Carbon Monoxide Headquarters




compiled by

David G. Penney
Lois A. Lance

Published by Little Acorn Press,
Royal Oak, MI 1996

Commemorating the 75th Anniversary of the City of Royal Oak

392 pgs., over 150,000 words & 100 illustrations, fully and meticulously indexed, cost $25.00 from Little Acorn Press, plus shipping. ph. (248) 547-9375.

About the Authors:

David George Penney - A fifth generation Royal Oak resident and son of Gertrude E. and George D. Penney, late Royal Oak Fire Captain. His paternal grandfather was George Washington Penney, carpenter and builder in Royal Oak from early in this century. His paternal great grandfathers were William Henry Penney and Frank Lincoln Knowles, each of whom is pictured in essays contained in this volume.

The author is a Professor of Physiology at Wayne State University School of Medicine, Detroit, and Director of Surgical Research at Providence Hospital, Southfield. He is the author of over 100 scientific papers, many book chapters and review articles, and several books.

He is also the author of many articles on local history, mainly published by the Mirror newspaper. He was a member of the Royal Oak Historical Commission 1978-81, and co-organizer of the Friends of the Almon Starr Historic House, and is currently a speaker on Royal Oak history, secretary of the Royal Oak Cemetery Marker Restoration Committee, secretary of the Royal Oak Cemetery Board, secretary of the Royal Oak Historical Society, and a member of the Royal Oak 75th Anniversary Committee. Along with Lois Lance, he co-authored A Walking Tour of the Royal Oak and St. Mary's Cemeteries. He is the father of two sons, Loren David and Morgan Donald, and two daughters, Elizabeth Caroline and Hannah Vera.

Lois Ann Jamieson Lance - Author of numerous articles on local history and antiques, and the Bicentennial booklet, Pathways of History Through Troy. A resident of Royal Oak from 1924 to 1946, and 1976 to the present. She speaks at schools and clubs on Royal Oak history, was a member of the Royal Oak Historical Commission 1978 - 1983, is an active volunteer at the Orson Starr House, member of the Royal Oak Historical Society, co-organizer and Chair of Friends of the Almon Starr Historic House, chairman of the Royal Oak Cemetery Board. She is co-author of A Walking Tour of the Royal Oak and St. Mary's Cemeteries, a sixty plus year member of the First Baptist Church of Royal Oak, and a member of the Ezra Parker Chapter Daughters of the American Revolution.

She and her husband, Don, are parents of three sons, Christopher, William and Justin, and grandparents of six girls and two boys. The family is completed by two step-grandsons. Aside from history, her passions are collecting antique quilts and antique glass.


This book contains material not previously published, or published so as to be inaccessible to the average reader. For the most part we have not duplicated previous efforts at recording Royal Oak history.

We are grateful to former Library Director Leonard Hammer and to the current Director Carol Windorf and to the library staff for their assistance in searching the library archives. Several items are from the files of the Royal Oak Historical Society. We thank The Daily Tribune, The Mirror, and Insight for permission to copy articles from their papers. We also wish to thank all of the authors who allowed us to print their material, and we have attempted to give credit where credit is due. If there are omissions, we apologize.

Many of the documents were retyped, while others were converted to text using optical character recognition software on a Macintosh computer. Several antique documents were reproduced as is, even though they may not be perfectly readable, in order to give the reader a feeling for the original material.

We thank our families for their support, and we especially thank all those who encouraged us with advance orders and have waited patiently for this book.

We want to point out that the reader will find discrepancies between different authors in reporting the same material. For instance, in most cases the date of the arrival of Orson Starr is given as 1831, when in one or more places it says "He came to Royal Oak in 1826". We feel certain that the 1831 date is the correct one, but have not changed the date in any of the texts. Likewise, Sherman Stevens' name, the developer of the original Royal Oak, is misspelled, "Stephens", but the reference is to the same person.

This is by no means a complete history of Royal Oak, but this is our endeavor to "toss another pebble on the cairn".

David G. Penney and Lois A. Lance, 1995

About the Title of the Book

This book was originally planned to be called Royal Oak History Bits. However, as we unearthed more and more interesting material, we decided that History Bits conveyed insignificance, and what we have included within these pages does have significance. So the name was changed to Royal Oak Twigs and Acorns.

.... Webster's gives these definitions:

"twig (n), a branch or stem of no definite length or size,"
"twig (v.t.), notice, observe, perceive, or watch."
"acorn (n), the fruit of the oak."

The articles herewith are of varying lengths, and we hope they will help you notice things about Royal Oak you may never have observed before, and give you a new perception about what has happened in times past, and make you want to watch what happens next. Oldtimers often referred to our city as "the Oak."

................... Last changed 05/08/2004

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