Get ready to vote…

January 17, 2015

The polls open at 8 AM Monday morning, Jan 19, for voting on the grants that the Huron Valley History Initiative is vying for against four other communities. Voting continues until 5 PM on Jan 25th. As they like to say in Chicago politics “vote early and vote often”, only in this case it is perfectly OK to vote and many times as you wish.

There will be multiple ways to vote. One way is by clicking on the graphic below, which will take you to the Clarke History Library web site and the voting station that they have set up.

vote graphic

The second way to vote on-line is to post a Tweet or to Re-Tween a post that has the hashtag #DigMilford in it. That’s our unique hashtag for this competition. I’ll be posting a tweet Monday morning with a link to another blog post about this contest and with the hashtag embedded; so, you could just Re-Tweet that post.

postcardThe third way to vote is to send a postcard in to the Clarke Library, Central Michigan University, Mount Pleasant, MI  48859. Postcards don’t necessarily have to come from within Michigan, but they do need to have a Michigan theme or picture on them and they should also have the hashtag #DigMilford written on them somewhere.  If you can’t find a Michigan-themed postcard, get a blank one and draw a left handed mitten on it and label it “Michigan”. That should work. Postcards count as 100 votes, so we’d love to get lots of them sent to Clarke Library.

As I’ve mentioned here before, the Huron Valley History Initiative is made up of about 8-9 museums, libraries and historical societies and groups. The goal is this group is to digitize and make available on–line the various collections of historic memorabilia that the historical societies and museums have collected. The project that will kick this off is the conversion of the microfilm libraries that the Milford Historical Museum and the Milford Library have of back issues of the Milford Times weekly newspaper. Those back issues go back to the beginning of the paper in 1871. The Clarke Library grant that we are vying for will facilitate that conversion from microfilm into a digital format and allow the indexing of the issues to create a searchable database.

Look for my kick-off post on Monday, but get ready to vote next week. Dig through your old boxes of pictures and stuff to see if you have an old postcard off something from Michigan that you could send; otherwise stand by to Tweet. Have a great weekend.

Voting for Huron Valley history…

January 13, 2015

I’ve mentioned this here before and your will see it again before next Monday. I’m the President of the Board of the Milford Historical Society (MHS). We run a small museum in Milford that is open 8 months of the year. The Milford Historical Museum, like many small town museums across America focuses upon local history, in our case the history of the area surrounding Milford – The Huron Valley area. The museum houses memorabilia of various sorts that have been contributed by local residents. It also houses a unique collection of microfilmed copies of the local weekly paper – The Milford Times – going back to its beginning in 1871. The Milford Times like many small town weekly papers, is a great source for historical material on the life and times of Milford and the surrounding area. The ads alone would make a great graduate degree study in the changing tastes of mid-America.

microfilm readerWhen this archive was conceived and created back in the 1970’s the most logical medium to use was microfilm, which is what it is recorded upon to this day. Microfilm has a very long life, but the technology has been supplanted by newer, faster and certainly more useful technologies. The microfilm library that we have is not indexed (other than by start and stop dates on the film reels) and cannot be searched. It is a tedious process to find a specific issue and an impossible task to find all mentions of a specific subject. We hope to change that and make the files searchable, while at the same time moving to a newer technology that will last long into the future.

Our Museum and the Milford Historical Society has joined forces with the Milford Library, the Highland Township Library, the White Lake Township Library, the Commerce Township Library and Historical Societies from Highland, White Lake (and Fisk Farm), and Commerce Township (and Byers Farm) in a project that has been named the Huron Valley History Initiative. This group has joined together to facilitate the project to convert the copies of the Milford times that exist on microfilm in the Milford Historical Museum and at the Milford Library into a searchable database that will be house on a server that will be accessible to the group members. The resulting database will be indexed and searchable. The groups have also committed to the digitization and addition of other of their records and memorabilia, such as old photos, cemetery records, tax records and such. Once done the resulting database will allow a very rich search environment for historians and genealogy researchers.

