The Weekly Newspaper serving the citizens of Morenci, Mich., Fayette, Ohio, and surrounding areas.

  • KayseInField
    IN THE FIELD—2004 Morenci graduate Kayse Onweller works in a test plot of wheat in Texas. She’s part of Bayer CropScience’s North American wheat breeding program based in Nebraska, where she completed post-graduate work in plant breeding and genetics.
  • Front.winner
    REFEREE Camden Miller raises the hand of Morenci Jr. Dawgs wrestler Ryder Ryan as his opponent leaves the mat in disappointment. Morenci’s youth wrestling program served as host for a tournament Saturday morning to raise money for the club. Additional photos are on the back page.
  • Front.bank.2
    SHERWOOD STATE Bank opened its Fayette office at a grand opening Friday morning, drawing a large crowd to view the renovated building. Above, Burt Blue talks to teller Cindy Funk, while his wife, Jackie, looks around the new office. The Blues missed the opening and took a quick tour on Tuesday. Few traces remain of the former grocery store and theater, however, part of the original brick wall still shows in the hallway leading to the back of the building. The drive-through window should be ready for customers later in the month.
  • Front.carry.casket
    CARRYING—Riley Terry (blue jacket) and Mason Vaughn lead the way, carrying an empty casket outside to the hearse waiting at the curb. Morenci juniors and seniors visited Eagle Funeral Home last week to learn about the role of a funeral director and to understand the process of arranging for a funeral.
  • Front.lift
    MORENCI student Dalton McCowan puts everything into a dead lift attempt Saturday morning during the Wyseguy Push/Pull event. Lifters helped raise more than $1,600 for the family of the late Devin Wyse, a former Morenci power-lifter who graduated last year. Commemorative T-shirts are still available by contacting teacher Dan Hoffman.
  • Front.make.three
    FROM THE LEFT, Landon Wilkins, Ryan White and Logan Blaker try out their artistic skills Saturday afternoon at the Morenci PTO’s first Date to Create event. More than 50 people showed up to create decorated planks of wood to hang from rope. The event served as a fund-raiser for miscellaneous PTO projects. Additional photos are on the back of this week’s Observer.
  • Front.F.office
    NEW OFFICES—Fayette village administrator Steve Blue speaks with tax administrator Genna Biddix at the new front desk of the village office. Village council members voted to use budgeted renovation funds targeted for the old office and instead buy the vacant bank building on the corner of Main and Fayette streets. The old office was sold to Sherwood State Bank. When everything is put into place in the spacious new village office, an open house will be scheduled. Council member David Wheeler donated all of his time needed to make changes in the bank interior to fit the Village’s needs.

A millstone from Morenci among collection in Lansing 2008.01.09

Written by David Green.

“It takes energy to construct a new building;
It saves energy to preserve an old one.”
– National Trust for Historic Preservation


By DAVID GREEN

A piece of Morenci history lies embedded in a Lansing sidewalk as part of a historical renovation project.

Morenci’s Buck & Kellogg Mill was torn down in 1975, but sometime before that, a millstone was transported to Lansing to become part of a collection owned by Michigan Millers Mutual Insurance Company. Founded in 1881, the company was among the first in the nation to offer fire insurance to millers.

Morenci’s mill was built at the north end of Mill Street in 1866 for use as a woolen mill. Charles Buck and Frank Kellogg leased the business in 1889, four years after it was converted to a flour mill.mill.plaque.jpg

The owners’ sons, Arthur Buck and C. Ray Kellogg, took over ownership in 1921 and continued the mill operation until 1952 when it was converted to a feed mill, owned by Stanley Russell.

Eventually the property was sold to the Parker Company and the mill was demolished in 1975.

Move ahead 32 years to a renovation project in downtown Lansing. Morenci native Jim Harper served as an electrician at the site and spotted a plaque that mentioned his home town.

He learned the millstones displayed in front of the building were collected from seven Michigan communities, including Morenci.

The renovated building was constructed in 1925—at least the first three floors were finished at that time. Two additional floors were added in 1928 when the Art Deco style structure became the home of Michigan Millers Mutual Insurance.

The company moved its offices to a new location in 1956 and the old building on Capitol Avenue fell into disrepair.

Renovation

 That changed when the Lansing-based construction management firm, the Christman Company, announced plans to renovate the historic structure. About 20 percent of Christman’s business involves renovation projects, so it was only fitting that the company chose to rehabilitate a stately old building for its own offices.

Christman is incorporating brownfield tax credits, state and federal historic tax credits, and the federal Obsolete Property Rehabilitation Act to aid in the $12 million rehabilitation. The project includes a new sixth floor with a glass west wall and garden terrace, offering a view of the state capitol—one of the company’s many renovation projects.mill.stone.jpg

“At the time it was built,” said Angela Bailey, Christman’s director of corporate communications, “it was a very cutting-edge building and it’s going to be that again.”

The renovation makes the structure a LEED-certified building, indicating environmentally responsible operation and a healthy place to work.

The original slate floor, wrought-iron ornamental stairway and Pewabic pottery on the walls of the main corridors were all kept intact.

When Christman moves into its new home a week from Friday, the combination of the old and the new will be highlighted by those historic millstones in front of the building. That’s where a piece of Morenci’s past will remain embedded.

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