Florence B Dearing Museum

Where the Past Is the Present

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The original town hall was built in 1891 at the corner of
Main (Crouse Road) and Hartland Road (Avon).  In the 1940s,
the hall was remodeled to house a fire truck at ground level
at the west end and an upstairs room was partitioned off. 
In 1969, the people of Hartland voted to give the township
authority to build a new township hall and fire hall. The first
meeting in the new town hall was on July 7, 1970.

The Hartland Area Historical Society was formed in 1970 to preserve the old town hall and save it from destruction.  In 1971, the old town hall was deeded to the historical society. The building was restored and permission was received to move the Florence B. Dearing collection from Cromaine Library to the hall. The hall was then named in honor of the librarian, Florence B. Dearing.

The first meeting of the Hartland Area Historical Society was held September 10, 1970 at the Sally Thomas Antique Shop on Avon Street. Citizens were concerned about the preservation of the Town Hall (Florence B. Dearing Museum), as the township offices had been moved to new facilities. Lifetime resident Gale McDevitt became the President and Kathleen Keegan served as Secretary. The group was then incorporated on November 18, 1970 with the resolution to "Preserve the heritage and history of the Hartland Area. They also agreed to support, provide for and accept articles for a museum, to organize and make such a museum collection available to the public and encourage the acquisitions of additional donations for the museum."

The historical society saw their dream come true when the Hartland Township Board presented them with the deed to the old Town Hall in July 1971. The Hartland Jaycees moved the Florence B. Dearing Museum, housed in the basement of the Cromaine District Library since its inception in 1958, to the old Town Hall in the summer of 1972. The museum's namesake, Florence B. Dearing was Librarian of Cromaine for 26 years.

Many generous donations of articles from people in the community and former residents have helped the museum grow. The Hartland Stagecoach Inn Questers and the Hartland Jaycees were instrumental in the initial restoration of the building along with financial aid from the Heartland Foundation.