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 Saturdays, they are available for curbside service only from 10 a.m. – 2 p.m. To make an appointment, email readcoloma@gmail.com, call 269-468-3431, or message them through Facebook. Get Counted backpacks The library has a free stuffed backpack as well as some gift cards for local shops to give away to families that make an appointment to complete the census at the library. This is ongoing until they run out of backpacks and gift cards. Free online tutoring 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. Call 269-468-3431 for more information.


100 years ago – 1920 The I.O.O.F. Lodge will host a big picnic at Woodward’s resort. A fine program of addresses, water sports and athletic events are being planned. A free street dance has attracted considerable attention. Bring your family and enjoy a night of dancing and the band concert. A fire broke out on the Friday Bros. marsh land south of Coloma. No people or buildings were injured. The burned tract covered an area of twenty acres. 60 years ago – 1960 After a summer vacation, “Patrice School of Dance” will open for classes. Owner/Instructor Miss Patricia Oberle attended the NADAA Conservatoire, learning dance styles, business forums, etc. Fathers of Little League baseball players were defeated by their wives 23 to18 at Coloma High School. Some couples playing were: LaVanways, Dolezans, Quigleys, LaGrows, Bakers and Suwarskys. Physicals for prospective gridiron players at Coloma High School will be given today, announced Coach Lyle Patterson. Practice and issuing of uniforms will begin next week. Mr. and Mrs. Arthur Peterson announce the birth of their new baby daughter. Her name is Laurie Jean. 30 years ago – 1990 Front lawn parking will no longer be permitted, according to a City ordinance. Witchcraft Tape Products was given approval to expand its business to the west of the present building. A letter of commendation to Officer Ken Gustafson was read. He aided police in a hostage situation. The State Bank of Coloma announces promotions: Sandra Kraemer to Cashier; Sue Moser to Assistant Cashier and David Scheuer to Assistant Vice President. North Berrien Adult & Community Education – Discover yourself! G.E.D., Basic Education, Certified Computer Training. It’s all FREE! The white house with the red shutters on Hill Street is the home of Ray and Evelyn Krieger. We celebrate this couple for their many talents and contributions to our community. 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 by appointment; Curbside Service only, Sat 10-2. Phone: 269-468-3431


100 years ago – 1920 The Coloma band will give another concert on Main Street in Hartford this evening. Last Wednesday evening they were late due to the breaking down of their motor truck. J.C. Lawrence has leased the Dr. R. Lawrence residence on south Center Street to H.G. Kaye of the Kaye Motor Sales Company. Mr. Lawrence will take up residence at the Adam Rassette farm north of town with Mr. and Mrs. Will Osborne. One hundred and fifty members of the Hartford Masonic fraternities with their families and friends enjoyed a picnic at Dean’s Landing, Van Auken Lake. The day was ideal for a picnic frolic. 75 years ago – 1945 The lone surviving relic of Hartford’s horse-and-buggy days, the St. John livery barn on N. Center, is passing. Workmen are tearing the old building apart for the usable lumber it contains. With it goes the last visible evidence of a colorful era in the life of this community. It was built more than 65 years ago to replace the town’s first livery barn which had been erected on the same site 25 years earlier, but was destroyed when fire leveled Center St. business district. The old barn long played an important role in community activities. It was erected by the late John St. John, one of the town’s first liverymen, who conducted a busy livery stable until his death many years ago. Before the motor vehicle outmoded the historic liveries, Hartford had acquired five stables. The other three were the Hartford House livery barn which adjoined the hotel on the west, the Rassette House livery which occupied the present site of the Calvin Funeral Home, and the Roy Hinckley livery on Maple Street. All were dismantled long ago. 50 years ago – 1970 The old Indian cemetery at Rush Lake has a new look. Overgrown with weeds and brush for many years, the site has been almost impossible to locate. In March the Van Buren County road commission, acting as the county board of park trustees, began a giant clean-up effort at the cemetery. Most of the heavy brush has been removed and gravestones reset. A new white picket fence now surrounds the area. The cemetery is located on a 10-acre site at the south end of Rush Lake in Hartford Township. Submitted by Librarian Stephanie Daniels at Hartford Public Library from microfilm copies of the Hartford Day Spring. The library will be closed through September 7. Ph: 269-621-3408


90 years ago – 1930 Superintendent R.R. Shelters has been advised that Watervliet has been put on the approved list of schools for work in vocational home economics. Miss Alberta Sluyter, economics teacher, was highly complimented on her submitted reports which helped put interest for the school district. A son was born to Mr. and Mrs. J.J. Stewart at the family home on Paw Paw Avenue, Sept. 10, 1930. The amount stated in the option for the site of the proposed City Hall on Short Street is $1,700. The price on the proposed site at the corner of Pleasant and First streets is $1,600. 60 years ago – 1960 Thirty-nine Watervliet High School fellows turned out for football this week. Head Coach Robert Grimes and Asst. Coach Fred Klem doled out equipment. First in line were pigskin enthusiasts Roger Hardy, Jim Cole and Drew Hutchins. Seven players from Watervliet Blue Sox Team were on the All-Star team which defeated the Benton Harbor Elks Majors, 10-5 on Aug. 3, 1960. Lois Goff, owner of Paw Paw Lake Mobile Home Park Beauty Shop, was awarded the coveted Girls’ High Point Trophy, at the Windcliff Stable Inc. Fourth Annual Horse Show. 30 years ago – 1990 Serving as this area’s only farmer-owned co-op, the Watervliet Fruit Exchange is celebrating its 50th Anniversary this year. Founded in June 1940 the Watervliet Fruit Exchange was formed by 18 fruit tree growers from Watervliet, Hartford and Coloma, who got together to start packing operations for their crops. Property was purchased and building completed in 1941. On Aug. 4, 1945, the building was burned and said to be one of the worst commercial disasters in the history of Watervliet at the time. On June 27, 1946, an open house was held for the new Watervliet Fruit Exchange building which is still being used today. Dedicated employees have spent many years of their lives at Watervliet Fruit Exchange. Raymond Emhoff was its manager since its beginning until his retirement in 1982. Assistant manager Glen Randall was there for 29 years and Edythe Fox as bookkeeper for 30 years, Eldon ‘Doc’ Howard for 25 years and Barb Parker since 1956. 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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