The tasks that must be completed to realize the vision of having all of this history on line are formidable, but they start with getting the current microfilm library scanned in and converted to digital format. To that end, the group has applied for a grant from the Clarke Library, which is associated with Central Michigan University. Clarke accepts annual grant requests for history-oriented projects from around the state of Michigan and then chooses one request to fund. The choice involves letting the communities that will be impacted by the grant work vote on the importance to the community of the proposed work. The Huron Valley History Initiative is one of the five finalists for this year’s Clarke Library grant. The voting is done within a one week window, from Jan 19 until Jan 25.

vote graphicBeginning Jan 19, members of the community (or anyone for that matter)  may “vote” for the project of their choice by using Twitter to post a Tweet with a unique hashtag (in our case the hashtag is #DigMilford) or they may send in a post card with some Michigan theme or content (a picture of something in Michigan) addressed to Clarke Library, Central Michigan University, Mount Clemens, MI  48859. The postcard should contain the hashtag DigMilford on it to identify it as a vote for our project. You can click here to view the poster that we’ve created and which will be in store window in Milford and in the libraries mentioned. The Huron Valley History Initiative has also created a Facebook page – ,which you can visit for more information. The Clarke Library also has a web page that will allow you to vote, just remember that our hashtag is #DigMilford.

I encourage all of my readers to Tweet or re-Tweet during the voting window using the hashtag #DigMilford. Admittedly, this is a “cause” that doesn’t pull at the heartstrings like most of the health and welfare causes that we are all bombarded with all of the time. The needs in those areas are great all around the world and I encourage you to do what you can for them and give what you can. In this case, we aren’t asking you for any money, just a few moments to Tweet or re-Tweet something with the hashtag #DigMilford to support our project. Of course, if you do happen to have a Michigan-themed postcard and want to send it in to vote for us, that would be great. Postcards count as 100 votes, so that counts as a lot of Tweeting. Send your cards to – Clarke Library, Central Michigan University, Mount Clemens, MI  48859. For my international followers, perhaps a postcard from your country to the library with something historic in your area would be counted – just make sure to put the hashtag #DigMilford on it.

I’ll post a reminder on Monday, Jan 19 when the polls open. Thanks for your support.

Progress without destruction – #DigMilford

January 5, 2015

“You raze the old to raise the new.”  (Justin Chen), as seen on the Jack’s Winning Words blog.  In modern terms this concept is sometimes called creative destruction. The idea seems to be the need to tear down the old to make way for the new. It is applied to buildings and industries and sometimes, unfortunately to relationships.

I’m not a Luddite by any means; however, I have a conflict of sorts with this concept, especially the rather cavalier discarding of everything old to make way for the new. I suppose it has something to do with the fact that I’m currently the President of the Milford Historical Society – a group dedicated to preserving and sharing the history of the Milford area.  old millThe name Milford came about because the area provided ample water-power sources and one could easily ford the Huron River at this point in the Huron Valley. Many mills of all sorts were built in Milford, none of which exist today. They were all torn down to make way for progress. Other communities that didn’t do so now have a nice attraction for visitors to see how things were done more than a century ago. All we have now are pictures of the mills in our Milford Historical Museum. Perhaps preserving at least one mill would have been a good idea.

Entire industries also get destroyed by progress and some of that is inevitable. The entire industry built around the horse and carriage as a means of transportation was rendered obsolete and Eire canaluseless by the invention of the automobile. The rise of the railroad industry put a quick end to the nascent industry devoted to building canals to allow for transport by boat. Eventually the railroads, at least as a means of long distance travel, were largely obsoleted by the rise of the airplane and the airliner. The railroad industry shifted almost completely to bulk transporting, which is does better than airplanes.  There are lots of other examples. Of course, not all progress has been accompanied by the demise of earlier industries. In some cases the new didn’t replace anything old; it just allowed new things that hadn’t been done before. One could argue the case for computers or the Internet as examples; although there were some things that were probably displaced by them, too.

Sometimes we allow new relationships to tear down old ones, often due to the demands of either the new or the old. New friends or loves in our lives demand attention, which is often time taken away from an older relationship. That does not go unnoticed and can sour the previous relationship. In the case of your life partner, there can be only one at a time, both legally and practically. Other long-term relationships, especially those of blood, can also get displaced. There’s an old saying that mothers everywhere know is somewhat true – “a son is a son until he takes a wife, but a daughter’s a daughter for all of her life.” Many moms feel displaced by their son’s wife, at least partially; but the woman to women relationship that remains between the mom and her daughter may just get stronger as the daughter matures.

