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12-24-2020 History

GLIMPSES FROM THE PAST….. Unidentified young woman sits on Santa’s lap at a Watervliet Paper Company Employee Christmas Party sometime in the 1960s. Do you remember sitting on Santa’s lap? Can you identify the young woman on Santa’s lap? If you have any information about the photo, please 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

Thursday, October 1, 1959

According to an old newspaper found in The Record office, J.M. Hall did not publish the very first paper in Watervliet. This old, time-worn sheet, dated November 24, 1876, was edited by J.F. Sheffield, who was evidently Watervliet’s first editor. It is an 8-column sheet and was called the Watervliet Journal. The type is small and there is little of local interest.

Another sheet is the Weekly Record, published by Hall and dated April 20, 1882. This is a five-column paper and quite newsy. The following are examples of its “Local Department”:

“Those of our scribers who promised to bring wood, will please trot along now. Our fire is out and our devil says he never stole wood in his life.”

“Do. Randall is properly serving his country now. He is selling needles, all sizes from a hair to hand-spike – a large assortment for only 25 cents. Guess they are worth it.”

“J.J. Brooks is doing a smashing business. He employs about a dozen men on his timber land cutting heading bolts which he delivers on the bank of the river and receives a dollar a cord.”

“Water is scarce in this part of the village and the inhabitants have to carry it a long way. Mr. R.N. VanNatter is having a well dug, a good one, for it is to be cement lined, and when done we hope to see all our neighbors good natured.”

In this issue of The Weekly Record, which is wrinkled and worn, are advertisements for W.W. Allen & Son, dry goods, notions, boots and shoes; R.E. Wigent, groceries; H. Peirce, hardware; S.D. Walden, clothing, medicines, oils, etc.; Parsons & Baldwin, clothing; H.B. Bradt, wagon maker and blacksmith; S. Tooley, harness maker; J.F. Berringer, physician and surgeon; and R.N. VanNatter, notary public.

Another of Hall’s papers is dated July 24, 1885. This is a six-column, four-page edition. Among the two columns of Brevities are; General Grant is dead. Tooley has a new harness maker. Heusen is selling his new stock of lawns at 5 cents a yard. W.E. Conklin was in town this week and contracted to teach our village school the coming year. He has rented the Havens house.

A 64-year-old Watervliet Record was also among the findings at The Record office and this one, dated September 27, 1895, lists some astonishing prices.

For example, prices in an adv. of the Boston Store a man’s wool suit could be purchased for $6.50; a good suit for $3.50; boys knee pants for 25 cents a pair; ladies fine black hose, 5 cents per pair; ladies tennis oxfords, 60 cents; denim overalls for 25 cents and men’s straw hats for 10 cents.

In the grocery department one could purchase a 25-pound sack of flour for 43 cents; 25 pounds of sugar for $1.00; raisins, 5 cents per pound; Arbunkle coffee, 22 cents per pound; cream cheese, 12 cents a pound; and 7 pounds of oatmeal for 25 cents.

A market report quotes eggs at 11 cents a dozen; butter, 16 cents a pound; potatoes, 35 cents a bushel; wheat, 55 cents; and oats, 32 cents.

Among the local news is this item: “P.O. Bowe has contracted his winter apples, picked and packed ready for shipment to Richard Jarvis, of Belvedere, Ill., for a dollar a barrel.”

This old, brown and torn sheet is dated September 27, 1895, and was published by the late E.F. Case & Son, who came here from Wisconsin in 1891, and purchased The Record, which was in the Case family until last spring when it was purchased by its present owner.

Watervliet District Library news

Holiday hours

Watervliet District Library’s regular curbside hours are Monday-Saturday 10-2; Monday and Wednesday evenings 4-7. Curbside faxing, printing and copying are also available during those hours. The library will be closed December 23, 24, 31 and January 1 in recognition of the holidays.

Packet projects

Packet projects will continue into the new year. Toddler packets are available the first week of the month; elementary-aged children’s packets, the second week. Third week packets are for teens, and the last week of the month is reserved for adult Pinteresting craft projects. All packets require sign-up; unfortunately, supplies are limited.

