The Coopersville Area Historical Society was chosen as the 2000
recipient of the Evans Memorial grant which was initiated by the
Michigan Architectural Foundation and the Clannad Foundation.
The award is given annually to a Michigan non profit organization for a
preservation project that demonstrates the use of creative solutions for
problems in the restoration of a historic artifact or property. The grant
to the Historical Society of $5,000 is for the first phase of interior restoration
of Car #8 (Merlin). This will involve refinishing of the rare
interurban train car's interior walls and floor. Specially milled panels,
trim and other pieces need to be recreated.
Original design plans no longer exist for Car #8's line, an electric
railway which came through Coopersville as it traveled between Grand
Rapids and the lakeshore from 1902-28. Therefore, much study and
investigative work were necessary to prepare for the project. Phases of
exterior restoration have taken place throughout the years since the
Historical Society acquired the car in 1990. Its transformation was
featured in an August 6, 1998 Grand Rapids Press article by Pat
The Evans Memorial Grant for historic preservation is presented
annually in memory of architect David Evans, founding partner of Quinn
Evans Associates of Ann Arbor. Mr. Evans was a leading advocate for
innovative historic preservation. His firm worked on many high profile
historic buildings throughout the United States.