Class of 1910

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George Briggs Hartrick

Served as Village President of Royal Oak

Served as City Assessor, Asst. Prosecutor and City Attorney for Royal Oak and Berkley

Served 22 years as a circuit court judge in Oakland County

Prosecuted the “Black Legion” in 1936

Royal Oak High School Hall of Fame Inductee, 1999 

George Brings Hartrick was one of only five students to graduate from Royal Oak High School in 1910. Three years later he graduated from the Detroit College of Law and opened practice in Royal Oak. He was the descendant of early settlers in South Oakland and grew up on a farm which later became part of the Vinsetta Park subdivision in Royal Oak and Berkley. All six children of George and Bernice Hartrick graduated from Royal Oak High School. One son, James, was inducted into the Royal Oak High School Hall of Fame in 1998.

In 1919 George Hartrick and 45 other local business and professional leaders each invested $100 to purchase the local newspaper. The corporation legal papers creating the Tribune Publishing Company were drafted in Hartrick's law office.

George Briggs Hartrick was one of the founding fathers of Royal Oak. He was the Village President of Royal Oak when it became incorporated as a city. He also served as President of the new city's Board of Education between 1928 and 1935. There he witnessed the early staffing of the building that now houses the Royal Oak Middle School. Hartrick also served the community as city attorney, assistant prosecuting attorney, circuit court commissioner and township supervisor. Just before his death in 1958 he had been appointed by the mayor to chair a special advisory committee on the redevelopment of the central business district of his city.

In the fall of 1935 George Hartrick was elected to the Oakland County Circuit Court. Soon after taking office he presided over a grand jury investigation which uncovered many corrupt state, county and municipal officials who were members of the Black Legion--an off-shoot of the Ku Klux Klan associated with organized crime. Over the next twenty-two years Judge Hartrick served on the circuit court bench and continued to gain the respect of his colleagues. Upon his death a fellow judge described him as "a fine gentleman and a highly qualified jurist". He was elected president of the Michigan Judges Association and held office in the Bar Association. He actively participated and supported many civic and fraternal organizations including the Methodist Church and the Rotary Club.