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10-08-2020 Tri-City Area History Page

Watervliet High School student cast of 1971 production Camelot. Student on far right is Cindy Tibbs and on far left is James Cochran. Do you know the other thespians? Were you a member of a cast or production crew in high school? Let the North Berrien Historical Museum know your experiences; contact North Berrien Historical Museum at 269-468-3330, 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 Diggins

April 27, 1994 Bill was nominated for Upton volunteer award Recently I attended the twelfth annual Margaret B. Upton Volunteer Leadership Award Reception with some other members of the North Berrien Historical Society. Our own Bill (William Beverly Jr.) was honored along with twelve other nominees from around Berrien County. It seems that the Frederick S. Upton Foundation established the award back in 1983 to encourage volunteerism and dispense some recognition to the many folks who give long hours to public service in our area. As Georgia Boggs, last year’s winner and chairman of the program pointed out, “All nominees are really winners, but the one chosen as the year’s ‘Best’ would receive a $500 reward for his/her favorite nonprofit organization. This was reiterated by Stephen Upton, who represented the family and gave certificates of appreciation to all nominees. Bill’s list, read by the chairman, was impressive. In fact, to us it seemed the longest and most diversified of all. Here are a few samples: Past President of the following: Lions Club and Chairman of White Cane and Salvation Army Kettle; Watervliet Hospital Board; State Archaeological Society; Southwest Michigan Archaeological Society; North Berrien Historical Society and present Program Chairman and Curator of North Berrien Historical Museum; Berrien County Historical Museum and charter member; also helped with Courthouse Museum. We – Mary Alyce Hettig, Lois (Mrs. Wendell) Smith, “Bibs” Page, Jean Ann Beverly – listened with growing confidence that he really deserved to win. The judges admitted having a hard time deciding but did come up with a different winner – Brenda Layne, nominated by the Benton Harbor – St. Joseph Exchange Club. She had been on the list twice before without winning so, in this case, it was three times and “in”. It was on the way home that I remembered another volunteer activity in which both Bill and I participated back in 1931. It was Coloma High’s debate team under coach Nova Hamilton. The debate that stands out in my memory was with Julia Sayle’s Watervliet High School team. The question that year was resolved: That chain stores should be banned because as a monopoly they are unfair to the independent grocer. We were not a match that day for the Watervliet team. It was in the closing moments of rebuttal that Bill stood up, ready to make an important point. “Worthy opponents,” he began ceremoniously, “speaking of food, I have something I’d like to bring up” … Small ripples of laughter began in the off-stage members of each team and it spread to the audience as Bill, not understanding the cause of the laughter, kept striving to make a serious point. But I had one ace in the hole left. There had been some question as to the constitutionality of regulating monopolies and whether the chain store was a monopoly. Some Watervliet smart mouth brought it up. I had read the Constitution and felt absolutely confident that there was nothing in there about it, so was prepared. I arose confidently and, with a grand gesture, handed them a copy of it, saying, “Here is the Constitution, my friends. Show us where this is even mentioned!” Well, they were better prepared! Quickly, they found the sentence that supported their position and, to my horror, read it to us AND the judges. Sometimes losers can be winners if they learn from their mistakes and “keep carrying on”. Congratulations, Bill. We’re proud of you! And if you readers have not yet visited the Museum, 300 Coloma Avenue, I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised at the depth, accuracy, and professional quality of its exhibits. Many of you have seen Bill’s slide presentation on area history, bought lumber from Beverly Lumber Company and worked with him in charitable endeavors, so now come and see his skill as a museum curator. Of course, he’ll modestly tell you that he didn’t do it all and he did have lots of help … Come and see one of the outstanding small-town museums of Michigan.

