09-07-2017 Tri-City Area History Page


Cutler Livery located north side of railroad tracks, Coloma

North Berrien Historical Museum is always interested in photos, stories or information sharing.  The museum can be contacted at 269-468-3330 or by email to info@northberrienhistory.org.

From the photo collection at the North Berrien Historical Museum

300 Coloma Avenue, Coloma

The Paw Paw River Journal

Yahoo!  School’s starting!

Sorry, Kids, if I seem to be celebrating something that could feel like a tragic situation for you later! But then, probably the number of school kids who will be reading this I could count on the fingers of one hand. If I’m wrong on that, mea culpa! Anyway, the kids will be going off to school, and parents will feel they are now tucked in and being educated by someone who will (hopefully) polish off some of the rough edges.

There is an old belief that teachers are acting in loco parentis, that is, in the place of the parent. Just so they don’t act too much “parentis!” In other words, many people think the teacher should teach and civilize their offspring… just don’t teach the kids anything contrary to the parents’ beliefs. And that is a trap for the teacher. I firmly believe that teaching is a subversive activity. We try to get kids to think for themselves. But when they do, they will surely think things their parents don’t want them to!

One time I was teaching a senior lit course in a city high school. I asked the kids to pick a good book and do an oral review for the whole class. Aha! Spread a little culture and encourage some more reading! One girl came to me with a book and asked if it would be suitable. I took a look at it, and what little hair I had stood straight on end! Nice girl, and very attractive. She was from an Evangelical family. Nothing wrong with that… good values, solid background, etc.

But the book was one she had seen the kids carrying around… very popular at the time… The Catcher in the Rye.

This story is about a horribly funny teen-ager. Holden Caulfield swears constantly, hates phoniness, and is always judging girls as to how much he can get away with while dating them. But he is curiously gallant and wants to protect his little sister, Phoebe, from all the evil in the world. He has this recurring dream that he is watching over a bunch of little kids playing in a rye field. He stands at the edge of a cliff and keeps them from tumbling off. The book is a real judgment on all the phoniness in this world!

I told the girl she should take it home and ask her mom what she thought about it. Next day she came back, put the book on my desk and said, “My mom says she cannot believe that teen-agers talk that way!” So I suggested she pick another book. Obviously that mom had not listened to kids talking when they thought there were no adults around! Cowardice on my part? I’d like to think not. I really wanted to respect those parents’ beliefs and values.

So the school year begins! The process of helping to civilize and mold kids into responsible adults. I believe it is more difficult now than it used to be. A friend of mine referred to middle school students as “apprentice humans!” And, yes, when I was that age admittedly I was. Those kids are trying desperately to be cool, to be taken seriously; and they just haven’t mastered the art of it yet. They are difficult years, and from my viewpoint now, I believe if I was a beginning teacher and they told me I would be teaching in middle school… I’d seriously consider another profession!

But I like kids… always enjoyed interacting with them. That is, after I had convinced them they were in my class to learn something! I told students I expected great, brilliant things from them, starting out the semester by saying, “You know, when I see all of you at first, I think… some day in one of my classes I may have another Jonas Salk, Albert Schweitzer, Ernest Hemingway, etc.”  At this point they usually had disbelief on their faces. Then they sneaked a sideways look at the other kids… could this be true?

I have walked into a class room expecting trouble… and I got it. I soon learned not to do that. Starting the year with a clear expectation of great things almost always brought that about.

There is no substitute for subject matter expertise… you have to grow into it. When I was a new teacher, it was hard for me to say, “I don’t know.” After I came to have a solid subject matter background, it was not difficult to say… because I did have a formidable body of knowledge. There is nothing like the look on a student’s face when he realizes you are like an iceberg, with 8/9 of what you know below the surface.

How do you get that way? By working at it! You have to know more than you are talking about. Just like my foreman, when I was very young and working in a machine shop. He knew how to run every machine in the place. That’s why he was the foreman.

A teacher should be fair, honest, and above all dependable… sure to punish, sure to reward. We cannot help but like some kids more… they are just more likeable. But we can never, never, never, ever play favorites.

I can remember a few times when a class clown made me laugh outright… and the kids were waiting to see if I would find whatever he did funny. Once in a blue moon, OK, but it better not happen often.

