04-09-2020 Tri-City Area History Page

Ready for a parade? Are you this young lady? Were you ever in a parade as a child? What was your parade experience? Can anyone identify the car in the background? If you have any information on this photo or a story to share, please contact North Berrien Historical Museum at 269-468-3330, info@northberrienhistory.org, or facebook.com/NorthBerrienHistory/. The museum is closed until further notice. From the photo collection at the North Berrien Historical Museum 300 Coloma Avenue, Coloma

The Paw Paw River Journal

More dynamite My column on Hartford dynamiter A.C. Olliney provoked some comment. Must be that quite a few people around here remembered him and his Essex coupe with the “Danger Explosives” sign on each side. From down St. Joe way came a memory from Ray Sreboth. Not only was he an ex-Hartfordite, he was an educator of many years and superintendent of schools.

Ray said, “Dear Scribe Davis, just finished reading your column in the Tri-City Record, the subject of which was Mr. Olliney, the dynamite man. Of course it stirred a memory or two. Mr. Olliney made several visits to the farm where we lived. There was a low spot on the property, some distance from the house and north of the very large kitchen garden. Apparently there was some sort of a ‘hard pan’ below the surface, and water would collect in the area over what was tillable soil. From time to time my dad would employ Mr. Olliney. He would arrive in the car you so aptly described in your piece, collect supplies from the trunk and proceed to set off enough explosives to drain the pond. After a few days we could get on the land and work it because of that man’s skill and courage. “That is one memory… here is another. When the work was pretty well caught up on the farm in the summertime, my dad would slip into town for some cool refreshment at The Stag Club, located kitty-corner from Ely Park. “You may or may not know that quite often there was a card game or two in progress in the back room of that establishment. While I do not recall if he was a participant or not, I do know that Mike Salnave may have been in the tavern as well. Mike worked for his dad, Ollie Salnave, in the butcher shop on Main Street and had a reputation as a prankster. “At any rate, one warm summer afternoon, Mike rigged up some large firecrackers which he fastened to the underside of the Essex, parked in front of the meat market. He must have had a collaborator or two in this prank because as Mr. Olliney came down the street on foot, the bundle was detonated; and Mr. Olliney nearly had a heart attack. “After the smoke cleared, everyone had a good laugh, including my dad who had witnessed the event. I suspect that word had been spread around the business district that Mike Salnave had something going that day, so there must have been several witnesses. Perhaps J.S. Elder (Stu) saw it from his vantage point in Clark’s Drug Store. “In my mind’s eye, I can still see that Essex with the trunk that was box-like over the back bumper and not integrated into the total flow of the body structure of the vehicles of today…”

Yes, Ray… A.C. (“Ace”) Olliney will live in the annals of Hartford history forever. And he mentioned the Salnave Meat Market… another well-remembered bit of Hartford. Before our time it was owned by Dunbars. In his marvelous book, “How It Was in Hartford,” Willis Dunbar details that history. Salnave & McCotter bought the place; then after a falling out, Oliver Salnave bought out Ray McCotter. I can remember of a Saturday night everyone in the area came to Hartford. Walking along the south side, I noticed a small crowd had collected in front of the meat market. And I could see that the weekend’s festivities included some consumption of old John Barleycorn, a practice with which Ollie was quite familiar. Someone had bet Ollie that he could not stand on his head. Right there on the sidewalk he proved he could… waving his feet in the air! That shop had an excellent reputation, and my dad used to trade with them regularly. He said one day he was in there and looking at various cuts of meat in the showcase. A lady came in and said to Ollie that she would like a couple of pounds of hamburger. Having already sold what was prepared, Ollie told her he would go out in back and grind some more. Now, their various cutting and slicing machines were all run by an overhead shaft in back, turned by a huge old electric motor. Ollie went out there, took some stew meat and put it in the grinder. They had a little rat terrier they kept to get rid of mice and rats. He lay sleeping under the machine. As Ollie reached for the switch, he stepped on the dog’s tail. The dog protested with a loud “Yipe!” Then the machine started up, grinding, and with a huge “Roaaaar, roaaaar!” My dad said the waiting lady heard that, and the color went right out of her face… turning around she hurried back out of the door… leaving a mystified Ollie and my dad in stitches. And yes, Ray, the Salnaves were just larger than life, and son Mike was a dedicated practical joker. They are all part of our past. And they have contributed some of the brightest golden threads… woven into the tapestry of our lives along the Paw Paw River. (Reprint from the November 24, 2005 issue of the Tri-City Record.)

