10-22-2020 Tri-city Area History Page

Unknown cast of players on an unknown stage. Can you identify any of them? If so, contact North Berrien Historical Museum at 269-468-3330, or 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

Reminsicing with Pearl Playford

Thursday, August 13, 1959 In the Watervliet City Cemetery on East St. Joseph Street there is a simple marble slab on which is the name of James Redding. This name means practically nothing to most people, but it has gone down in history as a name belonging to one of Watervliet’s earliest businessmen. The marker is a simple one and the name is still readable, but the date and age are almost worn away with 100 years that it has been standing in this very old graveyard. The date, however, appears to be 1859. According to old records, the first store was opened in Watervliet in 1836. It was known as the “Mill Store” and was the only one until 1847 when Redding opened a store, which he called “The Variety Store,” and it was believed to have been located somewhere near where the Community hospital now is. Redding is also credited with being a class leader in the Methodist organization, which was organized locally in 1847. The church building was erected in 1870, but a religious organization of the Methodist faith had been in existence 20 years or more prior to that date. Preaching had been in the township as early as 1835. The first civilized settlement in Watervliet township was in 1832 when a group of men built shanties for themselves and started making shingles, which they floated down the river to St. Joseph and as there was a big demand for them the industry grew and “Shingle Diggins” became quite a settlement. This was at a point between Watervliet and Coloma, now Paw Paw Avenue. The following year some developments were made where the city of Watervliet is now located. In that year a sawmill was erected and operated on the site now occupied by the Watervliet paper mills. This mill changed hands several times during the years that intervened between that date and 1893 when Syms & Dudley, paper manufacturers, came here from Holyoke, Mass., and built the paper mill that later became the property of the Watervliet Paper Company. Thursday, August 27, 1959 After reading my story a few weeks ago concerning the name of Paw Paw Avenue, Mrs. Viola Randall Long of Portland, Oregon, wrote me that her uncle, the late S.L. Randall, a former resident of the street, was responsible for the changing of the name from “Randall Hill” to “Paw Paw Avenue.” That was more than 60 years ago and since that time the name has stayed on. It is quite appropriate as Paw Paw River is on the south side of the highway and Paw Paw Lake is a short distance north. In very early days the street was known as Mill Street. Mr. Randall and his family will be remembered by many, although they moved from Watervliet many years ago. He was a minister in the Disciple church and held meetings here in what was then Becraft’s hall, located on the present site of Rogel Mercury Sales. He built and lived in the two-story frame house at 246 Paw Paw Avenue, now owned and occupied by the William Taylor family. The Paw Paw Lake resort was teeming with city people during those years and Mr. Randall conceived the idea that a hotel would pay out, so being a carpenter himself, he constructed the house and named it “The Hotel LeGrand.” It was quite a show place in those days, but just a little too far from the lake, so the business did not live up to expectations and he gave up the idea of a hotel. The family continued to live there until later on he was given a pastorate in a Cass County church and after a few years moved to Farwell where he and Mrs. Randall passed away. A son, Ernest, was also a minister but he, too, passed away several years ago in Kalamazoo, and another son, Howard, and a daughter, Beatrice, have since died, the latter only a few weeks ago in Northern Michigan. Of the entire family, only two are living – Mrs. Clara Stone, in a rest home near Farwell, and Mrs. Mildred Forsyth of Grand Rapids.

Attention Tri-City Record snowbirds … Please notify the Record office at 463-6397 of your change in address for the winter season.

Coloma Public Library News Library Service Hours Coloma Public Library is open. Hours are Monday – Friday 10 a.m. – 6 p.m. Saturday hours are 10 a.m. – 2 p.m. for curbside service only. Visiting Information Masks and social distancing are required. For patrons medically unable to wear masks, we’ve set aside Tuesdays from 4 to 6 p.m. for safe visiting. Curbside services also continue to be available. Reach us at 269-468-3431, though Facebook Messenger, or emailing at readcoloma@gmail.com. Drive Thru Trunk or Treat Coloma Lions Club, Salem Lutheran Church and North Berrien Community Development are hosting a Trunk or Treat event in the Coloma Salem Lutheran’s Activity Field on Saturday, October 24 from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. Event is drive-thru only. We hope to see lots of cars drive by our stand and pick up treats! Free Online Tutoring In support of our families, the Coloma Public Library offers Tutor.com. Tutor.com 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. Contact us for more information. 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. Come “check out” what’s there and grab a freebie or two!

Watervliet District Library News Board vacancy The Watervliet District Library Board of Trustees is looking for interested applicants to fill a board vacancy. The position requires someone residing in the City of Watervliet, rather than the Township. Board meetings are held monthly at 6:30 p.m., the second Tuesday of each month. Anyone requiring more information or wishing to be considered should contact the library at 269-463-6382 or info@wdlib.org. New arrivals Some of the books in print received this week: Midnight Sun by Stephanie Meyer; Elsewhere by Dean Koontz; Charming is a Verb by Ben Philippe; Sky Hunter by Marie Lu; Far From Normal by Becky Wallace. Homework help Homework help is available through the library via online resources found at Mel.org and by speaking with the library staff. Subject theme book bundles are available on a variety of topics, and staff members are able to curate titles for specific age levels and subject interests. Fact sheets and activities are included. Hours of Operation The library is open by appointment and for walk-ins Monday – Saturday, 10-2, with evening hours on Monday and Wednesday, 4-7. Curbside services continue, and are available during those times.


