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“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Ferndale in Oakland County, Michigan — The American Midwest (Great Lakes)
 

Pioneer & Merriman Apartments / Ferndale Fun Fact #2 / Ferndale History

 
 
Pioneer & Merriman Apartments / Ferndale Fun Fact #2 / Ferndale History Marker image. Click for full size.
By Joel Seewald, August 28, 2020
1. Pioneer & Merriman Apartments / Ferndale Fun Fact #2 / Ferndale History Marker
Inscription.  
(Side 1)
Pioneer & Merriman Apartments
Historical Site
195 W. Nine Mile

During the early development of the West Nine Mile business area, two apartment buildings were constructed. The first was the Pioneer Apartments, located at 195 West Nine Mile Road, constructed in 1924 by local builder Ralph Merriman. Since the block is not deep, the building also has an entrance and address on West Troy Street. The Pioneer Building became home to many commercial businesses years later, and in the 2000s became known as the Ferndale Arts Building.

In 1925, the Merriman Apartments were constructed by Maccabees Insurance Company at 261 West Nine Mile/262 West Troy, less than a block to the west. The Maccabees were founded at the Knights of the Maccabees in London, Ontario, in 1878 as a fraternal organization. Although the process was at first informal, the group was known for providing death or disability benefits for its members. The headquarters for the entire organization was on Woodward Avenue in Detroit, and many of their members were located in Michigan. In 1962, the fraternal organization ceased
Pioneer & Merriman Apartments / Ferndale Fun Fact #2 / Ferndale History Marker image. Click for full size.
By Joel Seewald, August 28, 2020
2. Pioneer & Merriman Apartments / Ferndale Fun Fact #2 / Ferndale History Marker
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to exist and the Maccabees existed only as an insurance company.

According to the building's caretaker, after 1927 the building was home to many young people who have become well known in Ferndale: Carl W. Forsythe, a former mayor; the late Paul L. Best, a former assistant superintendent of schools; Orph C. Holmes, a former city attorney; David C. Bud Brown, a former recreation director; Fred Wall, a former principal of Coolidge School; and Harold B. Wilcox, a former director of adult education. By 1928 Ralph Merriman owned both apartment buildings.

Ferndale wayfinding signage is being supported in part by a Preserve America grant administered by the National Park Service, Department of the Interior


(Side 2)
Ferndale Fun Fact #2
Ferndale, a community that embraces diversity, elected the first openly gay mayor of any municipality in the State of Michigan on November 6, 2007; and Downtown Ferndale is home to Affirmations, the largest lesbian, gay, bi-sexual and transgender (LGBT) community center in the state and one of the 10 largest in the nation, located at 290 W. Nine Mile.

Ferndale History
Like most of the communities surrounding Woodward Avenue north of Detroit, Ferndale began as a rural area with the earliest non-native American settler arriving in 1821. Originally part of Royal Oak Township,
Pioneer & Merriman Apartments / Ferndale Fun Fact #2 / Ferndale History Marker image. Click for full size.
By Joel Seewald, August 28, 2020
3. Pioneer & Merriman Apartments / Ferndale Fun Fact #2 / Ferndale History Marker
View of the marker looking toward the west with the Ferndale Arts Building in the background.
the community had farms and provided a resting point and services for those traveling on Woodward Avenue from Detroit to Pontiac in the first half of the 1800s. In 1890, the Campbell farm near Hilton Road was platted for summer cottages and Ferndale's population began to increase as a rural resort community outside of Detroit. Transportation to the area improved with the arrival of the Detroit Suburban Railway in 1890 and the paving of Woodward Avenue in 1912. The area was platted into subdivisions from 1910 through 1924.

With 1,600 people, Ferndale became a village in 1918. There were two churches, three schools (including the school at Woodward and Nine Mile Road) and six stores. During the next seven years the population increased dramatically. This growth was primarily influenced by the construction of Ford Motor Company's Highland Park Plant located two miles south on Woodward. By 1924, the village's population reached 24,000 and in 1927 Ferndale became a city. The years following World War II brought additional growth to Ferndale in the number of residents and businesses, including new industries. The last 20 years of major efforts to bring new businesses and improvements to the downtown commercial area has created new vitality in the city and its residential neighborhoods.

Ferndale wayfinding signage is being supported in part by a Preserve America
Pioneer & Merriman Apartments / Ferndale Fun Fact #2 / Ferndale History Marker image. Click for full size.
By Joel Seewald, August 28, 2020
4. Pioneer & Merriman Apartments / Ferndale Fun Fact #2 / Ferndale History Marker
View of the Ferndale Arts Building (formerly the Pioneer Apartments).
grant administered by the National Park Service, Department of the Interior
 
Erected 2011 by Ferndale Downtown Development Authority.
 
Topics. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: ArchitectureIndustry & CommerceNotable BuildingsSettlements & Settlers. A significant historical date for this entry is November 6, 2007.
 
Location. 42° 27.63′ N, 83° 8.168′ W. Marker is in Ferndale, Michigan, in Oakland County. Marker is on West Nine Mile Road, on the left when traveling west. Marker is about 450 west of Woodward Avenue (State Highway 1). Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 195 West Nine Mile Road, Ferndale MI 48220, United States of America. Touch for directions.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Five and Dime (within shouting distance of this marker); Ferndale State Bank / Ferndale Fun Fact #1 / Ferndale History (within shouting distance of this marker); In Memory of Vincent Chin (about 400 feet away, measured in a direct line); From a Whisper to a Rallying Cry (about 400 feet away); The Crow's Nest (about 400 feet away); Deputy Albert Anderson (about 400 feet away); The Inter-Urban Railcar - Detroit United Railway (about 400 feet away); The Professional Building (about 400 feet away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Ferndale.
 
 
Credits. This page was last revised on August 28, 2020. It was originally submitted on August 28, 2020, by Joel Seewald of Madison Heights, Michigan. This page has been viewed 52 times since then and 5 times this year. Photos:   1, 2, 3, 4. submitted on August 28, 2020, by Joel Seewald of Madison Heights, Michigan.
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Mar. 9, 2021