Bygone Days: A look at the history of NE Allegan County

(From the archives at the Then & Now Historical Library in downtown Dorr)

25 Years Ago — June 10, 1992

Former Globe Editor-Publisher Irvin P. Helmey, 75, died at Blodgett Hospital In Grand Rapids. He was only the third publisher of the weekly newspaper in the span of 102 years. After graduating from Michigan State University in 1940 and serving as a U.S. Army captain in World War II, he and his wife, Helen Jane, took over a newspaper in Leslie in 1946 and he succeeded Rollo G. Mosher in Wayland in 1953. He moved the Globe into what is now known as the Helmey Building on East Superior Street in 1957.

The Wayland Township Board stirred up a great deal of controversy by hastily approving a bid to build an addition to the township from Erwin Doublestein Jr., son of the township supervisor. The vote was not roll call and there was no abstention from the supervisor. Editor Nila Aamoth reacted on her Soapbox by stating, ”Acting strictly by the letter of the law is easy, sometimes is used as an excuse to circumvent the ultimate accountability — doing what is right.”

Wayne Goodwin was named Citizen of the Year by the Wayland Lions Club, which called him, “a driving force in the community football program.”

Allegan County United Way Executive Director Jeff McElwee said the local agency has not heard negative feedback after it elected to disaffiliate from the national organization. The move was made in the wake of reports of the national United Way executive director spending lavish amounts of fund-raised money on frills and perks.

Diane Smith, an incumbent on the Wayland Board of Education for 16 years, failed in her bid for a fifth four-year term, losing to newcomer Diane Butler and incumbent Mike Kelly. In Hopkins, which had a 7-for-2 race, incumbent Bill Schoonveld was re-elected, along with newcomer Christine Schwartz.

Wayland High School counselor Loren VanPortfleet approached the Wayland Board of Education about starting boys’ and girls’ soccer as a club sport.

Doris DeHaan of Wayland won ribbons at the Grand Valley Iris Society Show at Eastbrook Mall.

Jenny Fearnow, Kim Verberg and Shari Fugate were named all-conference on the O-K Gold softball team. At Hopkins, Tracy Ablett, Amy Lodenstein and Tanya Schwartz did the same in the River Valley Conference. Kelly Reynolds, Zack Wilson and Mike Rewa won the same honors for River Valley baseball and Martin placed B.J. Bowman, Chip Nighingale and Sean Talsma on the all-SAC baseball squad.

50 Years Ago — June 7, 1967

Local builder Gus Lehocky offered the Henika Library Board a bid for $31,030 to construct an addition. the board earlier turned down a $40,980 bid from Carlson Construction because it was too expensive.

The Wayland City Council, at the behest of City Manager Blaine Bacon, voted to spend $175 on each of two new voting machines he said will save money and speed up the process. The move was approved only for a trial run.

Gary Finkbeiner gave the valedictory address, Dennis DeHaan the salutatory address and American Legion Citizenship Awards went to Sherida DeWeerd and Rick Blok at the Wayland High School Class of 1967 commencement.

Though the Globe has a policy of not publishing unsigned letters to the editor, the Helmeys couldn’t resist running a letter on the front page excoriating the weekly newspaper for not having any reports or photos of Wayland High School graduation. It was published below the letter and had been delayed because the previous week’s edition came out a day before the ceremony.

Cleon Duryea of Hopkins won the open Allegan County Board of Education seat in a vote of 31 districts, 19-12 over Reinder Hoeksma of Dorr.

Stewart Brazil was installed as commander and Mrs. Richard Clack VFW Auxiliary president.

A mental health clinic has been established at the Allegan County Building, with local citizens Mrs. Ford Brower, Mrs. Don Durfee and the Rev. Oscar Wilson leading the effort.

Mr. and Mrs. Paul Bouten of the Nethlerlands were guests of the Vern Aflen family in Wayland for the past week. They were visiting their son, Paul, Jr., who was a foreign exchange student at WHS over the past academic year.

The Ladies Library Club was planning a “Summer in Our Town” celebration at Orchard Hills Golf Course. Mrs. Lester Herb was chairwoman of the event and Mrs. Merle Peffley was coordinating a style show.