Items to check out

Playaway Launchpads, sturdy tablets pre-loaded with age-appropriate content are available for checkout. The library owns two Launchpads, one for pre-readers and one for those just learning to read. Each of the preloaded programs is designed to encourage reading and creativity, and is sturdy enough for the littlest learners. The Launchpads are powered by a rechargeable battery. No internet access is required or enabled by the devices. Checkout length is for two weeks.

The staff of the Watervliet District Library wishes everyone in our community happy holidays and a very merry Christmas. Stay well, stay safe, and stay strong, Watervliet!

Coloma Public Library news

Holiday hours

The Coloma Public Library lobby is open for Contactless Pick-Up Service Monday-Friday 10-6 and Saturday 10-2. They closed December 23 for the holidays and will reopen for Services by Appointment on Monday, Jan. 4, 2021.

Contactless Pick-Up Services

Pick up hold requests from the lobby. The Little Free Carts are available for browsing materials. Faxing and self-serve photocopying are also available. Computer services and stacks browsing will be available starting January 4, if advisable by local health agencies and governing offices.

Social distancing and face masks are still required for patrons medically able to tolerate them. Virtual services and databases are available 24/7. Visit their website for Facebook page for more details. The Library Administration can be reached at and 269-468-3431.

Free Internet at your house!

Need free WiFi access at your house? Library patrons can now borrow a Mobile Beacon HotSpot from the Library! Ask for more details about this exciting new addition to the library’s collection.

Freebies for teens

Teens can sign up to receive a monthly box of surprises to keep along with a specially selected Library book to read and return. Call, email, or message Coloma Public Library through Facebook for more info.

NEW Playaways

Check out new additions in the teen and children’s sections called Playaways. A Playaway is a small audio player preloaded with an entire book. No need for a separate player or CDs… just press play! They are small enough to carry around in your pocket so your favorite book can go anywhere you do. Check one out today!

May our patrons and community have a safe, happy Christmas and New Year!

News from the Coloma Courier

100 years ago – 1920

Coloma finds a $200,000 Fruit Juice and Canning Factory in her Christmas stocking. Friday Brothers will incorporate and enlarge their local plant. They will also offer stock to local purchasers. The plant is in their fifth year of successful growth.

The rural carriers will make their regular delivery of mail on Christmas day, not wanting the accumulation of holiday mail becoming too large.

The Good Fellows Club will give a dancing party at Bunker’s opera house on December 24.

60 years ago – 1960

A tremendous 23-point performance gave the Comets a 62-48 win over Hartford. Paced by Billy Shearer and Dennis Zechiel, the crew almost ran the Indians out of the gymnasium.

The stolen car belonging to Paul Wilkes was recovered from the Paw Paw River in Black’s Woods. Police Chief Chester Krutel headed up the investigation.

A new Santa Claus train is added to the Christmas decorations. It appears overhead on Paw Paw Street at the Logan Street intersection.

Santa Claus visited the Pruiett home. Wally, 9, wearing a cast, is recovering from a bicycle accident. Tina, 4, is a polio victim.

30 years ago – 1990

When the children are restless, tuck them in the car, along with a bag of popcorn and a thermos of hot chocolate. Take a tour of the Tri-City lighted homes. Once again, the Hazen home is a sight to behold.

Santa says… Party with Jack at Martorano’s PIZZA. Dine In or Take Out. Pasta Dinners available also.

Season’s Greetings from your friends at LaSalle Federal Savings Bank.

Rob DeLaTorre, Tim Ishmael and Chris Wertanen are wrestling at Grand Valley State University. Wertanen wrestles at 150, while the other matmen wrestle at 134.

Happy Holidays – may all good things be yours in fullest measure this holiday season. State Bank of Coloma

Submitted by volunteer Sandi Musick Munchow at Coloma Public Library from the Coloma Courier newspapers donated by the Tri-City Record.

Contactless Pick-up Services: Mon-Fri 10-6; Sat 10-2.

Phone: 269-468-3431

News from the Hartford Day Spring

100 years ago – 1920

A Christmas tree and program will be given at the North Bell school house Thursday evening, to which the public is invited.

A heavy fall of snow Friday and Saturday has afforded a semblance of sleighing, and sleigh bells are adding a touch of seasonable genuineness to Christmas week.

