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Dominick Vettraino Papers

 Collection
Identifier: 1990-15

Collection Scope

SERIES I: Personal (1949-1965) contains material from Dominick’s involvement with the Boy Scouts; newspaper clippings; and correspondence, which especially focuses on Dominick’s elections and the passing of his father.

SERIES II: Bloomfield Hills (1932, 1953-1969) contains correspondence and records relating to the administration of the community, with an emphasis on property issues and the management of the Bloomfield Hills Fire and Police Departments.

SERIES III: Cranbrook Fire and Police (1955-1978) contains correspondence regarding the payment of firefighters and services performed by both entities.

SERIES IV: Photographs includes family photos, images of Dominick’s engineering and fire and police work at Cranbrook, and photos of objects and landscape of Cranbrook. It also contains a scrapbook (circa 1953-1954) containing images of Cranbrook Fire Department’s Boy Scouts troop. These papers also contain material relating to the rest of the Vettraino family, including Dominick’s wife Anne, his father Michael, his brother John Vettraino, and John’s daughter Cecilia Vettraino Strine. These members of the family are heavily represented in the photographs section.

Dates

  • 1949 - 1988
  • Majority of material found within 1953 - 1960

Creator

Access

Access to the collection is unrestricted.

Use

Permission to use collection materials must be requested in writing.

History

Dominick Vettraino was born 22 Dec. 1914 in Bloomfield Hills, Michigan, the son of Michael and Michela Vettraino. Michael had been employed at Cranbrook since he was hired by George Booth in 1905. In his capacity as grounds superintendent, Michael planted most of the trees and gardens that adorned Cranbrook’s early years and helped shape the campus that is seen today.

Dominick grew up at Cranbrook, where he “hobnobbed with Finnish architect Eliel Saarinen and spoke Italian with Swedish sculptor Carl Milles.” As a child, Dominick helped his father plant trees on the campus and brought water to the construction crews working at Cranbrook. His relationship with Cranbrook was formalized when, in 1931, he began working as one of his father’s handymen. Three years later, after studying at the University of Michigan’s Fire School, Dominick was named the chief of the Cranbrook Fire Department. Dominick used his considerable mechanical skills to build Cranbrook’s first fire truck, converting a Ford chassis into a working piece of firefighting equipment. He even married his wife Anne at the fire station in 1939. Upon his father’s retirement in 1955, Dominick took over the position of grounds superintendent. Dominick would also serve as the head of Cranbrook’s Police Department, where he was often seen patrolling the campus in his blue Ford. As the Cranbrook Cranium put it “Dominick is an interesting person to meet-but not after lights Friday night.”

Dominick’s contributions were not limited to the Cranbrook Community. Dominick used his knowledge and experience as a firefighter to help form the Bloomfield Hills Fire Department in 1942. He continued to serve the community when he was elected to the Bloomfield Hills City Commission in the 1950’s, and in 1958 was elected the village’s mayor, the first native born resident of Bloomfield Hills to hold that position. Dominick was also very involved in the Boy Scouts, founding a troop at the Cranbrook Fire Department in the 1950’s.

Dominick and his family have made an indelible mark on the Cranbrook community. Upon his retirement from Cranbrook in 1981, Dominick received the Founders Award for 50 years of service, 26 years after his father received the award. In 2005, Festa Vettraino commemorated 100 years of Vettraino family service to Cranbrook. Michael and Dominick were honored, along with Dominick’s brother John, who also worked on the grounds at Cranbrook, and John’s daughter Cecilia Vettraino Strine, who teaches at Brookside School Cranbrook. Cranbrook also honored the family with the naming of Piazza Vettraino.

Dominick passed away on April 16, 2003. At his memorial at Christ Church Cranbrook, the fire truck he built stood guard out front, a tribute to his commitment to Cranbrook and the Bloomfield Hills community.

Extent

2.9 Linear Feet (1 MS, 1 OS)

Language of Materials

English

Abstract

Dominick Vettraino grew up at Cranbrook helping his father Michael, who as grounds superintendent, planted most of the trees and gardens that adorned Cranbrook’s early years and helped shape the campus that is seen today. Dominick formally began working for Cranbook as one of his father’s handymen in 1931. He would also later serve as chief of the Cranbrook Fire Department, building its first fire truck, and head of Cranbrook Police Department, while also succeeding his father as grounds superintendent. Dominick was also active in several areas of Bloomfield Hills city administration, being elected in 1958 as the village’s mayor, the first native born resident of Bloomfield Hills to hold that position. Dominick was very involved in the Boy Scouts, founding a troop at the Cranbrook Fire Department in the 1950’s. Dominick received the Founders Award for 50 years of service, 26 years after his father received the award. This collection contains personal materials, predominantly covering his involvement with the Boy Scouts; records pertaining to his involvement in the Cranbrook and Bloomfield Hills Fire and Police departments; and photographs both personal and related to the fire and policy departments, as well as the grounds of Cranbrook. These papers also contain material relating to the rest of the Vettraino family, including Dominick’s wife Anne, his father Michael, his brother John Vettraino, and John’s daughter Cecilia Vettraino Strine. These members of the family are heavily represented in the photographs section.

Arrangement

This collection is organized into four series: SERIES I: Personal (Box 1); SERIES II: Bloomfield Hills (Box 1); SERIES III: Cranbrook Fire and Police (Box 1); SERIES IV: Photographs (Box 1-2). The collection is arranged alphabetically and then chronologically.

Acquisition

Gift of Dominick and Anne Vettraino in June 1990, and April and August 1998. Subsequent materials were given to the Archives from Cecilia Vettraino Strine in August 2003.

Related Materials

Cranbrook Foundation Records (1981-05)

Festa Vettraino (2005-1)

Henry Scripps Booth and Carolyn Farr Booth Papers (1982-05)

Transfers

Some photographs from this collection were removed to the Photograph Special File.

Processing History

Lance Stuchell, 2008.
Title
Guide to the Dominick Vettraino Papers
Status
Completed
Author
Lance Stuchell
Date
2008
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
English
Script of description
Latin
Edition statement
Resource record created by Laura MacNewman.

Repository Details

Part of the Cranbrook Archives, Cranbrook Center for Collections and Research Repository

Contact:
39221 Woodward Ave.
P.O. Box 801
Bloomfield Hills MI 48303 US