Historical society looking for stories, artifacts for program

By: Sherri Kolade | Roseville - Eastpointe Eastsider | Published July 2, 2016

 The Michigan Military Technical & Historical Society is looking for artifacts like this jumpsuit that help tell the story of the defense industry in southeastern Macomb County.

The Michigan Military Technical & Historical Society is looking for artifacts like this jumpsuit that help tell the story of the defense industry in southeastern Macomb County.

Photo provided by the Michigan Military Technical & Historical Society

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EASTPOINTE — Were you an Eastpointe or Roseville Rosie the Riveter, or do you know someone who has a story to tell about their time during the war?

Have any wartime artifacts or memorabilia that you would like to share?

If so, the Michigan Military Technical & Historical Society is all ears and would like to hear from you.

The society recently launched a program for the Military Technical & Historical Museum in Eastpointe to answer questions about Eastpointe and Roseville defense manufacturing activities, according to a press release.

The society is requesting that residents from the immediate area send a write-up that discusses such topics as: if they or a family member worked in a defense-related industry in southeast Macomb County; if they own, work in or just know about a building that was once used for defense work; if they have a memory about a defense-related industry in the area; and if they have images of local businesses with military-themed window displays from World War I to today, among other questions.

Museum President Chris Causley said that often people have toured the museum and mentioned in passing that they knew someone local involved in World War II, among other wars — but nothing more than that.

“We have had people come in all the time and say, ‘We remember Uncle Bob worked at some place (during the war) here in Eastpointe,’ and a lot of the times they don’t remember the names or where it was,” Causley said, adding that he is hoping to get the details filled in for community engagement with the museum and to “get some of that local story.”

Other examples from the press release include that museum officials were told that L&M Gear was located at Aurora and Gratiot and made precision gears during World War II.

Another person, who was a child living in East Detroit during World War II, told them that his neighbor worked in a machine shop in the city making 20 mm projectiles.

“He had an unfinished example he was given by this neighbor, but he could not recall where the shop was or what the business name was,” according to the press release.

The museum is requesting photos, documents or artifacts related to the topic; they could copy, scan or accept the materials as donations.

The materials and stories will be collected to create a museum exhibit in early 2017, Causley said.

Causley said that a lot of people know about the bigger tank plants, but what about the smaller shops along Nine Mile and 10 Mile and the Groesbeck corridor?

“Without them, the tanks couldn’t (be) built,” he said. “The little shops making small parts, gears, cranks, shafts — they wouldn’t have anything to assemble. They are a very important part of the story, and a lot of times they are overlooked just because they get lumped into the big stories, the big companies.”

Causley added that the museum is not just requesting World War II items, but anything during the last 100 years.

“It could be anything military for this area over the last 100 years or so,” he said, adding that if residents are turning in a story, it would be best to write it in electronic format.

Museum Treasurer Wendy Richardson said recently that the museum is continually on the hunt for local wartime treasures.

“The museum is always looking to broaden our knowledge and understanding, especially of the surrounding areas, of the companies and people who were involved in the Arsenal of Democracy,” she said.

A lot of what a soldier used in past wars had Michigan ties, she said.

“I know that even today, that that is true. It is like everything a soldier eats, wears, shoots.”

The Michigan Military Technical & Historical Society is located at 16600 Stephens Road.

For more information, go to www.mimths.org or call (586) 872-2581.

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