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The fun of research

Started by Figleaf, November 26, 2008, 10:58:26 PM

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Digging for answers on mystery coin
NOVEMBER 23, 2008

The gift of a coin from a man in Virginia to the City of Farmington Hills created a lot of questions about what happened here.

The coin, about the size of a quarter, says "Good for parking only" on one side. On the other side is written Federal APD, Farmington Hills, Michigan.

Did Farmington Hills ever have a parking lot?

Clyde Pitchford, of Franklin, Va., found the token in his late father's coin box. He speculated it was from his father's Navy days, 1939-60. This would make the little coin an antique.

However, Farmington Hills didn't incorporate until 1973, 35 years ago.

There was a Federal's Department Store in downtown Farmington.

Some quick calls to longtime residents yielded some information.

Bernard Ludwig, of the Farmington Hills Historic District Commission, recalls a coin like this one that was used as a charge plate at the original Hudson's department store in Detroit.

Bernie referred me to John Rust, who was born in Farmington Township. He has lived here all his life. He said that Farmington Hills was so undeveloped in 1973, that no special parking area was needed.

The same response came from Helmer Howard, also a Farmington lifelong resident. Helmer's Farmington High School class of 1948 is planning to celebrate their 60th year of graduation this year.

No one recalls a Federal Hardware in Farmington Hills.

The History Room at the Farmington Library had directories which revealed the answers.

Federal Products in 1977 was located on Indoplex Circle in Farmington Hills. They manufactured gauges. Jack Longlais was the manager.

Before 1989, the listing was for Federal APD on Crestview Court. By 2004, Federal APD moved to Nine Mile Road in Novi.

A call to Federal APD in Novi revealed that APD referred to advance parking devices.

Rodney Hoover, advertising manager, never remembered making gauges in Farmington Hills. They make parking devices.

The coin was from a trade show and used for advertising.

Rebecca Finazzo, from human resources, explained that the Novi company was just one part of the conglomerate of 15 or 20 companies. Federal APD is just one part of the Federal Signal, which is headquartered in University, Ill.

Federal APD moved to Novi from Farmington Hills so their local company could be in one large building, rather than three small ones.

Clyde Pitchford, when he mailed the coin to our mayor, hoped that "Farmington Hills has a history of things" relating to our past.

Clyde Pitchford picked a good time to send this artifact to Farmington Hills, because the city is planning a small historical museum at Heritage Park.

The coin will find a place in Farmington Hills history.

Ruth Moehlman of Farmington Hills is a member of the Farmington Hills Historic District Commission and the Farmington Historical Society.

Source: Hometown Life
An unidentified coin is a piece of metal. An identified coin is a piece of history.


I love stories like this.