Editor’s Note: The following appeared in the Michigan Association of Recreation Vehicles and Campgrounds (MARVC) newsletter commemorating the organization’s 70th year of operation.
It was a short 70 years ago that a group of Michigan Industry Pioneers got together and established an industry trade association.
The Michigan Trailer Coach Dealer Association Inc. was formed on Sept. 19, 1941. It was the first state or regional association on record with continuous industry activity on a state and national level.
F.W. McKenny was the first director and was instrumental in the passage of the Michigan Trailer Coach Park Act in 1939. This is believed to be the first statewide legislation in the country regulating trailer parks. It was designed to replace all municipal laws and ordinances affecting parks. Other states used this as a model for similar legislation.
McKenny was active in representing the Trailercoach Dealers National Association during World War II. He moved his office to Washington D.C. and in doing so took the Michigan association office with him. In 1946, the association office was returned to Michigan and located in East Lansing. The name was the changed to the Michigan Trailer Coach Association.
In 1948, the members concerned with the operation of trailer parks formed a separate group, the Michigan Trailer Park Operators Association Inc. This organization continued to represent the interests of the park owners until it again combined with the Michigan Mobile Home Association 18 years later.
By 1956 the Michigan Trailer Coach Association moved its office to Detroit and Charles Snyder became executive director. He was followed by Haven La Bohn, Daniel Dowsett, Donald Rokos, Robert Pelkey and its current executive director, Timothy J. DeWitt.
With the birth of the RV Industry and a need for campground representation the association’s name was again changed to the Michigan Mobile Home and Recreational Vehicle Institute in 1969. The association purchased a headquarters building in the late 1960’s in Livonia.
Then in 1994 after another name change to Michigan Manufactured Housing, Recreational Vehicle & Campground Association, the headquarters was moved to the Capital City area. In 1996, ground was broken in Okemos, Mich., where the association office is currently located.
MARVAC would like to thank the hundreds upon hundreds of members who have served on all the boards and various committees throughout the last 70 years and the thousands of members who have supported the association through dues, contributions and donations that has allowed the Michigan Association to continue to be visible to protect and promote the industry and our members’ businesses.