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 — Oct. 7, 1992

The trial of Stephen Lawrence of Gun Lake, accused of the murder of his father, Willard, former Felpausch grocery president, in an arson fire, got under way in Barry County Circuit Court before Judge Richard Shuster.

An overturned anhydrous ammonia tank released a vapor cloud in a Leighton Township neighborhood on 144th Avenue near 4th Street, A couple of houses were evacuated. It was learned that a 16-year-old driver of a truck was pulling the tank for Zeeland Farm Services.

Several letter writers continued the discussion about the perceived “demotion” of Director Steve Working from high school to junior high.

Wayland Fire Chief Hugh DeWeerd reported power lines along the 600 block of West Superior Street, causing acrid smoke to invade the public sphere.

A Michigan Department of Natural Resources grant of $117,000 with a city match of $39,000 will pay for renovations at the City Park, including new basketball and tennis courts with fencing, new park toys, park shelter and benches and a new drinking fountain. The grant application was written by Barbara VanDuren.

The Wayland Township Board dedicated the new addition to the township hall to the late Steve Knowlton, former trustee.

Road work on U.S.-131 from Wayland to Martin is expected to begin in the spring of 1993, according to the Michigan Department of Transportation.

Though QB Tim Hibma passed for 84 yards for Hopkins’ ground-oriented attack, the Vikings lost 24-19 to Allendale, spoiling homecoming. It also spoiled a fine defensive performance by Rich Dame, who had 13 tackles.

Kenowa Hills did its part to ruin homecoming by defeating Wayland 23-12, despite 204 passing yards by Wildcat QB Pat Kruizenga and Adam Ohlendorf’s 11 tackles.

Mike Smith was credited with being in on 18 tackles in Martin’s victory over Fennville, improving the Clippers’ season record to 3-2.

Coach Robert VandenBerg called it “an ugly game,” but the Clipper girls pulled out a 32-25 win over neighboring rival Hopkins.

The Wayland girls’ tennis team is firmly in second place heading into the O-K Gold Conference tournament. Copping the No. 1 seed for the Wildcats was Bianca Pratt.

Paul Jackson wrote a feature story about Mark Austin on the occasion of marking his 25th year of officiating in basketball. Austin also coached boys’ and girls’ varsity basketball for 13 years at Hopkins High School.

Wayland ace cross-country runner Angie Permoda, after putting up with a variety of injuries, finally decided to end her competitive running career as a senior.

Wayne Czarnecki and Joe Konecny both carded an 18-score of 88 to lead Wayland’s golf team to a second-place finish in the O-K Gold Conference meet.

50 Years Ago — Oct. 4, 1967

Water and sewer and solid waste issues were dominating debates in Wayland. As the Oct. 16 vote on installing a water and sewer system approached, the city planned a second public forum at the high school.

Under the heading of “Turned Up Here and There,” the Globe published editorial comment disputing the notion that the newspaper was holding a threat of state intervention over the heads of local voters. However, “The state has the right and has exercised it, to intervene where public health is concerned.”

Former Editor-Publisher Rollo G. Mosher, in his “Observations Here and There” column, noted his previous comments that it’s a shame people can no longer burn refuse struck a nerve with readers. But City Manager Blaine Bacon, in a letter to the editor, countered, “Many people are happy with the halting of the burning because it’s a public health issue.”

A feature story was published about Dorothy Cook, a 1966 graduate of Wayland High School, who had recently returned from spending a year as a foreign exchange student in Sweden.

A fatal traffic crash about two miles north of Wayland claimed the life of Kenneth Smith, 32, of Moline, who left a wife and four children.

Marion DeWeerd, owner-operator of the A & P grocery in downtown Wayland since 1934, is retiring and was shown in a photo handing over the keys to the business to Dick Varnell.

A front-page photo was taken of Mayor Phil Reno, deputy Clerk Mrs. Gene Weber, Jerome LaValley and Harold Weaver gathered around a cake marking the first anniversary of Wayland as a city.

Wayland High School senior John Eylander was selected for the Good Sportsmanship Award presented by the West Michigan Bassett Hound Club.

Underneath the headline ‘Cats Fizzle in Drizzle, was a story about how the Wayland varsity football team lost 13-0 to Maple Valley. The anonymous writer said, “Our Wildcats didn’t fare any better than the Detroit Tigers, who blew the American League pennant.”

