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12-3-2020 Tri-City History

Glimpses From the Past

All I want for Christmas… two unidentified children share their fervent Christmas wishes with Santa Claus at a Watervliet Paper Company Employee Christmas Party sometime in the 1960s. Do you remember sitting on Santa’s lap? Can you identify anyone? Contact North Berrien Historical Museum at 269-468-3330 or 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, September 17, 1959

The present generation knows little if anything about dried apples, but years ago when a kitchen needed more than a can opener, no housewife imagined she could do without dried apple pies. And the spicy dried applesauce, too, was a delicious addition to the dinner table.

The dried apple was as much a part of life 50 years ago as the prune is today; and I can still see, in my mind’s eye, those tasty dried apple pies that my mother used to bake in the oven of the wood-burning kitchen range. In those days every housewife dried apples and made mincemeat. I well remember when my grandmother had a rack over the kitchen stove on which she spread sliced apples to dry and later store in the pantry for winter use. And some even spread them out of doors, covered over with mosquito netting to keep off the flies, to dry in the sun. Little was allowed to go to waste in those days when a dollar was hard to get but went as far as three of them go today.

There were places, too, where apples were dried and packed in boxes for the retail market. They were called evaporators and such an industry was located right here in Watervliet on the present home site of Mr. and Mrs. Glenn Allen, near the Beverly Lumber Company yards. It was owned and operated by Hiram Peirce, early-day hardware merchant here and the father of the late Byron L. Peirce, and grandfather of Harold Peirce, and Mrs. Joseph Scheid, of this city.

The plant was in operation during the fall months and gave employment to a few men and women. The men peeled the apples on machines and the women faced the boxes with the dried rings of fruit in preparation for retail sale by stores. The workers put in 10 hours a day for which they received 75 cents and a dollar, then men, of course, drawing the higher wages.


100 years ago – 1920

“Grandma” Teeter passed on to her eternal home. Mary Caroline Brayton passed away at the home of her daughter, Mrs. Lowell S. Guy. She was familiarly known by the young people as “Grandma” and always had a pleasant word for the little ones.

Miss Esther Herbster attended a conference of the Michigan State Telephone company. Telephone service is at a very high standard and will continue, announced the president of the company.

60 years ago – 1960

The board of education put together an emergency measure to present to voters. Both elementary buildings are severely overcrowded. The high school’s locker rooms were built for a pupil load of 20. Today’s pupil load is triple. The coal fed boiler is pressed beyond capacity. Otto Hingst, 71, taken by death. He was a well-known florist, operating Evergreen Gardens Greenhouse. Davidson Funeral Home will handle the arrangements.

Mr. and Mrs. George Tutton are the parents of a baby boy, Brian Daniel. Mrs. Tutton is remembered as the Gladiola queen of 1954. A birthday party was given for Ralph Stanley. Mrs. Wm. Richard Veit and daughter Candy baked the cake.

30 years ago – 1990

Hometown Holiday Happenings: SANTA is coming to town. He stops at City Hall, Hook’s Drug Store, then on to Washington Elementary Arts & Craft Show. “PRANCER” will be shown at the LOMA. Rita Danneffel is a candidate for an associate degree at Southwestern Michigan College. Commencement ceremonies will be Sunday. Mr. Chuck Swanson, proud grandparent, built bookcases for the library at St. Joseph Catholic School.

Assistant Superintendent Ronald P. Clark reminds about inclement weather. Listen to radio stations, WCSY, WHFB or WSJM for school closings. Please do not call school.

An “Almost-Like-New Gown Sale” will take place at the high school. Submitted by volunteer Sandi Musick Munchow at Coloma Public Library from the Coloma Courier newspapers donated by the Tri-City Record. Hours: Closed until Dec. 9. Phone: 269-468-3431


100 years ago – 1920

The new concrete road across Hartford Township was thrown open to traffic when the barriers were taken down on the new section – and for the first time in 18 months motorists are passing over the section of the Detroit to Chicago trunk line without the necessity of detouring.

Two men narrowly escaped when the heavy truck they were driving was struck by a northbound Pere Marquette passenger train at the grade crossing four miles west of Hartford.

Azur Sweet is suffering with some fractured ribs and severe body bruises, the result of his team running away yesterday morning. He was thrown from the wagon, the vehicle passing over his chest.

75 years ago – 1945

Mrs. Floyd Lammon entertained the Hartford Art Study class last week at her home east of Hartford. Mrs. George Chamberlin gave the lesson on the Rosenwald collection at the National Art Gallery at Washington, D.C. Mrs. George Shepard was named vice-president to replace Mrs. Marie Finley who resigned.

Miss Anne Farrington, county librarian, discussed Christmas book selections in a talk to the Hartford Women’s Club, which met at the home of Mrs. Walter J. Markillie. Three new members were admitted to the club. They are Mrs. Ida Thrall, Mrs. Glen Rector and Mrs. Gertrude Klatt.

50 years ago – 1970

For the second time in less than a year, Hartford school district voters will be asked to approve a bond issue to build a new middle school building. Voters rejected a similar proposal in June, 385-228. Supt. of schools, Gary Waterkamp said the district’s enrollment has increased from 1,446 in 1965 to 1,731 in 1970 and that all indications are that it will continue to increase. The district is currently operating nine portable classrooms and is utilizing the stage at the south school for two classes.

