08-06-2020 Tri-City Area History Page

Holland Wooden Shoe Dancers perform during the Gladiolus Festival. Have you ever worn or danced in wooden shoes? Do you remember watching the group dancing down a parade route? If you have Wooden Shoe memories, please contact North Berrien Historical Museum at 269-468-3330, info@northberrienhistory.org, or facebook.com/NorthBerrienHistory/. North Berrien Historical Museum is open for private tours, Tuesday through Friday 10-4. From the photo collection at the North Berrien Historical Museum 300 Coloma Avenue, Coloma

Beyond single Diggins

EDITOR’S NOTE … the recent passing of longtime columnist Roy “Bud” Davis necessitates adding local history columns. Going forward our popular local history columnists, Pearl Playford, Dorothy Cannell, and Roy “Bud” Davis will rotate through a 3-week cycle. Enjoy!

April 6, 1994 I’m just “trying out” a possible name for a possible column about local history in the west end of the Tri-City Record readership. It’s not that I think Shingle Diggin’s is such an attractive name. It’s just that it’s historical and was the first settlement in any of these communities your editor suggested covering – Coloma, Watervliet, Paw Paw Lake, Hagar and Bainbridge townships. I’m open to suggestions – except something like “Rocking Chair Recollections”. That sounds too static, and I hope to keep active as long as possible. Readers do, too, I’m sure. Right now I’m still rambling around Ft. Meyers, Florida, with my feet. It’s my mind that takes me back to the old home town. And as I swam in the pool this morning, I felt no desire to be there just yet. April will be soon enough. Then I am hoping for help from a number of “older-timers” even than I. There’s Emily Shoup, full of authentic Coloma memories. She wrote a beautiful story, telling the history of buildings and incidents along Coloma’s main street. We finally didn’t use it in “Glimpses of the Past”. We had so many family stories we decided to save “buildings” for another time. Then there’s Evelyn Krieger, one of Bainbridge’s experts on history. Allen Baker, who once related to me some wonderful reminiscences of his grandfather, that I never got written down; and Alice Shrosbree, a “younger-timer” than I, who provided some hair-raising stories of the days when Chicago gangsters resorted at Paw Paw Lake, but who never got them into the book. There are dozens of others who, I’m sure, could ring nostalgic bells for some and provide historical heritage for our younger readers. My own cousin, Muriel Pockett Masters, with whom I stay in Ft. Meyers, has many memories of living in Watervliet. How many remember the “flats” on paper mill hill? She lived there while her father, Gard Pockett, worked in the paper mill. One of her earliest impressions was being carried up the steps of Beaman’s Opera House for a dance her parents attended and, as a cute two-year-old, getting all kinds of wonderful attention, while her mom and dad did some dancing. A little later, being the older of two, she was given the responsibility of carrying her father’s hot lunch to him down the hill. Feeling grown up and important, she would enter the mill door and wander, unrestricted, through several rooms overflowing with old newspapers and magazines. Sometimes she would stop to look at pictures, experiencing worlds far beyond her own. She loved to stand and watch her father as he monitored a certain machine through which paper was passing. She remembers that every little while he would stop and toss water on the cylinder to keep the correct moisture level. Then they moved to the “pink house” on Pleasant Street on the corner nearest the railroad tracks. (It was still there when she pointed it out to me a couple of years ago.) She started school and her father took on an extra job, running the moving picture machine at the town’s first movie theater. Again, she felt the thrill of being recognized and allowed to enter the theater to go up and see her dad, sneaking lengthy peeks at the screen en route. But one Saturday afternoon her “royalty status” was abruptly deflated. She was sent on an errand to the store for something Mother needed right away. Gladys, her sister, two years younger, went along. Muriel was instructed to “come right back”, but she was a determined child with a mind of her own and decided to stop by the moving picture show first. “Did Mother say you could come down here?” asked my Uncle Gard. “Oh, yes!” lied Muriel, giving her sister a warning look that said, “Keep quiet!” After receiving her usual welcome and dividing attention with her little sister, she found the movie especially exciting and sat down, even among the remonstrations of her obedient sibling. Mother, who, after an hour or so, suspected their whereabouts, came and marched them out of the theater, swatting them both all the way home. When Aunt Nora was convinced who was really to blame, she administered a good old-fashioned spanking to Muriel who recalls hanging onto the bedpost and screaming, “I didn’t know you’d do a trick like this to me!” It was at the end of World War I that Uncle Gard and family moved to Kalamazoo, where he took a job as a pottery maker’s assistant. Aunt Nora became ill with the terrible flu going around at that time. One of my early memories was the long journey to Kalamazoo, riding with my sister, Allene, and Mom driving the horse and buggy. She went to care for my aunt. It was during that bout with illness that Uncle Gard, crediting an osteopathic physician with her cure, decided that’s what he wanted to become. Each grandparent took a child, while they attended Stickney School. Aunt Nora went to work full-time in Chicago, where Uncle Gard attended the School of Osteopathy, and my folks, now in Coloma, “took over” at vacation periods. Families worked together.

