06-17-2017 Tri-City Area History Page

Badt’s Drug Store, Coloma

 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.

From the photo collection at the North Berrien Historical Museum

300 Coloma Avenue, Coloma

The Paw Paw River Journal

The Tooth Fairy, Compact Cars…

 …and helping your neighbor. What do all those things have in common? Well, pull up a chair and I will enlighten you! Because the tooth fairy was not helping me a bit! I had one that was aching. I could feel it with my tongue and it was in back… couldn’t leave it alone. But you all know how that is.

So I got an appointment with my dentist. At that time it was John Laman, who has since graduated into glorious retirement. We still correspond, but he did so many teeth he would surely not remember that one. He said, “Well, Bud, it is cracked right down the middle. Don’t know whether it could be saved or not. So I’m going to send you to an endodontist in Kalamazoo… we’ll let him call the shot on this one. If it can be saved, he is the one who could do it!”

When I was a kid, I hated going to the dentist. Back in those days it was Dr. Van Riper, and his office was upstairs in the old Hartford bank building. I was unhappy to go to see him, because back then we only went if we were having a problem. That involved pain, and more pain when we got it fixed! Now it is a pleasant experience… no problem sitting back in a comfortable patient’s chair, because I know the first thing they will do is numb the area, and it doesn’t hurt at all!

Back before my time it was even more primitive. I talked with Doc Hinckley about that once. He lived to be 103 years old, and practiced dentistry in that same bank building until he was 100! He told me that he kept a jug of whiskey by the patient’s chair. If there was an impending extraction, and the poor victim with the toothache so desired, he could take a long pull on the jug to get fortified for the travail to come. I don’t know what a lady patient would do. I can’t imagine one tipping up a jug of whiskey!

Doc said one day a man came rushing into his office. He was one of Hartford’s older philosophers and a longtime sampler of the delights of John Barleycorn (whiskey). He said, “Doc, I’ve got an awful tooth! Can you yank it out right now?”

Doc replied, “Sure, just get into the chair over there and we’ll take care of it!”

The old resident scratched his whiskered chin thoughtfully and said, “Well, it’ll probably hurt a lot. Haven’t you got anything to sort of deaden the pain?”

“Sure,” Doc said soothingly, “There’s a jug right by the chair. Just take a little sample and then we’ll get to work.”

The patient grabbed the jug, tilted it up, with the contents gurgling down his throat. After a while he put down the jug, wiped his mouth with the back of his hand, looked around the room at all the instruments waiting and said, “You know, Doc, that tooth don’t hardly hurt any more at all. Think I’ll wait and see if it just quiets down!” And grabbing his hat he bolted out the door and down the stairs, the sound of his footsteps diminishing in the distance.

So anyway, back to my aching tooth… the Chief Accountant and I made the trip to Kalamazoo. It was a dark and stormy day… rain pelting down, and at the time we had a beautiful little compact car. It had all the gadgets on it, and could fly like a bird. Of course we had the headlights on. We found the office and parked… and I forgot to turn off the headlights. Back then there was no warning signal for distracted drivers. And I will admit to a certain amount of distraction, because the tooth was still hurting!

The endodontist was a young guy, but that doesn’t scare me… so many new things are coming out and new people are curious. He looked at the tooth and sat back… “Well,” he said, “If it were mine, I’d have it out. Cracked so badly saving it would be iffy, and you’d just finally have to have it yanked anyway!”

I thanked him and went out to sign the insurance papers with the girl at the desk. She was most helpful, and as I turned to leave, I noticed a guy sitting there, waiting his turn to get in the chair. I smiled at him and said hello, and out to the car with my ever trusty Chief Accountant. Still raining, and we got inside quickly, and I turned on the key. The starter said “Ugh!” and that’s all. Then I noticed I’d left the headlights on. Those little compacts, nice as they were, had a battery about the size of a 3 cell flashlight!

What to do? Then back into the office and asked the nice girl if she would call a towing service for me. The guy waiting put down his magazine and said, “Car won’t start? If you’d like, I can help you. I have jumper cables in my pickup!”

Would I ever! We went out, he jockeyed the pickup (a huge beast) next to our little car and in a jiffy, he had me hooked up and I started our compact. I thanked the nice man profusely, and leaving the Chief Accountant to keep the engine running, back to the office, where I said to the girl, “Please cancel that service call. This nice gentleman gave me a jump start.” Then I said to her, “Would you please do me a favor?”

“If I can, I certainly will!”

“Well,” I said, “This kind man was so good to me (I pointed to him), I’d like to do something in return. Would you please give him 10% off on his bill today?” And I turned and walked out leaving her with her mouth open, and the man grinning from ear to ear!

