08-27-2020 Tri-City Area History Page

Cast of “Mrs. Briggs of the Poultry Yard”… a play put on by the Clover Leaf Club of Coloma. Do you know any of the cast members? Have you been a cast member of any play? Did you belong to the Clover Leaf Club or know anyone who was? If you have any stories about the play or the Clover Leaf Club, please 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


Beyond Shingle Diggin’s

By Dorothy Stark Cannell

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!

April 13, 1994 Why was it called ‘up in Canada’? That’s still the temporary title to this temporary column, since I haven’t thought of a better one. How many of you native Coloma-ites can say that you were born “up in Canada”? I can, but I still don’t know why it was called that. Does anyone? Our house, at that time, was on the comer of Logan and Thomas in the quadrant southeast of Coloma State Bank. A hill, quite steep in my memory, sloped from the back of our home (still there when last I looked) down to the George Lewis home on the street bordering the ravine. “Auntie” Lewis, (Auntie was the respect title attached to most of mother’s friends) had three teen-aged daughters – Mabel, Elva and Eva – and we used to relish braving that hill to visit. (Mabel Lewis Jollay lived in Coloma until her death this past year.) The birth of her daughter, Lois – Mrs. Wendell Smith, (who now lives in Coloma and is active in the Historical Society) was the occasion of my first job some years later. But that’s another story. Winter was the time I remember most on that hill as we had such fun sliding down it. My unmarried Aunt Fanny, Dad’s sister, was a practical nurse and between jobs often spent time with us. We loved her antics and bright ideas, one of which was to slide down the hill in a butter bowl. I still feel the thrill of taking off, my small bottom just fitting into it, feet sticking up trying to steer, twisting and turning. You didn’t dare put your hands on the bowl’s outside for fear of crushing your fingers, nor your feet on the ground unless you were serious about stopping. Maybe that experience gave me courage, some years later, to imitate some boys who were riding the inside of a tire down the small hill in back of the old Coloma School behind the Congregational and Methodist churches. Once you got the hang of it, keeping fingers inside, that could be a thrilling ride. The year my sister, Allene, was born Dad made us a sled, one with back and sides built up and runners that curved around in front to make a place for a pulling rope. A wonderful neighbor boy, Clyde Koob, about eight years old and who lived around the corner on Logan Street pulled me up and down the little hill that dead-ended from Thomas into Logan. High snow banked each side and he loved to whip me around the corner and dump me, screaming, onto the road. Dangerous? There were no cars then, at least in my world, and the horses and wagons were few and far between. On the rare occasions when baby sister was bundled up and placed upon my lap, Dad would pull the sled. That was a boring ride! Many years later, at that crazy age of 13, I did ride dangerously on the same hill, hooked to Elmer Brune’s Ford car, with carbon monoxide fumes permeating the crisp, night air and our noses and plenty of slippery snow under the wheels and runners. If any young person should read this, looking for old-fashioned ideas to use today, I advise you to stay clear of this one. Elmer was the first in my age group lucky enough to get a permit to drive a car because he lived in the country (Ha, only a mile toward Watervliet). Only the most daring, biggest boys braved the famous Kroner’s Hill on the west side of town, boys like “Red” Umphrey, George Breidinger and Mortie Williams (and maybe some who read this). The route took you speeding across West Street and finally plummeting into Paw Paw just north of Baker Park. I remember several bad accidents there, but not who was involved. One year, after I left town, I heard that they had made a traffic stop at those corners during especially good sliding weather. What about this year? Certainly there was enough snow for sliding, or has the town provided enough safe (boring) hills so kids aren’t tempted into wild adventure? … I should talk. I am on my way right now to swim a few laps in a warm pool. That’s my excitement for the day.

Watervliet District Library News Guessing contest In-person and at home students have a chance to win a backpack full of school supplies, from the Watervliet District Library. Students are invited to participate in the online guessing contest, offering their “guestimates” at the number of items in the give-away; the photo is on the library’s Facebook page. The student who comes closest to the true number without going over will win the backpack and all of the supplies. Guesses can be left beneath the Facebook post. The contest runs through Friday, Aug. 28 at 5 p.m. All entrees must be submitted by that time. Free online resources The Michigan Electronic Library (MEL) is a free online resource for anyone in the State. Mel.org is especially valuable for those working or schooling from home. Full text ebooks and articles are available on every subject imaginable. Resources are organized by age and audience. There are direct links to K-12 subjects and materials. Library staff is able to assist anyone requiring help navigating this resource. Interlibrary loan system MelCat, the statewide “interlibrary loan” system, is up and running after a nearly five month hiatus. Patrons are again able to order titles unavailable at the local library. All incoming and out-going materials are quarantined for readers’ protection. MelCat can be accessed through the library’s website www.watervlietlibrary.net and the catalog. Library hours The library is open for 30-minute appointments Monday-Saturday 10-2, and Wednesday evening 4-7. Curbside service continues to be available during those hours and 4-8 on Wednesday. For further information about these or other library services, please contact the library at 269-463-6382, info@wdlib.org or through the library’s Facebook page.

Coloma Public Library News Library Hours of Service Currently, operating hours for Coloma Public Library are Monday through Friday 10 a.m. – 6 p.m. for both curbside and services by appointment. On S