03-01-2018 Tri-City Area History Page

Maybe a training session? Recognize any of them? North Berrien Historical Museum is always interested in photos, stories or information sharing. The museum can be contacted at 269-468-3330 or by email to info@northberrienhistory.org.

The Paw Paw River Journal

Hartford roads What’s in a name! Well, I’ll tell you… cartographers (map makers) have a habit of labeling our smaller roads by number now. I don’t like that. Around Hartford we’ve always named our roads. And I was reminded of this some time back by an email message from a friend down St. Joe way. He said, “…we are enjoying some much needed rain but I’m not sure it will do much for the farm crops. I am glad I am not trying to eke out a living on the farm on Pinery Road, Hartford, where we used to live. Incidentally, some years ago the State required that all roads and streets be numbered and the Pinery now has a number instead of a name and I am sorry to report I do not know the official designation. I liked the other, more colorful, system better. We had Pollywog, Beany, Keeler, Bangor roads in those days.” Well, that got me thinking. And he is right. Coming east from Watervliet on Red Arrow Highway there is County Line Road. That separates Berrien and Van Buren counties. Logical! Next, just this side of the new casino is Thomas School Road, heading south and cut off by I-94, named for the first settler out there. Guess what his name was! William Thomas and his wife brought out from New York with them their nephew. He was the first Hartford settler to die in the new community, and they buried him in the Old Pioneer Cemetery across from Galati’s Pizza Emporium. Originally the Indian Trail wound right through that burial ground, and the road would become Red Arrow Highway. They decided to rebury some of the residents on the south side of the road, and Old Cenius Engle (Hartford’s self-taught lawyer) said with a wry smile they missed a few graves. So… perhaps some of those early citizens are now tempted by the aroma of baking pizza! Next road east is Pollywog Road, also cut off to the south by I-94. How that road got its name, I’ll never know! Back in the day, I traveled it enough times going out to pick up my Chief Accountant on a date. One night I almost ran into the side of a passing freight train on the C&O… there were no lights at the crossing in those days. Next road to the north is Pinery Road. This is the infamous area where Minnie Hartwell offed her husband with a pistol and caused quite a stir back in the day. I have written about this in previous columns. Where the name “Pinery Road” came from I have no idea. Perhaps some citizen could enlighten us! Just west of the Pioneer Cemetery, and across from Galati’s southward, wanders Beeny Road probably named for a Mr. Beeny. A classmate of mine, George ‘Sonny’ Morris lived at the south end of it. I have told the story before about how he went to see a scary movie, “The Mummy,” at the Heart Theater. When the show got out at 9 p.m., he knew he would have to hoof it all the way home. He said he was so scared he ran all the way… setting a new speed record when he went past the cemetery! Hartford itself is bisected by North and South Center streets. To the north we call it the Bangor Road, to the south it is the Keeler Road. This is so logical it makes the road’s numerical designation superfluous… whatever that number is. East of town the last area road I wish to discuss is Macy’s Stone Road. It runs south from Hanson’s Cold Storage into the country and was the first thoroughfare to be coated with crushed stone and tar. We loved to ride our bicycles out on that paved road after the first autumn frost, because at the intersection out there was a chestnut grove. Frosty nights split open the spiny shells, and we could gather pockets full of chestnuts. Finding them was really more fun than eating them. Well, Sports Fans that is the rundown on the roads in our area. Nary a number either. But they are all named in my memory as crystal clear as they were when we were kids. What their number designations are now, I have no idea. And I really don’t care. I know, I know, the girl who talks to us on the GPS system would treat my ignorance with disdain. That also matters little to me! A few years back we were vacationing at Ft. Myers Beach, Florida. I received a call from friend Bud Colman back in Hartford (God rest his soul). He said he had Googled our Florida town and was following the roads on his computer out to the place we were staying, and complaining bitterly because they had the roads only numbered. I was calling them all by name. Suddenly he exclaimed, “Good grief! There’s nothing on the map now… just blank space!” I said, “Turn around, Bud, and go back… you’re out over the Gulf of Mexico. Don’t want you to get lost!” I could just see the headlines: Hartford native disappears over Gulf of Mexico! It’s a story to rival the mystery of what happened to Amelia Earhart! What’s in a name? Well, when it comes to roads, I never will like those numbers. Roads need to be named in our storybook towns along the Paw Paw River… so we’ll all know what people are talking about! And you can take that to the bank!

Watervliet District Library News

Zachary – the read to me dog Every Saturday thru Spring, 1:30 – 2:30 p.m. Meet Zachery – a certified therapy hypoallergenic labradoodle. He has a Good Canine Citizen Certificate and is a member of the American Kennel Club; loves to be read to by kids. Adult Reading Program ends Saturday, March 3 This year’s theme is: Solve it@Your Library. Anyone 18 years and older is invited to warm up those brain cells with winter reading. 1st prize: Puzzle books; 2nd prize: Brain teasers; 3rd prize: Magnifying glass; Grand Prize Drawing: Everyone who’s read 6 books or more is entered to win two tickets to the Mendel Center “Rockin’ Road to Dublin”. Story Hour Wed. 10:30 a.m. & Thur. 1:30 p.m. Show-and-tell, stories and crafts for children ages 3 – 5 and their families. Sign up to share this structured literacy program with your preschooler! Library Garden Park Purchase a Legacy Wa