Looking Back

Published August 25, 2017

It is thought that the idea of the carousel grew out of the sports in which knights in the Middle Ages participated. With the invention of mechanical power, a moving carousel was possible; the first steam-powered “mechanical roundabout” debuted at a fair in England in 1861.

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Published August 22, 2017

ROCHESTER HILLS — The history of Avon Township’s fire department began in 1946, when residents of the Brooklands neighborhood realized that Rochester’s fire resources were too far away.

“We forget how rural these areas were,” Rochester Hills Museum Director Pat McKay said. “Twenty-five men got together. The guys had come home from the war.”

The Brooklands men — who lived off of Auburn Road, near John R — held chicken dinners to raise funds and volunteered their time.

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Published August 21, 2017

BLOOMFIELD TOWNSHIP — Leaders at Way Elementary School, in Bloomfield Township, want the community to “go way back” with them as they celebrate their 50th anniversary with a festival full of games, attractions and refreshments.

Opening in 1967, the school has taught thousands of young students in the Blomfield area. The event will take place 6-8 p.m. Friday, Sept. 8, on the school grounds. Current and former students, teachers, staff, administrators, parents and community members are invited.

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Published August 17, 2017

In the 1800s, Harrison Township and the surrounding areas consisted primarily of French strip farms that produced crops like wheat, corn, barley, oats, buckwheat and potatoes. The township also produced 22,270 pounds of marketed pork. By 1942, when this picture was taken, many of the farms were gone, but Bob Lagalski was still tending the family pig farm. Today the land is the home of L’Anse Creuse High School. Special thanks to Fred Pankow for passing along this photo.

— Marie P. (Ling) McDougal, Harrison Township historian

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Published August 17, 2017

HARRISON TOWNSHIP — The building that was once an elementary school and later housed L’Anse Creuse Public Schools’ administrative offices is gone.

Demolition of the two-story structure, formerly located at the corner of Jefferson Avenue and L’Anse Creuse Street in Harrison Township, began on July 28 and was completed the first week of August, followed by some cleanup.

Now the next stage for the site of the former Jefferson Elementary School and adjoining properties is underway.

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Published August 15, 2017

ROCHESTER — Residents, business owners, elected officials and administrators in Rochester came together to unveil a 20-foot-tall sundial in celebration of the city’s bicentennial Aug. 12.

City Beautiful Commission Chair Lynn Marie Oates said former City Councilman Steve Sage, who previously served on the CBC, came up with the idea for the sundial about six years ago. His idea was put on the back burner for a number of years, until the City Council issued a request for proposals asking for ideas for a monument to commemorate the bicentennial.

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Published August 15, 2017

The John Warrenner farmhouse — occasionally spelled with one “n” — was built along Ryan Road between 14 Mile and 15 Mile roads by Warrenner’s family in 1868 and 1869.

Although the building was empty for many years, in the 1990s the Eckert family refurbished the exterior of the building and has since made it part of Eckert’s Greenhouse. The left photo is the building before restoration; the right photo is after restoration.

— Photos and information provided by Debbie Vercellone

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Published August 15, 2017

GROSSE POINTE SHORES — Grosse Pointe Shores might soon have a distinction that its fellow Pointes don’t share.

City officials hope to learn in the coming weeks whether the City Hall building at 795 Lake Shore Road will receive recognition by the Michigan Historical Commission. Designed by famed Detroit architect Albert Kahn and completed in late 1915, the building was honored earlier this year by the Grosse Pointe Historical Society.

“I’m hoping in the fall, we’ll get word” about the state designation, Mayor Ted Kedzierski said.

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Published August 14, 2017

FERNDALE — On Aug. 12, 1917, Oakland County Deputy Sheriff Albert Anderson lost his life at the corner of Woodward Avenue and Nine Mile Road.

Anderson, who had just finished a shift at the Oakland County Sheriff’s Office, and who had a real estate business in Ferndale, had gotten off the interurban railway car at around 12:40 a.m. when he noticed a suspicious person near a business at the intersection.

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Published August 11, 2017

WARREN — It was a simpler time. Warren was a growing frontier settlement. The Wiegands were a pioneer family, farming land that would eventually become part of the General Motors Technical Center.

Born to German immigrants on Dec. 13, 1872, Frank Wiegand Sr. would give much of his life to his wife, Cyrila, and to their eight children. The rest he gave to the Warren area.

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Published August 9, 2017

WARREN — Warren’s history was written by many residents. But right now, it’s being researched and recorded by just a few. 

The members of the Warren Historical & Genealogical Society are hoping to change that.

The group is inviting any current or former residents with an interest in the history of the city and the families that settled it to join them.

