Rodger Parzyck, owner of the Heritage Company, an architectural salvage and supply company in downtown Kalamazoo, has been one of the many benefactors for Vicksburg’s Historic Village. His donations include doors, windows and advice to the “Thursday” guys as they browse through his treasure trove of salvage materials.
“I believe in what they are doing in the Historic Village,” Parzyck says. “I get more satisfaction out of Ken Evensen and Ernie Cox’s glee when they spot something I have salvaged and they could use, than anything else. They appreciate what I have in my store and I love that. I can experience what they do, at least vicariously.”
His donations have included the doors and windows in the township hall that was gutted by the Thursday Guys who volunteer their time working at the Historic Village, and rebuilt entirely on the inside. He has given door hinges, door lock sets, three screen doors for the farmhouse, canopy lights for the Village Garage, new globes and sockets, a gas soldering torch, storm windows for the Township Hall, and all the windows and doors for the General Store and Sweet Shop.
Now, he is saving old tools and other items that would ideally fit into displays in the General Store that the Thursday Guys expect to start building in the spring. A good deal of the lumber for this building has been salvaged from old houses being torn down in Kalamazoo and offered to nonprofits by the Edison Neighborhood coalition.
Having never visited the Historic Village before, Parzyck and his wife stopped in at the Christmas bake sale at the Depot Museum in December. They were quickly given a guided tour by Cox. Parzyck said it nearly brought his wife, Lia Gaggino, to tears because she was so impressed with the Historic Village and its use of recycled materials.
As president of the Kalamazoo county Preservation Alliance, Parzyck has been instrumental in saving some of the old buildings in the area. He played a big role in convincing the Kalamazoo County Board to save the Masonic Temple which has turned out to be a catalyst for growth on N. Rose Street.
He spent many frustrating hours trying to get Western Michigan University to reverse its decision on tearing down buildings on the old East Campus, to no avail. He’s not giving up, just girding for the next historic building saving campaign. That’s why he supports the Vicksburg effort which showcases the important work of our ancestors.