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11-05-2020 Tri-City Area History Page

The Paw Paw River Journal

February 13, 1985

One day in the 1930s I sat on a couch in front of the cloth back drop in the back room of Blanche Conway’s studio. Next to me sat my sister, Wilma. I must have been three years old, and I was looking at my red and white striped socks. My legs were so short they could not reach the floor. In front of us, Blanche, a gray haired lady, fussed under a black cloth behind the big round eye of the camera. We had come downtown to have our picture taken and I was very proud of those red and white socks. We still have the picture, in black and white, but I’m sure the socks were red. When I was a child, Conway’s studio stood next to Knight’s 5 & 10 cent store. I could always locate places on Hartford’s Main Street in relation to Knight’s because just inside their front door stood the candy counter. There I could get five candy root beer barrels for a penny. This was a real bargain… even better than baseball cards with gum. Back along the left side of the store were counters full of toys. How astonished I was to find out that one of my friends was playing with a little toy car he said he had stolen from Knight’s. This amazed me because my Sunday School teachers and parents had expressively told me that stealing was wrong. Out in front of the studio, Main Street’s red bricks baked in the sun. There was little traffic, with cars parked at an angle on both sides of the street. Across the street stood another landmark: Engel’s drug store. This place had sodas, sundaes, cigars, candy, perfume and all of the drugs that give such a store its particular ambiance. This is the store where we held teenage pinball tournaments, and I flirted with the girl I would marry years later. One gas pump stood in the middle of the block in front of the Gleaner Grocery Store. This was a sort of co-op store that sold local produce and other food products. The counter stood on the left just inside and pasted on the side of the cash register toward the customer a sign declared; “Money is full of germs – spend it here and play safe.” Several young men clerked in this store and stories about their jolly ways abounded. One local farm lady always brought her butter in to be sold there. Each producer of dairy products would have his own distinctive wrapper. This lady brought in her pound packages of butter churned in her own dairy to be sold. One day as she stacked the packages of butter on the counter, she said, “We had an accident in the dairy this morning. The cat fell in the churn, and so I didn’t save any butter out for us. Would you please give me two pounds of someone else’s butter to take home? There’s nothing wrong with ours, but I just can’t eat it. What other people don’t know won’t hurt them.” The clerk said, “Sure, that’s all right.” He took all of her butter out in the back room. There he took two of her pound prints, unwrapped them, and put some other dairy farmer’s paper wrapper around them. Then he carried her own butter back out, winking at one of the other clerks and saying, “What she doesn’t know won’t hurt her.”

Watervliet District Library news

Watervliet District Library hours of operation for curbside will continue as follows: Monday-Saturday, 10-2; Monday & Wednesday evening, 4-7. Public computer use is limited to urgent needs and emergencies, by appointment, only. However, library staff can fax, print or copy items curbside, as well. Anyone requesting further information is encouraged to contact the library at 269-463-6382 or Board trustee position 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. Weekly packet project Library patrons can sign up to pick up a weekly packet project; Toddler projects are available the first week of the month; elementary students, the second week; teens and young adults, the third week; and adult projects are available the last week of each month. Supplies are limited; early sign-up is recommended. Take-and-make games In recognition of International Game Month, an annual celebration of games and gaming, the library will distribute free “take-and-make” games each week along with weekly packet projects. Games to be shared include: Catch a Bug, two toddler games in one; Caterpillar Feast, great for school-aged kids; Orchard, a 3-card solitaire game; Bullfrogs, a family-friendly card game. Other news Lastly, watch for more forthcoming details for the online game “There’s Been a Murder!” taking place the first week of December. Library staff is assessing the need for, and/or interest in home delivery of books and other materials. If you or someone you know could benefit from this service, please contact the library.

Coloma Public Library news

Coloma Public Library is open. Hours are Mon – Fri 10 a.m. – 6 p.m. Saturday hours are 10 a.m. – 2 p.m. for curbside service only. Masks and social distancing are required. For patrons medically unable to wear masks, hours are set aside on Tuesdays from 4 – 6 p.m. for safe visiting. Curbside services also continue to be available. Reach staff at 269-468-3431, through Facebook Messenger, or emailing to Book Sale The library knows their patrons have missed the Book Store! They now have made it available by appointment for up to two shoppers at a time. Appointments will be accepted based on staff time and availability. Free online tutoring In support of their families, the Coloma Public Library offers 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 staff for more information. Puzzle exchange For someone looking for a new puzzle to try or have some puzzles they’ve already done, check out the puzzle exchange located inside the library. As a reminder, the library also has puzzles that can be checked out! 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!

