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. 17, 1996

Wayland Area Emergency Services volunteers have deemed as a success a simulated rescue and relief operation involving a double fatality school bus explosion.

Hopkins school district voters will be asked for the sixth time to approve a bond issue to build a new high school and update existing facilities, probably in September.

New street lights and trimming back trees will be features planned for this year in downtown Wayland.

The newly refurbished Wayland High School baseball diamond will be named after the community’s most famous athlete, Major League pitcher Phil Regan, three-time winner of the Fireman of the Year award.

Scott Sullivan, in this week’s edition of the Soapbox, took on the issue of Leighton Township vs. the Fuzzy’s adult film store: “Fuzzy’s business showed things bare, Leighton didn’t want him there, ‘Free Speech Fuzzy’ wasn’t scuzzy, was he?”

Terry Davis wrote a letter to the editor critical of the Globe’s singling out Hopkins basketball star Tim Kisner in an account of the Hopkins-Martin hoops contest. “The team is the Hopkins Vikings, not Kisner’s Vikings,” he wrote.

Donald Smith of Moline penned a letter defending the Byron Center Board of Education’s reprimand of gay music teacher Gerry Crane. “I believe they told him what he was doing was wrong out of love not hatred… as my father tells me something I am doing is wrong.”

Russell Pavlak and Becky Mulder asked the Martin Board of Education for reinstatement of the student book store at the high school.

Mike DeWeerd has announced he cannot seem another two-year term as mayor because he is moving outside the city limits on 135th Avenue. Expressing interest in succeeding him are Mary Reno, Donald Shafer and David Miller.

Hopkins bested Comstock Park in double overtime, but absorbed defeat down the stretch against Covenant Christian.

Father Knows Best — Wayland point guard Boone McEwen and the Wildcats lost to coach Kelly McEwen and Wyoming Park, but they still have a 5-2 record overall.

Coach Dennis Anguilm recorded his 500th career victory during the Wayland Volleyball Invitational.

The Wayland High School wrestling team scored a 33-32 upset win over Caledonia, but await a showdown later this week against defending champion Cedar Springs. The ‘Cats are 11-3 overall and 3-0 in the O-K Gold Conference.

50 Years Ago — Jan. 13, 1971

Petrolane Incorporated of Long Beach, Calif., has purchased Michigan Propane Gas and promoted Robert Hendrixson of Wayland to general manager and CEO.

The Allegan County Board of Commissioners has announced it will pledge full faith and credit behind the City of Wayland’s sanitary sewer bond project.

James Devereaux, a 1964 Wayland High School graduate, has been promoted to assistant vice president at Union Bank of Grand Rapids.

Clifford Cooke of Dorr is one of 29 young Michigan farmers who will join a trip to Europe, Asia and Africa in a special Kellogg Foundation-sponsored Foreign Study Program.

The Wayland Board of Education was told enrollment figures continue to soar, particularly at Dorr Elementary, further highlighting the need for passage of a bond issue later this year for a new high school, which has been narrowly defeated three times.

City Manager John Hefner, in his column, outlined six rules for snowmobilers to follow in the city. He opined that regulations are necessary because of the many safety and nuisance complaints.

Roger Ling and John Dunsmore are latest additions to the Wayland Lions Club, which now has a roster of 34 members.

Now showing at the Wayland Theatre: John Wayne in “Chisum.”

Mr. and Mrs. Norris Schuh, lifelong Wayland residents, are celebrating their 60th wedding anniversary. He was an airplane and auto mechanic and a school bus driver.

Dan Hall pumped in 33 points to pace Wayland to victory over Middleville and guard Boyd Heckert scored 26 to lead the Wildcats to triumph over Comstock Park. They are now 6-2 overall.

The Wayland High School wrestling team scored a 29-19 victory over Hamilton, highlighted by late heroics by Paul Fair and Jim Sipkema in their respective matches.

Tony Orlando & Dawn took over the No. 1 music slot in the nation with “Knock Three Times.”

75 Years Ago — Jan. 18, 1946

Editor-Publisher Rollo G. Mosher opined there is a strong need for an Allegan County Humane Officer in the wake of reports he’s heard about scoundrels dropping off puppies to fend for themselves and die in the snow and cold.

Dorothy Fleser of Moline has been discharged from the WAVES after serving for just one month shy of three years.

Fred A. Barber died at his farm east of Dorr, where he had lived and worked for 53 years. He was 79.

Cpl. Roman Lapekes was honorably discharged after serving in the military in England, Normandy, France and Germany since January 1943.

Florence Sias, who owned Shattuck General Store, the forerunner of Kroger, for 14 years, died at age 82.

Major Arnold Wilde has come home after serving in North Africa and India. He, his wife Virginia and son Kris are making their home on East Superior Street.

J.R. Willis, who fought and was wounded in battles at Manila and Ipo Dam Sector, has returned with a Bronze Star, Purple Heart and the Combat Infantry Badge, among other accolades.

Mr. and Mrs. Aaron Aspinwall, while celebrating their 63rd wedding anniversary, recalled the ceremony at the home of Congregational Church pastor the Rev. Candee in 1883.

Billed as the oldest Moline residents, Mr. and Mrs. Oliver Gilbert are moving to Detroit to live with their daughter. Mr. Gilbert was born in Moline in 1867.

Now showing at the Wayland Theatre:

  • Robert Stanton and Lynn Merrick in “Blonde from Brooklyn.”
  • Charles Starrett as the Durango Kid in “Rustlers of the Badlands.”
  • Barry Fitzgerald and Walter Huston “And Then There Were None.”
  • John Wayne and Anthony Quinn in “Back to Bataan.”


100 Years Ago — Jan. 14, 1921

The Northeast Hopkins Community Club elected Grant W. Colby president and Ernest M. Ring vice president. The Rev. Fay C. Wing made a presentation about the plight of starving Armenians in the Near East. The group continues to have the goal of “Putting butter on the tables of every family in this great dairy state.”

Leonard Reynolds was elected commander of the Forrest Lewis Post of the American Legion. Rollo Mosher was chosen post adjutant.

Wayland High School is reporting that 79 students now are enrolled.

The high school homes economic class served hot meals to 104 students last week, earning $10.54.

One high school senior girl’s car had water frozen in its radiator, causing her to take a horse and buggy home instead.

Celestine Surefeik was judged to have committed assault on Louis Panyrek with a shotgun on a road at Gun Lake. He chose not to pay the $40 fine and $4.55 in court costs and was ordered instead to serve 40 days in jail.

The clay roads in southeast Dorr are getting a coat of sand to fill in ruts and mud holes.

The Women’s Christian Temperance Union is planning a bake sale Jan. 22 with proceeds to go to relief for Armenians in the Near East.

Frank Chamberlain of Wayland Township will present a petition to the Allegan County Board of Supervisors, supporting completion and filling in gaps of a road from Wayland west to Hilliards.

John D. McKinnon, reported as “a man of upright character,” died on New Year’s morning in Hopkins. “The whole community was shocked and saddened.”

COVER PHOTO: Hopkins Livestock Auction Yard was co-owned by Don Verduin and Bob VanDam. This building was located behind the Kitchen Cabinet Factory (See above)

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