The Dearborn Historical Society, a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization, was formed, as stated in its constitution, to "foster interest in the history of Dearborn and vicinity, and to collect and preserve material, artifacts and archives relating thereto." It had its beginning in 1939, when Dearborn Historical Commission Chairman, Floyd L. Haight, carrying out one of Mayor John L. Carey's objectives, to form a historical society of Dearborn, appointed Mrs. Harold Barber and Mrs. E. Roy Bryant, as co-chairman, Miss Clara Snow and Miss Iris Becker to plan an Old Timers' Get together. The first Old Timer's Luncheon was held at Mt. Olivet Church on May 25, 1940. Mayor Carey was the principal speaker and 125 people attended. Those present were supposed to have been residents of Dearborn for at least 30 years and be 50 years of age.
The event created much interest and at the June 6, 1940, Dearborn Historical Commission meeting a resolution was passed requesting Chairman Haight to once again appoint a committee, this time to draw up a constitution for the society. He appointed Mrs. Barber chairman and Mrs. Elmer Allmendinger, Mrs. Max Musser, Mr. Harry Salisbury, Mrs. Louis Ives and Miss Becker committee members.
On November 12, 1940, the first regular meeting of the newly formed Dearborn Historical Society took place in the Old Dearborn High School Library with 25 people present. The constitution was adopted and a slate of officers elected. Since that first meeting there have been 30 presidents and interest in Dearborn's history has remained strong.
Since the McFadden-Ross House has been open, the Historical Society holds the majority of its meetings there. Each program is carefully planned with qualified speakers, knowledgeable in his or her field. The speakers often use video, slides or a display of artifacts to enhance their talk. Afterward, there is a refreshment period and a chance for visiting with other members. Field trips to points of historical interest within a 50 mile radius are usually planned for the October and April meetings to add variety to the program. The Heritage Luncheon, held the first Saturday in May, is co-sponsored by the Society and the Commission, each alternating from year to year in the duties of presiding.
We are looking forward to the 2002-2003 season. Our many lectures, field trips and other activities will prove once again the Dearborn Historical Society is one of the busiest historical societies in all of Metropolitan Detroit.