Coloma Public Library News Library Service Updates Coloma Public Library hours are Mon – Fri 10 a.m. – 6 p.m. Saturday hours are 10 a.m. – 2 p.m. for curbside service only. No appointments are necessary but face masks and social distancing are still required. Patrons are asked to keep visits shorter, only when safe building capacity is exceeded. Reach staff by calling 269-468-3431, through Facebook Messenger, or emailing Fall Craft Kits Starting Saturday, Oct. 10, fall craft kits will be available for pickup via curbside, while supplies last. Kits are suitable for PreK as well as school-age children. Register to vote online Coloma Library staff can help anyone who wishes to register online to vote. Free Online Tutoring Coloma Public Library offers, a web service that provides online tutoring, homework help, and test preparation for kindergarten through 12th grade, 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. Job searching and resume help The library offers access to one-on-one job tutors who can help with resume advice, job searching, interview tips and more. Little Free Carts The Little Free Carts are still outside for patrons who want to browse and select materials without coming into the building. On rainy days, the carts are in the lobby which remains open and unlocked during Library hours of operation. Materials are swapped out regularly. “Check out” what’s there and grab a freebie or two!

Watervliet District Library News Hope Thomas, singer, songwriter and guitarist, will perform a virtual concert of eclectic folk & jazz tunes Thursday, Oct. 8 at 7 p.m. Hope is a southwest Michigan native, recently relocated to Oregon. She has toured with Meagan Dooley and performed regularly with the group, Peach Lavender, throughout Michigan. The recorded performance will be viewable on the library’s Facebook page Oct. 8-11. WDL’s Packet Projects feature elementary student crafters this week with a fun spider kit to take and make. Next week’s craft packets are designed with teens in mind (middle school – high school). Teens can pick up everything needed to make a moveable paper skull, any time during the library’s hours of operation. Check out the library’s Facebook page to view project examples. Supplies are limited; sign up to reserve a kit by contacting the library at 269-463-6382, or by message through Facebook. Kits can be picked up curbside, too. Library staff is happy to provide homework help by sharing online resources or preparing book bundles on any subjects your student may need. The State’s online collection of databases can be accessed through The site offers a plethora of learning resources for Michiganders of any age. Contact the library for more information or assistance.


100 years ago – 1920 The road building campaign for 1921 has been outlined. Coloma will see a new bridge over Paw Paw River on the road north of Coloma and completion of the Twelve Corners Road. Athletic equipment now has a place of storage. Thank you to the high school boys who built and installed 15 lockers in the basement. Village paving taxes are due and must be paid before October 15. Smiley W. Hamilton, Treasurer 60 years ago – 1960 Funeral services were held for Mrs. Mary E. Colton, 71 and Joseph Charles Berchin, 69. Davidson Funeral Home handled the arrangements. Police report is very full. Four auto accidents occurred. No people were hurt. The proprietor of the A&W Root Beer concession pleaded guilty for contributing to the delinquency of a minor. Twelve persons were fined in Coloma Justice Court on a variety of offenses. Coloma Civil Defense Auxiliary is accepting applications for membership. Police Chief Chester Krutel is head of the squad and coordinator is Bill Muenchow. Athletic Director S.L. McDaniels signs the constitution that makes Coloma a charter member of the new Blossomland Conference. 30 years ago – 1990 Homecoming gets underway with the annual Snake Dance and Bonfire on Thursday. Friday will bring a parade, then crowning during halftime of the football game. A dance follows the game against Lakeshore. The Board of Education will proceed with a zero Coupon Financing Program for the proposed physical education facility. A public hearing on proposed rezoning amendments brought a standing-room-only audience to City Hall. One property in question is the corner of Ryno Road and Church Street. A convenience store and gas station is proposed for this site. Sherrill Emery shows crafts that will be available at the annual All-Church Bazaar at the Congregational Church. Submitted by volunteer Sandi Musick Munchow at Coloma Public Library from the Coloma Courier newspapers donated by the Tri-City Record. Hours: Mon-Fri 12-6; Curbside Service only, Sat 10-2. Phone: 269-468-3431


