Email : Daniel Coe
About the historian:
Within weeks of the time the assignment was given, the station was involved in an unfortunate arson fire. There was a lot of speculation reported in the news that the city was considering demolition. The non-profit organization that purchased the building several months before the fire, insisted that the station was structurally sound and should be saved. As a result, the city of Saginaw and the Saginaw Depot Preservation Corporation (SDPC) had many battles in court.
During this phase, I contacted the SDPC to gather any historic information I could of the building. At the time, it was believed that a local architect had designed the building, but there was no proof. I knew the building was built in 1881 because of the date set in stone of the dormers. So, I began spending countless hours at a local library researching through microfilm starting with January 1881. It wasn't until I finally came across an article dated October 25, 1881 that I found who designed the station. The article started with: "Through the courtesy of B. L. Gilbert, of New York, the architect who made the designs for the new Flint & Pere Marquette Passenger depot in this city."
From that point, my research took a tangent into two directions. Not only researching the history of the train station, but also of who this B. L. Gilbert was. When I turned in my report, it was a three inch three ring binder with information of the depot and of Bradford Lee Gilbert. The professor was very pleased with the amount of information, and I ended up getting an A+. But my research and commitment didn't stop there. I later joined the efforts of the SDPC to preserve this historic icon, and served on the Board of Directors as Secretary/Historian for 14 years.
With the amount of information I gathered on Mr. Gilbert's achievements, I decided to post it on the internet for anyone who might be interested in knowing more of him. I've been researching him since 1992, and I feel I've only scratched the surface of what there is to know of him. The information shared on this site is mostly of his achievements. Unfortunately, at this time, I know very little of his personal life.
I hope you enjoy viewing the information as much as I have researching and providing it here for all to see. If you see any information lacking or incorrect, please feel free to email me.