Road Commission for Oakland County (RCOC) has saved a historic stone sign from
a 1940s era building in Orion Township that is being demolished as part of the
Baldwin Road widening project.
The sign was part of the original
Gingell Brothers grocery store building in the unincorporated community of
Gingellville. Gingellville was settled by the ancestors of current Oakland
County Board of Commissioners Chairman Mike Gingell.
“Gingellville is an important part
of both the history and future of Orion Township,” explained RCOC Chairman Eric
Wilson. He noted that while the Baldwin Road widening project requires the
removal of the Gingell building, it will allow for the development of a more
pedestrian-friendly downtown area along with a much improved road that will
help to reduce traffic congestion and improve motorist safety in the area.
The sign, which reads “Gingell
Bros.,” is made of carved stone. The Gingell family, for several generations,
ran a number of businesses in the community, including a hardware store and gas
station as well as the grocery story. Wilson noted the sign will be preserved
and included in the landscaping along the reconstructed Baldwin Road,
potentially in the center of a roundabout.
Oakland County Board of Commissioners
Chairman Michael Gingell was pleased that the sign was saved. “On behalf of my
family, I would like to thank the Road Commission for preserving the Gingell
Brothers sign,” Chairman Gingell said. “The monument sign is a reflection of
the community that my great grandparents and their descendants built along with
many others throughout Orion Township. Gingellville is about community,
neighbors helping each other and supporting one another. Preserving these
qualities is important.”
Orion Township Trustee Mike Flood
was also concerned that the sign be preserved. “In
2011, I was first made aware of the Gingell Bros. building
sign by former Baldwin Barber Shop barber and Gingellville
resident Bud Stout,” Flood recalled.
Bud's suggestion that started the whole process to retrieve and preserve this
historic artifact before the buildings were removed for the Baldwin
Road widening project. Many civic, appointed and elected officials
have successfully come together to preserve this historic artifact to be
viewed for future generations along the new Gingellville/Baldwin Road corridor.
This was truly a collaborative effort,” Flood said.
The Baldwin Road project involves widening and
reconstructing Baldwin Road between Gregory and Waldon roads. It will include
widening part of the road to five lanes and part to a four-lane boulevard. It
will also include the construction of five modern roundabouts.
“We want our roads to be as modern, safe and efficient as
possible,” RCOC’s Wilson said. “But, we also want to recognize the history of
the county and the communities that make up the county. Preserving this sign is
one way of retaining a bit of that history and helping to remind people about
the historic aspect of our communities.”
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NOTE: Attached is a photo of RCOC Chairman
Eric Wilson (left) and RCOC Central Operations Department Foreman Ed Foreman
just before the sign was removed from the original building.