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

  • Snow.2
    FIRST SNOW—Heavy, wet flakes piled deep on tree branches—and windshields—as the area received its first significant snowfall of the season. “Usually it begins with a dusting or two,” said George Isobar, Morenci’s observer for the National Weather Service, “but this time it came with a vengeance.” By the end of the day Saturday, a little over four inches of snow was on the ground. Now comes the thaw with temperatures in the 40s and 50s for three days.
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    SKEWERS, gumdrops, and marshmallows are all that’s needed to create interesting shapes and designs for Layla McDowell Saturday at Stair District Library’s “Sculptamania!” Open House. The program featuring design games and materials is one part of a larger project funded by a $7,500 Curiosity Creates grant from Disney and the American Library Association. Additional photos are on page 7.
    Morenci marching band members took to the field Friday night dressed for Halloween during the Bulldog’s first playoff game. Morenci fans had a bit of a scare until the fourth quarter when the Bulldogs scored 30 points to leave Lenawee Christian School behind. Whiteford visits Morenci this Friday for the district championship game. From the left is Clayton Borton, Morgan Merillat and James O’Brien.
    DNA PUZZLE—Mitchell Storrs and Wyatt Mohr tackle a puzzle representing the structure of DNA. There’s only one correct way for all the pieces to fit. It’s one of the new materials that can be used in both biology and chemistry classes, said teacher Loretta Cox.
  • Front.tar.wide
    A TRAFFIC control worker stands in the middle of Morenci’s Main Street Tuesday morning, waiting for the next flow of vehicles to be let through from the west. The dusty gravel surface was sealed with a layer of tar, leaving only the application of paint for new striping. The project was completed in conjunction with county road commission work west of Morenci.
  • Front.pull
    JUNIORS Jazmin Smith and Trevor Corkle struggle against a team from the sophomore class Friday during the annual tug of war at the Homecoming Games pep rally. Even the seniors struggled against the sophomores who won the competition. At the main course of the day, the Bulldog football team struggled against Whiteford in a homecoming loss.
    YOUNG soccer players surived a chilly morning Saturday in Morenci’s PTO league. From the left is Emma Cordts, Wayne Corser, Carter and Levi Seitz, Briella York and Drew Joughin. Two more weeks of soccer remain for this season.
  • Front.ropes
    BOWEN BAUMGARTNER of Morenci makes his way across a rope bridge constructed by the Tecumseh Boy Scout troop Sunday at Lake Hudson Recreation Area. The bridge was one of many challenges, displays and games set up for the annual Youth Jamboree by the Michigan DNR. Additional photos on are the back page of this week’s Observer.
  • Front.homecoming Court
    One of four senior candidates will be crowned the fall homecoming queen during half-time of this week’s Morenci-Whiteford football game. In the back row (left to right) is exchange student Kinga Vidor (her escort will be Caylob Alcock), seniors Alli VanBrandt (escorted by Sam Cool), Larissa Elliott (escorted by Clayton Borton), Samantha Wright (escorted by JJ Elarton) and Justis McCowan (escorted by Austin Gilson), and exchange student Rebecca Rosenberger (escorted by Garrett Smith). Front row freshman court member Allie Kaiser (escorted by Anthony Thomas), sophomore Marlee Blaker (escorted by Nate Elarton) and junior Cheyenne Stone (escorted by Dominick Sell).
  • Front.park.lights
    GETTING READY—Jerad Gleckler pounds nails to secure a string of holiday lights on the side of the Wakefield Park concession stand while other members of the Volunteer Club and others hold them in place. The volunteers showed up Sunday afternoon to string lights at the park. The decorating project will continue this Sunday. Denise Walsh is in charge of the effort this year.
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Street name origins of Morenci and Fayette 2012.01.11

Written by David Green.

In 1991, Morenci native Elizabeth Thompson was known as the town’s historian. We spoke with her then to learn the origin of local street names. Following are her recollections.


There’s a bit of history on nearly every street corner in town—just look at the green and white sign on top of the post.

From Baker Street to Wilson, a large number of the city’s streets were named after early Morenci residents. Although there are no records describing the actual naming of roads, many family names match up with the streets.

Elizabeth Thompson, one of the few remaining reservoirs of knowledge about Morenci’s early days, contributed information for this article.

Baker Street—There were plenty of Bakers that helped build Morenci, although Elizabeth isn’t sure whether they were related.

Jacob Baker helped build the first bridge across Bean Creek in 1834, and the first town meeting was convened in his house in 1836. Baker later built a sawmill north of town.

By 1850, Hotel Temperance (Quiet Cottage Home) was in operation. Thomas Baker was the owner.

Perhaps the best possibility for the origin of Baker Street lies with Leander Baker who came to Morenci in 1859. He started a foundry that stood alongside what is now known as Baker Street.

“I think the Baker family owned a considerable amount of land over that way,” Elizabeth recalled.

Baldwin Street—Elias Baldwin arrived in the area in 1834 from Massachusetts, and spent the remainder of his life here. There was also a Cyrus Baldwin in Morenci who worked as a drayman (carted material with horse and wagon).

Burley—Although the name Burley doesn’t appear in any local history books, Elizabeth remembers the name.

“There was a family by the name of Burley,” she said, “probably back in the 1920s.”

Cawley Road—The signs now call it Cawley Street, but it was still known as Cawley Road not too many years ago. The one-block street, sandwiched between the two sections of Union Street, used to run across the Franklin Cawley farm.

“They owned a tremendous amount of land, much of what later became the northern part of the town, ” Elizabeth said.

