TRAVERSE CITY — Lifelong Elmwood Township resident Chuck Raney can’t stop smiling as he digs through the township’s archives to pull out tax rolls and township records that are more than a century old.
Some even include receipts from his dad, a contractor who helped build various sites across the township.
“The information in here is just amazing,” Raney said.
Raney will bring some of the township books to Elmwood Township’s 150th birthday celebration July 12 so anyone with ties to the area can look up their ancestors’ records.
Township officials want to highlight the township’s sesquicentennial to celebrate the township’s past and look forward to its future.
“We’re very proud to be serving as the gateway to Leelanau County,” Supervisor Jack Kelly said. “The idea is to create, over time, a special entrance or gateway into a special county.”
Kelly hopes Elmwood Township’s future includes a celebrated commercial corridor through Greilickville, right outside of Traverse City.
The township will commemorate its birthday with a presence at the National Cherry Festival Royale Parade. The township’s fire department and the Scottville Clown Band will march together in the parade before heading over to the Cherry Bend Community Park for a free concert as part of the celebration.
Elmwood Township was established on Dec. 21, 1863. Two pioneer families had a heavy hand in shaping the area: the Norris family, the members of which were the first white settlers in the area, and the Greilick family. The Norris family initially established a tannery, grist mill and brickyard and the Greilicks were in lumbering and established a sawmill and brewery.
There’s always been a relationship between Traverse City and its northwestern neighbor. An old brickyard by Cedar Lake provided bricks for many buildings in the city, including the old state hospital.