'Warren' book resonates with echoes of the past
Posted September 22, 2010
Photo by Brian C. Louwers
New publication part of
Images of America series
WARREN — Warren’s history —chronicled with snapshots of the past in a 128-page book — is coming to an event near you.
Author Martha Ruth Burczyk and her new book focusing on Warren, part of Arcadia Publishing’s Images of America series, will be the centers of attention at a special book-signing event in the City Hall atrium on April 17.
Burczyk, a Warren resident who grew up in Grosse Pointe and later lived in Manhattan, said the book came together over about 18 months beginning in the summer of 2008. But really it was more than a century in the making.
“It was a huge learning experience,” said Burczyk, who said she was originally surprised to learn that Warren did not yet have a book featured in the series. “I had like 5,000 photos from (local historian) Wesley Arnold to start with, then from the Historical Society and other places. That overwhelmed me.”
Burczyk, who after returning to the state earned a Master of Science degree in historic preservation from Eastern Michigan University, said her research for the book took her to the Mount Clemens Library, the office of Macomb County Clerk and Register of Deeds Carmella Sabaugh, and to the office of the Warren city assessor.
With information gleaned from those sources, and thousands of images from days gone by provided by Arnold — who wrote the introduction for the book — and the Warren Historical & Genealogical Society, Burczyk compiled the book chronicling the city’s years as a forest outpost rich in natural resources, through its agricultural beginnings, to its rise as an industrial powerhouse.
The book’s chapters focus on such subjects as Settlers, Early Development, Agriculture, Schools and Education, Sacred Places and Transportation.
Having sifted through so much material in putting the book together, Burczyk said some favorites stand out. Among those are photos of a young Anna Bull Zorn, who donated the front parlor of the family’s home for use as a library in the mid-1930s, and Frank J. Licht, a local pioneer farmer born in Royal Oak in 1885 who had “many roles in the early development of the village.”
For local history buffs, there are many, many other gems.
“There’s just so many great pictures. One of the things that really does strike me with these pictures in general is that the earliest chapters, it’s just like the Wild West,” Burczyk said. “I think it’s very cool to see the earliest photos we have.
“I really have felt that with this book, if people that know the area will find at least one thing they hadn’t known before, I will have done a good job. I’d like everyone to learn at least one more thing, if not many things.”
Arnold spoke highly of Burczyk’s work ethic in preparing the book and said it accurately reflects the city’s humble beginnings and rise to regional prominence.
“She was very diligent in doing research, and it was very tough. She tried to double check every source,” Arnold said. “It certainly would capture the spirit of our past, our history.”
Burczyk will sign books and offer them for sale at the price of $21.99 during a book-signing event in the ground floor atrium of City Hall, north of 12 Mile Road and east of Van Dyke, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on April 17.
She’ll also sign books at the Troy Barnes & Noble, located at 396 John R, from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. on May 1, and at Warren’s Greatest Garage Sale May 30-31.
About the author
Staff Writer Brian Louwers covers the cities of Warren and Center Line. He has worked for C & G Newspapers since 1998 and is a graduate of the University of Michigan-Dearborn. In his free time, he participates in the Michigan State University Extension Master Gardener Volunteer Program and conducts interviews with military veterans for the Veterans History Project at the Library of Congress.
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