08-13-2020 Tri-City Area History Page

Woman walking in front of Fryman’s store… Notice the prices on the window. Do you know the woman? Do you remember when shopping was done going store to store down the main street in town? If you have stories you would like to share, contact North Berrien Historical Museum at 269-468-3330, info@northberrienhistory.org. 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

The Paw Paw River Journal

EDITOR’S NOTE … the 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!

January 16, 1985 Marching off the edge of the world Recently we had dinner with a friend of ours, a lady, and she is now ninety years old. I mean to say that she took us out to dinner at a fashionable country club. We dressed for the occasion and drove into the parking lot in our International Scout (our principal trailer pulling and vacation car). I parked next to a very stylish new Mercedes. A gorgeous woman was lifting her golf clubs out of the trunk. As we pulled in, and I shut off the Ignition, the engine continued to diesel. It shook and rattled, and with a sigh, emitted some blue smoke and quit. I came around to open the door for our hostess and help her out. The woman next to us had her golf clubs in hand and stood there watching us. I said to her, “Sometimes I have to shoot it to get it to quit.” She just smiled. I don’t know if Mercedes ever do that or not. We went into the club and our ninety-year-old hostess said, “I don’t golf, swim, play tennis, or cards. But I do enjoy the lunches they serve here, so I maintain a membership.” That was very nicely put, and we enjoyed a tasty luncheon of chicken salad and pineapple. Later, when I had time to reflect, I thought about life and age. One time when I was very little, my father was trying to make real to me the vast numbers of people in the country of China. He said, “If all of the Chinese people were to walk into the sea, four abreast, the line would never end.” I have never forgotten that mental picture of all of those people marching into the sea. But now, that picture has gotten transposed to life itself in my mind. I see all of us marching four abreast, not into the sea, but OFF THE EDGE OF THE WORLD. I see myself as a little kid way back in the line. All of our older relatives were ahead of me. As time goes on, I am getter closer to the edge… bigger and supposedly better able to deal with the final swan dive, but closer nevertheless. Our older friend, the one who took us to that marvelous luncheon, is even closer. Recently, Marion, my sister, and I went out to Maple Hill cemetery to dig up the geraniums for fall and to plant daffodils for next spring. The girls were busily engaged in taking care of the family plot, and I sneaked off to walk through the rows of monuments and speculate on mortality. I said to myself the names I recognized… many names. More people in that quiet town I know than in the living town of Hartford down below the hill. But it was a beautiful afternoon and I smiled in the sunshine and took a deep breath of clean air. I was glad to be alive and returning to those two still attractive girls who by now had finished all of the hard work of digging and planting.

Watervliet District Library holding Census event Aug. 19

Enabling every city and township resident to be counted in this year’s Census is the Watervliet District Library’s goal. The library was pleased to acquire a grant through the Berrien Community Foundation back in January to create programs and opportunities for community outreach, when COVID-19 required library closures across the state. Plans have now resumed and the public is invited. “Wellness Counts”, a Census, Be Counted, Berrien event, will take place in the library’s parking lot Wed., Aug. 19, from 4-7 p.m. Anyone completing the Census at the event will be entered into a prize drawing for a Nutri-bullet blender or a Harding’s gift card. Subway gift cards will be handed out to everyone, while supplies last. The Red Cross will hold a Citizen CPR class during the event, as well. Complete the Census using the laptops provided; help will be available to anyone with questions. Masks are required and will be provided if needed. Social distancing practices will be in place to keep everyone safe and counted. Other upcoming library events: The Third Monday Book Club will discuss the memoir by Saroo Brierley, entitled “A Long Way Home”, 7 p.m. on Aug. 17. Contact the library for more details. Pinteresting, the adult crafting program, is back. The August craft will be Fairy Garden Homes. Sign-up is required; supplies are limited. Packages containing a variety of creative supplies to complete the project can be picked up at the library the last week of the month. Call the library to register. For more information about any of these events, please contact the library at 269-463-6382, through Facebook or email to info@wdlib.org.

Hartford Library moves to new building Aug. 22; reopens Sept. 2

The Hartford Public Library will be moving to their new building on Saturday, Aug. 22. The library will be closed from Aug. 19 to Sept. 2, 2020. The drop box will be located at the new library on Monday, Aug. 24. Books due after Aug.19 can be put in the drop box at the new building beginning Aug. 24; no fines will be imposed on any materials due while they are moving and setting up the new library. Patrons with any questions can contact staff at (269)621-3408 or on their Facebook page.

Coloma Library and N.B. Museum co-host virtual program on Glad-Peach, Aug. 18

The year 2020 would have marked the 53rd annual Glad-Peach Festival in Coloma. In lieu of this year’s event, the Coloma Public Library and North Berrien Historical Museum are teaming up to present “Growing History: The Glad-Peach Festival,” a virtual program on the history of this celebrated local festival that will be viewable via Facebook Live on Tue., Aug. 18 at 7 p.m. Although the current committee for the Glad-Peach Festival was first organized in 1967, the origins of the festival date back to the years immediately following World War II. Utilizing artifacts, photographs, and research, staff members from both organizations will present an informative program covering the history of the festival, along with highlights from throughout the years. This virtual event can be viewed on the Facebook page of both the Coloma Public Library and North Berrien Historical Museum. Look for the event “Growing History: The Glad-Peach Festival.” Please contact peter@northberrienhistory.org with any questions.