Cawley, one of the city’s early settlers, built a sawmill and a grist mill, and opened the Morenci Exchange Hotel in 1847.

Clark Street—The northwest portion of the town was once known as Clarkville, says Elizabeth. Ed Clark and James Clark were in the brick and tile business in that area, and later came the furnace, stove and gas company.

There was also Ned Clark who became well acquainted with Henry Ford, Elizabeth said.

“When he discovered Ned Clark could make almost anything,” she said, “he used to come down here for help.”

Coomer Street—Arnold Coomer arrived from New York and settled in what is now Seneca Township. He came along with the area’s earliest settlers—Jacob Baker and Horace Garlick. He began construction of a log house and convinced the local natives to help him peel bark for the roof.

Greeley Street—There was a Greeley family here, Elizabeth recalled, but that’s all she knows about this one.

Page Street—“That was probably named after the Page family,” said Elizabeth. “In fact, I think old Mr. Page owned most of the land out there at one time.”

Salisbury Street—“They spell it wrong,” says Elizabeth. There might have been a cousin who went by Salisbury, she says, but the most well-known man by that name was C.S. Saulsbury who owned the big hotel at the corner of Main and North. He also served as village clerk in the late 1870s and early 1880s.

“I think some of the relatives lived across the creek in that vicinity,” reported Elizabeth.

The old Morenci Fair was always erected on the land of Jonathan Saulsbury in the northern part of the city.

Stephenson Street—In the 1870s, Andrew Stephenson donated a block of land to the village for a park (Stephenson Park, or South Park). He wanted a park to resemble the village squares of the eastern United States.

Wakefield Drive—It’s one of Morenci’s newer streets, but it’s named after one of the earliest residents. Dennis Wakefield helped build the mills with Cawley and Wilson in the settlement’s first decade. He eventually acquired more than 400 acres of land in Medina Township.

His son Charles worked in Pioneer, Ohio, for six years, then returned to Morenci in 1868 and opened a bank. His widow donated the land that became Wakefield Park in 1936.

Whitney Avenue—The Whitneys weren’t among the early settlers, Elizabeth said.

“I might be wrong about this...” she began. “Osa Metcalf had a business partner. They platted the land and named it after someone from the Whitney family.”

Wilson Street—Simon Wilson arrived in Medina Township in 1834, clearing the land from dense wilderness to build a house. He became the first township clerk, the first Sunday school teacher and the first school inspector. He moved into Morenci in 1866.

Miscellaneous—Bank Street isn’t named for a financial institution, says Elizabeth, but because of the embankment it runs along. Sometimes the creek would flood into that area.

Summit Street—Summit came from the fact the street was higher than the land down by the creek, she said.

• Liberty Street—“My mother always maintained she was not born on West Union Street,” said Elizabeth. “She was born on Liberty Street.”

Sometime later that one block section became part of Union.

“Maybe we should plat some land and come up with our own names,” suggested Morenci’s historian. “That would give them something to think about.”

Fayette Streets:

Fayette’s streets show a mix of the old with the new. Although many streets were platted long ago in the early days of the community, a few were constructed in the last 50 years. Two others have new names.

Gamble and Industrial—Gamble Road was long known as County Road R and Industrial Parkway went by County Road S.

Kathy Fix doesn’t recall the date, but she has a newspaper clipping that tells of a contest sponsored through the school to name those two roads where they bordered the village.

Kathy’s mother, Vivien Ford, suggested Gamble Road to honor an early pioneer family. Edward Gamble came to America from England and settled in the Fayette area in 1845.

“It’s so appropriate that the new school was built on Gamble because the family was so interested in education,” Kathy said.

The Gamble children attended Fayette’s Normal University.

Pauline Jones came up with the name Industrial Parkway. Her suggestion wasn’t the only entry with the name “industrial,” but hers was the winner because of the addition of “parkway.”

The street takes in all of Fayette’s major industries and is also in view of the park.

Willard Court and Irene Court—Those are a pair of Fayette’s more modern streets. Gene Beaverson, the developer of the residential areas, named the streets after his parents.

He initially thought of naming them after the two children he had at the time, but the kids had a fit over that. Instead, he chose his parents and didn’t tell them until it was a done deal.Gamber Street—Henry and Polly Gamber arrived in the community from Seneca County, N.Y., in 1852. Henry  bought several acres of property north of Main Street and his name remains on one of the streets to the north.

Allen Street—Dr. Joseph O. Allen was an important figure in Fayette’s early days.

The town’s only mill—a steam grist mill—was built in 1850 and Dr. Allen was a partner in the project. He was also Fayette’s first postmaster.

Joan and George streets—These two are part of the Zeigler Addition and are named after the former property owners, George and Joan Zeigler.

Rehn Drive—A Mr. Rehn (pronounced rain) of Toledo owned property on the south side of the village. When Fred Armstrong developed the area into a residential addition, he named one road after Mr. Rehn and he named the other two streets after his children, Cynthia and Gregory.

Grace Lane—Ed and Grace Figgins owned some property that Gene Beaverson developed. The street was named after Grace.

Spring Street—When there are questions about Fayette’s history, people often turn to John and Wanda Bacon for answers. That’s what Kathy Fix did to answer this query: Was there a spring on Spring Street? Wanda didn’t recall that being the case, but her husband, John, knew the answer. Yes, there were springs in that part of town.

Knowing that solved a long mystery for Gene Beaverson. He once sold a house on Spring Street that was on high ground. He expected it would have a dry basement, but that wasn’t the case at all.

Now he knows why.

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