Kids do not need an older friend… except after respect and trust have been established. Then it’s OK. I would never give them money. This should be engraved in letters of fire… don’t ever tell them about your personal life! And they will be curious in all sorts of ways. Give them advice, but only when they want it. And that is after the respect is built.

I have, in recent years, sort of apologized to my early students for not having had more to give them. One said to me at a reunion, “You gave us more than you realized!” They must have seen that I liked them, cared about them, found them interesting. And refused to let them “get away with it.” A teacher should have a little ham in him or her. But there’d better be substance behind it, or they will soon find out!

Well, look at me! Guess that’s perhaps more than enough weaving those threads into the golden tapestry of our lives in this storybook town along the Paw Paw River!

Coloma Library News

Story Hour

Story Hour meets on Wednesdays at 10:30 a.m. Join Miss Amy for a craft, story and song time! Story Hour is for older toddlers and preschool-aged children. It is asked that all children be accompanied and supervised by an adult. There is no sign-up or fee required. Please call 468-3431 with any questions.

Book Club

The Coloma Library Book Club is meeting on Thursday, September 14 at 5:30 p.m. The title to read before the discussion is “Sleeping Giants” by Sylvain Neuvel.  Generally, depending on demand there are titles available for check-out at the front desk. The book club regularly meets every other Thursday and is always looking for new members.

Watervliet District Library News

Banned Books – September

Calling all Reading Rebels: Celebrate your freedom to read all month long and snap a photo to prove it! Our photo booth awaits you!

Teen Table Projects – September

A button maker is on the table all this month. Bring in your art or make it here and wear home your thoughts, talents & opinions.

Toddler Time

Sep. thru Nov. – Tuesdays at 10:30 a.m.

Early literacy stories and games, designed to build pre-reading skills for little ones 18 – 36 months. Lots of fun for everyone! No registration is required for this drop-in program.

In Stitches

Sep. 8, 2:30 – 4:00 p.m.

A monthly knit-together for everyone passionate about their yarn & needles. Limited supplies are available for beginners, too!

Third Monday Book Club

Sep. 18, 7 – 8 p.m.

Join us for great books and fabulous conversation. This month’s book: The Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls. Ask for your copy at the desk.

Red Cross Pillowcase Project

Sep. 30 – 1:30 p.m.

This project teaches children coping skills to help them deal with an emergency, using three steps – Learn, Practice and Share. Recommended for children in grades 3 through 5 (ages 8 to 11). Sign-up is required for this free program; call us or stop by to register.


Monday mornings, 9 – 10 a.m.; Wednesday evenings, 7 – 8 p.m.; Wednesday evenings, 6:00 – 6:45 p.m. Chair Yoga

Coming Soon

Story Hour – Oct thru Apr, one hour class on Wednesdays at 10:30 a.m. and Thursdays at 1:30 p.m.


100 years ago – 1917

Camp Custer, midway between Battle Creek and Kalamazoo is busy fashioning an army. Although construction work is not complete, the men have shelter and plenty to eat.

Beware: J.A. Schultz was taken in by the confidence men. They secured from him his life story and $1,500; this being his years of savings that they were going to “invest.”

Coloma schools opened with an attendance of 228 pupils. There are still a number of students that haven’t reported due to being busy helping on the farms.

60 years ago – 1957

Considerable damage was caused by a kitchen fire at the home of Otto Hingst, well-known florist. A container of paraffin on an electric stove exploded and was discovered by Adeline Hingst.

Last rites were held for Ervin M. Jackson at the Davidson Funeral Home. Serving as casket bearers were Leon Fisher, Floyd and Robert Hazen, Don Bishop, Dominick Greco and John Duffield.

Many Methodists were on hand for clean up as the $30,000 addition nears completion. A dedication date has been set for Sept. 15.

A total of 653 students enrolled in Coloma schools. That number is a gain of 82 students from last year.

30 years ago – 1987

Shari Hauch has been selected as the first recipient of a new $750 scholarship established by the Lakeland Valley Dental Society. She is a second-year dental assisting student at Lake Michigan College.

