08-03-2017 Tri-City Area History Page

Village Hall, Watervliet

 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

Don’t eat the fruit!

Let me begin by saying I know when people reach the lofty plateau of age, they feel qualified to give advice freely and to anyone who will listen.  Guilty as charged!  And I have something I’ve just been itching to say!  This is my platform, and here goes!

Any of you who have read my scribbling over time probably know more about me than I would wish to reveal… one of those things being that I am more conservative than liberal.  I try to keep an open mind, and look at all sides of an argument.  I must admit when we elected our first black president, I felt a thrill of pride.  We’d made some long strides since we fought each other over states’ rights and freeing the slaves.  I also felt good at some of that president’s decisions.  And I had a sinking feeling about some of the other ones… I’ll let you guess which were which!

Now we have turned a page… maybe a lot of pages.  This is a new deal, and a new time.  Do you realize polls show how unhappy we are with our legislators?  They are most unpopular in general.  This is strange, because on a local level we may be saying, “My Congressman or Senator is OK… it’s all those other guys!”  There is an ugly mood in the country and we all realize it.  Worst part of all, we don’t seem to know how to get back to a happy place nationally.

We now have a president who is not a politician.  He is a businessman, and he has promised to put us on a sound footing… no small job.  Some say the problem is he is using a sledge hammer to do it.  He said he is going to drain the swamp.  This has struck fear into the hearts of people who are in the swamp or are part of it!  We do have some great programs for helping people who really need it.  I’m sure those will never be taken away!

Can you remember when we all thought we could trust what our news people and newspapers said?  If we saw it in print we could believe it!  If we heard our favorite newscaster say it, we could believe it!  For instance, Walter Cronkite was America’s favorite on TV.  What he said, you could take to the bank.  Only in later years, did I learn he was a closet liberal, but he never let it influence what he said to America, nightly.  Think of what we see and hear on TV now… they are squeaking mice running around the feet of giants who preceded them… betraying the trust we used to have in them!

Now let me presume something… we are all Americans.  This is our country!  It’s all we have, unless we give up and move to another one.  Frankly, there are a few I wish would do that.  Some even promised to do so if Trump was elected.  Hey… I don’t think they went!

If we are all in this together, shouldn’t we all try to make it work?  That is not happening.  Instead, it’s like a war with part of the population trying to sabotage us all!  Even to the point of printing and saying unsubstantiated things and even downright lies!  Folks, this is our country!  This is all we have!  Instead of tearing it down, we should be trying to build it up!

It has gotten so bad that most of the media… newspapers and TV are part of it.  I don’t believe much of what I see on the tube, and I don’t read national newspapers any more.  Even people I respected in the past have joined the shrieking voices of doom!  Famous people are lying to us and hoping we will believe what they say.  They should be ashamed of the fact that they can no longer be trusted to say the truth!

And what is the result?  There are nut cases who are inflamed by the lies and rhetoric spewed out constantly, and they decide to do something about it.  The result:  a Congressman, practicing for a baseball game, is gunned down and has his life probably forever changed.  The shooter died in a hail of gunfire, probably satisfied that he had done something great… struck a blow for liberty!  And worst of all… after that some even blamed the congressman who got shot!

We don’t need another 9-11 to do us in… we are tearing ourselves apart from within!  We have forgotten that we are all Americans, and should be proud of it.  Instead, we are a nation of hate and division.  This is just not the America that I grew up with.  Admittedly, when I spent an idyllic childhood in the small town of Hartford, it was probably my ignorance that makes my memories so good.  That bad stuff was going on then… there have always been people who would rather tear down than build up.  Perhaps I was just too naïve to know about it.

Well, things haven’t gotten any better.  Do we want to see our country go down the drain? Are the naysayers who compare us to the Roman Empire right?  Have we passed our glory days of empire and now are in a steep decline?  We don’t have to be!