100 years ago – 1920 Charles Unrath has sold the bakery building and oven on west Main Street, occupied by the A.G. Engle Bakery, to Toney Dekkerd and John Ruiter. Mr. Dekkerd is an experienced baker and the new owners will open a bakery. Engle states that he has leased the C.G. Warren store building on the north side of Main, where he will install a modern oven and move his bakery business. R.O. Cupp, who recently purchased the Park Hotel of E.H. Smith, has sold the hostelry to John Brockhaus. Mr. Brockhaus has already taken possession of the business. The grocery department at the F.W. Hubbard & Son department store, next to the oldest grocery in Hartford, is to be closed out at a special sale. With the removal of the grocery stock, the dry goods and shoe departments devoted to ladies ready-to-wear clothing, and floor coverings will be added. 75 years ago – 1945 Wank furniture and appliance will open a new store in Hartford at the northeast corner of Main and Center. The building which once before housed a furniture store has been unoccupied for some time. The store is owned by William and Richard Wank. Public assistance in preventing damage to rural mail boxes and thefts of mail from them was sought this week by Postmaster William Miller. With Halloween approaching the postmaster asked parents to caution their children that wrecking, removing or tampering with mail boxes is a federal offense. 50 years ago – 1970 The fire department here will sponsor its annual fire prevention parade Saturday as a climax to fire prevention week. The parade will feature fire equipment from at least ten southwestern Michigan communities. A hose laying contest between fire departments will be held in front of the high school immediately following the parade. Miss JoAnn Hurt, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. James Hurt, was crowned homecoming queen at Hartford Friday night by last year’s queen, Sherry Peters. The new queen is a senior at Hartford High School where she is a majorette in the high school band. Submitted by Librarian Stephanie Daniels at Hartford Public Library from microfilm copies of the Hartford Day Spring. The Hartford Public Library is now open at 12 Church St. New hours are: Mon 10am-6pm; Tue-Fri 10am-5pm; Sat 10am-2pm. Phone: 269-621-3408


90 years ago – 1930 The Kalamazoo Atlantics canceled their game with the Watervliet ACs here on Oct. 19. The Three Oaks team visited for an exhibition game and was defeated 13-0. On Oct. 26, the AC’s will go to Buchanan. This game will decide Berrien County’s pro football title. Roman I. Jarvis, democratic candidate for Congress, will speak at the Opera House in Watervliet. Jarvis is a student of economic conditions and a fluent speaker. He will discuss the unemployment situation and will, no doubt, state his position on the prohibition of liquor 60 years ago – 1960 A tea in commemoration of the 100th birthday of Juliette Low, founder of the Girl Scout Tea, was held at the Congregational Church. This is the first Girl Scouts Tea to be held in Watervliet for several years. Diana Besemer, Watervliet High School, has been honored for outstanding performance on the National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test. Diana received a formal letter of commendation signed by her principal and the president of the scholarship corporation. Forty-four relatives and friends of Mr. and Mrs. George Spore attended an “open house” in observance of their 40th wedding anniversary. The Spores were married on Oct. 9, 1920 in Watervliet and have lived here the entire 40 years. 30 years ago – 1990 Homecoming King for 1990 is Ted Epple. Tina Johnson was crowned Homecoming Queen. They were selected by a vote of the whole student body, grades 9 – 12 and announced during halftime of the Watervliet – Galien football game on Oct. 10. A marker designating the grave of Lucille Soule Hackett as a member of the National Society of the Daughters of the American Revolution (NSDAR) was dedicated at the Watervliet City Cemetery. Lucille served in the Watervliet area for nearly 40 years as a postal clerk. Lance Corporal Lyle Troy Lahndorf, U.S. Marine Corps Recon, a 1987 graduate of WHS, enlisted in the U. S. Marines in June 1987. His home base is Lejeune, North Carolina; but he is now serving his country in the Persian Gulf. 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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