Oh, yes… I went back and my dentist yanked the tooth! And that’s the story on my brush with the Tooth Fairy in this storybook town along the Paw River!



 The Hartford Public Library in partnership with the National Center for Families Learning is offering three special programs called “Let’s Learn Together Outside.” These special programs are followed by lunch and a project for each family.

The first program is Wednesday, June 28 at 11 a.m. with “Nelson’s Wildlife Safari Animals” followed by lunch and making a nature collage. The second program is Wednesday, July 5 at 11 a.m. beginning with a funny guy, Joel Tacey followed by lunch and making a flower planting. The third program is Wednesday, July 12 at 11 a.m. starting with a puppet show featuring Wanda and Wendel followed by lunch and looking at bugs and a hide-n-seek bug game.

These programs are for children ages 2 through 6 with a family member, caregiver or relative. We will have bi-lingual helpers. Please register in advance by calling the library at (269)621-3408 or in-person or emailing to hartfordlibrary2000@yahoo.com.

Every child will take home free books and prizes. There are more summer programs scheduled on Wednesdays throughout July. This summer the library has scheduled programs at 11 a.m. for baby to 6 years old and the 1 p.m. programs are for children ages 7 and older.

The library also has programs on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday each week beginning Tuesday, June 27. On Tuesdays at 11 a.m. and 1 p.m., is LEGO Extreme. On Wednesdays, they offer programs with special presenters, animals, robots, etc. On Thursdays are art workshops at 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. All of the programs are free for everyone. For those who participate in reading this summer, there are special prizes. The complete schedule of events is located on the library website: www.hartfordpl.michlibrary.org. Printed flyers are available at the library.


 The Watervliet Library will be closed on Saturday, June 24, 2017 due to Library Conference in Chicago.

Share your paper mill stories in the Community Memories book to be donated to the NBH Museum at the end June.

Donate all unwanted LEGOS to the library.

Summer Reading Program:

Build a Better World

Thursdays for all ages and Make it Mondays for K-6 graders and their families. Thursdays, June 22 – Cup Stacking with Jim Merrills and June 29 – Wildlife Safari. Monday, June 26 – Paper Mache Sculptures.

This year, the library is pleased to partner with Watervliet Public Schools to provide free lunches for kids & teens, following each Thursday program.

Michigan Notable Book Tour on Monday, June 26, 2017 with Dustin M. Hoffman, author of “One-Hundred-Knuckled Fist: Stories” winner of the 2015 Prairie Schooner Book Prize.


Monday mornings, 9 – 10 a.m.; Wednesday evenings, 7 – 8 p.m.; and Wednesday evenings, 6:15 to 6:45 p.m. Chair Yoga for people with limited mobility.


Summer Reading Club “Build a Better World… READ!!” It’s not too late to sign your child up for the Coloma Library’s Summer Reading Club. The program is underway and is a great way to keep your children reading throughout the summer. Please call the library with any questions, 468-3431.

Holiday Hours: The library will be closed on Tuesday, July 4 to celebrate Independence Day. Regular hours will resume on Wednesday, July 5.

Book Club is meeting on Thursday, July 6 at 5:30 p.m. The title to read before the discussion is “Rules of Civility” by Amor Towles.  Generally, depending on demand there are titles available for check-out at the front desk. The book club regularly meets every other Thursday and is always looking for new members.

Story Hour meets on Wednesdays at 10:30 a.m. Join Miss Amy for a story, craft and song time. Story Hour is a free weekly program for toddlers and preschool-aged children, it does not require sign-up.


100 years ago – 1917

Ground was broken and work started on construction of the new Ford service station and salesroom. P.B. Friday is the local Ford agent.

Young men that are contemplating enlisting, please do so without delay. It is our goal to bring the Regular Army up to the authorized war strength and secure the quota of men allotted for western Michigan.

The Detroit Vapor Oil Stove, available at Coloma Hardware Co. Ask for Pony and Saddle ticket with every purchase.

60 years ago – 1957

The Rev. Paul Blomquist has been appointed new minister of the Coloma Methodist Church.

The Ellinee Village Showcase Summer Theatre presents its third season. Curtain time for “Anniversary Waltz” will be 8:30 p.m.

Ricki Rasmussen has received funds to attend the Scout Jamboree at Valley Forge. The presentation was made at Lions Park during their Steak Fry.

Marshall Badt and Robert Steinke earned degrees from the University of Michigan. The 113th Commencement graduated 5,509 students.

