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A Happy Grimm Reunion

July 13, 2012 Archive Insight
This photo of Grimm Jewelry Store at 613 Michigan Avenue in Detroit was taken in 1926. Engelbert Grimm's store was moved to Greenfield Village in 1940.

There was a Grimm celebration at Greenfield Village today when descendants of jeweler Engelbert Grimm came from near and far to meet in front of his store to kick off their family reunion. The actual reunion is tomorrow, but many had the opportunity to meet today at the well-love artifact for a photo opportunity in front of "great-grandpa's" store. The charming little building, designed by architect Peter Dederichs, Jr., was built in the late 1880s and moved to the Greenfield Village in 1940.

Engelbert Grimm was a German immigrant who ran the store for 45 years. He offered mass-produced, inexpensive jewelry and watches to Detroit-area residents. He and his family resided on the second floor. Henry Ford enjoyed visiting the store and talking to the store owner about fixing watches and working with machinery.

The family members meeting today were related to Engelbert's daughter Marie. Marie had eight children, the seventh and only surviving is Josephine (née Lefevre) Smith, who will soon celebrate her 95th birthday.

It was fun watching some family members introduce themselves because they either hadn't yet met, or it had been years since they laid eyes on each other. As one told me with a wink, "After 50 years, some folks look a little different."

Some had photo albums in hand and were eager to show Josephine to share or learn more family history.

Sharing family memories, Grimm family at Greenfield Village

Family members came from California, Georgia, Arizona, Colorado, Illinois, Ohio, New Jersey and Michigan.

Josephine's daughter Cheryl Koeh said at her mother's 90th birthday, the discussion came up that it would be nice for family to come together for an occasion other than just weddings and funerals. They began planning for the reunion far enough in advance to give time for out-of-state relatives to arrange to make the trip. This is their largest family gathering.

Grimm family reunion

More than 60 relatives met for the fun and a the photo op. They even welcomed the knowledgeable presenter at the shop to be part of their family photo.

Grimm Family Reunion

In addition to the big group photo, families captured their own mementos of the event.

Grimm Family Reunion

Colette and Dick Sheridan had last visited Greenfield Village 55 and 60 years ago, respectively. They are both Michigan natives and used to come to the village quite frequently. Colette said when she was young, her mother always sent her for visits to the village when company came to town. The Sheridans said that the village had changed a lot since their last visits, but they also agreed there were so many parts that seemed the same.  They've long been California residents and were happy to travel to Michigan for the reunion. Four of their eight children were able to make the trip, too.

Grimm reunion - Greenfield Village

Even the youngest of the family enjoyed a look through the store. The displays show items that would have been sold in the shop near the turn of the century.

Grimm family reunion - Greenfield Village

This little guy, Jonathan, decided to see if he knew the combination to the safe.

Josephine Smith and her daughter Cheryl Koeh.

The weather was just right, and the mood was festive. By the smiles and laughter I heard, I'm sure many of the family would agree, it was a great day to be a part of the Grimm family.

events, Detroit, Greenfield Village buildings, Greenfield Village

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