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11-12-2020 Tri-City Area History Page

Paw Paw Lake Rotary… Can you identify the men in the photo or the occasion that it was taken? Have you ever been a Rotarian? What were your experiences if you were? If you can identify these men, 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

Reminiscing With Pearl Playford

Millburg, located between Watervliet and Benton Harbor, is credited with being one of the oldest communities in Berrien County and in the state and in 1935 celebrated its 100th year of existence. It is a thriving little town, surrounded by rich farms which once were grown to forests in which this part of the county chose the Millburg region for their homesteads and long before Benton Harbor came into existence Millburg was an important community. It was a stopping point on the early stagecoach lines between Detroit and Chicago via Territorial Road, and its early inns were the gathering places for weary travelers who sought rest and refreshment while teams were changed. Millburg was one of the earliest shipping points in the county and years ago long lines of interurban freight cars, loading for transfer to waiting steamships in Benton Harbor were a familiar sight. Millburg had a bad fire in 1935 when the Wittenkeller fruit package plant and feed barn caught fire from unknown causes and burned to the ground with a loss of $10,000. Both buildings have, however, been replaced.

Thursday, September 10, 1959 I doubt if there is anyone who has been a reader of The Watervliet Record longer than the family of Mrs. Louise Hall Mutchler of Grand Rapids, a former Watervliet resident whose brother, J.M. Hall, is credited as having published the first newspaper ever to be printed in Watervliet. According to Mrs. Mutchler, who, by the way, has a wonderful memory, Mr. Hall, remembered as Matt Hall, came to this community about the year 1878 or 1880 and started the publication of The Record. He was a young man of 21 or 22 years and had only a limited experience in the newspaper line, but he was ambitious. His father had died seven years previously and Matt was strictly on his own. He began to see the beauties and advantages of the little town and wanted to make the most of it. So, each week the subscribers saw a well-written article on the beauties of this community and he also stressed the grandeur of Paw Paw Lake. And each week Hall printed 100 extra copies and mailed them to all the surrounding towns and to friends, and that was really the beginning of the popularity of Paw Paw Lake. Mr. Hall also praised the advantages which could be obtained from the beautiful Paw Paw River, and never was there an issue of the paper that did not contain a front-page story, six or seven inches in length, telling about Paw Paw Lake. “We girls took great pleasure in looking up items for him, which he appreciated,” said Mrs. Mutchler. But before he could see many of the results of his ambition, his health failed and he sold out and went onto a farm where he died quite young. Mrs. Mutchler said that W.W. Allen, early-day Watervliet merchant, said to her: “Your brother’s newspaper built up the town, long since dead.” Mrs. Mutchler, who will observe her 93rd birthday anniversary November 29, has a keen mind and is in excellent health. She is a charter member of the Watervliet Forty Year club and makes an effort to attend its annual meetings every August. She resides with her daughter, Mrs. Sarah Nicholson, at 2425 Michigan Rd., N.E., Grand Rapids. She is a sister of the late Arno Hall, who spent most of his lifetime in Watervliet.

Hartford Public Library news Children’s Center dedication

Dedication of The Pokagon Children’s Learning Center will be on Friday, Nov. 20 at 3:00 p.m. at the new Hartford Public Library at 12 Church Street in Hartford. The Pokagon Fund sponsored the creation of the library’s new children’s center through a generous donation of $40,000. The center offers two exceptional literacy computers and a literacy touch play table, which can be used for up to 4-6 children, giant LEGOs, plus an extensive library of children’s books. Mr. Marcus Winchester, Director of Language and Culture and Mr. Dan Petersen, Executive Director of the Pokagon Fund will be unveiling the dedication sign. The public is welcome to attend the dedication. New phone number Please be advised the Hartford Public Library has a new phone number. Staff can be reached at (269)588-5103. They will still maintain their fax number of (269)621-3073. Their email address is hartfordlib@

Coloma Public Library news

Coloma Public Library is open for in person visiting. Masks and social distancing are required. For patrons medically unable to wear masks, the library has set aside Tuesdays from 4-6 p.m. for safe visiting. Curbside services also continue to be available. Reach staff at 269-468-3431, though Facebook Messenger, or emailing at Book sale The library Book Store is now available by appointment for up to two shoppers at a time. Appointments will be accepted based on staff time and availability. The library continues to accept donations of gently used, intact books and materials. While they no longer take VHS format, they will accept DVDs and audiobooks. Tutoring service Coloma Public Library offers, an online tutoring, homework help, and test preparation resourse 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. Take and Make November Craft Starting Friday, Nov. 13, November-themed craft kits will be available for pickup while supplies last. The craft is suitable for school-age kids. Special thanks to Girl Scout Troop 90518 for putting the kits together as a service project.

Watervliet District Library news

Given current COVID numbers, and in consideration of community health, the library will remain closed to direct access, continuing for the following week. However, computers are available by appointment during hours of operation. Service hours are: Mon–Sat, 10-2; Mon and Wed evenings, 4-7. Staff members are happy to print, fax or copy documents as needed, all handled curbside. Please contact the library at 463-6382, or message the library through Facebook to book an appointment for necessary computer use. The library’s WiFi has been further extended into the parking lot, for round the clock online access. Packet Projects, weekly packages of crafts and activities, are available throughout the month. Sign-up is recommended. Each week’s projects are geared for specific ages and stages. Check the library’s Facebook page for specific weekly events. Watervliet District Library is celebrating International Games Month with a variety of print-and-play games. Select online games have been highlighted by the American Library Association, and will be shared through Facebook. Library staff are preparing for an online Murder Mystery game early in December, wrapping up this year’s gaming extravaganza.