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Published August 2, 2017

TROY — The over 160 quilts that will be featured in the “Threads” exhibit at the Troy Historic Village offer a glimpse of history and art pieced together and stitched in textiles. 

The quilts will be exhibited in the Caswell House, the General Store, the parsonage, Old Troy Church, Troy Town Hall and the main building Aug. 7-18 at the village. 

Loraine Campbell, executive director of the Troy Historic Village, said the quilts will be draped on furniture, quilt racks and beds. 

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Published August 2, 2017

FARMINGTON — Gentlemen, dust off your three-piece suits, and don’t forget to curl those mustaches.

Ladies, ready your pleated-skirt evening gowns and fitted bodices — it’s time to celebrate 1860s style with a 150th anniversary gala at the Governor Warner Mansion.

“Men have had pretty much the same style over the years, except that from time to time the number of buttons on the jacket changed, and sometimes the length of the jacket changed,” Warner Mansion Volunteer Coordinator Jean Schornick said via email.

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Published August 2, 2017

ROCHESTER — The Rochester Historical Commission is gauging interest in a new book it hopes to release this year called “Rochester and the Detroit United Railway.”

The book, written by longtime Historical Commission member Robert Michalka, tells the story of the Flint Division of the Detroit United Railway, featuring photos and information pertaining to areas on the DUR Flint Division route — including Detroit, Royal Oak, Rochester, Washington Township, Romeo, Almont, Imlay City, Lake Orion, Oxford, Ortonville and Flint.

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Published August 2, 2017

On Aug. 8, 1864, Adm. Farragut attacked Fort Morgan in Mobile, Alabama, which led to the capture of the fort by Union forces two weeks later.

What, exactly, does this have to do with Birmingham? That’s among the many questions the staff at the Birmingham Museum is asked.

People who drive past the museum might have noticed a very large rock at the end of the driveway that reads, “From Fort Morgan,” which begs the question of what connection a fort on the Gulf Coast of Alabama could have with Birmingham.

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Published August 2, 2017

With the dog days of summer approaching, we present a chill photo from the winter of 1941. A group of Green Glen Park visitors enjoys one of the park’s toboggan runs. Park co-owner and operator Bill Frys can be seen with the group, second from right. Today, most of what used to be Green Glen is part of Holland Ponds, near 22 Mile and Ryan roads. Green Glen Park was one of many parks operating along the Clinton River at the time in Shelby Township and throughout Macomb County.Read More

Published August 2, 2017

The building at what is now 24800 Jefferson Ave., near 10 Mile Road, was moved there around 1911 from Gaukler Point in Grosse Pointe Shores.  The Kramerhof (Kramer Inn) became a popular spot, especially because it was so near the water. From the very beginning, Mathew  Kramer hosted yacht and ice boat races, and people swam there in the summer.

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Published August 2, 2017

The Beddow family has deep roots in southeastern Michigan.  Around 1910, John Beddow, who owned a large farm at 27619 Lahser Road — at the corner of 11 Mile and Lahser roads — was postmaster of a town in that location. The town was known as Beddow as seen in this map from 1910. Thomas Ranier Beddow sold his father’s farm to the city of Southfield in 1958, and it was later incorporated into what is now known as Southfield. 

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Published July 26, 2017

BIRMINGHAM — On Fridays, nearly 200 local men file into The Community House in downtown Birmingham.

There are retired attorneys, board presidents, local politicians, corporate leaders and business legends. And the conversation that ensues is enthusiastic and full of grand plans.

But no deals are being struck.

As Bloomfield Township resident Bob Hayes calls it, it’s “chit chat.”

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Published July 21, 2017

School is out for the summer, and it is hard to tell who is the most excited — the students or the teachers.

At the Lakeside School on Jefferson Avenue in Harrison Township, in 1924 the student most unhappy to see school end may have been Virginia, in the center of the middle row. She had had to convince the teacher, Miss Williams, that she should be allowed to attend the school, despite the fact that she was only 4 years old, indicating that school was a special place for her. She managed to keep up with the older students in her lessons and so was allowed to stay.

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Upcoming Events

Royal Oak
Storytime and crafts with Cowboy Alex
11-11:45 a.m.
Royal Oak Senior/Community Center
Birmingham
Exhibition by local artist
ongoing
Robert Kidd Gallery
Royal Oak
Stagecrafters presents 'Annie'
8:00 PM
Stagecrafters
Sylvan Lake
Sylvan Lake citywide garage sale
9 a.m.-4 p.m.
Sylvan Lake City Hall
Franklin
Cemetery tour
11 a.m.
Franklin Cemetery

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