by Fred Delcamp
Back in the mid to late 1960s, residents living in the communities of Genesee County, Mich. realized that historic buildings in the county were disappearing, being destroyed as the county grew and progressed. After a series of meetings and exchanges of ideas, many older buildings were donated and moved to what was first supposed to be a farm museum. This idea merged with the concept of a rural village and on July 4, 1976, our country’s bicentennial Crossroads Village became a reality. It included an old steam engine and tracks, referred to as “Huckleberry Railroad.”
One of the old-timey buildings to be spared and donated to Crossroads Village was a bank located in Vassar, Mich. Don Rapson, a coin dealer in that small city, also donated a few older coins for display at the bank.
Noting that the coin display was incomplete, Lloyd Thompson, a member of the Flint Flying Eagle Coin Club, proposed that the club should do what it could to improve it. At that time, the club was meeting at the Longfellow School and either Lloyd Thompson or David Hall was president. (Hall was the owner of a coin shop in the community of Davison, Mich. Thompson was a prominent florist in Flint.) Donations by Thompson, Hall, and Ray Dillard were combined with those originally donated by Don Rapson. Through the artistry of Kathy Freeland and the help of Ray Dillard,they were mounted and labeled on a countertop display with a Plexiglass covering in the lobby of the bank.
The display includes Half Cents, Large Cents, Two Cent Pieces, Three Cent Pieces (silver and nickel), Nickels, Half Dimes, Dimes, Quarters, Half Dollars, Silver Dollars, Horse Blanket Notes and Fractional Currency. (Roughly valued in excess of $1,200.00).
The exhibit is an authentic display of coins and paper money circulating during the 1800s and helps educate visitors regarding money in use during the time that Crossroads Village represents.
Later, a Fractional Currency Shield (copy) was added to the display. This was donated by Clifford Mishler of Numismatic News. The club had the shield framed and it now hangs behind the Teller’s cage inside the bank.
The efforts of the members of the Flint Flying Eagle Coin Club have enhanced the experiences of those who visit the bank, and the mission of Crossroads Village to preserve the past and to educate all visitors about it. If you are visiting Flint, Mich. and Genesee County, make it a point to schedule a trip to Crossroads Village and Huckleberry Railroad. Take a step back in time to experience a taste of the 1800s and view the coins and currency of that time period. You will not regret it!
Fred Delcamp- FFECC member