TROY DODGE is shown in his Curwood room in his small Owosso home. Dodge has collected several, first edition posters from Curwood movies he has displayed in the room, which is painted to match Curwood Castle in Owosso.

   Included in the Curwood room display are numerous magazines that feature Curwood short stories, some featured inside Good Housekeeping, The Saturday Evening Post, McCall’s and Cosmopolitan. Dodge also has first edition Curwood books in his Curwood room, as well, including one that was signed by James Oliver Curwood (inset).

(Independent Photo/Karen Mead-Elford)

 

  Troy Dodge loves Owosso. Born and raised in the city, Dodge attended Emerson Elementary School and graduated from OHS in 1982. Following three years in the Navy and some miscellaneous places of employment, he has since been employed for 29 years at Allied Motion Technologies (previously Motor Products) on S. Delaney Road. He now resides in a small house, located in a rural setting just a couple miles south of town – but it’s not just any small, rural house. Dodge has slowly been turning his home into a personal, miniature museum of Owosso history.

   Dodge shared he actually detested history in school. His interest didn’t become piqued until his mother gave him several of his father’s Owosso High School yearbooks after his dad died. The yearbooks were from 1955, 1956 and 1957. He liked the yearbooks, so when the pandemic hit and he grew bored, he found himself searching the internet for more Owosso yearbooks, which he started collecting, and his search connected him to the Shiawassee County Historical Society and Jim and Sharon Van Pelt. From that point, following Jim Van Pelt’s suggestion, Dodge found his interest in yearbooks expanding to include an interest in all things James Oliver Curwood. Seeking more Curwood information and items, Dodge connected with Denice Grace, head docent at Curwood Castle – and the more effort he put into his new interest, the more connections he made and the quicker his collections started to grow and continue growing to this day.

   From Owosso yearbooks, to Curwood, to Thomas E. Dewey, to Brad Van Pelt, the Argus Press, the Independent, St. Paul School and more, Dodge found a passion in preserving local history. When he is not collecting more items or working on his home museum, Dodge also assists as an admin on the “You know you’re from Owosso if…” Facebook page. From Facebook, he shares posts of many of the items in his collection. The page also allows him and others with Owosso connections, to enjoy old Owosso memorabilia and photos or discuss points of history.

   Regarding his home, Dodge recently converted two bedrooms into a Curwood room and an Owosso room. He is currently working on a redo in the kitchen to display all of his Hood’s Soda items and other Owosso glass bottled items.

   Touring the Curwood room, Dodge shared he thinks Curwood was likely the most historically significant person from Owosso.

   “He did everything. I didn’t know he did as much as he did,” shared Dodge. “You know, I just thought he wrote some books – and he did. He wrote 33 books, but then he also did short stories, like 200-some short stories. Then he did all of these movies. He did a lot. Plus all his hunting and outing experiences and nature.”

   Admitting he’s not much of a reader and he has never read a Curwood book, Dodge believes it would’ve still been great to meet Curwood, believing he shares a similar passion for nature.

   Discussing the Facebook page, Dodge said he receives private messages on his phone regularly, particularly from people interested in locating Owosso yearbooks. He tries to help people who have lost yearbooks due to moving, fires or floods – find replacement yearbooks. Dodge often has doubles (or more) in his yearbook collection. He shared a story about a woman recently contacting him, seeking a yearbook from the 1930s for her mother. The mother had never received her senior yearbook, so Dodge finding her a yearbook from her senior year meant a lot to the elderly woman. Dodge is always pleased when he can help someone out.

   Dodge’s oldest OHS yearbook is from 1902 – the first annual senior yearbook. There were a few early years when the yearbook was not published. Instead, the senior class was featured in the newspaper.

Saving History One Yearbook or Newspaper at a Time was last modified: February 3rd, 2022 by Karen Elford