Macomb Township history photo book due out in August

By: Alex Szwarc | Macomb Township Chronicle | Published June 23, 2020


MACOMB TOWNSHIP — Folks will soon get a better look into the history of Macomb Township thanks to the work of an area author.

A final edit of “Images of America: Macomb Township,” a book by Linda Osborne Cynowa, will happen this month. The 128-page book, produced by Arcadia Publishing, is due out Aug. 3. It includes around 220 historical photos of Macomb Township.

Osborne Cynowa, who formerly lived in Macomb Township and now resides in Washington Township, received photos from dozens of community members. After gathering photos, she wrote brief narratives about each one to complete the project.   

The book’s cover features a photo taken in 1920 at the intersection of Hall and Tilch roads. It’s unknown who the two men — one seated on a tractor and the other standing to his right — are in the photo.

She received the photo from Macomb Township resident Milt Miller, a member of the Macomb Township Historical Commission.  

“The complete photo has Milt’s dad in it, and where they’re standing is on Milt’s grandfather, Julius Miller’s farm. At some point in time, that whole area, from Hayes to Tilch, was Julius Miller’s farm,” Osborne Cynowa said.

Shelley Henshaw, whose family owned and operated Stier’s Hardware, at the corner of 22 Mile and Romeo Plank roads, for more than a century, submitted about 10 photos for Osborn Cynowa to use.

“I met with Linda and she showed me the platform for her book and they say ‘you can’t go home’ well, Linda made it happen,” Henshaw said. “I got to go home again and experience wonderful Waldenburg that I grew up in.”

As Henshaw was growing up, she called Waldenburg a thriving area.

“It had two grocery stores, two gas stations, the hardware store, Waldenburg Bar and everybody knew everybody,” she said.

Henshaw said Stier’s opened in 1903 and was demolished in 2013.

In 2019, Osborne Cynowa published a book similar to her current project, on the history of Washington Township.  

Since a couple photo scanning events were held in the fall, Osborne Cynowa compiled photographs and produced narratives on each one, telling a story about the township’s history.

“You can’t do much writing until you know how many photos you have to work with,” she said.

To narrow down which photos to use in the book, Osborne Cynowa said she wanted photos that best tell a story.

She said she is “totally grateful” to individuals who stepped forward to contribute to this project.

Henshaw said she wanted to be a part of the book because she feels it’s important for the township’s history to be written down for posterity.

Osborne Cynowa described the book’s demographics as people interested in history, and are curious about what an area, in this case Macomb Township, used to look like.

The book is categorized into chapters like farming, emergency services, and schools/churches over the years.

The most memorable photo Henshaw said she submitted was one from 1917, during Prohibition, when construction of the Bopp building was underway at the northwest corner of 22 Mile and Romeo Plank roads.  

“All these happy guys are all lined up and holding a sign that had something to do with a dry community and Linda and I both believe that’s a joke because those Germans really like their beer,” Henshaw said.   

Osborne Cynowa believes the oldest photograph in the book is one of Daniel Miller, a man born in 1796 who died in the 1860s.

Once the book is published, it will be available for purchase online at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Arcadia Publishing and Osborne Cynowa’s website.  

She plans on publishing two picture books in 2021, one about farming life in northern Macomb County, the other about farming life in the southern part of the county.