12-21-2017 Tri-City Area History Page

Train going through Watervliet, March 1931

North Berrien Historical Museum is always interested in photos, stories or information sharing.  The museum can be contacted at 269-468-3330 or by email to info@northberrienhistory.org.

From the photo collection at the North Berrien Historical Museum

300 Coloma Avenue, Coloma

The Paw Paw River Journal

Christmas thoughts!

 I am sitting at my desk on a nice early winter morning… just a skiff of snow on the ground. But it is a harbinger of things to come.  Son Rob is putting up the storm window panels on our back porch, and my thoughts have turned to the approaching holidays. I always enjoy this time of year. What the heck… I enjoy any time of year!

So, Christmas is approaching; and it is a good time to sum up, to think how our lives have gone. And to send a message to all of you readers that we are still here… and glad to be here and writing a column for you about the joy we should all take with us wherever we go. I know, we should have that joy all year long, but life just does not work that way!

How has life been for you?  We’ve been going along here on the south bank of the Paw Paw River, and I have a worry! Just recently watched a program on TV that jolted us out of our complacency! It was an interview with one of the boy wonders who started this whole business of Facebook and all the other means of instant communication. He admitted that he has made billions of dollars. I wonder if he feels any guilt about introducing a new drug into our society?

Yes, it is addictive, just as surely as any drug! And a whole generation of young people is now hooked on those little ipads. Everywhere we go, people are sitting there quietly, using their thumbs to text messages. Even at family get togethers they are doing it. I have seen couples eating in a restaurant. They are sitting there, not communicating… using their thumbs to talk to somebody. Each other? Who knows! All the kids using them   are not causing trouble… but are they thinking?

Whoa! That’s not a good thought to put under the Christmas tree! Can I find something nice to say about those same kids? I have referred to them as ‘The Selfie’ generation. But they are not all bad! I get a lot of help when I am shopping… bag boys, check out girls all go out of their way to help us. I might mention especially all of the kids who work for Tim Hildebrand at our local Harding’s Market. They couldn’t be more helpful… when they see me shopping they do all they can to make it easier. And I’ve noticed it happens wherever we run into young people.

The family is still a viable unit. We have new little ones in our family. So life is going on. On a personal level, we still have a lot of joy in family get togethers. When we gather, there is warmth we hope all families feel! We enjoy holidays together, and that is one of the reasons I feel so good about the upcoming parties! We can but hope it is the same way for all of you.

Do you have some in your group from whom you are estranged? Perhaps you have not been speaking. Please make the first move to get back together again! You will not regret it!

We’re coming up on a season that is celebrated by people of all faiths. Admittedly, it was started with the birth of a Jewish child in a little town in the Middle East. But Christmas has become a family thing for all people. You can make it religious, or you can make it about family. Or if you don’t have family, it can be about friends!

A good time to think about someone you have not seen for a while. Get in touch with them! Let go of an old hurt! And in our society we have a tendency to hurt each other. Some kids are being bullied. It has completely ruined lives! If you have ever been a part of that… decide to let it go. Treat people better!

And if you know some kid who has been the victim of bullying, do something about it! Be a Big Brother, Big Sister, Aunt, or Uncle for that victim. You might even be saving a life!

Our time on this planet has a finite nature. We tend not to think about that. We’re not going to be here forever, and in this house, we more and more realize that as we add on years. I’ve mentioned this before, but at a retired teachers’ dinner, I was seated next to a lady who was older than I. We were talking, and I said to her, “Well, what’s your story… what do you do to pass the time?”

She thought a moment, then said, “Sundays I have Sunday School, then church. That night, a meeting for Bible Study. Then Monday we have a ladies’ group that collects food for the needy. Tuesday a sewing group that gets together clothes for storm victims… etc, etc…” And she went on with a week’s schedule filled with activities, all church related!

I was amazed, and must have shown it in my face, because she said, “Well, I figured as long as I’m going to meet God pretty soon, I should get to know him better!” Pretty good advice for all of us as we weave golden threads into the tapestry of our lives in these storybook towns along the Paw Paw River! And I’d like to add a personal note here… Merry Christmas to all of you! The Chief Accountant and I wish for you all the very best in the coming New Year!

Coloma Library News

Holiday Hours

 The library will be closed on Saturday, Dec. 23 thru Monday, Dec. 25 and Saturday, Dec. 30 thru Monday, January 1. The library wishes everyone a joyous holiday season! Please call the library at 468-3431 if you have any questions about closings.

Watervliet District Library News

Teen Table Projects: December

Key chain crafts: 3 styles. Duct tape, yarn, felt & paper. Make ’em and take ’em.

Story Hour

Wed. 10:30 a.m. & Thur. 1:30 p.m.

December to April – Show-and-tell, stories and crafts for children ages 3 – 5 and their families. Sign up to share this structured literacy program with your preschooler!


Monday 9:00 – 10:00 a.m.; Wednesday 7:00 – 8:00 p.m.; Chair Yoga Wednesday 6:00 – 6:45 p.m.

Watervliet Library has bricks available for the Library Park’s Legacy Walk

 The Library Park Legacy Walk may be covered in snow, but many bricks are waiting for spring and new inscriptions. Those looking for local opportunities to honor a memory can consider the Watervliet District Library’s brick inscription program.

The brick project was implemented as part of the Library Park renovation plans, as a means to honor local business, institutions, individuals and memories.

For a donation of $75 members of the public can purchase an engraved brick “in honor of” or “in memory of” a special person or group. Engraving allows for 13 characters per line, two lines of copy. Pick up a form at the library or see Page 10 of this issue of the Tri-City Record.

For questions or more information, contact the library at 269-463-6382 or info@wdlib.org.