Coloma Farm Supply has “Shur-Rane” portable irrigation system. Increase your yield and reduce your water consumption. Come in and see all the new features.

30 years ago – 1987

Coloma Township Reserve Officer Vern R. Ullig and Dispatcher Kathleen Nichols completed Reserve Officer Training and each received a certificate.

We Asked You… What improvements would you like to see in the area? Dennis Bachman would like homeowners taking pride in their property.

New owners of the Friendly Tavern are Alan and Kay Ritter. Improvements are completed. Stop in, there are many new menu items.

Southwestern Michigan College has awarded Dean’s honors to Richard Davis, Rebecca Leedy and Leigh Ann Turner.

The new fire hall is taking shape. Joint Fire Board Chairman Fred Martin states dedication will take place during the Glad-Peach festivities.


100 years ago – 1917

A deal was closed Friday in which the Hartford Gleaners took over the Edward Finley elevator property, preparatory to organizing their Gleaner Co-Operative association.

The canning season started in Hartford yesterday when the two Hartford canning factories began canning of strawberries. Only a limited supply of home-grown berries is available for the factories yesterday, enough to permit them to test out their machinery and place their equipment in good working order.

75 years ago – 1942

The rubber salvage collection in Hartford and Keeler is nearing the ten ton mark according to Ross Shindeldecker, Hartford chairman of the drive in southwest Van Buren County. Mr. Shindeldecker reported Tuesday evening that 18,597 pounds have been received by the service stations in this area.

At the annual meeting of the Hartford Art Club Monday, at the library, Mrs. Alice Hurry was elected president. Mrs. Elinora Chamberlin gave a report on the life and work of Elizabeth Emerson, painter. The art club members have been invited to Mrs. Marion Anderson’s cottage at Sister Lakes, for their annual pot-luck dinner, to be held July 6.

The Hartford Garden Club met at the home of Mrs. Betty Kehlman Friday, June 19. Mrs. Mabel Minshall gave a lecture on “Our Lawns.”

50 years ago – 1967

Harold Walker Sr., Hartford Fire Chief, was presented a plaque by the state firemen’s association at its annual convention at Port Austin. The plaque recognizes Walker as being Michigan’s oldest active fireman in point of service. When Walker joined the Hartford Fire Department in 1927 he was under age, and his father had to sign permission for him to join. Of his 40 years of service, Walker said, “I’ve loved every minute of it.” He has driven every one of Hartford’s fire trucks from the factory to Hartford at the time they were purchased.

The Hartford area is one of the beneficiaries of an accelerated economic development of Southwest Michigan which is taking place as a result of Michigan’s freeway system. The observation was presented to Hartford area leaders Monday night by Harry S. Palmer, executive vice president and secretary of the First Savings Association, at a dinner marking the association’s new office building in downtown Hartford.


90 years ago – 1927

The 86th birthday anniversary of Uriah Wood, Watervliet Civil War veteran, was celebrated with a family gathering at his home on St. Joseph Street, on July 4, 1927.

Miss Verna Matrau, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. E.N. Matrau, Watervliet, who recently completed her school year as teacher in the public schools of Hamtramck, has gone to New York City, where she will attend the summer term of the Columbia University.

B.G. Haskell, who flags the Main Street crossing of the Pere Marquette counted 1,710 automobiles that crossed the tracks in both directions between the hours of 9 and 11 on July 4, 1927.

60 years ago – 1957

Marine Cpl. Billie E. Matthews, son of Mr. and Mrs. Lloyd Matthews, Watervliet, will take part in the first extensive troop exercise in the current series of atomic tests, scheduled for June 28, 1957 at Camp Dessert Rock, near the Atomic Energy Commission’s Nevada Test Site. The brigade is using the tests to train Marines in physical protection measures and to instruct them in the effects of atomic explosions on clothing and equipment.

Mr. and Mrs. Eugene W. Hatfield are the proud parents of a seven pound baby girl, Norma Jean, born June 24, 1957.

Mr. and Mrs. Richard Ferguson are the proud parents of a son, Thomas Reed born June 22, 1957 and weighed in at 6 pounds, 13 ounces.

30 years ago – 1987

Pvt. Gail S. Boyd, daughter of Robert and Mary A. Moore, Watervliet, has completed basic training at Fort Jackson, South Carolina.

Marine Lance Cpl. John C. Couturier, son of Clayton and Janet Couturier, Watervliet, has been promoted to his present rank while serving with 2nd Force Service Support Group, Camp Lejeune, North Carolina.

Mr. and Mrs. Robert W. Freed, Watervliet, are the parents of a new son, Joel Michael, born on June 22, 1987.


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