Can there be progress without destruction? Can new things develop without tearing down the old? I think so. There is no doubt that the old will be somewhat displaced by the new; however, perhaps the old can assume a new role and not be completely destroyed. At a minimum, some examples of the old should be saved as part of our history and heritage, so that our children can see and appreciate how things were before the world that they live in came about. That is the role of our museums; a role that should be supported by the community, both financially, so that they can continue to exist, and by the community’s use and participation in their programs.

Our Milford Historical Museum is one tiny repository of history in our little corner of the world. It operates totally on donations, both from the community and from the membership of the Milford Historical Society. You can learn more about it at our web site – . We are currently involved in a project to preserve a key part of our history by bringing an microfilm readerimportant part of it into the 21st Century. The Milford Historical Society has for some time been collecting and preserving copies of the weekly publication The Milford Times on microfilm. Microfilm is an industry that is ending – displaced by the more modern digital means of storing things. The old microfilm machines are hard or impossible to buy or maintain anymore. So, we have joined several other local historical groups and libraries in the area in a project to have our microfilm library of issues of the Milford Times dating back to 1871 digitized into a searchable dtatbase. This is a valuable historical research resource that will become much more accessible once we get the library digitized, indexed and on-line. The project will go on to digitize images of our Museum’s collection of old photos and other memorabilia.

You can read more about the microfilm digitization project at our web site, as well as how to vote for this project in a grant competition in which we are a finalist. Between January  19 and January 25, any Tweets on Twitter that carry the hash tag #DigMilford will count as a vote for this project. I hope that many of my readers will vote for us and our project to preserve the history of the Milford area. I’ll post another reminder closer to the voting window dates.

Nationally aclaimed pianist coming to Milford

September 28, 2014

The Milford Historical Society proudly presents highly regarded Ragtime pianist Bob Milne in concert at The Milford Presbyterian Church, 238 N Main St, Milford, MI 48381, on Friday, October 24 at 7 pM.

 Click here to view the event poster with ticket information. An afterglow event follows the concert. Read the poster for details on how to attend that event. Proceeds go to support the Milford Historical Museum.

bOb Milne - RagtimistConsidered by many to be the best Ragtime/Boogie-Woogie pianist in the world, Bob Milne specializes in this music style that developed in America in the late 1800’s and early 1900’s.

Although Bob Milne comes from a classical background, having excelled as a French horn virtuoso at the Eastman School of Music, he is completely self-taught as a pianist, playing totally by ear.  When he took up saloon piano-playing on the side, he discovered what fun entertaining his listeners could be, and how natural it came to him.

Early on in this new career, Bob became fascinated by the Ragtime music found on nearby player pianos, and how listeners enjoyed it.  His “internship” lasted 25 years; he has even written a book on these experiences, The Journeyman Piano Player.

Bob naturally progressed to the concert stage, acknowledged by many as one of the best pianists of our time. He is now constantly performing across the country (and sometimes beyond) from concert halls to festivals, and everything in between, and still having fun with his audiences exhibiting ballistic speed as well as subtle harmonies.

Known as a “Ragtimist” (a term he coined), Bob Milne quickly made himself a dedicated student and presenter of this true American musical form, having acquired both a vast repertoire of tunes and extensive knowledge of their origins.

These histories and the stories of the piano players who were playing them are anecdotally incorporated into BobBob milne at piano Milne’s presentations.  (Bob also teaches music history at Florida Atlantic University every winter, and conducts a Music Retreat in Lapeer, MI each September.)

It comes as no surprise that the Library of Congress designated him a “National Treasure” when they documented his expertise for future generations, and that the U.S. State Department has utilized him as a “Musical Ambassador” in Japan and Switzerland.

Bob Milne brings endless enthusiasm, enchanting ease of playing, and an engaging manner while telling stories about Ragtime and Boogie Woogie music with warmth and humor.

Today Bob is well-known as an outstanding pianist specializing in Ragtime, Boogie-Woogie, the Blues, and the Player Piano styles of the turn of the century.

As a sample of the wonderful evening that you’ll be in for, click here for a short video clip of one of Bob’s performances.

