‘Snapshots and Memories’ draws a crowd

By: Robin Ruehlen | Birmingham - Bloomfield Eagle | Published May 1, 2013

 These snapshots, including one of Bowers Farm, were among historical photographs collected during the event.

These snapshots, including one of Bowers Farm, were among historical photographs collected during the event.

Photo by Donna Agusti

BLOOMFIELD TOWNSHIP — When Jack Bedell owned Bedell’s Restaurant at the corner of Woodward and Square Lake in 1962, the price of a filet mignon dinner was $5.50. 

“You could get prime rib $4.95, or six oysters on the half shell for $1.25. Can you believe that?” he asked, pointing to the price list on the restaurant’s original menu. Bedell’s Restaurant was in operation from 1962-1986 where the Moose Preserve now stands.

“We used to make all of our Caesar salads right at the table,” he said. 

Bedell was one of more than 100 people to come out to the Bloomfield Historical Society’s Snapshots and Memories event at the Bloomfield Township Public Library April 28. Members of the Historical Society collected old photos, memorabilia and other artifacts from the area to be scanned and recorded as part of the society’s effort to more extensively document Bloomfield’s past.

Historical Society member Michael Carmichael said this was the first event of its kind that the group has held, inviting local residents to attend a meeting and share their own personal pieces of history.

“I think it’s been a success. It’s been a joy that people feel comfortable enough to bring their items in and share with us,” he said.

“We also had some people tell us that they’d like to bring in more items at another time, where they would have more time to talk about them, rather than in public. We’re really looking forward to seeing what else is out there.”

The BHS also had several items of its own on display at the event, including large maps of Oakland County and the Bloomfield area, dating back to 1857; a map of Michigan’s history in relation to the Civil War; and aerial photos of the area’s commercial and residential development in the 1940s and beyond. 

BHS Vice President Marilyn Tuchow lives in the oldest known home in Oakland County — a Wing Lake residence that was built in 1830, predating Michigan statehood by seven years.

“We’re getting a lot of varied items today, and we know that this is only the beginning,” she said.

“We know there’s a treasure trove out there, and we hope people will want to come and share their treasures with us.”

BHS member Al Eicher had albums full of snapshots from local events, including many of the Charles L. Bowers School Farm and the Guinness World Record-setting Ox Roast that took place in July of 1978. Eicher also had several photos of the Detroit Urban Railroad, which ran from downtown Detroit to Oxford from 1931 to 1956.

“This is great,” said Township Clerk Jan Roncelli, who attended the event.

“You don’t know how many calls I get about the township’s history. People want to know what the land was like before their homes were built, or the history of their particular subdivision or home. If I don’t know the answer, I send them directly to Al,” she said.

For more information on the Bloomfield Historical Society, visit www.bloomfieldhistoricalsociety.org or email info@bloomfieldhistoricalsociety.org.