(Crystal A. Proxmire, 01/15/2012)
The building at 195 W. 9 Mile, once known as the Pioneer Apartments, was adorned with a Historical Society Plaque on Jan. 12, 2012 as volunteers from the Downtown Development Authority and Ferndale Historical Society were on hand to celebrate despite a chilly rain. The marker is part of the Wayfinding project, which has brought new signage to the Downtown Area.
Volunteer Keith Dalton affixed the plaque. DDA Executive Director Cristiana Sheppard-Decius, Historical Museum Curator Garry Andrews, building owner Tom Pearlman, and volunteer Sherry Wells posed for the pictures.
The plaque marks the building’s construction date, which was 1924. According to Andrews, “The Pioneer Apartment building is the first apartment building in the downtown commercial area of Ferndale. It was built and was owned by builder Ralph Merriman in 1924. By 1928 Merriman bought another Apartment Building further west on Nine Mile from the Maccabees Insurance Co. and renamed the building Merriman Apts. by 1942 the name of this building was changed to the Marion Apartments. Both buildings housed many city officials, people who helped in the development of Ferndale, including the Mayor, city attorney and various school administrators of the time.”
It is currently owned by Pearlman, who has his property management office there. Now known as the Ferndale Arts Building, its home to creative Ferndale businesses like Candle Wick Shop, Boston Tea Room, Digital Lane Photography, and Peace Action Michigan.
Andrews has been the Museum’s Director and Curator since 2007 and just this past October 2011 was elected by the majority of the Board of Directors to the position of Vice President of the Ferndale Historical Society. He and the four-member volunteer staff worked for over a year and a half with the Downtown Development Authority, overseeing corrections to dates, spelling of and names and historical facts, and sitting in on planning meetings for the Wayfinding Project. The Museum also handles genealogical inquiries and help families with the gaps in their family trees, provides research for media, government, and the general public, and cares for historical items and documents.
Grant money and matching DDA funds provided for the brightly lit kiosks which were erected in 2010 – one by the pedestrian alley on E. Nine Mile and another in front of the Pioneer building. The grant also provided for the placement of other markers around town, which will go at the following locations:
Kantz Building – 242-58 W. Nine Mile Rd. (now 240-258)
Pioneer Apartments – 195 W. Nine Mile Rd./194 W. Troy
Merriman Apartments (Marion Apartments) – 261 W. Nine Mile Rd./262 W. Troy
Central School – 130 E. Nine Mile Rd.
Ferndale Post Office – 22681 Woodward Ave.
America State Bank (now Elks Club) – 22856 Woodward Ave.
Wetmore’s Safety Service and Packard Dealership – 23455-99 Woodward Ave.
St. James Catholic Church – 241 Pearson at Woodward Ave.
Spaulding and Curtin Funeral Home – 500 W. Nine Mile Rd.
Ferndale High School – 881 Pinecrest Ave.
“The Tabernacle” (Evangelical United Brethren Church) – 165 E. Nine Mile Rd.
C. H. Harrison Building (Ferndale Center Building) – 22748 Woodward Ave.
Neisner Bros. – 231 W. Nine Mile Rd.
F.W. Woolworth Co. (variously due to store expansion) 234,240,280 W. Nine Mile Rd.
S.S. Kresge Co. 200 W. Nine Mile Rd