100 years ago – 1920 Rapid progress has been made in the laying of brick on North Paw Paw Street. The gap at the bridge was left open until a determination is made whether to erect a new bridge. A public session will be held by the village council in the I.O.O.F. hall. The purpose is to hear opinions on providing a more adequate water system for the village. The Coloma Theatre – “Tinpan Alley” and “Chicken a la Cabaret” 60 years ago – 1960 Kathy Zeilenga attended the High School Honors Science Institute at Michigan State University. Michigan Bell Telephone Company will deliver its 1960 telephone directory. Coloma will receive a quantity of 3,600. Mr. Ted J. Rakstis has been accepted for membership in The National Writers Club. He is a freelance writer. Admitted to Community Hospital: Mrs. Warren Haynes, Mrs. Vern Bishop, Mrs. Ernest Cowgill and Michael Fardello Do you have your tickets for the Record Hop and cake walk? Bob Richards, popular radio personality, will give an evening of fun. Band students are selling tickets for the dance at the high school. Price: $1.00. 30 years ago – 1990 Linda Owca was hospitalized with gunshot wounds inflicted by her estranged husband. The incident took place at the Walter and Judith Ishmael home. Local police assisted the SWAT team and the Michigan State Police. A three-phase gymnasium proposal is shown to the Coloma Board of Education. The public is invited to offer their suggestions. Vi Viscuso accepts a copy of “American Pride” on behalf of the Coloma Public Library. This book is a history of the Coloma Vietnam Veterans Memorial. (present day 2020: copy available at the library) Elmer and Mary Wendzel of Rosemary Drive will be honored at an open house buffet. Friends and relatives are invited. 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 To show his appreciation of the excellent services rendered at the fire at his farm south of town, Charles A. Spaulding presented the Hartford F.D. with a check for $100. For the first time in three or four years complaints are being made of the large number of tramps camped throughout the countryside. The wanderers have a popular rendezvous beneath the shade trees west of the Pere Marquette depot. The village council awarded a contract for the construction of the concrete paving on east Main Street from Haver Street to Edwin Street to W.H. Friedrich & Co., the contractors who are now building the concrete road through Hartford Township. 75 years ago – 1945 Hartford firemen were called out over the weekend to help fight three major fires in two days. Most disastrous was a blaze which destroyed the Watervliet Fruit Exchange. Local firemen were called to the Lowell Polmanteer farm southwest of Hartford when fire, believed to have started from a cookstove, broke out. The third weekend blaze destroyed a large barn on a farm owned by William A. Burnette. The barn contained some machinery and nearly 3,000 bales of hay. Hartford Mothers of World War II will hold a tag day to raise funds for furnishing a visitors room at a new veteran’s hospital at Fort Custer. Eighty members of the Hartford Commercial-Farmer Club and their wives and guests attended the club’s annual picnic on the grounds of the J.C. Van Lierop house, formerly Thomasonia. A cooperative dinner was served and games provided entertainment. 50 years ago – 1970 The Van Buren Historical Society now is seeking items to start its museum on the second floor of the Hartford Library. Small items dating back to the 1820s are being sought such as old lamps, maps, letters, books, newspapers, old land grant deeds, pictures, watches, etc. Because space is limited the society cannot accept gifts of large items such as furniture or farm implements. Bruce Brown, vocational agriculture teacher at Hartford High School, recently attended a conference for vocational agriculture teachers at Michigan State in East Lansing. 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 Descendants of the late Mr. and Mrs. Oscar Terry met at the summer home of Mr. and Mrs. Guy D. Newton on County Line for a family gathering – not far from the old homestead. Family from Watervliet and Coloma were joined by other family members from Allegan, Detroit and Clayton, Michigan and from as far away as Colombia, Missouri and Petersburg, Florida. August Morlock and L.L. Barney won awards on cattle from their herds exhibited at the Guernsey Cattle Show, which was a feature of the annual summer picnic of the B.C. Guernsey Breeders’ Association. George Edward is the name of a baby boy born Aug. 24, 1930 to Mr. and Mrs. William Dahms. The child was born at the home of Mrs. Dahms’ parents, Mr. and Mrs. Frank McNitt. 60 years ago – 1960 New teachers who have joined the Watervliet School system include Maxine Minshall and Otto Helwig. Mary Lou Lyons was a winner in the bluegill and sunfish classifications of the senior division in the WHFB “Big Fish” contest. Mary Lou won for capturing her 8-oz bluegill with a worm for bait. The bluegill was 8” in length and 8-1/4” in girth. Charles J. Priest graduated from recruit training at Naval Training Center, Great Lakes IL. The graduation exercises marking the end of “Boot Camp” included a full Dress Parade and Review before Military Officials and Civilian Dignitaries. 30 years ago – 1990 Two Watervliet High School students, Bill Collins and Joann Britenfeld, were among 174 nominees who were selected from over 600, for the Michigan H.S. All-Star Band. The band gave a pre-game and halftime musical presentation at the 10th annual Michigan H.S. East-West Football All-Star game at Michigan State University. Airman 1st Class Laura L. Mayes has graduated from Air Force Basic Training at Lackland Air Force Base, Texas. During training, the Airman studied the Air Force Mission, Organization and Customs and received special training in Human Relations. Mayes is a 1989 graduate of WHS. The 47th Weston Reunion was held on Aug. 19 at Hays Park. Despite the very nasty weather, 48 members showed up. The oldest member was Mrs. Beulah King and the youngest was Skye Holmer. 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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