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Posted: 10/03/12

Romeo, Ray historians to
speak at Cultural Center

Observer Staff Writer
      The Industrial Revolution was a world-changing event, but local communities will show they played a big role in 19th century technology development.
       Representatives from the Romeo Historical Society and Wolcott Mill Metropark Historic Center will use local history to help demonstrate the influences Macomb County communities had in the Industrial Revolution.
       They will join others as part of the "Changing Gears: The Birth of American Industry" exhibit held at the Albert L. Lorenzo Cultural Center at Macomb Community College from Sept. 21 to Nov. 18.
       The exhibit focuses on industries like railroad, steel, agriculture and the inventors that advanced technology in 19th century Michigan and the United States.
       Among the dozens of presenters during the exhibit are Bill Thomas, supervising interpreter of the Wolcott Mill Metropark Historic Center and Richard Beringer, curator of the Romeo Historical Society's museums.
       Thomas will give a presentation on Oct. 10 on how milling technology found at the 1847 grist and feed mill preceded the Industrial Revolution, but changed to adapt to new practices.
       "History does repeat itself, and of course we're having a lot of difficult times with the economy," he said. "It's nice to learn about past problems in industry to help find solutions in what we have today."
       Thomas said the mill has participated in past events at the cultural center through its archived materials, and is glad to do so to help educate as well as draw attention to the historic center.
       "We're always willing to help out other organizations and it does help to spread our word too," he said.
       On Nov. 14, Beringer will give a presentation on how Romeo was affected by the 19th century in everything from transportation to shopping and manufacturing.
       "I'll talk about innovators and inventors in Romeo and how this changed from a small little town into a very strong, industrious community," Beringer said.
       A total of 10 artifacts from the historical society were transferred to be displayed at the center during the exhibit, from tools to a Brabb road cart.
       "It's very nice, we like to share what we have," Beringer said.
       Sue Kane, Romeo Historical Society president, said she was happy that an organization like the cultural center is interested in what Romeo has to offer.
       "For us to have something they can use in their display is great for Romeo," she said. "The displays and programs they put on are sophisticated and top notch."
       All presentations are free of charge and are held at the center, located at 44575 Garfield in Clinton Township. The exhibit is open Wednesdays through Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and Sundays from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m.
       Call (586) 445-7348 for more information.

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