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Posted: 01/23/13

Romeo Arts & Archives Center Curator Richard Beringer shows some of the furniture and china that will be on display during "The War of 1812 and the Peach Festival - Are you Kidding?" presentation. Many of the articles are on loan from two different collections and date back to the late 1700s.

(Observer photo by Dennis A. Setter)

RHS program finds Romeo
link to War of 1812

Observer Managing Editor

      It took Romeo Arts & Archive Curator Richard Beringer nine months and hundreds of miles of travel for research but it has produced a program that shows a link between the War of 1812 and the Romeo Peach Festival.
       "The War of 1812 and the Peach Festival - Are you Kidding?" had its first showing last night at the Romeo Arts & Archives Center on Main Street. There will be six more showings Feb. 5, Feb. 19, March 5, March 19, April 2 and April 16.
       "We have linked the 200th anniversary of the War of 1812 with Romeo and the Peach Festival," said Beringer. "Sounds crazy."
       Beringer said he has identified more than 30 Macomb County/Romeo citizens who fought in the war. Among those 30 was a man named Michael Bowerman who fought with Oliver Hazard Perry on a ship during the Battle of Lake Erie. Perry and his men whipped the British and as his reward Bowerman was given a land grant in the Romeo area for 80 acres, said Beringer.
       "Bowerman decides to come here and raise peaches," said Beringer. "It's fun but it's true. Theoretically, if he hadn't raised peaches maybe we'd be having the plum festival."
       The War of 1812 presentation will be divided into two parts. The first part will be about the war and how it relates to the Romeo area and Michigan. The second part will be about a number of articles Beringer has on loan from two different collections.
       "Our goal, using Power Point presentations at the Archives, is to tell the story of the War of 1812 as it related to Michigan and the country," said Beringer. "During the 45-60 minute program the visitor will hear the story and see displayed in the room hundreds of articles of the period."
       Doors open for viewing at 7 p.m. and the presentations take place between 7:30-8:30 p.m.
       Beringer has accumulated furniture and china representing the time from the 1790s to the 1840s. It includes original artwork and documents from the time of the war.
       On alternate Tuesdays from the War of 1812 presentations, Beringer will be holding other historical shows, already seen in the area, as part of the 175th Anniversary celebration for Romeo.
       On Jan. 29 will be Innovation and Invention; on Feb. 12 will be Romeo-On-Wheels; on Feb. 26 will be Inside the Bancroft/Stranahan Museum; on March 12 will be Romeo Architecture; March 26 will again be Innovation and Invention and April 9 will be Tour the Craig Blacksmith Museum.
       All programs are free but donations to the Romeo Historical Society are welcome. The Bancroft/Stranahan Museum is located at 132 Church St.; the Craig Museum is located at 301 N. Bailey (use the entrance to the school administration building) and all other programs are held at the Romeo Archives building, 290 N. Main.

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