other families lived at the house, and businesses have also occupied it. At one point, the building was used as an office for the Parks and Recreation Department, Turgeon said.

Turgeon said guests who go on the tours will get a small book that gives some background on the Upton House. During the tours, guests will also have the chance to buy historical picture books about Sterling Heights and the former Sterling Township, she said.

She added that the house continues to add to its collection of historical artifacts, such as a Story & Clark pump organ that was donated this year.

“We are still looking for someone to play it,” Turgeon said. “We’re also in the process of purchasing some mannequins and period clothing so it will give people an idea of the fashions of the time.

“We’re just trying to make it more of a museum as we add new things. It’s kind of a fun time to be interested in history in Sterling Heights.”

In addition, since it’s the bicentennial year for Macomb County, the Upton House is part of a county passport program offered through the Macomb County Heritage Alliance. Participants who visit the Upton House and other historical sites through the program may qualify for a free meal at Culver’s, organizers said.

Find out more about the Upton House by visiting the Sterling Heights Public Library’s website at or by calling (586) 446-2665. Find out more about the Macomb County Heritage Alliance by visiting