Coloma Library News Due to Executive Order 2020-161, the Coloma Public Library returned to Curbside Service effective July 31. The library will additionally provide service by appointment for patrons who need to briefly use a computer, use faxing or printing services, or check out materials. Appointments will be accepted for the same day only. The hours will continue to be Monday through Friday 12-6 p.m. Saturdays will remain Curbside Services only from 10 a.m. – 2 p.m. Please call 269-468-3431 or email readcoloma@gmail.com for more information. Free online tutoring The Coloma Public Library now offers tutor.com. Tutor.com provides online academic tutoring, homework help, and test preparation for kindergarten through 12th grade students, plus early college students, and adult learners. Any Coloma Public Library card holder can connect with an expert tutor in a safe and secure online classroom.

Watervliet Library News The Watervliet District Library is pleased to announce that they moved forward with their reopening plan, beginning Monday, August 3. The library will be open to limited access of up to eight members of the public at a time, by appointment for 30 minutes each. Appointments can be made by calling the library, 269-463-6382, sending an email, info@wdlib.org, or messaging them on Facebook. The library’s open hours are reduced as follows: Monday-Saturday, 10 a.m. – 2 p.m.; additionally on Wednesday, 4-7 p.m. Curbside will continue to be available with previously set curbside hours. Summer Reading Program The library’s Summer Reading Program has been extended through August 10. Books and craft kit give-aways take place each Monday from 11-12 in front of the Watervliet Middle School.


100 years ago – 1920 Our very own Almon J. Baker was found as a candidate for state representative. The primary election will be held on August 31. The Michigan State Telephone Company is considering an immediate rate increase. Labor costs along with equipment and material costs have compelled this decision. Big Special on Dress Voile – 98 cents per yard. Georgette Waists. Carpenter & Sons… Phone 11-J 60 years ago – 1960 Miss Cora Furman reports a pellet shot in her window of her home on Jackson Court. Parties responsible for this vandalism remain a mystery. We remember those that have passed. Services for Harry Arent and Robert Reinhardt were held at Salem Lutheran Church. What started as a serene meeting turned into a lively session. The monthly Township meeting lasted until 1 a.m. The Illinois Water Ski Club and Paw Paw Lake resort owners exchanged heated words concerning the ski jump in the Ellinee Bay area. Policeman Bill Muenchow investigates an automobile accident near the Paw Paw River bridge. Four teenagers sustained minor injuries. 30 years ago – 1990 Frank Megna Jr. & Sr. attend the National Satellite TV Convention in Nashville. While there, they met country music star Becky Hobbs. Martin Douglas Heminger suffered injuries while he was helping with the Glad-Peach fireworks display. A fund has been established at the Coloma State Bank for those who wish to help with financial obligations. Township Supervisor Rod Krieger reports that the Board is reviewing a “Code of Ordinances” book. This will put all ordinances in a uniform system, making them easier to locate. The Coloma High School Class of ’65 spent three days celebrating their reunion. Dinner, dancing and socializing went beyond anyone’s wildest dreams. Guests were Victor Weir, Principal and Maxine Brule, teacher. Carlton Hartman was the photographer for the evening. Submitted by volunteer Sandi Musick Munchow at Coloma Public Library from the Coloma Courier newspapers donated by the Tri-City Record. Special Access Services are Mon-Fri 12-6; Curbside Service, Sat 10-2. Phone: 269-468-3431