Off to a good short start…

September 2, 2014

The weeks after a three day holiday always seem a little weird, but in a good way. This week in particular is strange because the schools started in this area today; so, traffic was up significantly as those parents with school buslittle princesses and princes who can’t walk to school or  ride the buses are transported by dads on the way to work or moms still in their pajamas. Perhaps many of them are “schools of choice” kids who can’t ride the buses, but I doubt it. More likely, they are our local versions of  Honey Boo-Boo. I guess the short week helps make the transition back into the school routine a bit easier for the kids.

Short work weeks are always a bit confusing, because the start feels like it should be Monday, even if it is Tuesday. By the time you get used to that, it’s already Wednesday and the week’s half over already – Yea! Wouldn’t it be great if every work week were only four days? There are some European countries that have proposed doing just that. They are looking at having four 10-hour workdays and then three day weekends every week. I could see that, since many already work 10-hour days (most without the benefit of overtime).

The people who really don’t like these short weeks are the garbage collectors, who have to make up that lost collection day by doubling up somewhere. Of course they will start entering the fall leaf collection period soon, which really doubles up their work with recycling bags of leaves.

Also this week…

The new minimum wage increase started in Michigan yesterday and so far the world has not come to an paid The wage for our food servers and other minimum wage jobs moved from $7.40 an hour to $8.15. It will continue to gradually increase to $9.25 hour in 2018. Of course there was grousing about this by many small business owners who fear that raising prices to cover the new costs will drive away customers. The bottom line; however, is that this increase will impact only 4-5% of the workforce. Meanwhile, a new study commissioned by the Michigan Association of United Ways finds 40 percent of Michigan households with at least one worker don’t make enough money to meet basic survival needs.

Home Tour picture 1The countdown to the next big weekend in Milford started on September 1. The big Home Tour Weekend is September 20 and 21. The 38th annual Milford Home Tour will take place on that Saturday and Sunday, with 5 historic Milford homes offered for public viewing on the tour. Tickets for the Tour are on sale now at several locations in Milford – Acorn Farm, Main Street Art, Your Nesting Place, the Milford Township office and of course at the Milford Historical Museum. Tickets are $15 for adults and $13 for youth and seniors. The tickets are good for both days and include visits to the Log Cabin in South Side Park, a visit to the Milford Historical Museum and a walking tour of Oak Grove Cemetery. For more on the Home Tour, click here.

In addition to the Home Tour, the big weekend includes The Milford Car Show on Sunday all down Main car show graphic 1Street and into Central Park, with over 300 cars on display; and a Tractor Show out at the Huron Valley State Bank parking lot near the corner of Milford Road and GM Road. On Sunday the Milford Rotary also stages its annual rubber duck race in Central Park, this year expanded to include a family fun picnic event starting at 10 AM. Several hundred bright yellow rubber ducks are dumped into Pettibone Creek, which leads to the Huron River; with the first few RotaryDucksducks to make it to the catch net at the end leading to prizes for the duck owners. The first place duck earned its owner $2,000 last year. Events for the kids, plus food are part of the family fun day. Plan on spending the day in Milford on that Sunday. There will be something going on for everyone in your family.

Next big weekend event in Milford…

August 9, 2014

MM_Postcard_2014The annual Milford Memories Street Festival, run by the Huron Valley Chamber of Commerce, is in full swing this weekend in Milford. Rated as one of the top 100 Street Art Fairs in the Country, Milford Memories draws thousands of people each day over its three day run. Milford Memories is open from 9 AM until 7 Pm today and from 9 Am until 5 PM on Sunday. Over 300 artists and venders from around the country come to Milford each year for this festival, which also features a number of ancillary events (see the events schedule here). There’s still plenty of time to get out to Milford for this year’s Milford Memories festival. This show is ranked as one of the best of the year by the vendors who attend.

The next big weekend event on the calendar this year will be the Milford Home Tour weekend. Each year the2014 Annual Home Tour PosterMilford Historical Society organizes and runs this tour through some of Milford’s fine older homes. There are five homes on the tour and it is usually a walkable tour, which means an enjoyable stroll along the streets of Milford. In addition to the Home Tour, which will be on Saturday, September 20 and Sunday, September 21, from 10 AM until 5 PM both days.  Click here to go to the Milford Historical Society web site and view a poster of the event and the five houses.

MilfordCarShow-2014On Sunday only, the annual Milford Car Show takes over all of Main Street and part of Central Park as over 300 cars of all types are on display. This audience- judged show has lots of different categories for entrants, so you’ll see a little bit of everything from vintage cares to street rods. Click here to go to the Milford Car Show Web site and register your car for the show.