The Hartford Canning Company is shipping two cars of canned goods today, consisting of black raspberries, strawberries and cherries, which completes the shipment of their 1920 pack.

The members of the Eagle Hose company held a special meeting and elected Alfred Engle to succeed Arthur Clark and James Walker to succeed Edward G. Hickey as members of the fire department. The firemen also adopted a minimum charge of $5.00 for each member for answering fire calls outside the township.

75 years ago – 1945

Christmas will be observed at Hartford this weekend with special services at the churches and the school, featuring carols and hymns. To open the round of activities, the Hartford junior and senior high school musical groups will present their annual Christmas program under the direction of Miss Loraine Hole.

Christmas services Sunday morning at the First Methodist Church include an anthem, “Let Our Gladness Have No End,” by the combined choirs and a vocal solo, “The Virgin’s Lullaby,” by Miss Beverly Plants. The Rev. Lester Clough, pastor, will present the sermon on “The Everlasting Light”.

Members of the Philharmonic Club met last week at the home of Mrs. Floyd Lammon for their annual Christmas meeting and program. The Lammon home was decorated with hemlock branches and lighted candles. To open the meeting members sang “Jungle Bells” followed by a reading by Mrs. M.C. Mortimer on “Bells Through the Ages,” the theme of the meeting. A musical program was then presented, including a piano solo, “Yuletide Bells,” by Mrs. Lammon; vocal duet, “Bells of St. Mary’s,” Mrs. Gus Kirsh and Mrs. Arthur F. Dowd; vocal solo, “White Christmas,” Mrs. Kirsch.

50 years ago – 1970

Members of the Hartford senior band wore their new band uniforms for the first time at the Christmas concert held at the high school gym. The new uniforms are dark green and feature a single breasted tux type coat with HHS on the pocket. The group wears continental ties with the uniform for concert. For marching, a fancy front and a cape are added to the uniform.

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: 269-588-5103

News from the Watervliet Record

90 years ago – 1930

The possibility that in 1931 Watervliet is to have a gas service equal to that of the larger towns is seen in appreciation, made by the Consumers’ Power Co. for franchises in 17 townships, cities and villages between Kalamazoo and Watervliet. The project is for the extension of the gas mains along US 12, a distance of 38 miles.

At last plans have been completed and accepted, and the new Art course will begin Jan. 12, 1931 in the Watervliet Public Schools. Miss Eva Whidby will teach Art half hour each day in each of the grades. Miss Whidby, a fifth grade teacher, has minored in Art at Western State Teachers College and is capable of giving art instruction, something that has been lacking in past years.

60 years ago – 1960

In a beautifully decorated area of the Mill, nearly 1,500 employees, their families and retirees attended the Watervliet Paper Company’s combined Turkey Distribution and Children’s Party on Dec. 18, 1960. Some 569 turkeys and 627 toys were distributed. In addition, “goody bags” with apples, oranges, candy, etc, were distributed to all employees’ children in attendance. Santa Claus, of course, was very much in evidence to visit with the toddlers.

Printed on Dec. 29, 1960: The year 1960 will very soon be ancient history for, with the stroke of midnight in a few days, a New Year will be born. What 1961 will bring forth in this troubled world is anybody’s guess, but Watervliet will go into the New Year with high hopes. The year now closing has been successful in many ways. Watervliet Paper Co. observed its 50th Anniversary, First National Bank expands, off year in city politics, schools make news with room additions and highest enrollment in history – just to name a few of the events.

30 years ago – 1990

Wanda McLain and Alice Hawks of Watervliet completed a 12-hour training workshop given by the Twin Cities Area Literacy Council for 20 volunteer tutors. The tutors will provide individualized confidential tutoring to adult students throughout Berrien County who want to learn how to begin or improve their reading skills.

With the Jan. 2, 1991 issue of the Tri-City Record, the newspaper enters its 109th year of continuous publication. The first issue was printed March 1882. The Record, along with the rest of the civilized world, has seen a lot of history and development. When that 1st issue rolled off the press, kerosene lamps were the latest in artificial lighting, lumbering was still number one local industry next to farming, and gasoline engines, airplanes, cars and refrigerators were yet to be invented.

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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