100 years ago – 1920 The highway between Coloma and Twelve Corners will get paved this year. The State Highway Commissioner said, “Provided we get the materials for doing so.” The Epworth Leagues of eight neighboring towns will be held at the Methodist Episcopal Church. Harold Bahman is President of the Coloma League. Sixteen men left on one train with their guns and baggage. They have gone north in search of big game. Armistice Day will be observed throughout the school with appropriate programs. 60 years ago – 1960 Two Chicagoans were taken into custody in connection with the robbery of the AG Super Market. Owner John Mastri gives details to Chief of Police Chester Krutel. Mrs. James Friday tells about her recent trip to Sweden, her native country. The Coloma elementary kindergarten mother’s club enjoyed the presentation. Roger Carter has been appointed Chairman for Coloma of the Building Fund for Community Hospital. Our community pays final respects to George Friday. Service was held at the Congregational church. 30 years ago – 1990 Joyce Tutton, principal at Washington elementary, reports on their Veterans Day Breakfast. The student body honored 80 local vets with breakfast and a performance by the Super Choir. An election date was set for the physical education facility needed to regain accreditation of Coloma High School. Also, Paul Ravitch and Scott Pauley were hired as Assistant Principals for the High School and the Junior High, respectively. The City Commission approved for the second time the rezoning of property on Church Street. This process was needed due to a petition submitted by property owners near the site. A gas station is proposed for this property. 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 Commencing next week Hartford merchants will adopt the usual winter schedule of closing their stores at six o’clock every evening Saturday. Ten days before Christmas the stores will remain open evenings to accommodate the holiday trade. At the regular meeting of the village council Monday evening Village Clerk Don M. Olds tendered his resignation to take immediate effect. The reason ascribed by the village clerk for resigning his post is that the demands of his own business are such that he has not time to devote to the duties of the clerk’s office. 75 years ago – 1945 Not technically but actually, winter arrived at Hartford Saturday when the first snow of the season fell during the afternoon. Starting timidly, the snowfall increased in intensity until the ground and roofs were white, but it soon melted away. At one point, large soft flakes typical of midwinter fell heavily. The snowfall was fairly general in southern Michigan. “Winter Comes to My Garden” will be the discussion subject at a meeting of the Hartford Garden Club at the home of Mrs. William Phillips. Harold Jack Leach, former air corps first lieutenant, has been awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross for “extraordinary achievement while participating in aerial flight on March 24”. Co-pilot on a Liberator bomber, Leach was discharged from active service three weeks ago after serving for more than three years. 50 years ago – 1970 The primary class students of Mrs. Raoma Slean at the Hartford south elementary school collected a number of Mexican items for their study of Mexico. The items are on a loan from other teachers and the Webster Memorial Library at Decatur. The class first became interested in Mexico when a Mexican boy entered the class this fall. The garden club will meet at the home of Mrs. Genevieve Conklin with Mrs. Lois Cook as cohostess. Members are asked to bring ideas for Christmas sale items. The annual Mary Martha Circle Christmas Bazaar will be held Saturday, Nov. 21 at the high school. There will be a snack bar. Also there will be homemade Christmas decorations, hand sewn items, chalk artist’s work, handmade ceramics, toys, candles, edible goodies and baked goods. 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. New Phone: 269-588-5103

90 years ago – 1930 Printed on Nov. 28, 1930 – Few Americans know that the original Presidential Thanksgiving Proclamation was lost for over 100 years; that it was found at an auction sale in 1921; that it was bought by the Library of Congress for $300; and that it now reposes in the archives of that institution. On Sept. 9, 1789, Elias Boudinot introduced the resolution in the House of Representatives. Washington complied with the request and on Oct. 3, 1789, issued his proclamation, calling for a national day of Thanksgiving on Thursday, Nov. 26. And then the document dropped out of sight. However in 1921, Dr. J.C. Fitzpatrick, then Assistant Chief “found” the proclamation. Dr. Fitzpatrick exclaimed the document authenticity. It was written in long hand by Wm. Jackson, Secretary to President Washington and signed in George Washington’s bold hand. 60 years ago – 1960 Crowned Homecoming King and Queen at Watervliet High School were Don Timmons and Carol Clauss, both popular seniors, active in extracurricular activities. Sophomore Jean Steimle holds the honor as the top cherry pie maker at WHS, Superintendent Richard Rogers presented her with a $5 check. Second and third place winners were Barbara Koshar and Jean Marin. Mr. and Mrs. Leigh Kienzle are the parents of a baby boy born Nov. 9, 1960, weighing in at 5 lbs. and 12 oz. and has been named Matt Raymond. 30 years ago – 1990 Thanks to Barb Creeden and her home-cooked dinner, local senior citizens need not be alone for Thanksgiving. This will be the eighth year in which Creeden along with many assistants, has prepared and served Thanksgiving Dinner for approximately 55 seniors. On Oct. 27, 1990, Creeden was presented the Edgar A. Guest Masonic Award for Community Service. Navy Seaman Recruit Steven W. Owens, Watervliet, has completed recruit training at Recruit Training Command, Great Lakes IL. His studies included seamanship, close order drill, Naval History and first aid. He is a 1990 WHS graduate. Karen L. Broadwater Rychanek was among the 108 students who completed degrees during the summer of 1990 at Sienna Heights College. She now has her Bachelor of Arts in Business Administration. 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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