Now showing at the Wayland Theatre: “Blues for Lovers,” a special jazz piano music film starring Ray Charles.

The Hopkins FFA Poultry Judging team, with Larry Thomas, Dan Lenhart, Bob Thomas and Ron Miller, was preparing to compete for the national title and the national FFA convention in Kansas City, Mo.

The Box Tops remained atop the nation’s Top 40 tunes with “The Letter.”

75 Years Ago — Oct. 9, 1942

Local Boy Scouts and members of the vocational education classes at the high school are spearheading Wayland’s scrap metal drive for the war effort.

The local post office is urging local residents to send their Christmas gifts and packages early to loved ones serving in the military overseas and have their packages clearly marked.

A large anniversary cake marking 50 years of service by the Ladies Literary Club was served at the club’s most recent meeting, presided over by Martha Japinga. Piano and vocal music was provided to the 32 women in attendance by Ethyln Mauchmar and Margery Sebright.

The Doll House, a local downtown restaurant that the Globe said had won a lot of notice outside of town, closed its doors after six years. Mrs. Carl Ryno was owner of the eatery, which had been the site of Rotary Club meetings. It was founded by Cash Knight and Al Hunt.

Harold Calkins was elected worthy master and Fred Huff overseer for the Wayland Grange.

Hopkins Ladies Literary Club members voted to invite to the Wayland LLC to a special “Reciprosity Night” joint meeting.

Marian Larson, daughter of Dr. and Mrs. Arthur Larson, is recuperating at Butterworth Hospital after having surgery for acute appendicitis. The surgeon was Dr. H.J. Damstra, formerly of Wayland.

Mrs. Harold (Dora) Weaver suffered severe bruises to her head, shoulder and elbow during a fall to her basement. She was lucky things weren’t worse because she had serious surgery done in Grand Rapids in the spring.

Charles Sager fell from the roof of his house in Bradley while painting and suffered a broken pelvis in two locations.

Now showing at the Wayland Theatre:

  • Leo Carillo and Lloyd Nolan in “Danger in the Pacific.”
  • Lloyd Nolan and Carol Landis in “It Happened in Flatbush.”
  • John Payne, Victor Mature and Betty Grable in “Footlight Serenade.”
  • Henry Fondas and Olivia deHavilland in “The Male Animal.”

100 Years Ago — Oct. 5, 1917

Wayland was plunged into darkness over the weekend and beyond. The Globe explained, “Compelled by the extremely high ncost of steam coal, the C.H. Brush Light and Power Co. was forced to shut down its plant in the village and as a consequence, inhabitants have had to go back to kerosene lamps and tallow candles… It came as hard blow to merchants, particularly Mrs. George Frank, proprietor of the photoplay theater.”

Citizens gathered for special public meetings, and though nothing was decided as yet, it was agreed they should meet with representatives of the Consumers Power Co. of Jackson.

Meanwhile, there were two fires during the week. One was minor with no dame at the residence of Charles Nelson, but the barn on the farm of Thomas Stora south of the village was destroyed.

The Helvetia Milk Condensary increased its price paid per hundredweight to farmers to $3.20.

Lila Tooker, Dorothy Santas, Mildred Wings, Theodore Wintz Margaret Beall and Katie Smith were recognized as the top scholars at Wayland High School in September.

The Wayland High School football team lost 26-0, despite “putting up a plucky fight,” to Grand Rapids Catholic Central. The local boys will play next Saturday at Grand Haven.

Wayland High School enrollment has reached 106 students and it was noted that 70 of the pupils live outside the village.

A poll was conducted of the high schools about whet they would like to do after graduating. The highest number, 55, reported they were undecided, 21 wanted to become teachers, eight farmers, six nurses, six business owners and three in music.

John Dameth, local agent for Michigan railway, has left his post to work for the Allegan school system. He is succeeded by Alton Bergman, assisted by Jerome Zaider of Moline.

Local boys who are going to college are Russell Hanlon in Ann Arbor, Harold Hanlon in Albion, Paul Wing and Cleo Fox at Western Normal in Kalamazoo, and Clayton Tarnutzer in Alma. Jeanette Bouwman and Genevieve Allen are attending Western Normal as well.

Fred Wallace has purchased the pool business on West Superior and move it to the Hawkins Building.


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