Some people in this grand and glorious country of ours have planted a poison tree.  Don’t eat the fruit!  We can rise to greater heights.  So you don’t like the country now and the way it is going!  Go to the ballot box!  What about all the people who went through eight years of government not of their choice?  We’ve got to man up!  And just don’t eat the poisoned fruit the tree is bearing right now!

OK, I’ll get off the soap box now.  I love the golden tapestry we have woven from the threads of our lives in these storybook towns.  I just do not want to lose it all!   How about you?

Coloma Library News

Book Sale

The library’s annual Glad-Peach Book Sale will be Saturday, August 5 from 10 a.m. – 4 p.m. The library will be CLOSED during the sale. Don’t miss out on this HUGE sale of gently used books, DVDs, videos and more!

Book Club

The Coloma Library Book Club is meeting on Thursday, August 17 at 5:30 p.m. The title to read before the discussion is “Wonder” by R.J. Palacio.  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

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

Several Coloma boys aboard the U.S.S. Massachusetts sent a letter. “Thank you for your thoughtfulness in sending The Courier to us fellows.  It makes us feel as though we are back in Coloma for a time.”

The interurban has made a change in schedule due to the light patronage.

Postmaster William Grant received a communication advising him that he will continue at Coloma for another four years.

The first Red Cross work day was held for Coloma ladies. Instruction was given and 15 compresses were made. Another meeting is scheduled.

60 years ago – 1957

Coloma High School Athletic Corporation discussed how to raise $25,000 to purchase new gym equipment. Necessities include: bleachers, glass backboards, fan-shaped boards, electric scoreboards and floor and mats.

Inboard and outboard races will resume at Paw Paw Lake.  A Blue Ribbon Trophy will be awarded to the winner of the invitational race. William Bennett won the Michigan Championship Star Sailing race.

Mrs. James Kibler has been assisting in the care of her sister-in-law Mrs. Lillian Becht at the university hospital. Both women have returned home where Mrs. Becht will continue convalescing.

Services were held for Mrs. Gertrude Herron at the St. Joseph Catholic Church. She was daughter of Adelide Brown, who ran the “Brownies” restaurant several years ago.

30 years ago – 1987

We Asked You… “What Glad-Peach event do you look forward to?” The parade, sidewalk sales, and the flowers, of course.

Marion Geisler, President of the Pines and Needles Garden Club presented the club’s Outstanding Civic Beauty Awards. The club commends owners for their civic interest in beautifying their places of business.

Released from Community Hospital: Blanche Postelli, Olivia Frias,     Florence Bittner and Amanda Smith.

Supervisor Rod Krieger reports that the township may participate in a Community Development Block Grant Program.


100 years ago – 1917

The steamer Eastland, formerly of South Haven and St. Joseph is to redeem itself. The ill-fated craft is now destined to help Uncle Sam whip the Kaiser. It will be rechristened the U.S.S. Wilmette and will be used as a training ship on the Great Lakes.

In these days of high price pork it is not pleasant to have a heavy hog vanish like the morning dew, but that is what happened to Chas. S. Hammond. He weighed his stock wagon and the equipment weighed ten pounds less then when he started. Investigation showed that the shrinkage was due to the loss of the tail boar of the wagon, while the hog had escaped two miles out of town.

75 years ago – 1942

Meeting her hero back stage at a Chicago theatre would be thrilling for any young lady, and seven-year-old DeLoris Brown is no exception. Gene Autry is her idea of a real he man- and having a chance to meet him in person at his radio show broadcast from WLS was “out of this world” for little DeLoris. Miss Brown is the daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Stanley Brown of Hartford. Her appearance on the stage with the WLS Barn Dance troupe would have been thrilling enough for most youngsters.

Improvements are in progress at the Hartford fair grounds in anticipation of rushing crowds at the county fair timed for October 5 to 10. Vice-president Clare Leach and Secretary Paul Richter are installing neat partitions to provide individual compartments in the women’s rendezvous.

50 years ago – 1967

The Van Buren Sportsmen’s Club will hold its annual fishing rodeo at its grounds a mile north of Hartford on the Paw Paw River. The rodeo is open to all children up to 15 years old. O