As the new school year approaches the 365 Project will feature the stories of the elementary, middle and high schools in Troy, including how the buildings were named.
Schroeder Elementary School, built in 1970, was named for Elmer Schroeder, a local businessman in Big Beaver (intersection of Big Beaver and Rochester Roads) and Troy’s second Fire Chief.
Elmer was raised on a farm in Troy Township and married Sadie Davidson who lived across the road. In 1920 Elmer and his partner Henry Eseman opened a garage in Big Beaver. Two years later their business became a Ford dealership. Auto Owners Insurance approached the men in 1923 and suggested that they sell insurance with the cars. The company, E.M. Schroeder Insurance, was established and remains the oldest business in Troy. (See 365 Story on Feb. 5)
In 1940 Elmer and his neighbors met in the dealership garage and decided to organize a volunteer fire department. One of the service bays was designated to store a fire rig that the men built on an old Ford chassis. Elmer Schroeder succeeded John Lee Halsey as the chief of the all-volunteer unit in April 1941 and remained the chief at Station 1 for seventeen years, retiring in 1958.
In addition to his years of service as a volunteer fireman, Mr. Schroeder was a member of the Big Beaver Businessmen’s Association, Troy Rotary Club, the Metropolitan Club of Troy Spirit, Clawson-Troy Elks, the Southeastern Michigan Fire Chiefs Association, and a charter member of the Exchange Club of Troy. He also served on the Troy School Board for twenty-one years.
Elmer Schroeder passed away on August 21, 1968 at the age of 71.
Photo: Elmer Schroeder
Fire Calls and Station Stories: An Illustrated History of the Volunteer Troy Fire Department, by Loraine Campbell, and Fred Barnard; 2009
Pathways of History Through Troy, by Lois Lance, 1976
Birmingham Eccentric, Obituary, September 1968
To commemorate the City of Troy’s 60th Anniversary in 2015, we will publish a different story each day that highlights a person, discovery, or event that occurred locally, regionally, nationally, or even globally between 1955 and 2015 and that helped shape our lives and our community. We will try to post stories on important anniversary dates, but we also realize that dates are less critical than content and context. We will include the facts related to controversial stories, allowing our readers to form their own opinions. We invite you to read and comment on the stories. Your suggestions for topics are also welcome and can be posted on our Facebook page, www.facebook.com/TroyHistoricVillage. You can also email stories or ideas to the 365 Story Editor at firstname.lastname@example.org