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 abl