Hartford Public Library follows Governor’s directive; postpones new library opening The Governor has ordered the public libraries to remain closed until April 13. Hartford Public Library will announce when they will be permitted to open. In the meantime, their WiFi is connected so library users may be able to access the internet. They also offer Hoopla.com and Overdrive.com for audio, video and electronic reading. Due to the COVID-19 closings, the Arthur & Bonna Vanderlyn Community Center/ Hartford Public Library opening will be delayed. As soon as permitted, workers will be back to continue the project. Library staff misses their users and hopes that everyone is safe and they urge everyone to practice social distancing. Due to the current circumstances there will be no fines charged for any overdue materials. Anyone with questions can call Library Director Stephanie Daniels at (269)252-0342 or email: hartfordlibrary2000@yahoo.com.

Rescheduled: Annual Tree and Shrub Seedling Fundraiser Berrien Conservation District announces new dates for ordering and picking up tree seedlings and other items. Orders are now being accepted until May 1 for their Annual Tree and Shrub spring fundraiser sale. A variety of bare root seedlings of evergreens, deciduous trees, shrubs, and fruit trees are being offered along with strawberry and raspberry plants. Rain barrels and composters are also available. Orders may be placed on-line at www.berriencd.org or order forms can be printed from the website and mailed to Berrien Conservation District, 3334 Edgewood Rd., Berrien Springs, MI 49103. Pick up dates will be May 15 from 12 p.m. to 8 p.m. and May 16 from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Berrien County Youth Fairgrounds, 9122 US31 in Berrien Springs. Quantities are limited.


100 years ago – 1920 George A. Brown purchased lots No. 3 and 4 in Baker addition. These lots adjoin property owned by Harry DeFields. Pickle contracts now ready. M. Steffen & Co. We have received Printed Voiles, Silk Hose, Spring Caps for Boys, and Summer Underwear. Carpenter & Sons, Phone 11-J Pasture for Rent – 1400 acres. Inquire of Richard Marrill For Sale – Fresh Milch cow with calf. Wm. Helbling. Phone 108 M 60 years ago – 1960 Pretty Donna Lowe was crowned Miss Coloma of 1960. Linda White and Sally Baca are runners-up. A budget of $493,000 has been presented by Coloma Community Schools. This is based on 1,665-student enrollment. The Town and Country Club announced proceeds from the Spring Style Show were $175. The money will be donated to the Berrien County Association for Mentally Retarded Children. They will also donate to the Easter Seal fund for crippled children. The Coloma Band Boosters hosted a concert where the Western Michigan University band performed. A record hop is being planned. Mr. and Mrs. John King are in charge of refreshments. Mrs. Glenn Randall is handling publicity. 30 years ago – 1990 Alice Vacanti and Jim Jarvis place a time capsule into the foundation of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial. Thank you, Karl Bayer, for the photo. Miller Orchards is working with Commissioners to relocate from the Township into the City. Owner Jim Miller expects 21 employees will be transferred and new jobs created. We Asked You… “What is the best way to decorate an Easter Egg?” Maggie McGuire, Donny Frazier and Joseph Snyder all know you have to use dye. Heather Fischer says to hard boil them, use color stuff and put sparkles on. The Township amended its fence ordinance. Trustee Matthew Moser felt it lacked adequate description. Submitted by volunteer Sandi Musick Munchow at Coloma Public Library from the Coloma Courier newspapers donated by the Tri-City Record. Hours: Closed until further notice. Phone: 269-468-3431