The Rev. Father Hugh Michael Behan, star of the “Fifteen with Father” show on WOOD-TV Channel 8, was to be guest speaker and host June 23 for the Miss Dorr pageant.

The Wayland Grange had an old-fashioned hoedown Saturday night to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the national farm organization.

Aretha Franklin took over the No. 1 slot on the list of the nation’s top tunes, with “Respect.”

75 Years Ago — June 12, 1942

Publisher Rollo G. Mosher reported in his weekly column that the catalpa trees were were full bloom and the locusts probably were a week behind them.

Frank Peck of Allegan was chosen president and Arthur H. Johnson of Wayland vice president of the Allegan County Bankers’ Association. The group met at the Doll House and Prof. R.V. Gunn of Michigan State College was guest speaker at the dinner.

The local Selective Service Board announced that 107 young men from Allegan County have been rejected for military service after receiving physical examinations.

The Junior Garden Club, under the watchful eyes of Mrs. Harry Elenbaas, answered roll call for its latest meeting by naming insects. They enjoyed a weiner roast.

United Methodist District Supt. Rev. Spurlock officiated at the funeral of Mrs. H.H. Harris, 66, wife of the retired local minister. Dr. Hugh Kennedy, superintendent of the Clark Memorial Home, presented the sermon.

The Wayland Rural Grange meeting’s top of discussion at its most recent meeting was “How farmers are victims of widely organized labor rackets.”

Harold Dietiker was elected president and Howard Clack vice president of the Wayland Alumni Association after the annual reunion potluck earlier this month, succeeding C. D. Averill.

The terms of Secretary Harry Elenbaas and Treasurer Clifford Pike are up for re-election in the next school board vote July 13.

A book review by Mrs. Alfred H. Snook will be given to members of the Wayland Mothers Club Saturday evening at the Congregational Church.

The oil well being drilled at the Harry Haywood property is proving to a be a good producer but raises questions about future regulations for the process within the village.

Now showing at the Wayland Theatre:

  • Clair Trevor and Glenn Ford in “The Adventures of Martin Eden.”
  • Spencer Tracy and Joe Sawyer in “About Face.”
  • Henry Fonda and Gene Tierney in “Rings on Fingers.”
  • “The Eternal Gift,” by the Roman Catholic Church.
  • “What’s Cookin’,” a potpurri of jive.
  • “The Unseen Enemy.”

100 years Ago — June 8, 1917

The 11th annual Wayland High School alumni banquet attracted 63 class members, friends and teachers. President of the Alumni Association is Jessie Fales, vice president is Clarence Calkins, recording secretary is Esther Martin and corresponding secretary Grace Chamberlain. Former Wayland Supt. Charles W. Appleton, now school chief at Lake Odessa, was guest speaker. Current Supt. Floyd Drake presented remarks and Neva Welch and Elizabeth Ginsberg played a couple of violin and piano selections.

The Lewis-Corning reunion attracted a large crowd at the Green Lake park.

The Congregational Church was planning a Children’s Day service with songs, recitations, readings an a procession of children wearing costumes from foreign countries.

Wayland Township and Village had 135 young men report for military service in the war overseas.

Hopkins native Mrs. Emily Emmons, a teacher for 15 years and active member of the Order of Eastern Star, died at her home in Dorr. She was 62.

Dick Heydenberk wrote a letter to his parents in Wayland telling of his experiences in basic training in Texas. He said he was stationed at a small town that had mostly Mexicans as residents.

A car driven by Frank Gillon overturned and threw him out of the roof. He was not harmed, but passenger Lewis Harish suffered severe cuts to his hand.

The Wayland Township Odd Fellows and Rebekahs invited similar groups from Martin and Moline for an annual memorial service at Elmwood Cemetery.

Five cars loaded with members of the Knights Tempar passed through Wayland on the interurban from Grand Rapids to Kalamazoo.

The Globe has been running a weekly series about female legislators who have served despite not being able to vote. Featured this week was Mrs. Theodora March of Arizona and Jeanette Rankin of Montana was profiled the week before.



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