President Biden visits Northville
Posted on 07/18/2024
Mayor Brian Turnbull

Northvillians and friends,

Over the years, presidents, governors, and other notable figures have visited our pleasant Hamlet in the Hills, making their mark on our community. Last week was no exception, as we saw some presidential excitement come to town.

In fact, a great deal was happening in The Ville this past week. Several dignitaries visited Northville. The overhang of the Downs’ club house (the last remaining building on the development site) was pulled down. And special cars were on display at the monthly Cars and Coffee gathering behind Old Village School and at the Concours d’Elegance at the Mill Race Village.

But the big surprise occurred on Friday afternoon, when President Biden arrived in Northville with his Presidential motorcade of close to three dozen vehicles and 100 security folks, along with the first responders from our city, the township and Novi. President Biden and U.S. Rep. Debbie Dingell were joined by members of Congress, including U.S. Rep. Haley Stevens, state Sen. Rosemary Bayer, state Rep. Matt Koleszar and other dignitaries, to visit with local citizens.

We experienced real parade excitement, as the presidential motorcade came down Sheldon past the Downs Development, made its way up Center, and then headed down Main, where Northvillians lined up to catch a view of the president, who waved to them on the way to the Evasic Family’s Garage Grill & Fuel Bar. President Biden spoke there to a group of about 50 folks – part of a truly memorable weekend in the Ville.

The event was well executed and a big success, thanks in part to the hard work of the Garage team. For more than a decade, the Garage has been a perfect place to host local, regional and national activities. Between Genitti’s (who has hosted events for more than 50 years) and the Garage, thousands of folks visit each week to enjoy our hospitality. Northville thanks them and all our local businesses for what they do for our town. Without a strong business sector, we cannot have a strong community.

What's going on today
 Music in downtown Northville through the Summer. Fridays – Link, Saturdays –  Link, ( 7/21 - Al Carmichael, 7/28 - Acoustic Ash)

• 7/25 and 26, 9 a.m. – 4 p.m. – New Hope Center for Grief Support kids' camp at Maybury Farm. This two-day program is designed to help each camper connect with other grieving children, letting them know they are not alone, and to help them learn about the reactions and emotions associated with grief, teaching them healthy coping skills to help them grow. Contact 248-348-0115 for more info.

• Music at Maybury Summer Concerts – Mondays through Aug. 12, 7 p.m. Link

Task Force Meetings
• Bicentennial - Chair Rick Sharp stated the next meeting is being scheduled for early September – Stay tuned for details.

• Cemetery Restoration gearing up for next round of gatherings (Cemeterians – Chair David Marold confirmed next meeting day – Monday 7/29 - 7 p.m., City Hall)

Let’s look at previous historic local visits by special dignitaries

The following activities are chronicled in The Northville Record, the oldest weekly newspaper in the state dating back to 1869:

Presidential happenings
• In 1992, President George H. W. Bush, the 41st President of the United States (1989-1993) and First Lady Barbara Bush brought their campaign train to Northville. Their train route was through Northville’s Cabbagetown area where they waved to those gathered along both sides of the track. They moved slowly past the Albert Kahn-designed Ford Plant (Water Wheel Centre) and continued on through Bealtown, greeting countless citizens who witnessed this historic event.

• 1934 – Albert Kohler, a Northville native, had a part in decorating a record-setting cake for President Roosevelt. The 250-pound birthday cake was sent to the White House in Washington D.C. for the celebration.

Governors in town – Numerous Michigan governors have come to town for various activities over the years.

• 1904 – Gov. Warner (1905-1910) visited Northville routinely and lived close by in Farmington. He owned the Clover Dairy, and some of his 13 cheese factories were in the Northville area. He spoke at our band shell in 1904 where he launched his quest to become governor (serving three terms).

• 1932 – Gov. Brucker (1931-1932) spent time in Northville at the opening of the Wayne County Fair (which was even larger than the Michigan State Fair).

• 1950 – Gov. (Soapy) G. Mennen Williams (1949-1960) opened up the Northville Downs racing season, in which the world champion mare Onolee Hanover was entered in the Governor’s Trot Race. Also in 1950, the governor spoke at Ford Field and he dedicated the Northville State Hospital on Seven Mile (now Legacy Park).

• 1962 – Gov. Romney (’63-’69). Mitt Romney’s father (George), the former Chairman of American Motors, launched his campaign for governor in Northville.

• 1982 – Gov. Bill Milliken (’69-’82) spent time in our city and always had a Northville flag on his desk in Lansing (given to him during his first visit here). He dedicated our Main Street renovation program in the early 1980’s.

• 1998 – Gov. Engler (’91-’02) signed legislation here while visiting the city of Northville in the fall before stopping at our historic Parmenter’s cider mill.

• Gov. Jennifer Granholm (’03-’10) lived here as a Northvillian, spending a great deal of time in the Ville. She is presently the U.S. Secretary of Energy.

• 2012 – Gov. Snyder conducted a town hall meeting in Northville to an enthusiastic crowd.

• Gov. Gretchen Whitmer (2019 -) has been to town on many occasions, and I’ve had the honor to host her.
Northville, which dates back 200 years (before Michigan was a state), first had a president of the community, then a village mayor and finally during the early 1950’s, transitioned to having a city mayor. Since then, there have been only six mayors: Claude Ely, A. Malcomb Allen, Paul Vernon, Chris Johnson, Ken Roth and myself, Brian Turnbull.

Other notable visitors
Prince Louis Ferdinand, the crowned Prince of Prussia, spent time with friends in Northville in the 1930’s.

Henry Ford enjoyed our town so much after his honeymoon here in the 1880’s that he brought many of his friends here, including his “Vagabonds Group” comprised of best friend Thomas Edison, naturalist John Burroughs and industrialist Harvey Firestone.

Eddie Stinson built planes here. Famous flyers (including Amelia Earhart, according to legend) tested planes at our airport located at 6 Mile and Beck.

Joe Louis, the World Heavyweight Boxing Champ, trained and spent quality time in town as a Northvillian.

John Dillinger is said to have broken into the hardware store where Baby-Baby is today.

Bob Seger – Played at The Cavern in ’67 & ’68 at the Northville Community Center on Main Street, located in the historic area we call School Square.

We all have 60 minutes in each hour and 24 hours in a day. It’s how we use this time and who we share it with that makes a difference in life! I challenge you to make a difference for our community, and perhaps we will be talking about you someday.

I would be remiss if I didn’t ask for all of us to keep in our prayers and hearts the families of those that were heinously shot at former President Trump’s rally in Pennsylvania. And we pray for the speedy recovery of all who were injured, including the former president.

Keep that “Hamlet in the Hills” or “Switzerland of the County” faith!

Brian Turnbull
Mayor, city of Northville
[email protected] / 248.505.6849

President Biden, dignitaries