Looking Back

Published June 22, 2016

These photos briefly tell the tale of Washington Elementary School, which was the first school building in Van Dyke Public Schools. When Washington first began, it was a one-room wooden schoolhouse and handled grades one through eight. As the community grew, a new Washington Elementary was constructed in 1971 with a new library, learning center and three special education classrooms.

Washington was a starting ground for many programs helping special-needs students. Peggy Erity was the first speech therapist in VDPS.

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Published June 22, 2016

This wonderful tea-time photograph is of members from the Woman’s National Farm and Garden Association. Mrs. Harold Stubbs is pouring tea for, from left, Mrs. Bert Vandevusse, Mrs. Leroy Clark, Mrs. Clayton Stubbs and Mrs. John Lungerhausen.

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Published June 21, 2016

FERNDALE — The Ferndale City Council passed a resolution of condolence at its most recent meeting to remember and honor a significant Ferndale figure who passed away.

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Published June 15, 2016

GROSSE POINTE SHORES — During the annual Blessing of the Fleet May 30 at the Grosse Pointe Yacht Club in Grosse Pointe Shores, U.S. Rep. Candice Miller, center, presented, from left, GPYC Commodore Tom Lauzon and Commodore James Martin with a plaque denoting the 102-year-old club’s entrance into the National Register of Historic Places. 

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Published June 15, 2016

Law Enforcement has gone through many fascinating changes over the last 170 years in Birmingham. 

In 1846, Birmingham elected its first marshal, as required by law. At that time, Birmingham was only a small village with some outlying farms. Marshals had few responsibilities, and besides the occasional chicken thief or vagrant, crime was almost nonexistent. When needed, a back room at the National Hotel was used as a jail cell, but criminals would serve out their sentences in a Pontiac prison.

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Published June 10, 2016

Zena Neigebaur is known to be the first female superintendent in the state of Michigan. She taught in Fitzgerald Public Schools from 1928 to 1939 before becoming superintendent of the district.

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Published June 8, 2016

SYLVAN LAKE — The Sylvan Lake Memorial Day parade has been held since 1945. This photo was taken during the 1950 parade, and local Brownie troops gathered behind Daniel Whitfield School in preparation. The groups are holding flowers — often tulips or lilacs that were cut from the bushes in residents’ yards — that were then scattered on the lake by boats or an airplane. 

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Published May 24, 2016

ROCHESTER — Families can travel back in time Memorial Day weekend during the Greater Rochester Heritage Days Festival.

The festival, according to event steering committee member Liz Golding, is designed to provide entertainment for the community and educate people on the heritage of the area, and it also serves as a fundraiser for many local nonprofits, which benefit from various sponsored food and vendor sales.

“There are really so many events that are going on. It’s a really family-friendly festival,” Golding said.

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Published May 18, 2016

This pamphlet, titled “Facts Regarding the City of Birmingham,” from the Birmingham Museum’s collection, was published by the city of Birmingham in September 1939.

The pamphlet was distributed to residents, and it provided phone numbers and information for city management, departments, cultural institutions and city history. Birmingham had technically been a village until only shortly before the pamphlet was published, when the municipality took the big step to incorporate as a city.

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Published May 16, 2016

This month’s photo is of Roseville’s interurban railway, which serviced communities between Mount Clemens and Detroit with passenger service from 1895 until 1930. This particular photo is undated and does not have a specific location listed. According to a city history document from the Roseville Public Library, the Rapid Railway Co. controlled interurban service during that time.

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Published May 12, 2016

ORCHARD LAKE — Today, Apple Island is mostly wooded and natural, and a peaceful oasis in the midst of a bustling community. Many people are surprised to learn that people once lived on the island, even if only during the summers. Over a century ago, trees were cleared for farming, houses and outbuildings were constructed, and sometimes hired help lived on the island to work for the families who owned it. 

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Published May 11, 2016

CLAWSON — It is no surprise that historical museum curator Melodie Nichols loves fashion. She is often seen about town mixing her love for vintage apparel with current appeal.

During a signature fundraising event for the Clawson Historical Society, Nichols will bring her classic flair to the community and combine it with the widespread love for that certain PBS TV show that takes place in the 1920s.

The society will host a “Downton Abbey” themed fashion show and tea at 1:30 p.m. Sunday, May 15, in the Clawson City Hall community room, 425 N. Main St.

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Published May 11, 2016

ORCHARD LAKE — Just in time to see the trilliums in bloom, residents are invited to join the Greater West Bloomfield Historical Society for a three-hour tour of Apple Island May 21-22. 

The island’s deep roots date back to the Potawatomi Indians, and the historical society has offered the tours since 1968. 

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Published May 4, 2016

This photograph from 2002 was taken at the Utica Farm Bureau and shows one of the old seed cabinets. Jars of seeds line the shelves, and a scale sits ready to measure them out for the spring planting.

Established in 1919, the bureau supplied local farmers with all they needed for their farms, such as coal, kerosene, fertilizer and crop seeds.

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Published May 4, 2016

WARREN — This fall, the city of Warren will celebrate its ties to the United Service Organizations and a building once used by the group to host events for members of the armed forces and their families.

The Warren Historical Commission will host a historical plaque dedication on Oct. 1 at the Fitzgerald Recreation Center on Nine Mile, east of Ryan, which members believe is one of the few remaining World War II-era structures once utilized by the USO.

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Published April 27, 2016

ROCHESTER HILLS — During the last century, the smallpox vaccine was produced on the skin of calves.

“We painted the heifers’ bellies with smallpox,” said Tom Janicki, of Almont, who worked at Parke-Davis laboratory facilities for 36 years, beginning in 1960. “Then we scraped it off and made the vaccine.”

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Published April 26, 2016

ROCHESTER HILLS — The original dedication plaque for the old Brooklands School has gone missing, and police are on the case.

Rochester Community Schools Community Relations Director Lori Grein said the district filed a police report after noticing that the plaque was missing from the 1927 building, which has been vacant for nearly two years.

RCS Superintendent Robert Shaner said it is “extremely disappointing” that someone would take the dedication plaque, which he said serves as “a treasured piece of history” within the community.

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Published April 6, 2016

In March 1970, Ronee Gritzinger, a teacher at Frank E. Doherty Elementary School, described natural ice formations to a group of sixth-grade students. This photo appeared in the Inter-Lake News in 1970.

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Published April 6, 2016

Shetland ponies were once big business in Birmingham. From the 1890s to the mid-20th century, Watkins Shetland Pony Farm supplied Shetland ponies to pony lovers, farmers and businesses in the Birmingham area and all over the country from its 120-acre property east of what is now called Quarton Lake.

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Published April 5, 2016

This month’s Looking Back photograph is of Hund’s General Store, formerly located at the northwest corner of the intersection of Eight Mile Road and Gratiot Avenue. This photo was taken around 1850 and showcases some of the horse-and-buggy traffic prevalent during that farming era of Erin Township, which would later become the city of Eastpointe. The general store faced Eight Mile Road.

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Upcoming Events

Mount Clemens
Annual juried art exhibition
10 a.m.-5 p.m.
Anton Art Center
Clawson
Winter used book sale
10 a.m.-6 p.m.
Blair Memorial Library
Rochester Hills
Theater performances at RU
7:30 p.m.
Rochester University
Clawson
CAMEO Quilt Guild meeting
7 p.m.
Clawson United Methodist Church

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