100 years ago – 1917

 Suitable and attractive gifts can be found at: Wonder Store; Hewitt’s Shop; The Enders Cash Store; Grants; Milo B. Selter, Jeweler; and Coloma Hardware Co.

The Red Cross meeting resulted in seventy compresses and eight three-yard rolls of bandages. Thank you to all who assisted.

High school students held their liberty loan party. Each told the way in which their dollar was earned. Some offered their story through fun using a comic skit.

60 years ago – 1957

 Local churches schedule yuletide services. Carl Carlson, director of the pageant, extends an invitation to Midway Baptist Church.

New water and sewer ordinance increases rates. The complete text of ordinance No. 19 is available.

Providing all goes well, Coloma School will have a hot lunch program next year. The PTA will raise half the required money to equip the kitchen of the elementary building.

The consolidation program of Boyer, Bundy, Coloma, Clymer, Ingraham, and Washington is in its second step reports County School Superintendent Beryl Dominy.

City Appliance and Dot’s Gift Shop – Get Acquainted Sale! Open every night till Christmas.

30 years ago – 1987

 The Coloma Girl Scout and Brownie troops sang Christmas Carols at Tri City Village and Community Hospital.

Washington Elementary students write Christmas cinquain poems. “Grandma’s House” by Erin Megna: Joyful/Hanging stockings/Play in the snow all day/Going for walks with my cousins/Bake cakes.

Coloma Fabricare wishes a Blessed Birthday; The State Bank of Coloma says Happy Holidays; Greetings from R&M Heating; Nancy’s Furniture & Waterbeds shares ‘Twas the Night Before

We remember those that have passed: L. Neil Cottier and Ruby Quinn.

We Asked You… Is Your Christmas Shopping Done? Yes, from Jim Kreitner. A big NO! from Susan Young, Cathy Wright, Wayne Wolgensinger and Bob Weidlich.


100 years ago – 1917

 Hartford will have at least forty stars on its new service flag representing Hartford boys who have responded to the country’s call and are now enrolled among the forces that will fight America’s war against autocracy.

Despite war conditions the Hartford churches will conduct their usual Christmas observances this year.

The Hartford Unit of the Red Cross has sent the following articles to the county chapter at Paw Paw: one dozen napkins, two dozen tray covers, four dozen hospital shirts, 23 pairs of socks, 17 sweaters, 14 scarves, 24 pairs of wristlets, five towels and ten suits of pajamas. The ladies engaged in the making of these articles for the Red Cross meet every Friday afternoon at the home of Mrs. H. Lobdell.

75 years ago – 1942

 The Junior Mother’s Club held its annual Christmas party at the home of Mrs. Mary Frontzak on Wednesday, Dec. 16. Fourteen members were present. After a brief business meeting and exchange of gifts, the quilt drawing was held with Mrs. Myrtle Dyer of Hartford the winner.

Mrs. Ruth Frost has closed her restaurant, the Hartford Kitchen, in the Gleaner building until March and has gone to Coldwater where she has a position in a defense plant for the winter.

Mrs. J.E. Cade received a letter from her son, John, who is with the U.S. Marines. Johnny stated that he was at Guadalcanal and was well and hoped to see his family soon.

50 years ago – 1967

 The Grant Hitchcock home on S. Maple Street won first place in the traditional category in a Christmas home decorating contest sponsored by the Hartford Jaycees and Auxiliary. Second place went to Richard Root. In the religious category, first place was won by Charles Struzik and second by Elmer Boze. In the Originality class, Richard Thomas won first place and William Miller won second place.

Charles Martens has been appointed to the city council to fill the post held by C.M. Hampton, who resigned earlier this month. One year remains in Hampton’s term.


90 years ago – 1927

 Mrs. L.L. Rogers, president of the Watervliet Parent-Teacher Association says it has been called to the attention of the association that there are some little people attending school who have no underclothing whatever and who are otherwise insufficiently clothed for winter weather. She requests that if there are any people in the community who have children’s clothing that they are willing to contribute that it be sent to the domestic science room of the school building.

There was a New Year watch party at the Chas. Salverson home in East Watervliet on Dec. 31, 1927. There was a family gathering of ten present for the occasion and a delicious supper was served as the bells “rang out the old and in the new.”

The ladies of East Watervliet treated Mrs. Chas. Salverson to a surprised party on Dec. 29, 1927 by calling at her home to spend the evening, the occasion being her birthday anniversary.

60 years ago – 1957

 Martin Callendar, MM 3/C, U.S. Navy, will leave the east coast on Dec. 27, 1957 for a 7-day leave in Watervliet with his parents Mr. & Mrs. Elmer Callendar.

Mrs. Lester Leith entertained a group of little girls and boys on Dec. 19, 1957, at a birthday party in honor of her son, Mike, who celebrated his fourth birthday.

Ronald Hurley, S 1/C, who has been stationed at Pearl Harbor, attached to a destroyer, flew to San Francisco and from there to Chicago on Dec. 23, 1957. He was met in Michigan City by his father and returned to Watervliet to spend a leave with his parents. He will leave on Jan. 10, 1958 for Great Lakes where he will attend Fire Control School.

30 years ago – 1987

 Kimberly Lottridge, daughter of Bud and Jeanette Lottridge, Watervliet, has been elected to two national honor societies at Western Michigan University.

Sarah Dibble, a sophomore at WHS, is “Student of the Week.” She would like to major in English education and become an English teacher.

Mr. Geoff Geisler is Employee of the Month for Dec. 1987. He is a high school math teacher and a busy contributor to extracurricular activities. In addition to coaching junior high basketball, Mr. Geisler teams up with his wife, Pat, as coach of WHS Academic Challenge team.


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