Arcadia Publishing releases Madison Heights history book

Authors will sign copies at Costco in Madison Heights Feb. 8

By: Andy Kozlowski | Madison - Park News | Published February 5, 2014

MADISON HEIGHTS — Madison Heights is a small town with a lot of history.

Now, the highlights have been condensed into the city’s official history book, part of the “Images of America” series by Arcadia Publishing, available at bookstores such as Barnes & Noble. Titled “Madison Heights,” the book collects more than 200 photos behind its sepia-toned cover and includes detailed captions to provide context. 

Margene Ann Scott and Roslyn Yerman co-authored the book. Scott is a member of Madison Heights City Council; Yerman is the city’s library director. Both serve on the city’s Historical Commission, which maintains the Heritage Rooms, a collection of memorabilia significant to the city.

The book was a huge undertaking for the two authors.

“This accomplishment took 2 1/2 years,” Scott said at the council meeting Jan. 27. “We literally worked our you-know-whats off for 2 1/2 years. … But we’re very happy that it is done and out in the public.”

The book traces the history of the city, from the present back to before the city’s date of incorporation in 1955, when Madison Heights was still Royal Oak Township and consisted mostly of farmland.

“Extensive work went into researching the city’s history for the purposes of this book,” Yerman said in an email. “The work was comparable to a jigsaw puzzle, with pieces coming together to form a full picture.

“For my part,” she added, “I found that what I knew about the city through 27 years of work, including about 20 years of that total as library director and staff liaison on the Historical Commission, was greatly exceeded in the process.”

The 127-page book spans nine chapters: 1) Prelude to the City; 2) Growth of a City; 3) City Departments; 4) Mayors; 5) Businesses; 6) Schools; 7) Community Life; 8) Events; and 9) Notables.

Each chapter is packed full of historical insight. For example, it includes background on the original families that lived in the area in the 1800s, including the Kendall family, the McBride family and the Kutchey family.

In fact, the original Kutchey family home, built in 1891, still stands today as the current Century 21 Campbell Real Estate office at 1186 E. 12 Mile. It is one of many old structures nestled among the newer developments in the city, including homes from the 19th century that were once surrounded by open fields.

One photo from 1918 shows a house that still stands today at 950 E. Lincoln. In it, a crowd of people are gathered around with their horses.

Nearby is the property where the Kendall School and farm was once located. Roosevelt Elementary would later be built in the area, and now it, too, is gone.

Then there’s the city’s oldest home, at 1560 E. 13 Mile, on the corner of Elmhurst. City Councilmember Robert Corbett, a real estate agent, helped run a title search through Seaver Title Co., tracing the property to an individual or family with the last name Millard, who received the land from the government in 1834, possibly with the condition that they clear the land and build a house on it first.

That house is still standing today, including a smokehouse in the back. Other records show that in 1839, the property was deeded to another family by the last name of Noyes, who had two kids attending the first schoolhouse in the Lamphere district.

The book is full of connections between generations of families, the likes of which may still be in and around the city today. Scott said there are many discoveries for readers to make.

“You might find yourself in here, or one of your favorite people,” Scott said. “We tried to put everyone in, which is an impossible task, but we hope that in some way you’ll be able to relate to this book. Plus, (you’ll) learn a lot about our city and the cherished heritage we have here.” 

Scott also wanted to give special thanks to everyone who helped, including city staff that provided information, and residents who came forward with pictures and insight.

Yerman said she’s happy to see everything come together.

“I feel a sense of accomplishment at the culmination of close to two years spent both on preparing the author proposal and working on the book itself,” Yerman said in an email. “It is exciting to be on the threshold of finally sharing the finished product with everyone who has anticipated its release with us and have been so helpful, patient and supportive throughout the endeavor.”

The first book signing for “Madison Heights,” with co-authors Margene Ann Scott and Roslyn Yerman, will be held at the Costco in Madison Heights, 30550 Stephenson Highway, from 11 a.m.-1 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 8. The book is currently available at area bookstores, independent retailers and online retailers, or through Arcadia Publishing by calling (888) 313-2665.