On the Sunday of  Home Tour Weekend two other events draw people into Milford. There is an annual Tractor tractorShow at the south edge of town in the Huron Valley State Bank parking lot. This show features working tractors of different vintages and sizes. One never knows what will show up there. Then, in Central Park around noon the Rotary Club of Milford holds its annual Rubber Duck Race in which hundreds of little yellow rubber ducks vie to see which one can make it to the end of a stream leading into the Huron River. Each duck is numbered and sold as a fund RotaryDucksraiser. The owner of the first duck to reach the finish line wins a money prize based upon how many ducks are sold. Last year the winner took home $2,000.

So, that third weekend in September will be another time to plan to come out to Milford and enjoy our small village and the events that will be going on. While you’re there, you can enjoy shopping in our quaint downtown and a good meal in one of our many fine restaurants. Many restaurants feature outdoor dining areas which should be very pleasant at that time of the year. Come on out today for Milford Memories and put the Milford Home Tour Weekend on your calendars for the fall.

Get into the 4th of July Parade…

June 15, 2014

The Milford Historical Society invites you to participate in the 2014 Independence Day Parade. Our Parade will be held at 11:00 A.M. on Friday, July 4rd.   As you know this Parade is an opportunity for business and individuals to “Toot Their Horn” and show community spirit at the same time.  The Parade will begin in downtown Milford and end at Huron Street. Participants can begin staging in designated areas by 10:00 A.M.  Below is a link to the Application for the parade.  Please complete and send  or fax back.


The theme for the Parade will be:

Our  Milford,

    “A Small Village with a Big Heart”


parade band pic

We ask that your float, music or demonstration somehow relate to the theme through the use of colors, etc.

To participate in this year’s Parade, please fill out the attached form and return to the address below, with a stamped, self-addressed envelope so we may mail back to you your assigned parade spot.

We will be mailing back to you, in the envelope you have provided, confirmation of your placement in the Parade.

If you have any questions, or require additional information, please feel free to contact me.

In order to offset the rising cost of running the parade we are asking business participants to consider also including a donation to the Milford Historical Society with your application. Your donations of $10 – $50 will help keep the Independence Day parade going. Thanks



Katherine and Russ Rheaume, Parade Coordinators

PO Box 685

Milford, MI 48381-0685

248-684-7373      248-684-0070  Fax   Email




The Milford Historical Society Independence Parade is an entertainment event.

It is geared for both businesses and families to show off our town and support this

great country where we live.


*    All vehicles towing floats should be driven with a clear path of vision.  People

walking along side should help with keeping children from stepping in front of the vehicle and getting injured..


*    The Parade line up will be mailed or e-mailed about a week before the event..

We ask that each participant respond by phone, E-mail, etc. that they have received their Parade Spot Number at that time.


*     Entry themes or props must not be based on controversial, political or social

issues  Naturally, no alcoholic beverages or banned drugs are allowed.

*     Parade participants are permitted to distribute material while going down the

parade route.  Absolutely nothing including candies, toys can be THROWN

at the parade viewers.  Michigan State Law prohibits throwing items in a parade.

Please hand these items to the parade participants. We don’t want anyone hurt while running into the traffic to pick up items off the ground.


*    Please do not leave any large gaps between your float and the one in front.

The Parade is usually video taped and video copies are shown to the community and nursing homes throughout the year.  Large gaps destroy the continuity of the

parade.  We suggest no more than 20 feet exist between each exhibit.


*   An announcer will be reading your provided script promoting your exhibit as you

pass by.


*   Milford Historical Society volunteers wearing MHS T-Shirts will be situated all

along the route to assist and answer any questions that arise.


*   We encourage animals in the Parade, but insist that they not be dangerous and are

properly trained to be among people while leashed, ridden, hooked up, etc.


*     The Milford Historical Society reserves the right to restrict, limit, accept or reject

any exhibit application.


*    Our goal is to have everyone go home after the event with fond memories of

a Parade well done in a safe, fun  and interesting manner


Click here to get the parade application. Print it out and return it (see address above) or Fax it in (248-684-0070) to reserve your spot in the 2014 Independence Day Parade on July 4th.


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