Bob Becker and former Watervliet Library Director Lois Hartman shake hands. The occasion is unknown. Do you know the occasion? Have you ever presented or received a gift for an organization? Contact North Berrien Historical Museum at 269-468-3330 or if you have any information to share about this photo. 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


100 years ago – 1920 Hallowe’en pranksters thought they did a good joke. Youngsters removed a “Stop for Safety First” road sign and placed it at the door of the Methodist church. The pastor thanks the boys for preaching a good sermon. The Friday Bros. Canning Co. is installing a new cider press. They expect to put up a high grade of cider. Edith B. Hingst, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. August Hingst was united in marriage to Charles L. Coleman. The single ring ceremony took place in the home of the bride’s parents. 60 years ago – 1960 Fred Morgan has taken over management for the American Can Company. Engineer Richard Wilson welcomes the new manager. Ingraham School will hold its fall festival. Mrs. Lester Taylor is chairman. Door prizes are on display at Faulkner’s 5c to $1.00. Walter and Tina Titus have returned home from a two week hospital stay. Since both youngsters couldn’t participate in the Halloween fun, the Coloma Police delivered each child a box full of treats. The elementary school will begin a hot lunch program. If more can be accommodated, the program will expand to the junior high and high school. 30 years ago – 1990 Sandy Deyne, ace reporter for the Tri-City Record, is busy reporting the news on the Election, Veterans Day services and many other newsworthy stories. Academic letters earned by seventeen high school students. Some students are: Dawn Stampfly, Jonelle Burlington, Jay Jollay, Jeff Leverton and Jennifer Turner. The Township Board granted a special land use permit for a condo development near the Paw Paw River. The “Shingle Diggin’s” project lies along the south side of Paw Paw Avenue between Coloma and Watervliet. Also, discussion ensued concerning a public boat launch at Little Paw Paw Lake. 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 For the first time in 26 years the O.M. Smith cider mill in Hartford is idle this fall, due principally to the drastic provisions of the prohibition law which holds the manufacturer responsible for the alcoholic content of cider at any future date that it may be found on the market. Hartford’s youth have observed Halloween on Saturday and Sunday nights with a variety of innocent amusements. Smearing soap and paraffin on the store windows appeared to be the most popular. A pot luck supper and “hard time” dancing party is to be given at the Fruit Exchange building next Friday. O.M. Smith and John W. Bell have sold their farm northeast of town which they recently purchased from Charles Clancy. 75 years ago – 1945 Halloween descended on Hartford one night ahead of time this year when bands of starving pillagers roamed the streets looting food and threatening destruction. Armed with bottomless sacks and mischievous paraphernalia, the masked roughians raced through the streets, banging at doors and shouting over and over again, “trick or treat”. Young Hartford made marry at the annual Parent-Teacher Association Halloween party. Led by the high school band, most of the grade school children paraded up and down Main Street in their Halloween costumes. The feature event of the party was boys and girls scrambling through a truckload of sawdust for nickels and dimes. Cider was furnished by Clare Ewald. 50 years ago – 1970 The Modern Mothers Club will sponsor a fashion show and buffet at the Benton Harbor Elks Club. Called “Harvest of Fashions,” proceeds from the event will be used toward the purchase of a bed for the maternity ward at Community Hospital, Watervliet. Fashions for the show will be furnished by MiLadies Dress Shop and Mary’s Dress shop in Hartford. Committee members for the show include Mrs. Duane DeNeff, chairman; Mrs. Paul Markillie, and Mrs. Phillip Friday, tickets; Mrs. John Smith, Mrs. Charles Oldham and Mrs. Peter Sinclair, publicity; Mrs. Tod Efting, door prizes and Mrs. Gale Weberg, decorations. Submitted by Librarian Stephanie Daniels at Hartford Public Library from microfilm copies of the Hartford Day Spring. Hours: Mon 10am-6pm; Tue-Fri 10am-5pm; Sat 10am-2pm. Phone: 269-621-3408


90 years ago – 1930 The first decisional debate of the season will be held in the Watervliet High School gym. Watervliet will uphold the affirmative and St. Joseph will take the negative. The question is one that ought to interest every citizen of Watervliet – “Resolved: That the chain stores operating in the State of Michigan are a detriment to the people of the State.” Where Watervliet should build its new city hall and fire station is a question over which citizens and members of the City Commission are still debating and since the meeting of the Commission a week ago another proposed site has been offered. This is the Frank Haynes property at the corner of First and Pleasant streets. The price is $1,800. 60 years ago – 1960 A/C Robert McNees is home on a 10-day leave after completing his basic training at Lackland Air Force Base in Texas. Airman McNees is a 1959 graduate of Watervliet High School. The book “Need a Life” which explains scholarships available through the American Legion and Auxiliary has been placed in the local library. Mrs. Forest Boyer, Child Welfare Chairman, urges parents whose young people ‘need a lift’ on college expenses, to read this book. Property owners in Watervliet Township will be required to pay higher taxes in 1960 than ever before, according to Supervisor Frank E. Runyon who said that the Watervliet Township tax has been set at $69.59 a thousand on the assessed. 30 years ago – 1990 A railroad crossing improvement plan could spark several economic development projects nearly totaling $700,000 on Watervliet’s Main Street. DDA Chairman Bob Wallace said an application for a $234,000 Hazardous Elimination Grant may get the green light from the federal government soon. The application is to add a railroad crossing parallel to the Main Street crossing. Plans are continuing for the sale of the Watervliet Paper Company. The mill is to be sold along with the rest of the assets of its bankrupt parent company, Kapaco. K.A.C. Acquisitions of California is the only bidder with a price of $22.4 million for the Watervliet plant. Freshman Jamie Postelli has been selected as “Student of the Week” on Nov. 14, 1990 from WHS. Jamie is extremely active in virtually all school activities and is an excellent student leader. Jamie participates in basketball, volleyball and also plans on being involved with softball in the spring. Submitted by Sally Q. Gonzalez from files at Watervliet District Library of the Watervliet Record newspapers donated by the Tri-City Record. Curbside Hours only: Mon-Sat 10-2, Mon & Wed 4-7 Phone: 269-463-6382


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