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 Roseville native Mike Stanley stands with the Gratiot Drive-in marker located at the Roseville Civic Center. Stanley recently released a DVD called “Roseville Reflections” that chronicles many of the city’s historic locations.

Roseville native Mike Stanley stands with the Gratiot Drive-in marker located at the Roseville Civic Center. Stanley recently released a DVD called “Roseville Reflections” that chronicles many of the city’s historic locations.

Photo provided by Mike Stanley


Roseville native creates DVD to celebrate city’s history

By: Brendan Losinski | Roseville - Eastpointe Eastsider | Published June 19, 2020

ROSEVILLE — Mike Stanley grew up in Roseville and has always believed the town was a part of him. It was this belief that led him to use his filmmaking skills to express his love for his hometown.

Now living in St. Clair Shores, Stanley created a one-hour DVD titled “Roseville Reflections” to show off some of the historic sites and memorable locations in the city, both past and present.

“It’s a one-hour DVD and it is more of a video documentary and visual video guide that covers probably from the late 1960s through today,” Stanley said. “There’s a lot of footage from the past of different sections of Roseville. It’s got no narration, and opens with myself visiting Sacred Heart Church. It then goes into the past. You’ll see the video of the past and then see it today.”

Stanley has long had a passion for filmmaking and video production. He used those skills to make “Roseville Reflections” and incorporated footage he had shot long ago.

“I’ve been making movies since I was 13 years old,” he said. “Around 1982 I joined a public access class, and through the class I produced a public access show called ‘Tales from Beyond.’ We shot a short film by going all over Michigan, and they would show one a month on public access TV. We did a lot in Roseville from 1982 to 1989. I realized that I did a lot of footage from this.”

Stanley profiles several beloved locations from around Roseville.

“We have places like the inside of the Roseville Fire Department, which I have footage from, from 1978,” he said. “We have clips of Burton Junior High on 11 Mile Road. The Greater Gratiot School near Masonic and Gratiot. We show the Gratiot Drive-In, Sacred Heart Church, Reed’s Drug Store and a lot more.”

He worked with several local experts, including Roseville Community Schools Superintendent Mark Blaszkowski and John Bunkley, the Roseville Public Library archivist.

“As an archivist, we always try to help anyone with Roseville history,” said Bunkley. “I contributed some photographs. We always like the public to know we’re there for their resource needs. We can help with genealogy or just by learning more about the community’s old farms or buildings.”

Bunkley thinks Roseville is an underestimated, but important area when looking at the history of metro Detroit.

“The proximity of Roseville to Detroit and Gratiot being one of the major trolley lines decades ago made it a big hub to come and go from the city,” he said. “You can still see the influence of this rich history today, and I hope the video shows this. It was a strong community and continues to be a strong community.”

Bunkley said he was glad he was able to contribute to the project. He said the archive has a lot of resources, such as old yearbooks and photographs that people with an interest in Roseville can access.

“I hope this will spark interest in local history and people can ask questions about their family or their property or a particular site or business,” he remarked. “I want them to ask what makes Roseville so important and see how it contributed to the greater Detroit area.”

Stanley was inspired to create a full-length video after several of his posts on social media gained popularity among Roseville residents.

“I’ve always been one for liking local history and saying, ‘Hey, you remember this?’ and reminiscing,” he explained. “I was on Facebook and I saw a lot of people were the same. I took some of the old footage I had and put them on social media, and overnight I would get 400 or 500 likes on a 30-second clip. That gave me the idea of putting all these clips together into a full documentary.”

For Stanley, the project was less about explaining history and more about enjoying the past.

“I went to a lot of the places I had footage of and filmed how it looks today. Sometimes the buildings were still there and sometimes they weren’t,” he said. “It’s a trip down memory lane. Instead of trying to provide a lot of talk or explanation, we just want to let people relax and remember Roseville.”

His goal is simple: allow other people to share in his love for the hometown he cares about so much.

“It lets people reminisce and remember the town they grew up in,” remarked Stanley. “I think people, when they see it, they remember it and it brings back some memories from different times of their life. When I put things up online about the Greater Gratiot School, for instance, I got comments from people thanking me for putting it up or saying how they were looking for a color photo of the school. It can mean a lot to a lot of people.”

“Roseville Reflections” is for sale on amazon.com.