100 years ago – 1920 Sparks from a chimney ignited the shingle roof and threatened the destruction of the fine residence at the Charles A. Spaulding home two miles south of Hartford late Sunday afternoon. The roof was badly damaged before the fire was brought under control. The Hartford Fire Department responded quickly with the chemical truck and did effective work in handling the fire and saving one of Hartford’s best farm residences. Motorists welcomed the opening of the new concrete road from the Pere Marquette crossing to the old cemetery on West Main Street. The new road is now open from Hartford to the Watervliet line. 75 years ago – 1945 The Hartford House was sold by Mrs. Vera Hinckley to Mr. and Mrs. William Longstaff and the Nu-Way restaurant was sold by Mrs. Arthur Hastings to Mr. and Mrs. Ted Tuttle and awaiting license transfer was the sale by Fred Ward of his tavern to Carl Garbesucheskwi and William Zotsman. The sale of Hartford House, second oldest business on Main St., was made Wednesday. Mrs. Hinckley has operated the hotel for the last three years and has owned it since October, 1943. She purchased it from Harry Hewitt, son of Mrs. Nina Hinckley, the former owner. The three story hotel has been owned by the same family for 38 years. Mrs. Longstaff will assist her husband in operation of the hotel. Longstaff, a native of England, has been in the catering business all his life. Hartford Art Study class met Monday afternoon at the home of Mrs. George Shepard. The lesson was presented by Mrs. Mary Corvette on “French Paintings”. Next meeting, which will be held August 13, will feature a luncheon at the home of Mrs. Marion Anderson. 50 years ago – 1970 The Headstart Parents advisory committee will meet August 10 in the Elm room at First Savings. Parents who will have children in the Headstart program next year are urged to attend. Headstart is sponsored by TriCap for three to four year olds and is currently only operating during the summer. The group is seeking a building for year round use according to Glenna Fuller, chairman. Submitted by Librarian Stephanie Daniels at Hartford Public Library from microfilm copies of the Hartford Day Spring. Revised Hours: Mon – Fri 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. Phone: 269-621-3408


90 years ago – 1930 Mr. John Bruley is a feature singer with the Seattle Harmony Kings in Chicago, who are entertainers at the Wilshire resort on Lake Michigan. Frank Bruley, a brother, is a cornet player in the same orchestra. Mrs. T.L. Bud entertained her Sunday School Class at her home on Paw Paw Avenue; the occasion being, her son Donald’s sixth birthday anniversary. The afternoon was spent in playing games and storytelling. Mr. and Mrs. John Mack and children motored to Clinton, Ontario and visited friends there. Mr. Mack says the Canadians are complaining bitterly over the hard times and are blaming this country for conditions there. 60 years ago – 1960 Mr. Zemmer is now enjoying his fourth visit to Watervliet. Mr. Zemmer and his family, wife Adelaide and their four children, recently returned after fleeing the rioting of the Congolese rebels in Africa. Five years of labor ended abruptly when the family huddled together and fled the danger of frenzied soldiers. Pete Scheid has been placed on the Dean’s List for his outstanding scholastic performance in the academic year 1959-60. In the fall, Pete will be a junior at the University of Notre Dame, where he is enrolled in the School of Commerce. Col. William E. Jennings recently was assigned to the U.S. Army Electronic Proving Ground at Fort Huachuca, Arizona. 30 years ago – 1990 Printed on Aug 15, 1990: LOST – I am lost in a world of my own, with my joys, fears and thoughts. By myself, I think of how to change the world. The world has been filled with smelly dumps, pollution and littering. One day, because of this, the trees, plants and animals will become extinct. No more birds or beautiful countrysides. No more climbing trees or running through a grassy meadow. Maybe, just maybe, the people here today will change things. The people will wake up to reality. By – Jamie Kirby – age 12 – grade 7 Poor visibility and rain dampened the attendance of the 31st Annual Fly-In at the Watervliet Airport. Only 17 aircraft arrived for the event. Several cancellations were made including the Care Flight Helicopter from Kalamazoo. The organization only sold 445 breakfasts, which was down from about 700 sold the previous year. Submitted by Sally Q. Gonzalez from files at Watervliet District Library of the Watervliet Record newspapers donated by the Tri-City Record. Access hours by appt: Mon-Sat 10-2, Wed 4-7 and Curbside service: Mon–Fri 10–2, Wed 4–8 and Sat 12–2 Phone: 269-463-6382


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