Sterling Heights book tells city’s history with photos

By: Eric Czarnik | Sterling Heights Sentry | Published December 5, 2017

 “Images of Modern America: Sterling Heights,” is scheduled to be released in December.

“Images of Modern America: Sterling Heights,” is scheduled to be released in December.

Photo provided by Erin Owens

Just in time for the holidays, a long-anticipated Sterling Heights history book will soon be available for purchase.

“Images of Modern America: Sterling Heights” was written and compiled through the efforts of the Sterling Heights Public Library and the Sterling Heights Historical Commission. Arcadia Publishing and The History Press published the book.

City officials mentioned the book’s development early last year while discussing some of the activities that will take place as part of the 50th anniversary of the city’s founding in 2018.

According to the publisher, the new book reveals Sterling Heights’ history, starting in 1968, as a farming community and then developing into suburbs as the population grew due to the city’s proximity to the auto industry. The book continues to the present day, when the city has the fourth-largest population in the state.

Debbie Vercellone, an adult reference librarian at the library, said many of the book’s photos are owned by the Historical Commission. She said she worked on the book project for around a year and a half, adding that it was timed to be released for the anniversary celebration.

“I got a lot of things in there I wanted to, but what is in there is based on what pictures we can get,” Vercellone said. “But there are a lot of good things in there, and it’s something that I think people will really enjoy.”

She said that some of the book’s highlights include the city’s recreational activities over the years, such as the Sterlingfest Art and Music Fair and baseball games. The Nature Center and the library are also depicted, as well as Freedom Hill County Park, Lakeside Mall and the former Sunnybrook Golf and Bowl. Former city officials are also featured.

“They might spot pictures of their kids or of themselves,” she added.

Vercellone said the book will be available for purchase at the library and at City Hall. Bookstores such as Barnes & Noble, and the book’s publisher should also carry it, she said.

“We’re going to try to get a number of local businesses in the community who might sell them at their cash registers,” she added.

Erin Owens, a marketing specialist at Arcadia Publishing and The History Press, said in an email that the market for the “Images of Modern America” books varies widely, but the books are meant for people who want to know more about their town’s history.

She said the publisher did a book about the former Sterling Township in its “Images of America” series, but this new “modern” book has a different focus.

“Our ‘Images of Modern America’ series is dedicated to more recent history and explores all aspects of the modern age starting with the 1950s,” she said.

“Since Sterling Heights is a city whose population really boomed during the 1970s and 1980s, we thought it would be a perfect fit for the updated series, and we were especially excited to publish this book.” 

“Images of Modern America: Sterling Heights” will officially be released Dec. 11 and will retail for $22.99. 

Learn more about the Sterling Heights Public Library by visiting or by calling (586) 446-2665. Find out more about the publisher by visiting