Looking Back

Published December 6, 2017

FARMINGTON — Grace Hotel in downtown Farmington was built on the north side of Grand River Avenue in 1915 by Benjamin Grace. 

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Published November 30, 2017

ng the Bath Era of Mount Clemens, the Park Hotel and Bath House was the largest and most famous of the city’s spas. And the most expensive. It was known for its lavish parties and celebrations. It was also known as the social center for the local elite, as well as celebrities from across the country and abroad. It was an elegant place to spend the holidays.

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Published November 27, 2017

Among the men who served in World War I was Charles Martin Green.

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Published October 16, 2017

This photograph, taken in August 1936 at the Packard Proving Grounds, shows Proving Grounds manager Charles Vincent, left, with his secretary, Milton Forester. They are inspecting a 1937 Packard 1500 Super 8 touring sedan that had just come off the testing areas. The model was introduced in September 1936. This photograph was given to the Packard Motor Car Foundation by Vincent’s oldest daughter, Dorothea, as a restoration guide for the water tower. Note the checkerboard pattern on the tower tank.

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Published October 13, 2017

St. Joan of Arc Roman Catholic Parish was established in December 1927 by Detroit’s bishop, Michael James Gallagher, making the parish 90 years old this year. The parish’s first pastor was the Rev. Joseph L. Fillion. The first Mass was celebrated on Dec. 8, 1927, in the “Newberry Stores.”

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Published September 22, 2017

On Aug. 27, 2017, when the doors of the Gibraltar Trade Center closed for good, we marked the end of another era for the property that was once home to the Mount Clemens Race Track.

The site was part of Harrison Township until it was annexed by Mount Clemens. The track opened around 1900 and featured year-round horse races and parimutuel betting. When horse racing on ice and betting were banned, the track turned to auto racing.

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Published September 21, 2017

HARRISON TOWNSHIP — There’s no doubt about it: Harrison Township is growing.

According to a 2000 census, the population of the lakefront community stood at 24,461. The number of people residing in the township increased to 26,004 by 2008, and as of today, the community is more than 27,000 strong, with population estimates over the next two years to exceed 28,000.

With that increase in the population comes an increase in construction, both commercial and residential.

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Published September 19, 2017

GROSSE POINTE WOODS — When Tom Carnaghi joined the Lochmoor Club 14 years ago, he knew it was the place to be based on how quickly he felt welcome.

“You walk in and you know everybody,” he said. “People here care about each other. They like to have fun.”

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Published September 18, 2017

BIRMINGHAM — As far as female trailblazers go, the city of Birmingham has one of the best.

Back when Birmingham was still a village, Martha Baldwin was a force to be reckoned with. She founded the public library, became a public servant in a male-dominated realm, and created a Village Improvement Society that advocated for the installation and beautification of sidewalks, which included a ban on spitting chewing tobacco in public — a ban she personally enforced.

Oh, and she refused to wear a corset too.

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Published September 18, 2017

Betty Anne Knudson, of Waterford, speaks during the full military honors ceremony for Nathaniel Squire, an American Revolution patriot and first Utica settler in 1817, at the Utica Cemetery Sept. 17. Knudson is Squire’s second great-granddaughter.

Officials unveiled the memorial grave marker from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs for Squire, who served in the American Revolution, during Squire’s full military honors ceremony. Ten years of research had gone into proving that Squire is buried in the Utica Cemetery, since records do not reach that far back.

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Published September 14, 2017

Children’s birthday parties weren’t always about cake, pizza, sugary drinks, and high-energy fun and games.

During the Victorian era, birthday parties were balls thrown by the rich to show off their affluence and to teach children etiquette lessons — which hardly sounds like something any 6-year-old would look forward to.

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Published September 12, 2017

ROCHESTER — High school students and teachers pose for a 1908 group picture in the Harrison Building, at Wilcox Street and University Drive, currently the site of the Rochester Community Schools administration building.

The history of Rochester-area schools dates to 1827, when a law was passed requiring townships with 50 or more families to employ a schoolmaster for three months of annual schooling. The earliest archival records for the Stony Creek No. 1 Fractional School are dated 1841, according to Rochester Hills Museum records.

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Published September 12, 2017

GROSSE POINTE WOODS — A.H. Peters Funeral Home — the two-story building with the impressive landscaping — has been a staple in Grosse Pointe Woods for 60 years, but the business has existed for much longer than that, and it turns 100 this year.

To mark the centennial milestone, staff will hold a celebration from 1 to 5 p.m. Sept. 16 on the grounds of the funeral home, located at 20705 Mack Ave. at Vernier Road.

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Published September 11, 2017

This circa 1960 aerial photo is of the manufacturing facility that became the Ford/Visteon plant in Shelby Township. These buildings, designed by Albert Kahn, were constructed by the Packard Motor Car Co. beginning in 1951 and were used to assemble and test J-47 turbojet engines. After Packard went out of business, Curtiss-Wright bought the facility in 1958 and also used it to test military jet aircraft engines. In 1961, the plant was sold to Ford Motor Co. By 1962, Ford had moved its automotive trim operations to this facility from Highland Park.Read More

Published September 11, 2017

In 2013, while co-teaching an anthropology class on Apple Island for Western Michigan University, I became interested in the vacation habits of the Campbell family, who occupied the island from 1856 until the first quarter of the 20th century. I decided to use the Campbell family and their experience on Apple Island as a focus for my dissertation work. Amongst the many artifacts we found that helped us cobble together the history of the Campbells were kaolin pipes, commonly referred to as clay pipes.

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Published September 11, 2017

UTICA — At 2 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 17, Nathaniel Squire, a Revolutionary War patriot who was one of the first people to settle the land that is now the city of Utica, will receive full military honors after 185 years at the Utica Cemetery.

Ten years of research have gone into proving that Squire is buried in the Utica Cemetery, since records do not reach that far back. The ceremony will include the unveiling of a memorial grave marker from the U.S. Department of Veterans, along with the pomp and circumstance associated with honoring military service.

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Published September 5, 2017

ROCHESTER — In the first half of the last century, most of the city’s houses of worship were located on Walnut Street, and residents called the avenue “church street.”

Included was St. Andrew Catholic Church. In the early 20th century, Rochester’s Western Knitting Mills had trouble keeping Catholic workers in their employment for longer than a few months. The community had no Catholic church, leaving many devout Catholic workers no choice but to leave in search of other employment.

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Upcoming Events

Sterling Heights
Annual Christmas gala
6-10 p.m.
Penna’s of Sterling
Rochester
Downtown Rochester winter farmers market
10 a.m.-2 p.m.
Rochester Fire Department
Grosse Pointe Woods
'The 1940s Radio Hour' performances
8 p.m.
University Liggett School auditorium
Farmington Hills
Farmington Hills
Cats and kittens adoption event
11:30 a.m.-3:30 p.m.
Petco

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