09-01-2016 Tri-City Area History Page

rolling back the years


100 years ago – 1916

 The Coloma Water Co. has completed construction of a cement dam across the stream. It is located between St. Joseph Street and the interurban station on the east side of the track.  As Coloma is offering no Labor Day celebrations, St. Joseph has booked big attractions. Big offer for the coming fall and winter; now available: the Courier and four magazines for only $1.25 per year. Farmers: During the heavy peach, melon and grape season, the steamers O. E. Parks, Frank Woods and Charles McVea will sail daily.

60 years ago – 1956

 Mr. and Mrs. C. Irving Gale are moving to their home on Ryno Road. It was the former residence of Mr. and Mrs. Robert Bachman.  Several local people return from summer trips. Mr. and Mrs. Arley E. Morse visited the southwest. Miss Allene Stark spent a few days in the Smoky  Mountains. Miss Barbara Hamm visited her mother in Traverse City.  Close to 80 students are expected to enter the Clymer School. Miss Charlotte V. Groff will be the sixth grade instructor.

30 years ago – 1986

 Deer Forest Park will be sold at auction. It has been in operation since 1949. Current owner Charles Streu purchased it from Bob Potters in 1976.  Sherrie K. Peachey, employee of Michigan Employment Security Commission, submitted a suggestion to the Suggestion Awards Program. Her winnings landed $1,000, and a certificate of merit.  Coloma Community Schools present “welcome baskets” to new teachers. Board of Education member Jean Chandler helps assemble the baskets.  Debbie Kreitner, Coloma Lioness Club secretary, presents a TTY telephone to the Coloma Public Library. Librarian Charles Dickinson accepts the unit.  Kelly Calloway graduated from Lake Michigan College as a Radiologic Technology student.  The D & D Silk Screening team is champion of the Southwestern Michigan Girls Softball League.


90 years ago – 1926

President C. I. Monroe of the First National Band and Uriah Wood, Civil War veterans, left on Sep. 11, 1926 for Des Moines, Iowa, to attend the annual encampment of the G.A.R. They will spend two or three days in the Iowa capital. Mr. Wood is one of Watervliet’s three surviving Civil War Veterans. He is 84 years old.  Mrs. Marjorie Dipmore, who with her husband, owns a large farm in Watervliet and trains high bred riding horses, has been awarded prizes amounting $500 on horses that they exhibited at the State Fair in Detroit.  Raunald Myrick, Watervliet, returned to Detroit to resume his studies at the Sacred Heart Seminary.

60 years ago – 1956

 Mr. and Mrs. Eugene Fillmore are the proud parents of their baby girl, Roxanne Lynn, born Aug. 8, 1956 and weighed 6 pounds 10 ounces.  Paul Pflugradt, son of Mr. and Mrs. Frank Pflugradt, Watervliet, submitted to examination for entrance in the U. S. Marines. He telephoned his parents and informed them that he had successfully passed the tests and would leave on Sep. 14, 1956 by plane for his new base in San Diego, California.  Mr. and Mrs. James Kerr are proud of their new baby girl, Cynthia Jo, born Aug. 27, 1956 and weighed 8 pounds, 9 ounces.

30 years ago – 1986

Vickie Haynes earned her master’s degree in educational leadership at Western Michigan University in September 1986. She obtained her undergraduate degree at Grand Valley State College. Mrs. Haynes is an adjusted studies teacher at South School. She has been with the Watervliet Public Schools for six years.  WBA 300 Club Chairman Betty Kunst drew the first winning number of the 1986 season’s club. Virginia Meader of Watervliet Gambles was the first winner. There are 32 cash prizes in the popular drawing series that spans from September to the Saturday before Christmas.


100 years ago – 1916

 Frank Myers, a farmer residing three miles south of Hartford, was seriously if not fatally injured this afternoon when a young farm team he was driving ran away near the Edward Finley elevator. He suffered a deep gash in his head, another in his chest and various bruises from which he was rendered unconscious. In their wild run the horses collided with a tree in front of the C.G. Warren home on Linden Street completely wrecking the wagon and throwing Mr. Myers to the cement sidewalk.  On Friday evening, Sep. 8, the people of Hartford will have the opportunity of hearing the Hon. Michael J. Fanning, a noted Irish orator, full of wit, wisdom and pathos, in a patriotic address entitled: “the Problem of the Age.” It will be given at the town hall at 8 o’clock. Everybody is invited and a freewill offering will be taken. Those who have heard Mr. Fanning from the Atlantic to the Pacific pronounce him the best temperance orator in the country. No citizen who loves his home, his boys, and his country can afford to miss hearing this man who has been for years such a great factor in crushing the deadly evil of drink.

75 years ago – 1941

 Labor Day brought its usual holiday aspect to Hartford. Flags were unfurled to the breezes, business places were generally closed before noon, sidewalks were deserted and the principal activity was an endless parade of automobiles over US-12.  Clare Leach and Ryle Hamill, the fairgrounds architects and designers are doing some revamping before the more colossal 1941 Van Buren county fair opens here September 29. They have laid a new floor on the free act platform that none of the performing beauties can crash through and are moving the fireworks building from the infield to a location near the platform as a place for the beauties to hang their gorgeous gowns and apply their lipstick and rouge. Down at the main gate they are making it more difficult to enter the grounds without first patronizing the ticket sellers by narrowing the apertures and erecting an iron railing to separate vehicular and pedestrian traffic for the safety of both.

