Heritage Home Program in Ray Twp. teaches historic plaque acquisition – The Voice

Historical mysteries within the walls and grounds of Ray Township homes will be uncovered this May at the Ray Township Public Library.

Friends of the Ray Township Library and Historical Society will be hosting two separate events in May: The Heritage Home Program and the History: Unlocked program.

The Heritage Home Program will be held at 7pm on May 19th at the Ray Township Public Library, 64255 Wolcott in Ray Township. It will be presented by Bob Myers, director of history programs for the Historical Society of Michigan. Drinks are served. Participation in the program is free, but registration is required. Registration can be made by calling 586-749-7130 or online through the Ray Township Public Library events calendar, specifically at raylibrary.org/library-calendar#/events/oFLBEb2qp3/instances/JbmGe1gz74/ .

Terry Goike, president of the Friends of Ray Township Library and Historical Society, said this is the first time the society has hosted the program.

“It’s an hour-long presentation of how to research the history of a home,” Goike said, adding that the state history society generally requires a full application, including documentation, of when a historic home was built.

The program will focus on how to research the history of a historic home and how to obtain a historic plaque for the home. Cheryl Workman, a member of the Friends of the Ray Township Library and Historical Society, will also talk about how she received a plaque for her home, which is Earl Hamblin’s historic residence in Ray Township. Goike said Hamblin was an early settler of the community. The Heritage Home Program recognizes homes that were built at least 100 years ago and are in essentially original condition. The Michigan Heritage Home designation comes with a plaque for the home from the Historical Society of Michigan.

Friends of the Ray Township Library and Historical Society will host a Heritage Home Program on May 19th at the Ray Township Public Library, presented by Bob Myers of the Historical Society of Michigan. (Photo courtesy of TERRY GOIKE)

The Friends of the Ray Township Library and Historical Society will also be hosting the History: Unlocked program in May, which the Society hopes to make an ongoing program. This program will take place on May 10 from 1:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m. at the Ray Township Public Library. A second edition is scheduled for June 14 at the same time and place.

“The Ray Township Public Library archives are locked in a cabinet,” Goike said. “We want to keep it safe. We wanted to give the public the opportunity to access the files. We have set a date and time for when we, as members of the historical society, will be in the library to allow people access to the files.”

Goike gave examples of how file access can help people, including those researching genealogy, their homes, or churches in the community. The cabinets contain important historical artifacts such as tax returns from around the 1840’s through the 1930’s. Goike said the company allows customers to take photos of or copy the items in the closet, but they cannot be borrowed.

“Basically all archives are what people have donated to us, photos like family photos of people who have lived in the community, photos of churches and schools, photos of school classes,” Goike said, adding that the cabinets contain historical items as as well as documents.

The company originally began offering History: Unlocked in January 2020, but the program was suspended due to COVID-19. It wasn’t until this spring that the company decided to continue History: Unlocked, Goike said. Goike said the company now hopes to offer the program again this summer.

Registration is recommended for the History: Unlocked program, available by calling 586-749-7130 or through the library calendar directly at raylibrary.org/librarycalendar#/events/kcAOnm3Mk7/instances/kUVBu28M9l/. Participation in the History: Unlocked program is free. Those who can’t make the specific History: Unlocked program dates can leave a message at the library and a member of the Society will return the call to reschedule, Goike said.

Nicole Tuttle is a freelance reporter for The Voice.