Three years ago, Kevin Bley moved into a house built in 1928. He become interested in the original owner Herman Zinzer, who also owned most of the land surrounding his house and even has a street named after him: Zinzer Court. Bley started digging around in local history, but soon the project began to snowball beyond Herman Zinzer. He knew that he had to do something to preserve his new-found knowledge.
Now Bley and lifetime Grantwood resident Katy Forand are working together to compile a book of Grantwood Village history to commemorate the village's 75th anniversary in 2012.
One year after the project was put before the Grantwood Village Board of Trustees, Bley and Forand are hard at work collecting artifacts, photos and documents from the village's past, revealing the stories behind past businesses and buildings, former and current residents.
"There is a history here that needs to be told. There's a lot of businesses that started here and it's important to share. All of this history, if not preserved, will be lost forever," Bley told the Board at the open monthly meeting on Tuesday. Bley also explained that now is the opportune time to gather these stories before older residents pass away or move out of the area.
At the Board meeting Forand explained that the project has "very strong support from the non-residential sector in the area." The Busch family is on board, and has offered to contribute some content to the book. The White Haven Historical Site also supports the project.
Bley and Forand are now facing pressure to come up with the approximately $19,000 to have the book designed and printed. They are hoping that the Board of Trustees will pay all or a portion of this sum, but no decisions have been made yet. If the Board does approve the project, the village could potentially recover that money and make a small profit if all of the books are sold.
The hardcover, coffee table-style book will tentatively be printed by Walsworth/Donning Printers, and will be available by the end of 2012 for approximately $35. Copies will be available for purchase at the Town Hall, White Haven gift shop and several historical societies.
Bley and Forand said they need more artifacts, photos, mementos and stories from current and former residents to complete the project. If you have something you'd like to share, please contact Katy Forand at 314-605-4336 or firstname.lastname@example.org.