Sunday, January 4, 2009

Welcome to the East Detroit Historical Society Information Blog

In this blog we hope to provide up-to-date information of upcoming events as well as news of past events. Photos of recent events, images from the past, and text updates will be included throughout, so please check back often!

The area now known as Eastpointe was founded in the early part of the 19th century by the European immigrants who came to establish homes in the New World. Originally known as Orange Township in 1837, by 1843 the area was renamed Erin Township; both names indicating that the earliest settlers were Irish. The Irish were followed by pioneers from Bavaria, Macklenburg, Saxony and other provinces of Germany. The German migration began in the early 1830's and soon became the majority of the settlement.
What is now Gratiot Avenue was once an Indian trail cut through the wilderness. In the early 1800’s, the army surveyed the roadway and shortly after built a plank road. Logs were cut horizontally and laid across to elevate the road above water. This military road led from Fort Wayne in Detroit to Fort Gratiot (now Port Huron). In 1850, a plank toll road replaced the original road. The toll was one cent for each horse.
The Township form of government lasted until December 8, 1924, when the Village of Halfway was incorporated. The name Halfway was first officially recorded in 1895, with the opening of the Halfway Post Office. This name was given to the community in the early days when the Halfway House, located at what is now the Eastbrooke Commons shopping center at 9 Mile and Gratiot, was a regular stopping place for stagecoaches traveling between Detroit and Mount Clemens. The phenomenal growth in the village during the next five years qualified Halfway for city status. The name was changed to the City of East Detroit on January 7, 1929, by first a vote of the people followed by the approval of the Michigan State Legislature.
In 1992 the city of East Detroit was once again renamed by a vote of the people to the City of Eastpointe.

Read (and see) more about the history of the City of Eastpointe in two wonderful books: The Halfway/East Detroit Story by Robert S. Christenson, and Eastpointe, Michigan (Images of America) by Suzanne DeClaire Pixley.

Both books are available through the East Detroit Historical Society

PO Box 110, Eastpointe, MI 48021

And the address of the Schoolhouse is:

15500 9 Mile Road

Eastpointe, Michigan 48021



About Me

My photo
My wife and I and members of our family practice living history and portray citizens during the era of the American Revolution (1770s) and Civil War (1860s). You'll find us very often at mid-18th or 19th century reenactments doing our best to replicate the eras as accurately as we can in clothing, manners, speech, and other ways in order to bring the past to life. I believe knowledge has to be the top priority in living history; knowing about the time period you are presenting - absolutely knowing - can make all the difference in how serious you are being taken. Too many focus solely on clothing...but what I am attempting in this Passion for the Past blog is to help living historians and general history fans to look beyond the obvious - to study life as once lived. Yes, clothing is important, but it only tells a small part of the story. To give a more complete picture one needs to look at the 18th or 19th century world around them - to put themselves in that world - and then they will be able to develop more fully a presentation of greater interest for not only the general public, but for themselves as well. I hope you like it.