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Fenton over the years: postcard book to be released with 175th anniversary shows city history
By Eric Fish   - 04/19/2009

Fenton Press

More Info on This Book: Fenton

Ken and Donna Seger are inviting Fenton residents to take a trip down memory lane in the form of old postcards while celebrating the city's 175th birthday this summer.

Fenton Historical Society members and A.J. Phillips Fenton Historical Museum workers are set to release a book May 18 comprising 250 historical postcards from Fenton's history, dating back to the early 1900s. In the days before the Internet and e-mail, Donna Seger said postcards were the hot thing and were sold in general stores.

"That was a big thing back then, postcards were," she said. "They could send a postcard for a penny."

The book took the Segers about a year to complete and is modeled off an already-published Genesee County postcard book featuring correspondence from 1900 to 1960. Included in the Segers' 250-card book is a lake section featuring cottages and resorts on Lake Fenton, which was known until the mid-1900s as Long Lake.

"The lake used to be a really, really big thing," Ken Seger said. "They had people come here from Chicago and all over."

Other sections in the book include Fenton High School sports postcards, postcards of Fenton's downtown and artist representations of places around the city that were popular in the 1940s.

A postcard from 1931 commemorated an 86-9 Fenton football victory over a high school in Rochester.
"We wouldn't keep it if Fenton didn't win," Donna Seger joked.

Other postcards showed horse-drawn buggies and carriages at resorts on South Long Lake Road and boat tours on area lakes.

All the postcards in the book are identified according to location and era, a task the Segers say was the most tedious part of completing the publication.

"A lot of it, we didn't know the information, we had to do the research on it, put a date on it," Donna Seger said.

Ken Seger described 1907-08 as the heyday for postcards and noted their significance because they were inexpensive, and people could send them to show friends and family where they were. Today, with the click of a computer mouse, people can do the same thing over the Internet in a more timely fashion.

Although the Fenton Historical Society had many historical postcards, several were donated for the book by other residents. The Segers credit Ron Bigelow, Tom Brushaber, Ray Dillard, Ann Adams and Debra Wargo for helping supply postcards for the publication.

Ken Seger is a lifetime Fenton resident and has worked as the A.J. Phillips Fenton Historical Museum curator for the past 30 years. Donna Seger works as the museum caretaker. All proceeds from their postcard book will benefit the Fenton Historical Society.

The Segers also will be selling a book on Fenton businesses for the city's 175th anniversary. Ken Seger describes that book as a catalog of all the current businesses in the city, a souvenir so people can look back in the years ahead to see what businesses were in the city and how they marketed their products.

The historical society compiled similar books in 1983 and 1959 to mark the city's 150th and 125th anniversaries.

Buy It Now: Fenton $21.99




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