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 — Feb. 29, 1996

Pine Street Elementary hallways today.

Allegan County will join with Kent County in the Jobs Partnership Act, dropping Ottawa County.

Edward Bowerman, 82, of Shelbyville died of drowning while ice fishing on Gun Lake.

Martin Schools Supt. Iris Williams received high marks from the Board of Education in her performance review.

The Gun Lake Community Church is planning to nearly double in size with renovations and expansions announced by Pastor Keith Dragt, who noted the church’s significant recent growth.

The Wayland High School volleyball team, fresh from taking the O-K Gold Conference championship, captured its eighth district tournament title in the last 13 years. The Wildcats, again led by Jessica McEwen, Heather Postma and Keri Anguilm defeated Caledonia in the finals after the Scots upset South Christian in the semifinal round.

The Martin basketball team increased its chances of gaining a share of the Southwest Athletic Conference crown by scoring road victories at Decatur and Fennville.

The Hopkins basketball squad lost again to Allendale and one night later defeated Covert in a record-setting ninth overtime contest for one season.

The Wayland VFW Post 7581 and Auxiliary is observing its 50th anniversary this year.

Editor Nila Aamoth in the Soapbox insisted the government step into modern society by finding a way to offer voting through advances in technology. “If it takes a cyberspace warrior to lure to the polls, so what?”

Tom Jenkins (160 pounds) and Paul Christensen (119) qualified for the Class B state wrestling meet from Wayland. Martin qualified Don Bailey and Matt Noble in Class D.

Wayland’s basketball team spotted No.1-ranked South Christian 16-0 in the first quarter, but settled in to a more respectable final score defeat of 67-40. Walter Smith dropped in 21 points, but the ‘Cats fell two points shy of Sparta, 58-56.

50 Years Ago — Feb. 24, 1971

Local dairy farmer Ed Marcinek was selected Hopkins Township Supervisor to succeed Arnold Ross, who is moving to Otsego.

The Newcomers Club plans its first social meeting at the United Church of Wayland. The group is being coordinated by Mr. and Mrs. Richard Chapple.

Wayland, Middleville and Allegan high school band students will play together in a joint concert with guest conductor Daniel Kovats of Grand Valley State College.

The Wayland City Council election this spring is attracting a lot of interest, with incumbent members Don Shafer and Max Barnes being challenged by Wade Greenawalt, Robert Swartout, James Koster, Henry Miller and William Schuh.

The Hopkins Board of Education is diligently working on establishing a student conduct code.

Hugh Morrison, who came to Wayland in 1929 to operate the Leader Feed Mill before retiring in 1963, died at the Cunningham Nursing Home in Plainwell.

State Sen. Gary Byker spoke to the Wayland Chamber of Commerce about problems in financing Michigan’s public schools. Wayland Supt. James Thomas had a keen interest, noting the local school district’s three millage election defeats in efforts to build a new high school.

The chamber also announced it is continuing to work on promoting establishment of a West Michigan crime lab at the local State Police post.

Now showing at the Wayland Theatre: “Barbara Streisand and Yves Montand in “On a Clear Day You Can See Forever.”

The Globe published a front-page photo of ministers Leo Bennett, James Smith, Fr. Al Ulanowicz, George Vanderweit and William Kobza going over plans for combined Lenten services at their churches.

James Deveraux, subject of a story the previous week about his promotion at Union Bank, wrote a letter to Editor-Publisher Irvin P. Helmey. “The Globe has unfailingly published the events and achievements and involvement in the community of young people. This certainly shows the esteem and support of Wayland youth by your newspaper, which I don’t believe the community as a whole shares.”

Wayland High School’s Ken Merren and Bent Irwin both captured Class B regional wrestling championships and teammates Rick Burley, David McBride, Steve Anderson and Paul Fair earned medals.

75 Years Ago — March 1, 1946

Charles Ross of Bradley is retiring and has sold his garage business to Virgil Rhodes of Allegan. Ross and his father bought the Simpkins Blacksmith business in 1894 and changed with the times to convert it into an auto repair service.

Capt. John Rugaber has returned to work at Pet Milk after completing his military service that began in 1942.

Frederic Hilbert has announced the grand opening of his new seed store and seed cleaning service on West Superior Street.

Area dairymen gathered at the Wayland High School agriculture room for a county-wide meeting sponsored by Allegan County Ag Extension.

The Wayland chapter of the Order of Eastern Star held a fund-raising Beano and All Games Party, with proceeds earmarked for relief for the war-torn countries of Norway, France, Belgium and Holland.

A representative from the County Bureau of Social Aid will be at Village Hall from 2 to 4 p.m. the second and fourth Wednesdays of each month.

Mr. and Mrs. John Arbanas of Bradley have sold their general store to Mr. and Mrs. Thomas Jager of Wayland.

Pfc. Frank Taylor, Cpl. Haven Tarnutzer and Vernon Jansen all have returned home after being discharged from military service.

Mrs. Jennie Blue, mother of Clayton Blue, died of pneumonia at St. Mary’s Hospital at age 63.

Mrs. Leila Ryno, daughter of former Probate Judge David Stockdale and wife of George Ryno, died. She had lived in Wayland since her birth here in 1880.

Now showing at the Wayland Theatre:

  • Phyllis Thaxter and Edmund Gwenn in “Bewitched.”
  • Charles Starrett as the Durango Kid in “Outlaws of the Rockies.”
  • Irene Dunn, Charles Coburn and Alexander Knox in “Over 21.”
  • Robert Montgomery, John Wayne and Donna Reed in “They Were Expendable.”


100 Years Ago — Feb. 25, 1921

The Wayland Grange meeting topic of discussion this month will be “Child’s Welfare and Equal Guardianship under the Law.”

The fifth week of the Musical Memory contest will feature “Bercuse” by Goddard and the sextette from “Lucia” by Dionzetti.

Lucy Thaler, 76, who came to Leighton Township with her husband, Joseph, in 1866, and moved to Wayland in 1805, died. She had been a member of Methodist Episcopal Church in the village. Her funeral was to be held at the home of her daughter, Mrs. Fred Schad.

Melvin Paul of Hopkins is confined to his home on doctor’s orders after he suffered a back injury and cannot move. Amos Buck has agreed to fill in for work at the farm.

Allegan County Road Commissioner Lewis McLoud of Bradley is spending the week in Ann Arbor attending a short course in highway engineering.

Billed as “Wayland’s loss and Newaygo’s gain” was an account of a Rowe Manufacturing plant destroyed by fire and company officials expressing interest in moving to Wayland. However, some in this community discouratged the move, so it stayed in Newaygo and was capitalized at $35,000. A year later its value was pegged at $80,000.

George Dean of Shelbyville was ordered to pay $15 and fines and court costs after being found guilty of assault and battery. Dean was accused of attacking Earl Briggs in a dispute over delivery of coal to a schoolhouse basement.

Mrs. Emma Lane, formerly of Wayland, was in Butterworth Hospital after being struck by an electric wire.

Mark Beall was nominated for president in the village caucus.

The Ladies Library Club celebrated its 28th anniversary at a meeting held at the home of Library Director Miss Fanny Hoyt, with 50 members and guests in attendance.

The Father and Son banquet was held at Yeakey’s Hall. It was described as “The most successful and pleasing event of its kind ever given in this village.”

COVER PHOTO: The hallways at the old high school (now Pine Street Elementary) about 50 years ago.

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