By: DuAnne Sonneville
The Wayside Exhibits is a project of the MotorCities National Heritage Area dedicated to preserving, interpreting and promoting the automotive and labor heritage of the State of Michigan. MotorCities, an affiliate of the National Park Service, was designated by the U.S. Congress in 1998 to “preserve the cultural and historic landscape associated with the automobile in Southeastern and Central Michigan.” The Greater West Bloomfield Historical Society (Orchard Lake Museum), West Bloomfield Parks & Recreation, Westacres Community Association, the Oakland County’s Department of Economic Development & Community Affairs, local governments, and many volunteers worked with the MotorCities National Heritage Area Wayside Exhibit program to help create more than 20 local outdoor exhibits about the automotive heritage of Keego Harbor, Orchard Lake, Sylvan Lake, and West Bloomfield. Beginning in 2012, GWBHS volunteer historians, Cara Kazanowski, Helen Jane Peters and Sue Williams, provided historical information and images for the design of many of the exhibit signs. The Orchard Lake area exhibits are a part of a network of approximately 250-300 (2’x3’) signs that will be created throughout central and southeastern Michigan to chronicle automotive and railway transportation. This historic project was made possible through a grant from the Federal Highway Administration, Department of Transportation, the Michigan Department of Transportation, and the Michigan Department of History, Arts and Libraries.