100 years ago – 1920 The firm of A.E. Barker & Co. of Chicago broke their own record when they bought 236 carloads of fruit. Purchased were grapes, peaches, pears and apples. The old grist mill is being used by The Chicago Fruit, Produce & Supply Co. Men and women are busy grading and packing apples. 60 years ago – 1960 Robert Randall and Paul Friday were honored at a going away party at the Victor Friday home. The two boys are leaving for New York and then will board a boat for Europe. Sisters of the boys, Miss Susan Friday and Miss Pat Randall gave the party that had 150 attending. Automobile thieves busy in Coloma. The high school, Washington Street and Logan Street were the scenes of the crimes. All thieves were apprehended in short order. The Congregational church is constructing a Bell House in which their 100-year-old bell will be placed. In 1870, the bell was purchased from the steamer, Mantazuma, which wrecked on the shore of Lake Michigan. 30 years ago – 1990 Welsh Oil Company has been given the approval to purchase property on the corner of Church Street and Ryno Road. A convenience store and gas station will be built. Coloma Emergency Ambulance Service President Brian Balow spoke at the Commission meeting. The topic was a 1.5-mill increase on the election ballot for continued operation. Dorothy Brown and Tobaya Goldstein are Top Volunteers at the North Berrien Senior Center. Middle School teachers and students are enjoying Channel One. The programming presents up-to-date international news on a level students can understand. In addition, students can view “The Classroom Channel,” available in the evenings. 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 Hartford’s electric service problem is approaching a solution as indicated in the announcement of Anderson Bros, owners of the local system. They have awarded a contract to the Benj. Douglas Company of Ann Arbor for the completion of the concrete work at the new plant at their water power site a half mile north of the village. William Dade has purchased the Charles Groth farm of 240 acres, known as the Buck place. Mr. Groth has taken in exchange Mr. Dade’s farm of 40 acres west of Hartford, known as the Brown place. Dr. F.N. Williams and family have moved into the Engle residence on Maple Street which they recently purchased of G.W. Schopbach. They have waited several weeks for their household goods which were shipped from Indiana. 75 years ago – 1945 Fourteen prizes in seven classes will be awarded to costumed participants in the annual Parent Teacher Association Halloween party. First and second place winners will be selected in the following costume classes: patriotic and military, most original homemade, representing a character of fiction or advertising, most representative of Halloween, animal and miscellaneous. A feature of the party will be a sawdust scramble for children in the first four grades. Wrapped candy and peanuts in shells will be mixed with a huge pile of sawdust in the village parking lot. Fire of undetermined origin caused extensive damage to the Augustus Bisby home on Olds Street. The house is owned by John Ruggio. 50 years ago – 1970 Work is well underway on cleaning and relocating Pine Creek northwest of Hartford. Construction has started at the Paw Paw River and has moved upstream about a half mile with hopes to complete the project south to Red Arrow Hwy. Plans for the addition to the Federated Church at Red Arrow Highway and Pinery Road have been developed and presented to members of the congregation. The plans call for building a two-level addition at the west end of the present building. The main floor would expand the sanctuary, and the lower level would be used for Sunday school. 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. Hours are: Mon 10am-6pm; Tue-Fri 10am-5pm; Sat 10am-2pm. Phone: 269-621-3408


90 years ago – 1930 Armistice Day, Nov. 11, has always been the greatest holiday for the Veterans of the World War. The local post of the American Legion will celebrate its victory, twelve years after. It is without a doubt the most active organization in or around Watervliet. R.A. LeRoy, one of the directors of the Watervliet Paper Company, was host to eleven of his associates in the company at a duck dinner. The birds served at the dinner were all shot by Mr. LeRoy on a hunting trip. Each guest was served an entire bird with all the trimmings. A son was born to Mr. and Mrs. Richard Sweeney, Oct. 28, 1930. He was named James Richard Jr. 60 years ago – 1960 Jeffery Cole was presented with the highest honor in scouting on Oct. 23, 1960. Twenty-three Scouts received awards at the Court of Honor, but Jeff had the honor of being the only scout in the district to receive the Eagle Award. The week of Oct. 23 – 29, has been officially proclaimed Michigan Nurse Week by the Governor and the mayors throughout the State. Watervliet Mayor Clair Sheppard joins Governor Williams in the statement that appropriate recognition should be given to our Registered Nurses and to the Licensed Practical Nurses. A son, Timothy Allen, was born Oct. 20, 1960, weighing 7 pounds 1/2 ounce, to Mr. and Mrs. Louis Kling. 30 years ago – 1990 Junior Stacy Bannnen has been selected as “Student of the Week” at WHS. Stacy has been recognized by the faculty as a student leader and an outstanding student. She has been a cheerleader for two years and has also been a member of the band. She has served on the student council for three years and is secretary of the council this year. Stacy was president of her freshman class as well as Homecoming representative. She has also been involved in the Mark program and the Watervliet Youth Outreach. “Finding your own Spiritual Path” is the theme for a workshop at the Watervliet United Methodist Church. Find out if you have an Artisan, Guardian, Idealist or Rationalist personality temperament and what it means for your Spiritual Life Journey. Citing the closing of the Watervliet Paper Company, the Watervliet Branch of the United Federal Credit Union is ceasing its operations. Nov. 16, 1990 is the last day for the office on Main Street. 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. and walk-in: Mon-Sat 10-2, Mon & Wed 4-7; Curbside service available during open hours. Phone: 269-463-6382