UHBBI shifts focus to documenting local history
Following the June 27, 2023 meeting of the White Pigeon Appeals Board, UHBBI is shifting focus from repair and restoration to preserving the history of the brick building, including having a qualified architect make documents detailing the structure’s layout and design.
While the Appeals Board had given UHBBI a chance to move forward, which the nonprofit did by stabilizing the building at the end of January, the 501(c)(3) was not able to show where the corporation would get 3 million dollars – the price tag for repairing and renovating the site – by the April 30, 2023 deadline.
Based on the Order created in November of 2022, inability to document having the funds – or promise of the funds – needed for the work by April 30, 2023 means that the building must be demolished.
The Board of UHBBI is working with the Village of White Pigeon in seeking funding for the demolition.
Despite this set-back, UHBBI is committed to preserving the history of the building, including that of the local businesses and families who have a long history of involvement with the 167 year-old site. Fundraisers, including the raffle of a 1972 Corvette Stingray convertible, are for the purpose of paying the architect, as well as for costs involved in collecting artifacts, recording local people’s stories, and creating an archive – including video and audio files – so that future generations will be able to know as much as possible about the site. UHBBI is also looking a publishing a book documenting this history. These funds also cover expenses of the nonprofit, including property taxes, liability insurance, and other operational costs of the corporation.
None of the money raised through the raffle or the Roctoberfest dance will be used for demolition.
We will publish updates on our progress as we make this shift in focus as new information is available.
in november, 2022, The White Pigeon Construction Board of appeals gave UHBBI the chance to stabilize the pre-Civil War brick building we have been trying to save. We were given 90 days to accomplish the stabilization, using a plan already proposed by Building Restoration, Inc.
We are happy to report the on-time completion of this phase, which included putting up construction fencing and having both asbestos and lead testing done.
As we move ahead, UHBBI continues to raise funds to pay architects, engineers, and building restoration experts for plans and future work. You can help by going to our new giving page at:
you can also mail your gift to Union Hall Block Building, Inc. at:
Union Hall Block Building, Inc.
P.O. Box 43, White Pigeon, Michigan 49099
UHBBI is a nonprofit 501(c)(3) corporation. As such, gifts given to UHBBI are tax deductible.
Please help us to save and restore this priceless historic treasure!
Thank you White Pigeon class of ’62 ! I enjoyed meeting you at your reunion this past Saturday. This is the video presentation I was invited to make for you.
some things are worth fighting for
Preserving our history for future generations is one of those things worth fighting for. In our case, preserving our history means saving, restoring and preserving the Union Hall Block Building in White Pigeon, Michigan.
The building, thought to have been built around 1854, has been many things. The local post office once stood on the site. It served as a Headquarters for the Union Army, taking part in staging the deployment of Michigan Union troops to the South during the Civil War.
When the local Union school upgraded from a wooden structure to a brick schoolhouse, the Union Hall Block Building was temporary home to the school. It is thought that this influenced the name of the current building. The University of Michigan also operated a satellite program out of the site. The program they offered allowed young men and women to prepare for entrance to U of M upon their high school graduations.
A host of local businesses have called the Union Hall Block Building their home. In more recent times, business dwindled until the building became the property of one family, housing two small businesses: The Tasty Nut Shop (a nut and candy store), and Silver Spoons (a catering business). One of the few original brick buildings left standing, the upkeep on the site became difficult. In the fall of 2021, the White Pigeon Village Council discussed concerns about the structural integrity of the building and moved to have it condemned.
In response, the owners hired their own engineering firm to evaluate the building and give them their expert opinion about the possibility of restoring it. The good news was that the building could still be repaired and restored. The bad news was that this would be a costly venture.
In December of 2021, the White Pigeon Village Council moved to condemn the building. A series of court hearings ensued, with the village insisting on demolition. Local residents were shocked and dismayed at the idea of seeing the building razed, and came together to discuss ways to save this irreplaceable historic site.
Thus was born Union Hall Block Building, Inc, a Michigan nonprofit whose sole purpose is to save, restore, and preserve the Union Hall Block Building for future generations. It became time for sentiment to turn to action.
We have been touched and encouraged by the donations of people who support our efforts to stabilize and restore the building. Union Hall Block Building, Inc. was quickly granted 501(c)(3) status. We are also putting together the documentation necessary to apply for designation as a National Historic site.
These things take time, however. It is vital, at this point, for anyone who values the historical importance of sites like the Union Hall Block Building to support us in any way that they can. Especially given the tight time frame for making repairs.
Please check out our donation page for more information and an opportunity to support this endeavor through your generous gift.
You are also invited to visit our Future Vision page, where we share in more detail our vision for creating a museum. This site will also share pieces of the building’s history, focusing on businesses which have been housed there over past generations. Our current page highlights The Tasty Nut Shop, which has had to suspend business because of the actions taken by the White Pigeon Village Council.