Eugene 'Gil' Wanger honored with Ingham County Heritage Award


Photo courtesy of the Ingham County Historical Commission

The Ingham County Historical Commission named the Honorable Eugene “Gil” Wanger the Ingham County Heritage Award recipient for 2017.

 In 1971, at his request as the Finance Chairperson of the Ingham County Board of Commissioners, the Special Committee on County History was created. Among its achievements was the recognition of the Ingham County Courthouse being listed on the National Register of Historic Places on December 13, 1971.

In 1972, as Chairperson of the Board of Commissioners, Wanger paved the way for a new history of the County to be written in time for the 1976 Bicentennial celebration. During 1974 he worked with Representative Stanley M. Powell to draft a bill, which enabled counties to form Historical Commissions with the Ingham County Historical Commission being the first in the state to be established.

In 1977 the Historical Commission published Ingham County Histories an annotated bibliography for students, buffs and collectors written by Wanger. In 2003 the Commission published the sequel to the earlier work. Both volumes catalogue much of the published work relative to the history of the county. During 2006 Wanger donated the majority of his personal library, assembled over a period of 60 years, of books, manuscripts and ephemera pertaining to the history of Ingham County to the Mason branch of the Capital Area District Library.

Wanger's interests and public service extend far beyond the reaches of Ingham County.

His 2003 biography notes he is “A member of the Michigan and Federal Bars following education in the Lansing public schools and graduating from Amherst College and the University of Michigan Law School. He was a delegate (youngest Republican delegate) to the Michigan Constitutional Convention of 1961.”

His comprehensive Michigan Constitutional History Collection was donated to the State of Michigan in 2010 at the same time his book, “The Eugene M. & Roka G. Wanger Michigan Constitutional History Collection, A Historical Bibliography,” was published by the state.

In 2015 Wanger donated his extensive collection of artifacts, books and ephemera related to the death penalty to the National Death Penalty Archive in Albany, NewYork,

Last year, Michigan State University Press published his book, “Fighting the Death Penalty,” covering a 50-year history of the anti-death penalty argument in America. Wanger wrote the prohibition clause for the 1962 Michigan Constitution, approved by voters in 1963.