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06-06-2019 Tri-City Area History Page

Washington School 8th Grade graduation, 1955 Standing (from the left): Charles Krenek, Beverly Lyons, Sherry Schultz, Bonnie Tomsa, Nancy Brower, Donald Warman, Jim Sternaman, Roberta Blue, Mrs. Watson, Mr. Roberts, Mrs. Apple, Mr. Forest Merritt, principal. Seated: Jean McQueen, Leonard Lull, Barb Hoenig, Leonard Segal, Connie Irvin, Duane Radtke, Janie Rasmussen, unidentified boy. If you know the identity of the seated boy on the right contact North Berrien Historical Museum at 269-468-3330 or

The Paw Paw River Journal

Calling all historians

I’m starting to feel a little worried… yes, I have a concern. The people who are keepers of the flame are starting to age. I will get to who they are in just a moment. The only thing that keeps us from making the same mistakes over and over again… the stories of who we are and why we are that have survived from the first time around. I used to think, before the blows of life knocked some sense into me, that history was just a bunch of dates that we as students had to memorize. Perhaps the fault of our teachers? Somewhere along the line I came to realize that history is us!!! We are the ones who live it. We are all making history! Since I first realized that, it has become immensely interesting. And we are all storytellers, history tellers, keepers of the flame! Do you ever gather the kids in your family around you and tell them stories of the old times? Sure you do! That’s how history really gets passed along. A philosopher once said that a civilization that can’t profit from its mistakes is bound to repeat them. And perhaps making those mistakes will consign it to the scrapheap of history. One of the cornerstones of our Western Society is the story of the ancient Greeks, upon whose civilization we have built our own Western culture. In about 1200 B.C. the city of Troy controlled the Dardanelles – some straits that got a lot of ship traffic. They charged a tax on every ship that went through there. That and other things combined to cause a war… the Trojan War! The story of that unpleasantness survived in song and spoken word around the campfires for about 400 years. It was being recited by a blind poet when somebody got the idea that it should be written down. That was the beginning of our written Western history! And to think that we are doing the same thing right up to our modern times. You didn’t realize the stories you tell the little kids were part of that tradition, did you? When I first started writing this column in 1985 I got a lot of my material from old-timers. I sought them out to get their reminiscences. And I used them in writing my columns. That’s also where I got some of my material for the two books that I wrote on our local area. I have come to realize that now we are the old-timers. Like it or not, we are the keepers of the flame. And I’m worried because of our age. I say “our age” because I can think of only about three of us who are doing it seriously. I have my stack of stories for better or worse. And there are two other people who have perhaps an even more important function than that. One is Larry Blyly. For years he ran Riverview Bait and Fishing Tackle, a sporting goods store on the north side of the Paw Paw River just out from Hartford. He and wife Lois for years kept a computer record of everyone who ever attended Hartford High School. He still has that history, and it keeps growing. If you want to know about anybody who ever went to school in our town, just ask Larry. And he does research in other areas too. Just between you and me, I think he loves the hunt! And he’s good at it. The other person I’d like to mention is Bob Latus. After a long and successful career with the U.S. Postal Service, he retired to their home in Hartford where he and his wife live to this day. Bob is a successful historian, and he has a specialty. Admittedly most unusual, his specialty is cemetery records. He has volumes and volumes, pages and pages of all the cemeteries in our area. His computer expertise makes record-keeping much easier. If you want to find out about someone who lived and died in our area, ask Bob! If he doesn’t know about it he will find out. Right now Bob is working on a humongous problem. He is searching out all the members of the Potawatomi tribe he can find and cataloging where they are buried. You’d think that would be an impossible task. But the computer has put it in the realm of possibility. Our local papers are all archived in our local libraries. There they wait… the stories of all the people who have lived in our area. The stories of how they lived and died, and where they are buried. So all those projects seem to be humming along. What’s to worry? Well, I know how old I am! Larry Blyly and Bob Latus are admittedly slightly younger… But not much! What are we going to do to keep these things going? We need a few good people. And in our society they are harder to find. It needs to be someone who has already realized that history is not just a bunch of dates. The story of our civilization is made up of countless numbers of small towns, big cities, farm land, whatever! The aggregate, the sum total, of all of our stories is what makes the story of who we are. I am so glad to have been at least a small part of keeping those records. And I want them to go on. We must have someone who can be the keeper of the flame. I believe it to be most important that people in the future will know something about how we lived as we were weaving golden threads into the Great Tapestry of Life in these storybook towns along the banks of the Paw Paw River.