The new Immaculate Conception Catholic Church at Hartford will be blessed by the most Rev. Alexander Zaleski, bishop of the Lansing Diocese, in ceremonies today. The church of modern construction has semi-circular seating and is marked by statues, one of the ascending Christ above the altar and Stations of the Cross made of wood of various colors, sizes and textures. The new church was built at a cost of $220,000 with funds raised by parishioners over a number of years and a six percent loan of $100,000 from the Van Buren State bank.

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


90 years ago – 1930

Watervliet’s new municipal building designed to house the Fire Apparatus, Waterworks Department and city offices, is to be located at the corner of Pleasant and First streets on a tract of ground purchased from the Watervliet Milling Company.

The Watervliet Ravens opened their basketball season by defeating the Hartford All-stars in a fast game on Dec. 11, 1930. Watervliet trailed Hartford through the first half, but typical of all Watervliet basketball teams they rallied in the last half and won by the close score of 19-18.

60 years ago – 1960

Miss Hazel Jarvis was honored at a surprise party to celebrate her 16th birthday. Twenty girls and boys attended the party given by her mother at her home on Pleasant Street.

Dec. 3, 1960 was the 70th birthday anniversary of E.N. Matrau. His wife and daughter gave a party to a few of Mr. Matrau’s friends in honor of the occasion. Mr. Matrau is a former Berrien County supervisor. Bjorn “Cork” Heyning was recently pledged to the Drake University chapter of Pi Kappa Phi. Heyning is a freshman and studying in the college of Liberal Arts.

30 years ago – 1990

The voters of Watervliet Township selected their new Board in a special election on Dec. 8. The new slate of officers, which is all Republican, consists of Bill Gaines – supervisor, Josephine Null – clerk, Ron Hagenbarth – treasurer and Robert K. Morlock and Robert Koshar – trustees.

WHS and Community Hospital will share their food service facilities in case of a disaster in either building. On Dec. 4 employees of each institution signed an agreement to make each other’s food services available to the other in the event that disaster should render one of the facilities inoperable. Erich Pica is the “Student of the Week” for Dec. 12, 1990. When asked what he likes about school his response was “opportunities”. He is involved in the High School Band and Illuminations. He participates in school musicals and plays, is a member of the All-Star Band and LMC Wind Ensemble, Quiz Bowl team, National Honor Society and golf and track teams.

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

Library News

Hartford The Hartford Public Library is trying to stay open to serve the community. Please wear a mask when entering and respect social distancing whenever possible. For anyone sick or not feeling well, please do not come to the library. Patrons needing materials and are not comfortable entering the building, the library offers curbside service. Just call (269)588-5103 for service. Santa photos & giveaways for children The annual photos with Santa has been canceled for this season, however on Saturday, Dec. 12 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. the Hartford Public Library will be giving away books, activity bags and candy for all children. The library has an area set up for holiday photos with a Santa and sleigh. Photos can be taken with visitors’ smartphones. When entering the community rooms, masks are required. The library must limit the number of people in the room at one time to keep everyone as safe as possible.


Online murder-mystery

The Watervliet District Library is offering an online gaming opportunity for any murder-mystery buffs, Thursday, Dec. 10, at 7:00 p.m. “There’s Been a Murder” is a multi-player online card game, suitable for anyone ages 16 and up. The game will be played entirely online, alongside a Zoom meeting so all participants can communicate. Both a smartphone and computer are recommended. A good internet connection is required. The library’s hotspots are available to loan, if needed. Space is limited; please contact the library to register.

PBS Books

The library is a partner in the PBS Books program, which features authors, performers and material in a documentary format. The programs are shared online through the library’s Facebook page. On Sunday, Dec. 13, PBS Books will air Celebrating MASTERPIECE: Ben Vanstone, Writer, All Creatures Great and Small at 2 p.m. No registration is required to view the program, which can be enjoyed at any time. The event will discuss the PBS series of that title, featuring James Herriot’s Yorkshire, the pen name of Alfred Wight, longtime veterinarian and author. All of the author’s books are available through the library.

Third Monday Book Club

Truman Capote’s short story, “A Christmas Memory”, has been chosen for December’s Third Monday Book Club, held at 7 p.m. on the 21st. The group will meet virtually, using Zoom. Anyone interested in attending is asked to contact the library to pick up a copy of the book, and to receive the Zoom invite.

Curbside services available

Curbside service is available for any eligible borrower from Monday-Saturday, 10-2, and Monday and Wednesday evenings, 4-7. In the interest of public health, the library is currently closed for public business or computer use. However, library staff is pleased to provide curbside faxing, document printing or copying. All curbside service is now “no contact”; anyone needing library services can contact the library by calling 269-463-6382, emailing or messaging staff via Facebook.


In light of orders from the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services, the Coloma Public Library is closed until Tuesday, Dec. 8. The library lobby will reopen for contactless curbside services beginning Wednesday, Dec. 9. Computer services will not be available; however, patrons will have access to the Little Free Carts as well as photocopy and fax services.

The Library Administration can be reached at Virtual services and databases are still available 24/7. Visit their website or Facebook page for more details.


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