Bygone Days: A look at the past in NE Allegan County

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

25 Years Ago — Jan. 3, 1996

The Burnips Hotel

Former Wayland Board of Education member Diane Smith alerted the Globe that she was a victim of a telephone scam that claimed she made 27 international calls over four days from Belgium and Poland, leading to a bill of $816.17.

Lewis “Snuffy” Schmidt, a firefighter and retiree from Reynolds Metal, was chosen as Dorr Citizen of the Year.

Jeffrey Bartnick, 21, of Wayland, was killed in a head-on traffic crash that authorities suggested was the result of distracted driving.

A 30-year-old Wayland man, Brian Snyder, was killed when the snowmobile he was driving on Gun Lake struck land and went airborne, catapulting him into a tree.

Workers for the City of Wayland found local water pipes in West Superior Street were negatively impacted by acidic soil, causing a lot of rusting.

Three Kalamazoo-area men, including a teen who killed himself, have been identified as the recent home burglars at Gun Lake and Prairieville. Justin Gillett, 18, of Parchment, fatally shot himself before authorities could apprehend him.

Dwight Bixler and Ester Benton were appointed to fill two vacancies on the Wayland Township Planning Commission in the wake of resignations from Don Milburn and Robert Guillenwater.

Wayland High School wrestling coach Rick Tokarchick celebrated his 250th career dual meet victory with a satisfying 36-33 decision over Sparta. The Wildcats are 9-3 overall for the year.

Martin’s wrestling team, despite giving away five weight divisions, scored three dual meet triumphs and Josh Conley recorded his 18th consecutive win.

Helen G. Hanlon, co-owner of the Hanlon Drug Store in downtown Wayland for more than 40 years, died at age 95. She had been a teacher before marrying and becoming business partner with Russell Hanlon.

Leona M. Sprague, longtime activist for Native Americans, died at her home in Shelbyville. She was 62. She and her husband, Fred, had six children who graduated from Wayland High School.

50 Years Ago — Dec. 30, 1970

The Allegan County Board of Commissioners, in a special meeting Dec. 28, voted to approve an amended contract to allow the City of Wayland to move forward on its sanitary sewer project.

Michigan State University graduate student Doug Parrish, a graduate of Wayland High School and Kalamazoo College, was scheduled to speak to members of the Wayland Rotary Club on the topic of campus unrest.

Wayland High School graduate Cindy Weber will be a member of the Western Michigan University Varsity Vagabonds who will tour Europe in 1971, visiting American troops stationed there.

Capt. Frederic Bowman, a native of Wayland, has been named commanding officer of the fleet oiler U.S.S. Marias.

Bob Hendrixson of Wayland has been selected president of Michigan Propane Gas Co, succeeding longtime CEO Robert Lucke.

Two house fires over the holiday break damaged the homes of Kenneth Marquard on Elm Street and Roger Holmes in Shelbyville.

Wayland High School sophomore Robert Gould, 15, was killed near Gun Lake when his firearm accidentally discharged and struck him.

Winners of the annual Wayland Area Chamber of Commerce Christmas lighting contest were Gene Weber, Don Sevigny, Harold Ernst, Delos Schad, Ron Belka and Frank Belka.

Christer Perssen, Swedish foreign exchange student who lived with the Marshall Towne family, wrote a letter to the Globe noting he enjoyed his experience in Wayland immensely, but a majority of citizens in Sweden have negative impressions of Americans because of the Vietnam War.

Mrs. Henry Chachulski of Dorr wrote a letter continuing her opposition to abortion, insisting that in Germany fetal body parts were being sold on the open market.

Airman James G. Hurst, a 1967 Wayland High School graduate, is serving as an aircraft systems repairman in Vietnam.

75 Years Ago — Jan. 4, 1946

Editor-Publisher Rollo G. Mosher, in his weekly “Observations” column, told readers there is a serious shortage of coal and, “Coal dealers dislike it as much or more than consumers.”

Mosher also was critical of Michigan cities for appearing to be unable to live within their financial means while villages and townships manager get by with much less revenue.

Ed Alflen has sold his repair shop on North Main to L.F. Smith & Son and moved his property to across the street in Leighton Township from the Livestock Auction Sales. He gave up his International farm equipment implement line to Merle Rairigh.

Mrs. Dora Gaylord, who traveled in a covered wagon to Kansas as a child and flew in an airplane for the first time just a year ago, died at age 84. She was a frequent visitor at the Wayland home of her daughter, Mrs. Harrison Jackson.

Mrs. John Miskotten, 78, died at the Wayland home of her daughter, Mrs. Harvey Zeerip, after a series of unfortunate occurrences, including serious surgery, influenza and a heart attack.

Hopkins native Clark Luman Lane, longtime freight agent for area railroads and longtime high-ranking officials among the Masons, died. He was 83.

A Mrs. Stevens of Hopkins was hospitalized with a broken hip in Plainwell after being struck by a car while walking along a road in Bradley.

Now showing at the Wayland Theatre:

  • Loretta Young and Clark Gable in Jack London’s “The Call of the Wild.”
  • Alice Faye, Dana Andrews and Linda Darnell in “Fallen Angel.”
  • Robert Alda, Joan Leslie, Alexis Smith and Charles Coburn in the George Gershwin biopic “Rhapsody in Blue.”

100 Years Ago — Dec. 31, 1920

In a trial in Allegan County Circuit Court, a jury awarded plaintiff Leon Joslin $5,000 vs. defendant Glenn Richards, both of Fennville, for “alienation of wife’s affection.”

About 30 Indian children from Bradley were special guests at the home of Mrs. Irene Yeakey for a Christmas party and program featuring recitations, poems, instrumental and vocal music, a playlet and special presentations by Margaret Beall and Laurence Broughner. The Ladies Library Club donated toys for Santa to deliver to the children, who also were given candy and popcorn balls.

The Globe published an official tribute, a poem, dedicated to R. G. Smith of Martin, believed to be Allegan County’s first centenarian.

Much of the news published this week focused on holiday gatherings of families and friends.

Christmas trees at the Burg School in Ohio Corners were well attended with appropriate programs Friday.

A Mrs. Walt died of lingering asthma on Christmas day at the Ohio Corners home of her daughter, Mrs. Bert Parmalee.

The Two Johns of Grand Rapids will furnish the music for a New Year’s Eve Dance at Yeakey’s Hall downtown.

Oscar Zelt, local manager of the Farm Bureau cooperative, died at Butterworth Hospital. It could not be confirmed his death was a result of his being struck by a falling water tank, but he suffered from severe headaches for two weeks.

Many Wayland citizens have expressed strong support for establishing a community Christmas tree for holiday celebrations.


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