Coloma Library News Summer Reading Program The Coloma Public Library is getting ready for an exciting 2019 Summer Reading Program that will kick off June 17. The theme is “A Universe of Stories”. Visit their website,, or stop in to see staff for more details. Michigan Activity Pass Visit the link on the Library’s website and follow the prompts to print a pass. Call 269-468-3431 or stop by the front desk for more details or assistance about the Michigan Activity Pass. Book Club The Coloma Public Library Book Club is meeting on Thursday, June 13 at 5:30 p.m. The title to read before the discussion is “History of Love” by Nicole Kraus. What to read? The library owns over 80,000 items for check out. For patrons who need help finding their next great title, they offer Novelist, a database that can help readers select just the right title. Small Business Help The Coloma Public Library provides access to A-ZDatabases, a comprehensive tool for marketing and job search needs. Find details on businesses and households within the United States for sales leads, mailing lists, market research, employment opportunities, and finding friends and relatives.

Watervliet District Library News Teen Table Projects: June Do-it-yourself whenever you’re at the library! All supplies provided. This month – Vote for the best or least worst answer to their crazy questions, all month long! Sensory Bin Blast Tuesday, June 11, 10:30-11:30 a.m. The perfect time for a perfect mess! For 0 – 5 year olds and their families. Read to Fabio Thursday, June 13 at 10:30 a.m. Children of all ages love reading to this beautiful dog Fabio and he loves listening. Come and join them. Summer Reading Program Thursday, June 13, 11 a.m. to noon Cad Peterson/ Acting up Theatre. In Stitches Knitting Group Friday, June 14, 2:30 – 4 p.m. Take a current project or interest; they’ll help you get started! Limited supplies are available for beginners, too! Third Monday Book Club June 17, 7 – 8 p.m. The Secret Keeper by Kate Morton. Yoga Monday 9 – 10 a.m., Wednesday 7 – 8 p.m., Friday 10:30 – 11:30 a.m.; Chair Yoga – Wednesdays 6 – 6:30 p.m.


100 years ago – 1919 L.L. Campbell and O.A. Dodd of the Paw Paw Lake Association have been soliciting funds to pay for advertising of Paw Paw Lake in the Chicago papers. They are very enthusiastic over the outlook for resort business. The Coloma concert band will give its first performance of the season. The concert will take place on the streets with an ice cream supper in the village park. Weekly concerts will take place throughout the summer. 60 years ago – 1959 Miss Marie Furman was honored for 41 years of patriotic service to the American Red Cross. Miss Furman trained at Mercy Hospital, was in World War I and now active in school, cancer and church work. A tribute entitled, “To Marie, Her Purpose in Life,” was read. The Chamber of Commerce opened a tourist information bureau, located in the Loma Theatre building. Tryouts started for baseball players seeking a berth on Coloma’s American Legion junior baseball team. The squad is entered in the Blue-Gray league. Home games are played on the high school diamond. 30 years ago – 1989 Three are running for two vacancies on the Board of Education. Charles Nelson, Walt Arny and Robert Wooley all hope to secure a seat. Ken Stewart has been chosen “Knight of the Year” by the Knights of Columbus Council #4055. He was honored at the annual dinner. Mayor Marvin Taylor, Bob Robinson and Teresa LaPlante met at the County Clerk’s office to receive the announcement of the recall petitions. There were sufficient valid signatures to schedule a recall election. Now, the Election Scheduling Committee will set a date for the recall election. Coloma’s On-Campus Suspension program has been well received by school staff and parents, Superintendent Clifford Tallman reports. OES is effective in many ways. Submitted by volunteer Sandi Musick Munchow at Coloma Public Library from the Coloma Courier newspapers donated by the Tri-City Record. Hours: Mon & Fri, 10:00 a.m.-5:30 p.m.; Tue, Wed & Thu, 10:00 a.m.-8:00 p.m.; Sat, 10:00 a.m.-2:00 p.m. Phone: 269-468-3431


