Arthur J. Woelke Historical Research Center
History: In the summer of 2011 Scheurer Healthcare Network was building a new clinic in Elkton east of their current clinic. Clayton Esch, a Pigeon Historical Society member started inquiring about the old clinic and what the future plans were for it. Dwight Gascho, President, & CEO of Scheurer Hospital informed him that after they move into the new clinic that the old clinic was to be demolished and cleared for a new parking lot. Clayton seeing a use for most anything got the ball rolling on having the building moved to Pigeon for the Historical Society to use. After the Historical Society expressed interest in moving the building, several others expressed interest also and it became a bid process. The new clinic project had a few delays but it was to the Historical Society’s advantage, as we needed to get some approvals from the Pigeon Village Council, their Finance Committee, and Huron County Building and Zoning. After all project costs were gathered and the financial costs were backed, the approval from the Village Council was given at the March 21, 2012 meeting. The bid for the building was awarded to the Society on April 29 and groundbreaking took place on July 27, 2012, north of the Farmers Market. On September 10” Talaski Movers made the trip to Pigeon from Elkton to where the building is now located. The project continued for a few months changing it from a health clinic to the new home of the Woelke Research Center. A special thanks go to Clayton Esch for his vision and plan and Ken Licht for his special skills and work with the remodeling project. The Dedication Ceremony and Ribbon Cutting took place on September 28, 2013, with the opening of the Arthur J. Woelke Historical Research Center.
Acknowledgments: We thank the Pigeon Village Council for their cooperation and support of this project. Vendors helping were Talaski Building Movers, Poorman Construction (Tim Bloom), Maurer Electric, DTE Energy, Consumers Power, Last Stop Drywall, Heck Builders, Rich Heintz Painting, Esch Landscaping, and those who gave endless hours of their time and talent to see this project through. We also acknowledge the financial support from “Friends of the Historical Society” who gave over $15,500 and Kathy Dickens for her grant writing skills and a grant of $12,500 was given from the MCACA (Michigan Council for Art and Cultural Affairs) Grant. At the time of the Dedication Ceremony in September, the Historical Society had no debt on this project.
Welcome to Woelke Center: The Woelke Center is open year-round. It is a place to discover, collect and preserve the history and heritage of Pigeon. We have hundreds of documents in which Art Woelke collected over the years. Dozens of three-ring binders full of priceless information of the businesses, the people, churches, and the schools. Thousands of pictures of the old buildings and early settlers are at the Woelke Center for everyone to enjoy. This Historical Library is the home of The Pigeon Progress and The Progress-Advance dating back to 1897. It was only fitting to name this building the, Arthur J. Woelke Historical Research Center.
Arthur J. Woelke
December 4, 1927 – May 29, 2012
Historical Research Center
Dedicated September 28, 2013
This building is dedicated to Arthur J. Woelke, a lifelong Pigeon resident, who spent countless hours documenting and preserving local artifacts and photo history of Pigeon and the surrounding area. Art was an avid reader, traveler, community planner, and activist. He was a tireless worker, church member, and leader, but even more, he was a friend to all who crossed his path. Art understood that the local history must be recorded so people could benefit by knowing who and what created the foundation for the present. His passion for history now provides us with a lasting resource for residents and visitors to study and enjoy. Very few people have accomplished what Art has given to us. We honor his merit with this plaque and Historical Research Center, that all who enter here will leave further enriched by the unselfish commitment they left behind.