100 years ago – 1920 The installing of a stove in a work shop to convert it into a baby chick nursery at the Harry Hough home in the east part of the village resulted in an alarm of fire. The stove had become overheated, setting fire to the end of the shop. Mr. Hough was at his position in the public school, but E.C. Stickney responded and extinguished the blaze before the firemen arrived. Fire during the heavy storm of Sunday night completely destroyed the house at the Lewis Landon farm southwest of the village. The house was built 57 years ago and was one of the oldest farm homes in Hartford Twp. Telephone lines had been put out of commission by the storm and delay was experienced in spreading the alarm, but neighbors gathered at the scene in time to save a part of the contents. 75 years ago – 1945 Van Buren County farmers and food processors will build their own prisoner of war camp, probably between Hartford and Lawrence. A committee of Harry Wright, Donald Carpp, Robert Cornell and Charles Ison were named to select one or more possible camp sites to be submitted to the army for approval. Despite a sudden cold spell this week which caused grave concern over Van Buren County’s fruit crop, orchards appeared to have been spared frost damage. 50 years ago – 1970 The Hartford Fire Department was called to the Miss Ruby Sumners’ home and was at the scene until dawn. Firefighters returned to the scene later in the morning as smoldering coals broke into flames. Miss Sumners, who is legally blind, was awakened by smoke and made her way out of the house and ran to a relative’s home nearby, falling several times in the snow. The old locker plant building at Main and Center streets is being torn down. The 3-story structure was built with bricks manufactured in the area. It was known for many years as the Phelps building. It housed the Masonic Hall, a dining room and offices until the 1940s. The ground floor had been used for a dry goods store, a hardware store, a locker plant and a meat market. The building was built in 1879 by Charles F. Young. Charles Rapp has been named scoutmaster of Troop 96. Claude Snider is assistant scoutmaster and Robert Latus, William Dyer and Tracy Shafer are committeemen. The troop is sponsored by Stoddard post of the American Legion and Larry Olds is institutional representative. Submitted by Librarian Stephanie Daniels at Hartford Public Library from microfilm copies of the Hartford Day Spring. Hours: Closed until further notice. Phone: 269-621-3408


90 years ago – 1930 The 82nd annual meeting of Congregational Churches and Ministers was held at the Congregational Church and opened with an organ solo by Mrs. Adelia Copeland. It was followed by devotionals led by Rev. G.H. Parker. The Boys’ Glee Club of the Watervliet school performed under the direction of Mrs. Shelters. One of the two new faces on the Watervliet City Commission is Frank C. Smith, head of the Smith Ice Cream company. His father, the late F.F. Smith, was the first millwright for the Watervliet paper mill. At a recent meeting of the Watervliet Cemetery Board it was voted to purchase a carload of crushed lime-stone for surfacing the roads in the cemetery. C.L. Monroe and B.L. Peirce was appointed to arrange for the placing of the crushed stone. 60 years ago – 1960 Miss Joan Hentschel, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. J.D. Hentschel, South Watervliet, and Gerald Barney, of Petoskey, were united in marriage Saturday, April 9 in the chapel of the First Methodist Church, with the Rev. Emerson Minor officiating. Supt. Elery Donaldson was presented with the first copy of the 1960 Wasena. The presentation was made by Sharon Danneffel, editor of the yearbook. Advertisements: Hams $.49/lb… Wieser’s Super Market, Main St.; Hair shaping & specialty… Martha’s Beauty Salon, 404 S. Main; RCA Victor Color TV… Otto’s Sales & Service 30 years ago – 1990 The Bunny’s back in town, Saturday, April 14, at Hays Park for an Easter Egg Hunt. No bags or baskets, please; just what you can carry or put in your pocket. Sponsored by MECCA Club of Watervliet. Jasmine’s Family Restaurant, Main St. Watervliet… home of the six soups & sandwich special! Danny Pfeffer is Watervliet’s “Student of the Week.” Danny is an eighth-grader and the son of Mr. & Mrs. Robert Freed. He has one older sister and two younger brothers. Considerate, friendly, conscientious, and hard-working are some of the words used by Danny’s teachers to describe him. Watervliet’s girls softball is led by new first-year coach Bob Herrera. He inherits a wealth of experience with eight letter winners returning from last year. Of that only three of them are seniors. They are Katie Marvin at shortstop, or pitcher, or center field; Dana Skidmore at catcher or left field; and utility fielder Amy Greco who can play just about anywhere. Submitted by Sally Q. Gonzalez from files at Watervliet District Library of the Watervliet Record newspapers donated by the Tri-City Record. Hours: Closed until further notice. Phone: 269-463-6382


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