100 years ago – 1919 An alarm of fire was called to the house on Michigan Avenue owned by Mrs. E.A. Thomas and occupied by Charles Bailey. The civil war blue and the world war khaki were blended in one of the most memorable Memorial Day observances in Hartford’s history. The aged veterans of ‘61 to ‘65 and the youthful veterans fresh from the field of battle marching shoulder to shoulder to pay tribute to the memory of their sleeping comrades. 75 years ago – 1944 On March 4, 1919, Marion Mortimer and Ed Hickey sold their hardware store to James Walker. Mr. Walker received his certificate of membership to the Retail Hardware Association 25-Year Club. Mrs. J.H. Powers was hostess to the Hartford Art Study group at her home south of Hartford. Mrs. Powers gave an instructive lesson on the designing of art glass, an art with which she is especially familiar, having worked for a number of years in California in the making of art glass windows for churches and other edifices. The Hartford Mother’s Club met at the home of Mrs. Maurice Robinson of Benton Harbor. Hostesses were appointed to assist Miss Phoebe Mollander of the Van Buren Health Dept. who is conducting a pre-natal class weekly at Methodist church parlors. The club is sponsoring these meetings. 50 years ago – 1969 A class of 66 seniors will be graduated from Hartford High School in commencement ceremonies at the high school gymnasium. Dr. Clyde M. Campbell, director of the Mott Institute at Michigan State, will give the commencement address. His topic will be, “Education for the Good Life,” and he will be introduced by Supt. Gary Waterkamp. Charles Martens will give the valedictory and Marilyn Latus will give the salutatory. The class president’s address will be given by Kenneth Pomeroy. Electric pump motors at all three city wells were knocked out of commission in storms which hit this area Saturday. Lightning burned out a pump motor at the Beechwood St. well, knocked the meter off the well house at the north parking lot and knocked out the power line supplying the Ely Park well. Submitted by Librarian Stephanie Daniels at Hartford Public Library from microfilm copies of the Hartford Day Spring. Hours: Mon, Tue & Wed, 10 a.m.-7 p.m.; Thu & Fri, 10 a.m.-5 p.m.; Sat, 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Phone: 269-621-3408


90 years ago – 1929 The Edgewater Beach Inn room is to open and again be the scene of gay and happy throngs of dancers during the 1929 season. It was closed for the 1928 for repairs and remodeling. Mr. McArdie, owner, announces that he will be bringing the ball room back to its old time popularity. Mrs. Charles Warskow celebrated her 75th birthday on June 16, 1929. A dinner party was had on the lawn and music and singing were later added. Six hundred and thirty-four students of Western State Teachers’ college graduated from the institution at the 25th commencement exercises. Included in the list of graduates are Frank Wigent, A.B.; Effie Babcock, later elementary; Nancy Garratt, early elementary; Irene Ray, music. 60 years ago – 1959 Dale Emerson has been selected by the Berrien County sports writers as a candidate for the most outstanding athlete award. Dale was a member of this year’s graduating class of Watervliet High School. During high school he did the quarterbacking for the Panthers for two years; twice received all-conference honorable mention in basketball; and played three years of baseball. A leading student, he was the recipient of a Hammermill scholarship thru the Ernest R. Behrend Trust Fund, and will enroll in Adrian College. Cadet Lieutenant Charles Julius Winkel graduated from Admiral Farragut Academy, St. Petersburg. Cadet Winkel will study engineering at Florida Southern College. Cadet Winkel was awarded ribbons for academic proficiency and deportment. 30 years ago – 1989 Outstanding Senior Boy and Outstanding Senior Girl are voted on by the entire high school faculty. The award is based on qualities of honor, service, leadership and scholarship. The 1989 Outstanding Girl is Jan Kristin Willmeng. She plans to attend the University of Michigan and pursue studies in psychology and dance. The outstanding Senior Boy is Dennis James Timmons. He will enter the U. S. Army and pursue the field of engineering. Submitted by Sally Q. Gonzalez from files at Watervliet District Library of the Watervliet Record newspapers donated by the Tri-City Record. Hours: Mon & Wed, 10 a.m.-8 p.m.; Tue, Thu & Fri, 10 a.m.-5 p.m.; Sat, 9 a.m.-3 p.m. Phone: 269-463-6382


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