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Macomb Township

February 6, 2013

New Historical Commission aims at preserving Macomb’s story

By Robert Guttersohn
C & G Staff Writer

» click to enlarge «
Builders of the Dopp Brothers’ store take a break from construction and pose for a picture in 1908. The building, completed a year later, still stands at the corner of 22 Mile and Romeo Plank roads.

MACOMB TOWNSHIP — Amid stories of township folklore, Macomb’s new Historical Commission was sworn in Jan. 31 at town hall, creating, for the first time, a body whose sole focus is collecting and documenting the township’s story.

Its commissioners, all 11 of them, have roots in Macomb as fresh as seven years and as old as 85 years. They are teachers, military veterans and former volunteer firefighters. They each remember when all or just one of the township’s mile roads were dirt. Yet despite the varied ages, the commission is unified by the importance of preserving Macomb’s past.

“I think it’s important that we salvage what we can as soon as we can,” said Stanley Skavery, one of the commission members. He is also an author of a book on the Irish in Detroit and looks forward to getting back into historical research again. “I’ve always had the fire, and this is a good way to get those juices flowing again,” Skavery said.

Peggy Accardo, who works in the Parks and Recreation Department, said she is interested in joining the commission in order to begin the preservation of events occurring now in Macomb. “I think it’s important that we preserve the present, which will be the past,” said Accardo.

Timothy Bussineau, a history teacher at Romeo High School and a resident of Macomb for 15 years, said that he knows very little of the township’s past.

“I was at my mother in law’s down in Warren during Christmas reading a book about Warren history,” Bussineau said. “You can find one on Shelby Township; you can find one on Clinton. You can’t find anything on Macomb.”

The commission’s oldest members, Ed Gallagher, who is also the chairman of the township’s Planning Commission, and Milton Miller, who worked on Macomb’s original fire department, have lived the community’s history.

Forming a historical commission was one of the four-year goals for Township Supervisor Janet Dunn and Trustee Roger Krzeminski, who both act as advisors to the commission. They have tried several times in the past and failed.

“Janet and I have been trying to get the Historical Commission going for a long time,” Krzeminski said.

The mission of the commission will be converting photographs and documents into digital format and creating a website to share bits and pieces of history with the community.

“I think our website will be just a gateway for who we are,” said Bussineau, who has taken responsibility for creating the website.

The commission also has more lofty goals, like repairing and preserving historical sites such as the Macomb Center Cemetery, which was a place of burial and an apparent gathering site for the youth of Macomb during Halloween.

“They used to go there and just have parties,” Krzeminski said. “And you’ve got to remember this was all farmland back at that time. So, this was the place to go back on Halloween.”

The new commission is looking for Macomb photographs, artifacts or anyone with a story to tell about the township’s past.

People with information or items they’d like to share with the commission can contact Dunn at (586) 992-0710, extension 222. Dunn can also be reached via email at dunnj@macomb-mi.gov.

You can reach C & G Staff Writer Robert Guttersohn at rguttersohn@candgnews.com or at (586)218-5006.