The Waterford Township Historical Village continues to add amenities every year to make the miniature Greenfield Village an authentic depiction of a turn-of-the-century community, most recently thanks in part to the efforts of Paige Daniel, president of the Children of the American Revolution and a ninth-grader at Waterford Mott High School.
As the youth group’s president, Daniel raised over $2,300 toward building a children’s education wing and community room within the Watchpocket Building by creating merchandise like pins and T-shirts. She also visited Optimist and Rotary clubs to solicit funding. During her state conference, she helped raise $500 by holding a silent auction.
“I want to put a hands-on historical display in the education room,” Daniel said. “I’ve visited presidential museums that have these types of rooms where historical games and books are used as learning tools to get kids interested in history.”
Half of the two-story Watchpocket Building has already been completed, which houses a bakery, millinery, barber shop, dentist office and doctor’s office. The next objective is to build the other side to house the community room as a multi-functional meeting area, and an education center for school field trips.
The cost to complete the project exceeds $10,000, but Daniel’s contribution has offset that cost.
“She’s totally passionate about getting history into the schools at a young age,” said Waterford Historical Society President Sally Strait. “Her contribution has helped since we don’t do anything on credit. We plug along and fund raise.”
The largest annual fund-raiser is during Log Cabin Days. This year it’s scheduled for June 25-26. The event typically draws crowds of over 2,000 people.
Daniel has set the bar high, trying to reach her goal of raising $5,000 this year. Though she’s a tad short right now, she intends to honor that commitment.
“I’m term limited as president in April, so to raise funds I will become a member of the historical society,” she said.
The Historical Village, located within Fish Hatchery Park at 4490 Hatchery Road between Frembes and Dixie Highway, has come a long way in recent years. Currently a Gulf service station is under construction at the site. The exterior is completed, so the focus has turned toward the interior during the winter months.
As part of the service station, a pair of removable antique pumps will be installed to simulate gas pumps.
“The service station will be just like those built in the 1920 and ’30s,” Strait said.
Routine maintenance is always being conducted, such as painting and renovating to continue the organization’s efforts to preserve history.
“We are always updating and researching to make the village as authentic as we can,” Strait said.
To date, the village is comprised of a throng of buildings and amenities including the Hatchery House, the Blain Playhouse, a Carriage House, Jacober’s General Store, Lohff Print Shop, the Hardware Store, the Drayton Plains Depot, the Grand Trunk Caboose, an outhouse, a log cabin, and a water tower.
At the Feb. 14 Waterford Board of Trustees meeting, township officials voted to renew the Historical Society’s lease on the village site.
“We are able to concentrate on preserving Waterford’s history and building our village because the township is gracious enough to allow us to reside in Fish Hatchery Park,” Strait said. “We exist because we are all working together, the township, Waterford parks and recreation, local businesses and community members. It takes a village to build an historic village.”
For more information about the historical village, call 248-683-2697.