50 years ago – 1966

 A new food store, Tim’s Supermarket, will open here today in the location formerly occupied by the Kroger store. It will be operated by Buy-Low Supermarkets, which is headquartered at Cassopolis. The new store is named for the son of Arthur Goldy, who leads the Buy-Low operation. The youth for whom the store is named will be 16 years old Sunday. Rudy McCoy, who lives in Bainbridge Township, will manage the new store.  The store has been redecorated and rearranged and stocked with more than six truckloads of merchandise in preparation for today’s opening. A new style of shelving will provide both wider aisles and more merchandise display.  Melissa Hawley, Hartford’s oldest resident, will observe her 100th birthday tomorrow at the Frazier rest home in Decatur. Mrs. Hawley and her husband, John, farmed near Rush Lake for 23 years. Mrs. Hawley is the only living charter member of the Rush Lake Friendship club.

Paw Paw River Journal

Paw Paw River Journal

Loosening the bonds of Earth

In my internet files I keep odd bits that computer friends have sent to me. One day I was looking through some old stuff and in there I found the following quotation: “Once you have tasted flight, you will forever walk the earth with your eyes turned skyward, for there you have been, and there you will always long to return.”  Whoever sent it…..Thanks!  It made me think of a period in my life that lasted but a few short years……yet impinged upon and colored forever my whole existence.  In fact, it made such an impact on me that in years since I sometimes dream of flying.  When I was in an open cockpit airplane, or if I could slide open the canopy and feel the rush of wind, it is about as close to being a bird as I will ever want to be.  One day when I was in flight training, I was just out chasing clouds.  There in front of me was an immense thunder storm cloud building.  It is called in weather circles a cumulonimbus.  I flew up alongside the face of it and climbed as it was building.  That seething, boiling mass was climbing faster than my airplane could!  Little did I know then that later I would be flying routinely through such storms.  For pilots there are several kinds of flying experiences.  One….. Hours of monotony on a long flight.  Back in my day the pilot had to remain ever alert, watching the sky, then the instruments, then the sky again.  And there was no letting down.  There is still no letting down…..but the pilot doesn’t have to keep craning his neck, looking for other planes.  With GPS he watches the screen in his cockpit.  Every other plane in the sky is shown on that map…… position constantly being reported to a satellite, then being sent down to every ship in the area.  But, on such a flight, one crewmember is always alert, adrenalin up a little, constantly monitoring.  In a multi-engine piston plane, the pilot adjusts his throttles until there is perfect synchronization.  Or if he is in a jet, he sits there with the turbines cooking away—as the plane flashes ahead of its own thunder, leaving the sound behind.  But he never lets down, as long as he is the pilot in command.  The second kind of flying comes fortunately only once in a while.  It is that heart-stopping, gut-wrenching moment which the pilot lives through, or else he would not be talking about it later; like flying into and out of a thunderstorm over a mountain range.  Airplanes are not designed to fly in thunderstorms.  Pilots avoid them religiously whenever possible.  Over in Asia we had to go through them to get across the Himalayas……there was no going around.  And then there is the time when an engine cuts out.  Nothing more eerie than listening to the wind howling by in the silence of a failed engine, and watching the oil pressure and rpms drop to zero.  The pilot then feathers the prop (turning the blades into the wind, so they will not create a drag), trims the ship for running on single engine, jacks up the rpms, enriches the mixture, opens the cowl flaps on the good engine, because it will start to heat up…… and then looks for a place to land.  We practiced this a lot.  I have been in the first situation a few times, and nearly in the second, but not to the point of desperation.  The worst one of all for us would be a fire in one of the engines……I never had that happen, but we were well versed in the procedure….stop the engine by cutting off the fuel, feather the prop, close the cowl flaps, and hit the fire extinguisher for that engine.  Then pray that the fire will burn itself out.  Oh, yes, we knew the drill by heart, but thankfully never had to use it.  Occasionally flying can be a strange experience.  Once a friend and I were crossing the Hump, and we got into a snowstorm….almost like being in a huge, empty cathedral.  Silky smooth, no turbulence, and our whole world bathed in a mystical glow with swirling snow fall.  Then I began to notice that our wing tips were outlined in blue light.  Little jags of lightning began to play across our windshield and around the whirling propellers.  This is a phenomenon called “St. Elmo’s Fire.”  Ships’ crews have seen it in storms at sea.  We could feel our bodies tingling, and when I reached out to the instrument panel, a spark jumped from my finger to the knob on the gyrocompass.  It was a most unsettling few moments until it quit.  But it didn’t seem to damage us in any way.  Only that one time did I see it.  There is something special about “slipping the surly bonds of earth.”  Even in war time we occasionally got what we called a “milk run.”  A trip down the valley, or back to India…..a beautiful day, and those engines singing a song of power.  Once in a while comes one of those rare moments when you are one with the birds…..the most times I had that feeling was in an open cockpit tail-dragger during flight training.…… then there was nowhere else on earth I would rather have been.  I have dreamed about that in the days since I was flying.  Most pilots would not say it, or even admit it, but …..at those times we could almost reach out and “touch the face of God.”


adj DYR Riverside Depot

This is a photo of the Riverside Depot.

To contact the North Berrien Historical Society with any information to share, please call NBHS at 468-3330 or e-mail them at info@northberrienhistory.org.