The green and gold school colors decorated a banquet hall to celebrate the 50-year high school reunion of the class of 1937. Retired Superintendent William Alwood attended and received a standing ovation. He originated the Green and Gold award and presented to the first recipient, Roland Arent, back in 1937.

The City of Coloma is accepting sealed bids on a 1988 police vehicle. Shirley A. Eggermont, City Clerk


100 years ago – 1917

Both mail and traffic were interrupted on the Fruit Belt all day Monday when a passing train became derailed just west of the Pere Marquette crossing in Hartford. The locomotive, tender and one coach were off the rails and it was well toward evening before they were replaced.

The Reliance Picture Frame company of Chicago, which opened a temporary factory in the building of the Hartford Manufacturing company in the southwest part of the village a few months ago and has since been engaged in the manufacture of picture frames and other novelties, closed the factory last week to await the decision of Hartford relative to the erection of a suitable factory building, for which a bond issue of $10,000 was voted at a special election last November

75 years ago – 1942

Van Buren County housewives contributed nearly three tons of kitchen fat to the salvage campaign during August, according to Edward Clearly, Hartford county chairman of the fats salvage committee. The actual amount reported to the chairman was 5,836 pounds. One pound of waste cooking fats will produce enough glycerin required to manufacture 1.3 pounds of gun powder.

The Hartford Garden Club met at the home of Mrs. Kate Day, Friday. The subject for the day was, “Cut Flowers and How to Use Them,” given by Mrs. Helen Kesterke.

The Hartford Junior Mother’s Club held its first fall meeting at the home of the president, Mrs. Lou Keech. There were eleven members present; roll call being, “Bright Sayings of Children.” Two important subjects were discussed, helping the Red Cross with sewing, and the use of the quilt fund.

50 years ago – 1967

Hartford Indians will be a traveling team this year. They will be playing five of the nine games away, as the schedule calls for trips to New Buffalo, Bridgman and Galien.

Airman 2-C John E. Piersing, whose wife Marcia is the daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Cecil L. Starner, is on duty at Korat Royal Tahi AFB, Thailand.

Private 1-C Thomas L. Drake, son of Mrs. Margaret Drake, completed a Hawk missile guidance and launcher electronic repair course at the army missile and munitions school at Redstone Arsenal, Ala.


90 years ago – 1927

Ward Morlock, Watervliet, exhibited a pair of doves at the Kalamazoo Fair and was awarded a first premium.

Rev. James King, Dean of Olivet College, one of Michigan’s most forceful speakers, will preach in the local Congregational Church. The public is urged to hear this man.

Charles Hennessey sold a registered Guernsey bull to the Traverse City State Bank on Sep. 17, 1927. The animal is to be presented to some farmer at the fair there.

60 years ago – 1957

SP/3 Edwin Campbell, son of Mr. and Mrs. Richard Campbell, was discharged from the army at Fort Sheridan, IL on Aug. 22, 1957 and returned to his old position in the Watervliet Paper Mill. Edwin had been in Germany prior to his discharge.

Mr. and Mrs. Robert Nelson are the proud parents of their baby boy, Robert Joseph, born Sep. 7, 1957 and weighed 7 pounds 1 ounce.

Bruce Emerson will leave for Tri-State College at Angola, Indiana. A freshman, he has a scholarship at that college. Joan Shimer will leave for Western Michigan University, Kalamazoo. Joan will enroll as a senior. Bob Snyder will leave for Western Michigan University, where he is a junior and studying for the ministry.

30 years ago – 1987

Marvis Rowley and her daughter Renee, mother and sister to the 1971 WHS Homecoming Queen, Connie Austin Forrester, are donating the crown to Watervliet High School for the 1987 Homecoming Queen. They are donating the crown in memory of Connie who was killed in an auto accident.

Christopher J. Van Loon, son of Clarence J. Van Loon has been promoted in the U.S. Army to the rank of staff sergeant. Van Loon is a section leader with the 48th Infantry in West Germany. He is a 1978 graduate of WHS.

Officers for the Watervliet Senior High School Student Council were chosen during opening days of the 1987-88 school year. Seniors Todd Bannen and Brian Coon were elected president and vice president respectively. Juniors Chantelle Brewer and Paula Hickmott were voted in as secretary and treasurer.


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FAX: 269-463-8329

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