I've spent most of my 40 years living in two suburban Michigan cities, Livonia and Westland. Imagine my delight when I saw that the wonderful people at Arcadia Publishing have put out a book on both of my home towns. I would hazard to guess that most people are fairly unaware of their own town's history. Like me you may be fascinated to learn that the history is much more colorful than you ever dreamed. Take Livonia, for example. It's one of the largest cities in Michigan with a population of over 100,000 people. But I didn't know that Livonia was officially formed in 1835...two years before Michigan even became a state! And the name Livonia? It was derived from a former Eastern European nation of the same name.
Livonia is home to the oldest cemetery in the state, the Newburgh cemetery, practically in walking distance from my house. While it may not be able to compete with the ancient cemeteries of New England, Newburgh Cemetery does boast the final resting place of a handful of Revolutionary War veterans.
As with all their books, Livonia is bolstered by stunning archival photography which includes photos of some of the city's earliest settlers including Hannah Macomber who came to the area in 1826 and died in 1894. In addition to the photos, there are some wonderful vintage drawings and maps of the area that are reprinted in the book. Growing up, I was a frequent visitor to the Alfred Noble Library. But I never knew that Noble was a distinguished Civil War Vet and civil engineer who helped build the Panama Canal.
Long time Livonia residents will delight in looking at these great photos, such as the one showing homes being built in Rosedale Gardens, Livonia's oldest subdivision, and yet today, one of the most beautiful and well-maintained areas of Colonials, Bungalows, and Federal-styled homes anywhere.
A landmark and sure sign of fall is driving by Roperti's Turkey farm on Five Mile rd. The farm was established in 1948. There are some great Photographs of the soon-to-be-demolished Wonderland Mall, which began as an outdoor mall, and was finally enclosed in the mid-1980's. Other great Livonia landmarks that you'll read about are Bates Hamburgers, the Mai Kai and Terrace Theatres, The Fisher Body Plant, and the Detroit Race Course, demolished in 1999 to make way for a Home Depot and Meijers store...ahh...Progress. David MacGregor has done a first-rate job of research on this bustling, busy, suburban city.
A must have book for any resident of Livonia or of the Detroit Metro area!